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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2013
I received a review copy of the 5th edition, both volumes. As a tutor who has been using Direct Hits since the 1st edition and has also used 300 Essential Words, I offer the following comments.

First, there are a lot of lists out there (I'm sure I've seen almost all of them), but the Direct Hits Family is the best. The list is based upon the actual SAT Test. The list is manageable. 1000 words, 3500 words, 5000 words?! Really? If you know that many words you need to work for Merriam-Webster. Time would be better spent reading. It is so well organized. The 5th edition shows welcome changes from the earlier editions. The explanations require less reading, sentences rather than passages. The Latin/Greek roots are interspersed throughout the books and connected with the relevant words. Direct Hits does a fantastic job in bring up previous words in new lessons; this serves as functional review. There are less sentence completion review exercises than in the earlier versions, but if you know how to use the blog posts it more than makes up for it.

Heck, if you're already in college but find the reading "soo hard" get both volumes and get educated son. It's not gonna get eazier.

In conclusion, I recommend Direct Hits for tutors, self-studying SAT students or anyone who wants to get a vocabulary foundation for college level. Remember, it is a start not a panacea, but it's probably the best start out there
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2013
Note: I received a review copy of this book.

Like other reviewers have mentioned, the book is concise and entertaining. What they neglected to mention is how much better it is than everything else. My review copy came with a list of over 130 words which were on both recent SAT's and in this book! That's flat out incredible, given that there are 440 words in the Core + Toughest books. Most of the other companies have word lists in the thousands, and their hit rate is definitely lower.

The other great thing about the books is how much fun they are to read. Each word has a paragraph or two telling a story, which makes it simple to learn the words. All the descriptions are either cool facts from history or quotes/items related to current events and pop culture, so teenagers are much more likely to understand and incorporate the words into their vocabulary. There's also a review at the end with all the words and their definitions if you want a quick refresher. One other new feature is the sample sentence completions at the end of each book - there are about 30 of them in each book, and they're very realistic.

I'm currently a junior at Yale, and I used an older version of Direct Hits in the past, which I largely credit for my 800 Critical Reading score on the SAT. I had a blast reviewing the 5th edition because the books are so well written and entertaining, and I never thought I'd say that about a SAT vocab book.

If you want to get a great score, and have a fun time learning some really cool words, then Direct Hits is your best choice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
I have used this vocabulary book working with students who are studying for the SAT. The up-to-date relevant examples help students readily understand how a word is used in context. As soon as I started to explain a few of the examples for an entry, students would come up with their own examples, sometimes the next example illustrated under the entry word.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2014
Before receiving Direct Hits, I was confused as to how a book can teach you words, but actually, it's the best thing.
Each paragraph with a word is constructed so brilliantly, that before you know it, you can name three synonymous rather than one. Like trite, banal, hackneyed. And then you learn even more words in the paragraph that they describe that word. Such as Paula Abdul's "banal comments on American Idol".
I 100% recommend Direct Hits. I'm finding it more helpful than flashcards, and that's a lot to say as I've been using flashcards all my life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2014
This is an excellent book. I am using it for my high school English classes for the first time. The definitions use current examples, and students seem to grasp the meanings much more easily than standard dictionary definitions. One of my students took the SAT on Saturday, and he felt that the vocabulary section was a breeze due to our focus on improving vocabulary this year using this edition. The only improvement I can recommend to the editor is to not use a form of the word in its definition (something so many dictionaries are guilty of, too)!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2013
good overall -- like the grouping of words into similar categories and contemporary examples of word usage. Vocab words in book aligned with has been used in past SAT tests.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2013
If you have scrolled through any of the forums of College Confidential (a great website to help prepare for SAT, lots of strategies and etc.) it is obvious that Direct Hits is the winner. I previously recommended Word Smart series, but I change my mind seeing this one. Best one out there. (P.S. don't be dumb and do stupid stuff like Baron's 3500, real waste of time. See CC for more information)
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on June 9, 2015
The book is extremely useful for those who are trying to ace the SAT. Not only the 19 sentence completion questions, but also the 48 passage-based reading questions and the 49 grammar questions. Building elegant and sophisticated vocabularies is vital for comprehending texts that are complicated, and that is the purpose of the SAT exam. The Directs Hits targets vocabularies that frequently appear on the tests and the multifarious university textbooks, and the book also highlights the importance of knowing the words. After studying the book, a lot of "esoteric" vocabularies become "quotidian" words, and by using the words, we turn into "sophisticated scholars"!

Opinion: the book teaches vocabularies with a really appealing method, for example, it cites numerous examples of the pop culture to illustrate the vocabulary vividly! The practice questions are also helpful for building the tactics that allow you to crack the SAT code.
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on September 12, 2014
I viewed this book on Kindle. The approach to vocabulary using relevant stories is interestng. While some choice of words that are bundled together have slight differences in nuances and need revising that concisely discerns these words, the overall tone of this book is consistent and rarely bores out the reader. For novices of the SAT, the list of words are quite challenging. However, once you furiously cram all those annoying words into your head and eventually come to an end, I promise you a wave of nostalgia that will make you reflect on your once seemingly impossible accomplishment and tempt you to rush back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2014
This is a great help for me. Makes it interesting and fun to learn vocabulary
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