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The Importance of Vocabulary on the HSPT®

A strong vocabulary is fundamental for success on the HSPT. Nearly two-thirds of the problems on the Verbal Skills subtest incorporate knowledge of vocabulary. Perhaps more surprisingly, almost half of the Reading subtest consists of defining vocabulary words in context. That means that nearly half of the Reading subtest is essentially a vocabulary quiz.

The challenge students face in preparing for the HSPT is not knowing which words will be on the test. The words change from year to year, as do the tests, and the makers of the HSPT do not publish a word list for students to study. This being said, the vocabulary words used on the HSPT are 7th and 8th-grade level words, as students are in the 8th grade when they take the HSPT.

Because we do not know which words will be on the test in any given year, we advocate a “shotgun” approach to learning vocabulary, which is to say, we encourage students to study of a wide range of words. The more words a student learns, the higher he or she will score on the Verbal and Reading subtests.

To help with this endeavor, we have put together a set of FREE online HSPT Vocabulary Flashcards of 7th and 8th-grade level words for students to study to help them improve their scores on the Verbal and Reading subtests of the HSPT. Happy studying!