What is the WordMasters Challenge™?

The WordMasters Challenge™ is a national competition for students in grades 3-8 that encourages growth in vocabulary and verbal reasoning.  Each year, over 125,000 students from some of the best public and private schools throughout the United States participate in the WordMasters Challenge.

Unlike other language arts competitions for this age group – which focus on grammar, punctuation, spelling and other language mechanics – the WordMasters Challenge™ helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically.  The contest addresses higher-level word comprehension and verbal reasoning in two ways:

  • It challenges students to complete analogies based on relationships among words they have learned.
  • It bases the analogies on special vocabulary lists, developed for each grade and difficulty level by experienced teachers, which participants are encouraged to study before each meet.

Excellence in the competition will require both a mastery of the meanings of the vocabulary words (of a difficulty appropriate to each grade level) and thoughtful reasoning about the relationships between these words and more familiar language used in the competition’s analogies. 

Click here for details regarding how the WordMasters Challenge™aligns with Common Core State Standards.

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The WordMasters Challenge Medal

Sample Analogies

Below are some examples of analogies and word lists from past WordMasters Challenges™. Select the correct answer from the list.

Grade 8 Gold Division Sample Analogies Grade 8 Gold Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: e) INVEIGH because if you are FOR a cause or issue, you may LOBBY (attempt to influence in favor of something) for it; in a similar way, if you are AGAINST a cause or issue, you may INVEIGH (assail, attack with words) it.

Grade 8 Blue Division Analogies

The answer is: d) DURABLE because METICULOUS is the opposite of SLOPPY; in a similar way, DURABLE (long-lasting) is the opposite of EPHEMERAL (lasting a very short time).

Grade 7 Gold Division Analogies Grade 7 Gold Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: b) AXIOMATIC because HILARIOUS (very funny) is a stronger version of FUNNY; in a similar way, AXIOMATIC (universally accepted as true) is a stronger version of TRUE.

Grade 7 Blue Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: b) SCATHING because SMOKE that is ACRID is stinging; in a similar way, a REMARK that is SCATHING is stinging.

Grade 6 Gold Division Grade 6 Gold Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: a) STIGMA because an INSIGNIA is a sign or symbol of one’s RANK; in a similar way, a STIGMA is a sign or symbol of someone’s DISHONOR.

Grade 6 Blue Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: c) PORTENT because a MEMENTO is something associated with the past (like YESTERDAY); in a similar way, a PORTENT is something associated with the future (like TOMORROW).

Grade 5 Gold Division Sample Analogies Grade 5 Gold Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: d) DESPICABLE because you might MOCK (ridicule, scorn) something that is LUDICROUS (ridiculous); in a similar way, you might CONDEMN (strongly disapprove) something that is DESPICABLE (deserving contempt).

Grade 5 Sample Analogy Grade 5 Blue Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: e) ABUNDANT because WILLOWY and THICKSET are opposites when describing a person’s size or physique; in a similar way SCANTY and ABUNDANT are opposites when it comes to describing the amount of something.

Grade 4 Gold Division Sample Analogies Grade 4 Gold Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: b) REEL because if you move FORWARD in a lurching or unsteady manner, you STAGGER; in a similar way, if you move IN A CIRCLE in a lurching or unsteady way, you REEL.

Grade 4 Blue Division Sample Analogies Grade 4 Blue Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: c) BOOK : FINISH because when you end a VISIT, you CONCLUDE it; in a similar way, when you end a BOOK, you FINISH it.

Grade 3 Sample Analogy and Vocabulary Grade 3 Gold Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: c) TOIL because if someone is MUTE, they are not TALKING; in a similar way, if someone is IDLE, they are not TOILING.

Grade 3 Vocabulary challenge Grade 3 Blue Division Sample Analogies

The answer is: c) DEER : DOE because a MARE is an adult female HORSE; in a similar way, a DOE is an adult female DEER.

Challenge Schedule

Below are some upcoming dates for WordMasters Challenges™. Click below to view all upcoming important events.

