Seeing how your SAT score is vital when it comes to your college applications, you definitely want to do your absolute best on the test. To thoroughly prepare for every problem the test might present you with, you should seriously consider investing in an SAT prep book. These books are full of valuable advice to help guide you through your SAT exam, along with plenty of actual exercises taken out of past exams to give provide you with a better understanding of what such an exam might have in store for you when you finally take the exam yourself.
Although most of these books contain a fairly detailed account of what SAT exams are all about, some do stand out from the rest as being a lot more insightful. So if you want to get a good idea of what an SAT exam might look like, you should perhaps invest in a well-researched SAT prep book. To help you choose, we put together a list of the ten best SAT prep books out there along with a short guide to help you make the right decision when the time comes.
Best SAT Prep Books – Reviews
10SAT Total Prep Practice Tests + Proven Strategies
This insightful prep book is aligned with the latest version of the official test in every way that counts. As such, it can help you develop test-taking skills through the power of guided examples and independent practice, both in a friendly and educational fashion. Content-wise, it includes five practice tests and more than 1,500 practice questions along with 28 lessons and 15 video tutorials for you to learn from. At the same time, the book is extremely popular for its clarity in delivering knowledge while focusing on the specialized strategies that most of these tests require.
9Cracking the SAT Premium Edition – 8 Practice Tests
As the name suggests, this thorough and educational tool contains no less than 8 useful and detailed tests for you to take at your own pace. This is intended to help you navigate the actual exam with relative ease when it’s time to take the test yourself. In addition to all the standardized tests, this prep book also delivers expert advice and instructions to help parents and students alike with navigating the journey toward school admission. Packed with all the necessary information a student requires to tackle an SAT, this is without a doubt, one of the most insightful prep books out there.
8Test Prep Books – SAT Prep 2018 & 2019
With this particular prep book, you get to benefit from tons of test-taking strategies along with plenty of actual knowledge pertinent to standardized SAT exams. It contains a thorough and friendly introduction to reading, writing and language, mathematics, and a detailed essay guide to help you through. Not just that but it also offers plenty of practice questions to learn from along with detailed answer explanations for all the problems and tests it presents the reader with. Seeing how the explanations follow each individual test or question, it becomes practically impossible for you to miss any as you go along.
7Princeton Review Practice Tests for the SAT
If you are looking for prep books that shows you precisely what an SAT exam looks like then look no further. This detailed manual from Princeton Review contains no less than six full-length practice tests and answers from recent SAT exams. This way, you get hands-on exposure to the test as you navigate through the more than 900 questions it contains. Interestingly enough, the book also offers self-scoring reports to help you assess your overall test performance. As such, you get to diagnose and learn from your mistakes through the means of in-depth answer explanations and at the same time, get a better understanding of fundamental knowledge relevant to SAT exams.
6Reason Solve Create – The Insider’s Guide to the ACT and SAT
This is a book that many students have relied on in recent times due to how detailed it is when it comes to math formulas and general test patterns. Speaking of which, the book contains more than 700 questions and no less than 1,000 defined terms in a detailed appendix intended to help you navigate the exam without losing your composure. At the same time, it can help you build your critical thinking and practice your problem-solving skills while following a concise set of rules and concepts. Not just that but you also get to learn insider tips, tricks, and strategies at the same time.
5ACT The Official ACT Prep Guide
It is very important for an SAT prep book to contain detailed accounts of what an actual exam looks like, which is precisely what makes the ACT prep guide so useful. Not only that but it also helps students after that they have taken the exam, which isn’t exactly something that most prep books are known to do. As for the information contained, let us point out that it features no less than 400 online questions that can be filtered and organized into sets in a clear and concise fashion. What’s interesting is that it also features full-length practice tests with optional writing tests of 215 questions each.
4Kaplan Test Prep SAT Prep Plus – Practice Tests & Strategies
With more than 1,400 practice questions with detailed explanations to help you through, this particular prep books is without a doubt, one of the most thorough and insightful out there. A good addition to the mix, the full-length Kaplan practice tests will help you with scoring, analyzing, and understanding official College Board SAT Practice Tests. The book also delivers in-depth sections on each question you are likely to come across, along with practice questions for each of them. What makes it stand out is the presence of several detailed chapters containing strategies for approaching each test section along with special techniques to help you through.
