Vocabulary Synapse was developed by AVE to help
motivated students develop an advanced vocabulary, primarily for the
SAT and GRE.
The development process focused on the way in which
students learn words and integrate them into their working vocabulary.
Association of information was a key focus. Because information that is
associated to other information is generally remembered better, many
words are grouped with others. Groupings include synonyms and close
synonyms (e.g. ephemeral and evanescent), words that are generally
linked (e.g. flora and fauna), words that are often confused (e.g.
censure and and censor), and words that share common roots (e.g.
euphony and cacophony).
Definitions and sentences have been designed to make the
vocabulary development process as easy and efficient as possible. The
definitions give all vital information about each word, and often
include mnemonics, connotations, etymologies, and key associations.
However, definitions are kept concise and use informal language
whenever possible, allowing students to assimilate them quickly and
Vocabulary Synapse keeps sentences as simple and
illustrative as possible. These sentences show students how to use the
words, while reinforcing the definitions and appropriate associations.
Vocabulary Synapse is available for immediate purchase
for $7.00 (US). There are two versions. Vocabulary Synapse contains
definitions of words that may be inappropriate for younger students.
Vocabulary Synapse Limited does not contain these definitions. Younger
students should use Vocabulary Synapse Limited, as should students who
may find these definitions objectionable.
You must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader. It can be downloaded for free here. Please check the sample page to make sure that you will be able to view Vocabulary Synapse.
Instructions for Purchasing AVE's Vocabulary Synapse
1. Once you have decided which version of Vocabulary
Synapse suits your needs, click on the appropriate button at the bottom
of these instructions.
2. Click the "Checkout" button on the next screen.
3. You will then be forwarded to Paypal to process your payment. Enter the requested information.
4. Once the payment has been processed, you will receive
one or more confirmation emails. One of these emails will contain a
5. Click on the link, which will take you to a download screen. Follow the instructions to download Vocabulary Synapse.
6. You should receive the file within one hour. If you do not receive the file within 24 hours, please email email@example.com and include "Vocabulary Synapse" in the subject of your email.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to learn all the words?
Despite the methods used to streamline the vocabulary building process,
students will need time to learn the large number of words contained.
If possible, allow a few months. Please note that this will vary based
on the student's vocabulary prior to using Vocabulary Synapse.
Why is Vocabulary Synapse so expensive/inexpensive?
As part of AVE's commitment to fair and universal pricing, Vocabulary
Synapse has been priced the same in all countries. Depending on local
currencies and economies, the price may seem somewhat higher or lower
What kind of computer do I need?
Most Macintosh and PC computers will work. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is
also required, and can be downloaded for free from Adobe at www.adobe.com. The Acrobat Reader also works on Palm OS (many PDAs) and Symbian OS (selected Nokia devices).
Additional Information for Education Professionals
For most synonym groupings, the rule of 7 ± 2 has
been used (i.e. a person can generally hold between 5 and 9 pieces of
information in their conscious mind at one time). Most of the groupings
contain less than seven words to allow ease of acquisition. However,
this rule does not apply in two situations. The first situation
involves a synonym list in which most students know a few of the words.
In this case, the known words act as "anchor points" to which the new
words are associated. A list may contain 10 synonyms, 5 of which the
average student will know. The five new words are well under the cutoff
This rule is also violated at times to prevent students
from assimilating the words as a set of synonyms, when doing so would
obscure critical parts of the individual definitions. This method is
used to encourage students to develop and understanding of the
subtleties of the separate words, which is important in situations in
which proper understanding of a word involves distinguishing it from
its close synonyms.
Formal rules of presenting definitions have been broken
frequently. The goal of Vocabulary Synapse is to develop a working and
applicable understanding of a word, together with relevant
associations, rather than rote memorization of definitions or synonyms.
This method facilitates long-term recall, and allows understanding of
the word to develop as the student continues to see the word in various
contexts. At times, formal definitions are not given at all, and
instead a simple explanation of the word is given. For example,
"ephemeral" may be explained as "Something ephemeral lasts for a very
short time," rather than "Ephemeral means lasting for a very short
time." This method is used to create a working, integrated
understanding of the word, instead of encouraging short-lived rote
Several words appear in more than one grouping. For
example, a word may be in a grouping based on a word root, and another
grouping based on synonyms. This has been done to promote connections
between various word groupings, and to thoroughly integrate the
vocabulary network into the long-term memory.
Definitions are generally somewhat longer than those in
most commercially available vocabulary texts. This has been done to
allow a complete understanding of the relevent aspects of the word, and
to discourage the use of close synonyms which may miss critical
information, and may encourage students to forget the new word. When a
student does not understand what differentiates a word from a close
synonym, he may view the word as redundant and forget it more easily.
Word roots are usually introduced as English word roots,
rather than as their Latin or Greek precursors. For example, the text
discusses the word "equivocate" in terms of the "voc" root, rather than
in terms of the Latin verb "voco, vocare". This is done to create
associations with known English words (e.g. vocal), rather than with
unfamiliar Latin words. In most cases, students of Latin will be able
to see the connections with the Latin words. In certain cases in which
it is deemed helpful, the Latin words have been introduced.
Sentences are kept exceedingly simple, and use memorable
graphic depictions when possible. Negations have been avoided to
prevent later confusion, and to allow direct, simpe associations. For
example, a sentence may say "The uncouth man wore a stinking, sweaty,
undershirt," instead of "The uncouth man did not wear a tuxedo." The
former associates "uncouth" to a dirty undershirt, whereas the latter
runs the risk of associating the word inappropriately to a tuxedo. In
situations in which a student barely remembers the word and needs to
solve an analogy or sentence completion question, this subtle
difference can be very significant.
Students for whom English is a second language will
benefit from use of Vocabulary Synapse. However, supplementary training
may also be required, since Vocabulary Synapse assumes native English
fluency and focuces primarily on the development of an advanced
vocabulary. Basic words, particularly those generally learned during
childhood, are not included in Vocabulary Synapse, and ESOL students
may need to review these words using another source.