Reading Tips from UWorld: Words in Context Tricks

2/7/2019 5:08:30 PM
College Board has done away with the really high level vocabulary they used to use, but their word word-in-context questions can still be tricky. Almost every answer choice is going to be a definition of the word in question, and the rest will be related in meaning, so you can't just pick the first answer whose meaning lines up.

Instead, the most important part of the question is "as used in line __." The right answer will be the only one that works in a context like the passage's, so figure out what the rest of the sentence is saying and pick the matching answer.

College Board's 7th released test asks whether the word "raise" means "increase," "cultivate," "nurture," or "elevate" in the following sentence: "I believe that the social changes which bring nearer to the same level the father and son, the master and servant, and superiors and inferiors generally speaking, will raise woman and make her more and more the equal of man."

The challenge is that the answer choices all mean "raise" in a given context. (Ex. You can raise/increase your grades; raise/cultivate a garden; raise/nurture a child; or raise/elevate an item to a higher place.) So which context works in this sentence, which says that social changes will put different groups, like women and men, on the same level? The only option that could mean putting something on a different level is "elevate," so that's the right answer.

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