High School Vocabulary in Context Worksheets

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Students writing in classroom. Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images

Intro

One of the skills tested most frequently on standardized tests from the PSAT to the ACT is reading comprehension. Many people focus on reading skills like finding the main idea, determining author's purpose and making inferences when they practice for their tests, assuming that the vocabulary in context questions will be a breeze. Vocab in context questions can be tricky, though, especially if you haven't prepared! 

Why Context is Important

Guessing a vocab word on a standardized test will almost always garner an incorrect answer because test prep writers use vocabulary words in different ways according to the context. 

For example, the word "striking" seems pretty straightforward, right? If a friend asked you, "What does 'striking' mean?" You might say, something like "hitting" or "beating" as in the instance of lightning striking. However, in other situations, the word can mean killing. Or missing the ball with your bat. It can also mean beautiful "What a striking sunset!" or that you're heading somewhere "We were striking out for the Great Plains and nothing was going to stop us." If you answer the question without context, you may miss out on some test points.

Usage

Before you take your next standardized exam, master, a few of this vocabulary in context worksheets. Teachers, feel free to use the free pdf files in your classroom for test prep practice or quick, easy substitute lesson plans. 

Vocabulary in Context Worksheet 1

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Getty Images | Jan Bruggeman

Reading Selection: An excerpt from "The Boarded Window". “It was first published in the San Francisco Examiner on April 12th, 1891; Bierce made some revisions before including it in Tales of Soldiers and Civilians in 1892.

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Genre: Short story

Length: 581 words

Number of Questions: 5 multiple-choice questions

Vocabulary Words: indigence, suffered, traversing, lusterless, retained

Vocabulary in Context Worksheet 2

necklace.jpg
Getty Images | Serge

Reading Selection: An excerpt from "The Necklace". "The Necklace" or "The Diamond Necklace" as written by some, was first published on February 17, 1884, in the French newspaper Le Gaulois.The story has become one of Maupassant's popular works and is well known for its ending. It is also the inspiration for Henry James's short story, "Paste".

Author: Guy de Maupassant

Genre: Short Story

Length: 882 words

Number of Questions: 5 multiple-choice questions

Vocabulary Words: blundered, mean, gallantries, exultant, select

Vocabulary in Context Worksheet 3

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Getty Images | M. Eric Honeycutt

Reading Selection: An excerpt from "A Sisterly Scheme" written by the 19th-century humorist, editor, and poet. 

Author: H. C. Bunner

Genre: Short Story

Length: 1,711 words

Number of Questions: 5 multiple-choice questions

Vocabulary Words: impertinence, clean, verisimilitude, dangle, strike

Vocabulary in Context Worksheet 4

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Getty Images

Reading Selection: George W. Bush's First Inaugural Address, which was given on January 20, 2001, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. Prior to his speech, he was sworn in by Chief Justice Rehnquist. 

Author: George W. Bush and staff

Genre: Nonfiction speech

Length: 1,584 words

Number of Questions: 5 multiple-choice questions

Vocabulary Words: fallible, serious, apathy, persistent, dignity

Vocabulary in Context Worksheet 5

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Getty Images | John Parrot

Reading Selection: An excerpt from "Across the Navajo Desert" which was published in A Book-Lover's Holidays in the Open in 1916, three years before Roosevelt died in 1919. 

Author: Theodore Roosevelt

Genre: Nonfiction memoir 

Length: 1,171 words

Number of Questions: 5 multiple-choice questions

Vocabulary Words: desolation, lithe, baleful, shrouded, throve

Reading on Standardized Tests

 Wondering what the reading comprehension sections will look like on various standardized exams? Here are a few from some of the most popular standardized tests with information about the skills and content you should know before you test. Enjoy!