What I did, and what got me my A*, was not relying on memory and instead honing my guessing skills. There's a variety of ways to guess, from straight-up cognates to ones that need a bit of thought, and at any of these levels context is key. For example, if there was a sentence like:
'Les organisations caritatives donnent trop d'argent aux personnes sans-abri.'
The question could be 'What is the attitude of the writer towards charities?'
If I couldn't immediately get it, I normally would work through as follows:
1) Translate all the important bits that you can get. This may gives us: The organisations ??? give too much money to people without ???
2) The answer should by now be relatively obvious. If we want more detail, we could look at the word 'caritatives'. We're looking for something that describes benevolent societies, and this coupled with the cognate should tell us that it means 'charitable'. 'Abri' is a bit harder. We can deduce that it is something that charities give lots of money to. We know it's probably not food (that's nourriture) or water (that's eau) so we could make an educated guess at 'shelter', which turns out to be right. It's not essential to the meaning of the sentence.
I hope I've been of help.
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