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. It could be said that roughly 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 The words change from year to year, as do the tests, and the makers of the HSPT do not publish a word list for students to study.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 without a doubt 7th and 8th-grade level words, as students are in the 8th grade when they take the HSPT.

Still, the challenge remains. Without knowing which words will be on the test, we advocate a “shotgun” approach to learning vocabulary, which is to say, we encourage the 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.

Of course, this study of vocabulary for the HSPT will not be in vain. Even if the majority of words studied are not on the HSPT, students receive the benefit of an improved vocabulary, which in turn improves reading comprehension and verbal skills in general.

To help students with this overwhelming undertaking, we have put together 1,050 FREE vocabulary flashcards of 7th and 8th-grade level words for students to study to help them improve scores on the Verbal and Reading subtests of the HSPT. Happy studying!