If you’re studying SAT vocabulary, you’re probably less than thrilled with long word lists. How can you really memorize hundreds upon hundreds of new words?

A technique many of my students have found helpful is one I call the “Google image technique.” It’s incredibly powerful when it comes to remembering words, but it can also be really fun.

All you have to do is Google image search some of your vocabulary words (here’s how to choose a word list). For example, let’s say you’re learning “abstemious” today, which means not eating or drinking too much. You Google image search “abstemious,” and this is one of the first results that comes up:

SAT Vocab Prep Google Image Technique

Pretty funny, right? I bet you’re going to remember what “abstemious” means now.

Science has shown over and over how much more powerful images are for learning than just plain text. One study showed that after three days, participants remembered only 10-20% of written information but almost 65% of visual information. In another study, an illustrated text was 83% more effective than text alone when testing delayed comprehension. In another study, visuals were found to improve learning by as much as 400%. Four Hundred Percent. That’s crazy!

So why not make learning vocabulary a little easier on yourself? Use the Google image technique to find images that speak to you. The funier or more entertaining the image, the better.

Once you find the images, keep a record of them to revisit as you study – you can save them to one folder on your computer, for instance, and make the vocabulary word the file name. Or you could print them and write the words alongside the images. Or even set them as your desktop wallpaper. Be creative.

If you want to spend less time studying vocabulary while at the same time improving your vocabulary, start using this technique today.

By the way, if you see a word you don’t know on test day, here’s what to do.