Best Online ACT Vocabulary Lists


Best Online ACT Vocabulary Lists

If you need to study ACT vocabulary but aren’t sure where to start, then this is an article for you. In this post we will provide links to FREE high quality online lists of ACT vocabulary.

A Word of Caution: Do Not Overdo Vocabulary

Best Online ACT Vocabulary Lists

While ACT vocabulary is important, it is far from the most critical thing you can do to improve your score. The ACT will not tested you on the meaning on the obscure words; so spending countless hours memorizing difficult, multi-syllable words will not help you on the ACT.

This is because ACT tests medium-difficulty words in the context of sentences and loves to test words with multiple meanings. For more explanation, read our article on ACT vocabulary before you begin to study.

In order to do well on ACT English, you need to be able to recognize and define vocabulary words in context, not just assume that memorizing long lists of words will be enough to prepare you for the ACT English and ACT Reading.

This is not to say that learning vocabulary does not matter for the ACT, which is why this article includes word lists and resources. Keep in mind that you should consider vocabulary as one of the many components of ACT English and Reading. Don’t neglect studying grammar rules or practicing reading passages.

ACT Vocabulary Lists

Best Online ACT Vocabulary Lists

As mentioned in the introduction, ACT tests vocabulary in contest of passages and not disjointed, obscure words. Beware of long lists of word lists that claim to be for the ACT – they are most likely old SAT vocabulary words with a new title.

Place more focus on learning and being able to recognize moderate-difficulty words in context, and less on memorizing as many words as possible.

I recommend starting with our Top Tier list. This list consists of words with multiple meanings that are likely to appear on the ACT. Our Reading and Science ACT word lists also include parts of speech and examples of words in sentences.

If after learning our Top Tier list you are still struggling with vocabulary, you can also learn these 100 words from Scholastic.

Once you have mastered all of these words, you will have built enough of a base to do well on the ACT Reading and English. Focus the majority of your time practicing ACT English and Reading sections because they will be much more effective in helping you understand and define words in context than learning lists of words.

Other Online Resources for Learning ACT Vocabulary

Best Online ACT Vocabulary Lists

Here is a list of some FREE online resources that can be useful and helpful for learning ACT vocabulary, and especially learning words in context of larger articles or passages.


Best Online ACT Vocabulary Lists

This is a flashcard website which you can use to learn vocabulary words. If you make an account, you can use their website as well as iPhone or Android mobile apps which mean that you can study whenever you have a free moment.


You can search through thousands of pre-existing sets of flashcards or create your own. If you are looking for more science vocabulary, just type in ACT science in the search field on top.

The added bonus of this app is that you can use it to make flashcards for any subject that requires memorization, like math formulas, biology concepts, foreign language, etc. It is a lot easier to make flashcards on Quizlet than to write them out by hand. Plus, because the app is always available on your phone, you can study a few words every time you are idle (like waiting in a long line).

Vocab Ahead

If you are an auditory learner and understand better when concepts are explained to you, take a look at the videos at Vocab Ahead.

Instead of just giving you a list of words with corresponding definitions, they also use vocabulary in sentences accompanied with animation.

There is a FREE SAT word list app that overlaps with words that are useful for ACT and you can also type in specific words in a search engine and have them define them for you.


You will encounter tons of ACT words by reading online articles in publications like The Economist, Time, or The New Yorker that will help you build ACT vocabulary.

Next Steps

Now that you know that ACT vocabulary is one of the many components involved in ACT preparation, what else do you need to know? Learn 5 Most important concepts you need to ACT the ACT English section.

Learn more about vocabulary in context and strategies for ACT Reading.

Do you know what types of passages are included on ACT Reading? Read about the 4 types of ACT passages and learn strategies to stop running out of time on ACT Reading.

Most students have heard that there is no guessing penalty on ACT, but do you know how to guess effectively? Read about guessing strategies on the ACT.

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