Below are some upcoming dates for the 2022-2023 WordMasters Challenge™:

Meet #1 Word Lists Available: 10/1/22
Meet #1 Challenge Tests Available: 11/4/22
Meet #1 Score Submission Deadline: 12/2/22


View Schedule

“My son has really excelled at this as it has improved his vocabulary and his confidence. While he has a great memory, this is more than memorization and he likes being able to make the logical connections. He and his older brother will often identify words they both learned through the WordMasters Challenge™ when it comes up in conversation!”

- Nicole Martin, Parent

“I am really glad I found the WordMasters Challenge™. I am passionate about teaching it and feel pride and happiness when my students do well. They learn to differentiate the relationship between two sets of words and verbally tell what kind of relationship it is, teaching them logic and common sense. After the first challenge results come in, it never fails that they are chomping at the bit for the next set of words!”

- Sharon Green, Teacher

“My greatest joy is watching children become more discerning, more aware of the nuances of a word. I love watching them apply strategies rather than guess, set personal goals and work hard to attain them. I love to witness children who struggled with the first test improve, even if it’s just by one point. The WordMasters Challenge™ builds confidence in children, and it’s my favorite thing to teach all year!”

- Susan Holcombe, Teacher

“Kids tend to like competition. Trying to make a perfect score of 20 sparks a desire for the students to try even harder. In the process of trying to win, they are becoming winners themselves as they achieve personal bests, learn valuable vocabulary and strengthen their thinking skills, sometimes without even noticing that they have been working!”

- Anne McChesney, Teacher

“The WordMasters Challenge™ makes learning come alive. It helps our students learn new words, find them in the world around them and most importantly, think deeper. It helps with analytical and creative problem solving, and I believe it helps increase test scores due to their ability to think critically and make those connections. Best of all, the children have fun!”

- Karen Kunsa, Teacher

“The WordMasters Challenge™ doesn’t just enhance my students’ vocabulary. It encourages them to think more critically when reading and writing, search for connections between words and carry those connections with them beyond the classroom. The competition itself also encourages them to work as a team as they all work towards the same goal of improving each time, and it excites them. Parents will email me and tell they are astonished by the words their children are using at home!”

- Kristen Toth, Teacher

“I cannot tell you how many times we'd be talking about something in class and my students would say, ‘Oh, we know that! That was a WordMasters Challenge™ word!’ Having multiple meanings for some of the words helps train students to be open to more possibilities in meaning, which can help them with standardized tests and reading. We had fun and it’s a lifelong benefit to know that developing your vocabulary does not have to be difficult.”

- Cecily King, Teacher

“The WordMasters Challenge™ is a fun way to learn new words. The challenges are kind of like a game to find the connections and make the analogies, which is my favorite part.”

- Oliver M.

“With the WordMasters Challenge™, I learned a lot of different strategies for solving analogies and a lot of new vocabulary. It’s fun researching a word and then teaching it to the class. I think kids would have a great time if WordMasters Challenge™ was part of their class!”

- Rowan C., 4th grade:

“I like that the WordMasters Challenge™ lets me use my imagination to learn new words and remember the meaning of the word. You gain knowledge, improve your vocabulary and it’s FUN!”

- Alex L., 4th grade



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WordMasters Challenge

The WordMasters Challenge™ is a vocabulary-based competition that focuses on completing analogies. Over the course of the competition, students will develop verbal reasoning abilities and higher-order thinking skills, improve logic and reading comprehension, and acquire a life-long love for learning! 


Analogies 101

Prepare your students for the WordMasters Challenge™ with Analogies 101! Each of our eleven sets contains thirty analogies that introduce students to various forms of analogical reasoning. Using basic vocabulary to illustrate different analogy formats, each Analogies 101 set is suitable for use by all grade levels!

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WMC Merchandise

Need additional certificates or medals? Looking to reward your WordMasters throughout the school year?WordMasters Challenge™ merchandise is perfect for motivating or rewarding your students as they are improving their vocabulary. 

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