20 Common Vocabulary Words That Appeared on the SAT in 2020

College Major Tips
Tips for Selecting a College Major
November 20, 2020
Homeschool Benefits
What are the Benefits of Homeschooling?
December 22, 2020
Show all

20 Common Vocabulary Words That Appeared on the SAT in 2020


Without a sufficient understanding of diverse vocabulary words, college-bound students may struggle to express their thoughts or understand their peers. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication, such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Developing an extensive vocabulary requires reading publications covering various subjects and texts, including magazines, textbooks, and novels. To help broaden your student’s vocabulary, we’ve compiled a list of 20 common vocabulary words that appeared on the SAT in 2020.


(noun) – a strong feeling of dislike, repugnance

Example: The protestors expressed their antipathy for the local government by vandalizing the Town Hall building.


(noun) – the top or highest point of something, peak

Example: The lion is one of Africa’s apex land predators.


(adjective) – severe or strict, extremely plain, bleak

Example: Even though she looked austere, my English teacher was always kind to her students.


(verb) – to support, hold up, reinforce

Example: To buttress his lecture, the Professor created an in-depth PowerPoint presentation outlining the difficult subject material.


(noun) – a hard or disharmonious sound

Example: The cacophony erupting from the crowd drowned out the speaker’s announcement.


(adjective) – having or showing knowledge or understanding or realization, aware, mindful

Example: Many teenagers will not become cognizant of the value of a dollar until they begin working at a job.


(adjective) – overflowing with excitement, enthusiastic

Example: The ebullient song sounded so uplifting that everyone in the room started to dance.


(verb) – to cause or bring forth, create, generate

Example: The massive amount of homework engendered high levels of stress among the students.


(adjective) – anything short-lived, fleeting, temporary, transient, momentary

Example: Due to her ephemeral memory, the older woman forgets important details all the time!


(adjective) – learned or scholarly, educated

Example: Having completed many years at medical school, James became quite erudite on the subject of virology


(adjective) – occurring by happy chance, lucky, fortunate

Example: The collapse of several rival companies brought fortuitous gains to the marketing agency.


(adjective) – excessively grand or pretentious, pompous

Example: After touring the grandiose eight-bedroom house, the couple decided it was way too big for their small family.


(adjective) – drawn to the company of others, sociable

Example: Dogs, especially Labrador Retrievers, make very gregarious pets.


(adjective) – acting hastily without thinking, rash, impulsive

Example: His impetuous behavior caused him to suffer severe legal consequences.


(verb) – to make less severe, moderate, alleviate

Example: To mitigate any negative publicity, the brand manager offered a full refund to customers who purchased the faulty item.


(noun) – any new or inexperienced participant in some activity, a novice or beginner

Example: As a newly elected Congresswoman, Alexandria was viewed as a neophyte by the senior members in Congress.


(adjective) – designed to impress others, excessively showy, glitzy

Example: Despite regularly donating to charities, many news outlets still chastised the rock star’s ostentatious lifestyle.


(adjective) – stubbornly resistant to authority or control, defiant

Example: Attempting to train the new recalcitrant puppy proved quite a challenge


(adjective) – having a willingness to serve others, submissive, subservient

Example: The cruel queen and her servile handmaidens entered the masquerade.


(adjective) – keeping a firm grip on, determined, persistent

Example: Not wanting to let a meal escape, the hawk seized its prey in a tenacious grip.