SSAT Synonym Practice Questions

Now that you’ve learned some of the strategies for the synonym section of the SSAT, try your hand at a few synonym practice questions to test your readiness!
But before you jump in, remember the Kaplan 3-Step Method for synonyms:
Step 1: Define the stem word
Step 2: Find the answer choice that best fits your definition
Step 3: If no choice fits, think of other definitions for the stem word and go through the choices again
Now, take a look at some techniques that can help you when you get stuck on a question:

Vocabulary Techniques

There are several things you can do to figure out the meaning of a tough vocabulary word and, thus, to answer a hard Synonym question. Here are four techniques that will help you when you don’t know a stem word.
  • Technique 1: Look for Familiar Roots and Prefixes

    Remember how we told you in chapter 6 to start working on your vocabulary skills? Well, having a good grasp of how words are put together will help you tremendously on Synonyms, particularly when you don’t know a vocabulary word. If you can break a word into pieces that you do understand, you’ll be able to answer questions that you might have thought too difficult to tackle.

  • Technique 2: Use Your Knowledge of Foreign Languages

    Do you study a foreign language? If so, it can help you decode lots of vocabulary words on the SSAT or ISEE, particularly if it’s one of the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese). Look at the example words below. Do you recognize any foreign language words in them?
    Facile means “easy” in French and Italian; dormir means “to sleep” in French and Spanish; and expliquer means “to explain” in French.

  • Technique 3: Remember the Context

    Sometimes a word might look strange sitting on the page by itself, but if you think about it, you realize you’ve heard it before in other phrases. If you can put the word into context, such as in a cliché, you’re well on your way to deciphering its meaning. Take a look at the following example:
    (A) vine
    (B) honor
    (C) lavender
    (D) cushion
    (E) work
    Have you heard the expression “Don’t rest on your laurels”? What do you think it might mean? “Don’t rest on your laurels” originated in ancient Greece, where heroes were given wreaths of laurel branches to signify their accomplishments. Saying you shouldn’t rest on your laurels is the same thing as saying you shouldn’t get too comfortable or smug, just enjoying your accomplishment rather than striving for improvement.

  • Technique 4: Use Word Charge

    Even if you know nothing about the word, have never seen it before, don’t recognize any prefixes or roots, and can’t think of any word it resembles in another language, you can still make a stab at a Synonym question. One useful strategy when you’re stumped is Word Charge.
    What do we mean by Word Charge? Are some words electric? Or do they spend too much money on credit cards? No and no. Word Charge refers to the sense that a word gives you as to whether it’s a positive word or a negative one.
    VILIFY: This sounds like villain, a word most people would say is bad.
    GLORIFY: This sounds like glorious, a word most people would say is good.
    Let’s say that vilify has a negative charge (–) and glorify has a positive charge (+). On all Synonym questions, the correct answer will have the same charge as the stem word, so use your instincts about word charge to help you when you’re stuck on a tough word.
    Often words that sound harsh have a negative meaning, while smooth-sounding words tend to have positive meanings. If cantankerous sounds negative to you, you would be right. It means difficult to handle.
    You can also use prefixes and roots to help determine a word’s charge. Mal, de, dis, un, in, im, a, and mis often indicate a negative, while pro, ben, and magn are often positives.
    Not all words sound positive; some sound neutral. But if you can define the charge, you can probably eliminate some answer choices on that basis alone.
    Now let’s see how you did on identifying the charge of the words listed above.
    Auspicious (+) means favorable; a malady (–) means an illness; noxious (–) means harmful; amiable (+) means agreeable; boorish (–) means rude; melancholy (–) means sadness; and humane (+) means kind.

Now, using the Kaplan 3-step Method, answer the following synonym practice questions and check your answers.

Question 1
(A) youth
(B) wreath
(C) respect
(D) affection
(E) household


Question 2
(A) royal
(B) friendly
(C) gusty
(D) arrogant
(E) insightful



Question 3
(A) unrelated
(B) glib
(C) touchable
(D) tanned
(E) incapable


Question 4
(A) advise
(B) unpleasant
(C) separate
(D) conceptual
(E) appease


Question 5
(A) truth
(B) contagion
(C) similarity
(D) militarization
(E) edifice


Question 6
(A) want
(B) venture
(C) offer
(D) shorten
(E) disaster


Question 7
(A) immersion
(B) condescension
(C) reticence
(D) permission
(E) silence


Question 8
(A) dispatch
(B) connection
(C) hoax
(D) conviction
(E) abuse


Need some help prepping for the SSAT? Check out Kaplan’s study resources!