SAT Vocabulary Lesson Plan

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Use this lesson plan to teach your students strategies for studying the vocabulary for the SAT. A text lesson will introduce the concept to the students who will then apply these concepts in several hands-on activities, ending with a fun vocabulary game.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define Tier Two words
  • Prioritize what vocabulary to study when preparing for the SAT
  • Evaluate multiple choice answers for words in context questions


This lesson will take approximately 60 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.9-10.4.a

Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word's position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.


Students will need to understand the meaning of following words to be able to do this activity:

  • Context clues
  • Tier Two words


  • Copies of the text lesson Vocabulary on the Revised SAT and the lesson quiz, one for each student
  • Sets of four index cards with A, B, C, D written on them, enough sets for each small group
  • Frayer model template to show students
  • Blank index cards
  • Colored pencils
  • List of Tier Two words (found easily with an online search); one for each student
  • PowerPoint with a Tier Two word written on each slide
  • Index cards with College Board practice questions (questions can easily be found with an online search); enough cards for each small group

Lesson Instructions

  • Ask the students to rate themselves on how they are feeling about the vocabulary they need to know on the SAT - 1 being not confident at all to 10 being the most confident.
  • Once they have their number in their head, have them turn and talk with a neighbor about their rating.
  • Call on a few students to share their responses with the class.
  • Explain to them that today they are going to engage in some activities that can help them to increase their rating.
  • Distribute copies of the Vocabulary on the Revised SAT text lesson.
  • Have students read 'The Revised SAT' section to themselves.
  • Now, have students turn and talk about the following questions:
    • What are NOT important things to focus on when studying SAT vocabulary?
    • What are the important things to focus on when studying SAT vocabulary?
  • Have a volunteer read 'The Questions' section. Ask:
    • What does 'words in context' mean?
    • What are context clues? How can you use them to help determine the meaning of a word?
    • What are Tier Two words?
  • Have another student read the 'Preparing for the Vocabulary Questions' section. Discuss:
    • What are some effective study strategies that might help you increase your knowledge about SAT vocabulary?
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' and then have the students take the lesson quiz.

Words in Context Activity

  • Tell students that in this activity, they will practice defining words in context.
  • Divide students into groups of 3 - 4. Give each group the College Board practice questions index cards and the A, B, C, D answer cards. Tell them the game will work like this:
    • The students will put the A, B, C, D cards face down in the middle of the table.
    • One student will read aloud the question and the possible answers.
    • Another student will draw an A, B, C, D card. If the student draws the letter of the correct answer, he/she will defend why that is the correct answer. If the student draws the letter of an incorrect answer, he/she will explain why that is the incorrect answer.
    • Repeat this until all questions have been answered.

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