3SAT Prep Black Book
This book contains some of the most effective SAT strategies ever published, which explains its current rise in popularity. Among the knowledge it contains, we find ways to prepare for the exam that don’t involve any standardized thinking. Instead, the book teaches you how to approach the questions as if they only had one solution that you can reach using a wide variety of mental instruments such as disregarding diagnostic tests altogether. Furthermore, the book helps you understand that the SAT isn’t designed like any other high school test you might have taken, which poses many difficulties for students everywhere once they finally take the test.
2The College Panda’s SAT Math: Advanced Guide and Workbook
As you may have deduced from the title, this particular book focuses on SAT math problems more than anything else, mainly because most of the students who underperform on SAT’s do so when dealing with math problems. This book aims to help you grasp mathematical concepts in a more insightful way by providing clear explanations for the usually tested math concepts. It also offers hundreds of examples to illustrate all the questions you are likely to be faced with when taking the exam. At the same time, it will also present you with the most common mistakes students make with the help of no less than 500 practice questions.
1The Official SAT Study Guide
Few SAT prep books can deliver such a detailed and thorough explanation of what the SAT is all about. This makes the Official SAT Study Guide stand out for all the right reasons while also explaining why it enjoys such tremendous popularity. While it contains no less than 8 official SAT practice tests for you to take at your own pace, the real benefit is that of a guidance program intended to help you navigate the SAT while following well-designed logical patterns. Seeing how it offers detailed descriptions for the math and evidenced-based reading questions, it is bound to provide you with the know-how you need to get the best score you possibly can.
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What To Look For In An SAT Prep Book
You should have figured out by now that in order to get a good SAT score, you will need all the help you can get. Unless you are unusually gifted, chances are that you need a bit of guidance when it comes to the subject matter and the questions you are likely to encounter when taking the exam. This is precisely why you should be looking for a prep book that helps improve your critical thinking as well as presenting you with the information you require for the actual test. Even so, you cannot expect any such book to contain infinite wisdom or a sure way to get you through the exam. All things considered, you should aim to get a prep book that offers plenty of exercises, useful questions, and similar problems at the very least.
Improving Your Score
Many of those who choose to use prep books do so because they want to improve their scores considerably. If you are among those who wish to improve your score by 100 points or more, you should know that tips and tricks alone aren’t going to help you. What you want instead is a good understanding of the actual content tested, which fortunately enough, is also contained within the pages of decent SAT prep books. What you need to do is to keep an open mind about how you approach the test rather than relying on tricks or habit to get you through. For this to happen you will above all need a decent study strategy.
Regardless of what prep book you choose to get, you will need to pair it with a study strategy to match. Many are those who think that just by focusing on the actual problems contained in the featured tests that they will somehow gain the knowledge to successfully navigate through what an SAT has to offer. As such, you should focus on finding out what your weaknesses are and how to use the material available to improve your knowledge according to your skillset. Bear in mind that you can only miss one or two questions in reading, a single question at most in writing, an almost none in Math. So if you’re relying on an SAT prep book alone to help with that, then good luck!
Types of SAT Prep Books
Although many if not most SAT prep books contain the basics of the SAT and what the test implies, some go in much greater detail on certain subjects. What you want before everything else is to figure out what subject most concerns you and whether not you need to focus on that alone. If not, then a more all-round, generic prep book should do the trick, as long as you make sure that it’s not too shallow in its description. In principle, SAT prep books come in four categories, each with their own particularities:
- Standard SAT Prep Books – These books usually contain excerpts from previous exams, blended together to showcase what the SAT is all about. Should you need to freshen up your mental library, this is the perfect way to go without going into too much detail. If, however, you are looking for a more detailed view on any of the subjects of the exam, then you should perhaps aim to get a subject-specific prep book.
- Subject-specific Prep Books – As the title suggests, these prep books focus on a specific subject of the SAT. For many students, the go-to prep book of choice is a math prep book. This is because at least four in ten students who take the SAT complain about their approach to math problems. In fact, the most popular subject-specific prep books are almost entirely about math and the application of mathematical concepts in regards to the SAT.
- Top Scorers Prep Books – These books are aimed toward the already top performers and achievers who take the SAT. For them, it isn’t just about passing the test with a decent score but acing by all accounts. This means that you will run into prep books that focus on gaining top scorers extra points, usually above the 100-point margin. So the main purpose is to help students get the best score they are capable of achieving.
- Low Scorers Prep Books – On the flipside, you have low-scoring, poorly motivated students who for whatever reason, have yet to achieve their full potential. The thing about these books is that they are designed for people with a poor attention span, and thus contain simpler methods. This makes them good for studying for short periods at a time in short bursts. As you would imagine, the books are more about familiarizing people with the SAT rather than helping them ace the test itself.