Words, words, words.
They’re always important, but you’ll never feel more desperate to find the right one than when you’re taking the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam.
You need to get a good score to earn college credit. You need to seem as fluent as possible to get a good score. Since choosing the most precise word possible is a clear sign of fluency, there’s a lot of pressure on having strong vocabulary.
Thankfully, there are many awesome resources for advanced Spanish practice and AP Spanish practice. But as you prepare for your AP Spanish exam, you’ll also want to pay particular attention to your vocabulary.
Build a strong vocabulary, and you’ll be well on your way to a great AP Spanish score.
How to Practice AP Spanish Vocabulary
So you recognize that vocabulary is important but you aren’t quite sure how to practice vocabulary for the AP test? No worries. We’ve got your back.
First, look at the official AP website to see what has been on the test in the past. This will give you a window as to what sort of vocabulary the test uses and expects you to use. You can also use the AP website to study vocabulary—just look up any words you don’t recognize in a dictionary and try to learn them.
Next, expose yourself to a wide variety of words. You never know what exactly will be on the test, but if you have a broad vocabulary, nothing will seem as challenging.
Finally, use multiple study methods to learn your vocabulary more completely. For instance, in addition to the resources below, you could:
Selecting several different study methods is a great way to improve both your reading and listening. It will also expose you to new vocabulary and help cement the words you think you know into your permanent vocabulary.
Simply studying is like picking one apple from a tree. Using multiple approaches to learning is like shaking the tree and watching all the apples fall. It’s simply quicker and more effective.
How to Make Effective Use of Your Vocabulary on the AP Spanish Exam
Try to use at least a few less common vocabulary words in your writing and/or speaking. This will show you know more than the basics.
Try to use a few advanced verb conjugations. Sure, casually working in the imperfect subjective of saber (“to learn”) could feel a bit forced, but it will also show that you know even the most complicated conjugations.
Don’t fret when you don’t know every word. Even native speakers don’t know every word in a language. For instance, do you know what “anguilliform” means? Probably not. It means “resembling an eel.” But then again, do you really need to know words like that?
Plus, context clues will help in the AP Spanish test, so never let one unfamiliar word slow you down or ruin your confidence.
10 Astounding AP Spanish Vocabulary Resources You Can Snag Online
Varsity Tutors AP Spanish Flashcards
Varsity Tutors is predominantly a tutoring company, but they also offer extensive study materials, including AP Spanish flashcards.
Varsity Tutors offers dozens of different free flashcard sets focused on preparing you for the AP Spanish exam. There are plenty of options to help you focus on any weak spots in your vocabulary.
For instance, if you have trouble comprehending vocabulary in reading passages, try “textual source comprehension” flashcards.
What’s more, these flashcards won’t just give you the right answer—they’ll also explain why it’s correct which will help you apply the lesson when you take the AP Spanish test.
“Barron’s AP Spanish Flashcards”
Barron’s offers a wide range of helpful study guides and other educational books, and “Barron’s AP Spanish Flashcards” (available for purchase) is no exception.
These are great for more tactile learners who tire of studying online. They’re also divided into handy categories. This way, you can just focus on your vocabulary or branch out and work on grammar, reading, listening, speaking or writing.
FluentU is a terrific resource that will help you change up your study techniques.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.
I bet you thought Pinterest was just for crafts, recipes and cool nail art.
But when it comes to learning vocabulary for the AP Spanish exam, Pinteresters bring their A game. Just search “AP Spanish vocabulary,” and you’ll find a treasure trove of helpful charts and graphics to help you practice for the AP Spanish exam.
And, I mean, if you accidentally stumble upon a few craft projects, glitter never hurt anyone.
Cram is a website dedicated to developing effective flashcard sets that employ the Leitner system (a system of learning focused on repetition) to aid learning.
You can peruse plenty of different flashcard sets focused on AP Spanish.
AP Spanish Exam — Useful Essay Terms is a particularly helpful flashcard set. While this particular flashcard word set contains relatively simple words, it’s focused on words and phrases that you’re likely to want to use in an essay such as “in conclusion.” Because of this, it’s uniquely useful in preparing you for the writing portion of the AP Spanish exam.
Quia is a unique website that provides templates where users can input information to create games, activities, quizzes and flashcards. This information is user-submitted, but it’s often provided by teachers looking to assist their own students, so you can access useful tools from an army of helpful Spanish teachers.
There are plenty of shared activities that will benefit AP Spanish students available via the search feature.
This collection of materials (created by a high school Spanish teacher) is particularly useful. Each vocabulary set is grouped thematically which will help you link related terms in your mind. Try using the flashcards, the matching game, the concentration game or the word search. There are enough different options here that you’ll never get bored.
Brainscape uses cognitive science research to create flashcards to help learners acquire knowledge quickly. They refer to it as “flashcards on steroids.”
Brainscape offers AP Spanish flashcards that you can study on your phone, tablet or online. You can also track your learning and/or study with friends, so studying never has to be lonely.
While basic access is free, there’s a charge for full access.
Quizlet offers users the opportunity to create, access and share user-created word lists and games. They subscribe to the belief that “learning needs to be fun,” and they aim to make the website easy to use.
Quizlet offers dozens of user-created AP Spanish word lists, so you’ll have plenty of options. This set of word lists is particularly useful since it focuses on the themes contained in the AP exam.
For each word list, you can also choose to view the set, study them as flashcards or play a timed game where you match each word to its meaning.
Furthermore, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can create your own word list. Creating your own word list will help other users, but the act of creating that list will also help you practice the words.
“Palabra por Palabra”
“Palabra por Palabra” is an advanced Spanish vocabulary book that’s available for purchase. It’s extremely useful for anyone looking to learn vocabulary for the AP Spanish exam since it offers some unique and easy-to-use words and phrases.
For instance, the first section of the book focuses on words and phrases that you can use to express opinions and ideas—this is great for the writing and speaking sections. There are also sections with vocabulary on health, technology, culture and other relevant topics, so “Palabra por Palabra” will help you learn a lot of very useful vocabulary words.
“Spanish Idioms and Advanced Vocabulary SparkCharts”
If you need to branch out from books, flashcards and online learning, this is another good option.
This four-page chart offers helpful vocabulary in a convenient format. You can easily tuck it into your backpack and take it out whenever you have a couple minutes to practice vocabulary. Over time, studying a little bit at a time can really add up.
So use your resources wisely to learn and refresh your vocabulary.
Your AP Spanish score will thank you!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.