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When it comes to studying for the SAT, it is much like studying for anything else. We all have our strengths that we can feel confident in, weaknesses that we need to work on, and strategies that we like to use. Figuring out the best way to study and prepare for the SAT is important since so many other important decisions may rest on that score – admissions, scholarships, resumes, etc.
So the question is where does one start? Sometimes free online options can feel questionable, and in-person intensive prep courses can get expensive. Therefore, SAT prep books might be the perfect middle of the road option to get you the results you desire.
There are five sections on the SAT:
- SAT Evidence-Based Reading
- SAT Writing & Language
- SAT Math: No-Calculator
- SAT Math: Calculator
Studying Approach: Comprehensive vs. By Subject
You may choose to approach your studying in one of two ways. Some may choose to study a little bit of everything both to review material they already know and to learn new material. Others may choose to study only their own personal areas of weakness.
Either approach is beneficial in its own way. Doing a more comprehensive study will allow you to simulate the actual test when taking practice tests. Studying only your weaker areas will allow you to devote more time to content that needs more work. Either approach may also have downfalls too. An overall study may be too overwhelming or involve too much unnecessary review – especially if you are short on time to study. On the other hand, a more focused study requires that you actually know and understand what your weaknesses are, and many haven’t figured that out yet – especially if you are new to taking the SAT.
With all this in mind, we wanted to break down a few good test prep options for whichever approach you choose. Here are, in our opinion, some of the best SAT prep books for the test overall and for each individual section of the test.
5 Best Comprehensive SAT Prep Books
While this book is from 2020, it is a good place to start because it is published by the College Board, who are the official creators and administrators of the SAT. Therefore, it is not a bad idea to get your study material from the people who made the test themselves. However, most of this material is available for free online on the College Board’s website. This book may be a good option for those who just like to have a hardcopy of their study materials.
The Princeton Review is an incredibly reputable test prep company, and this book offers all the information you need to know about the SAT. From tips on test taking techniques to nine practice tests and exclusive online features, this book covers a variety of information. This book is a good option for someone who wants a well-rounded study.
Often, one of the best ways to study is simply by taking practice tests. This book is great for students who want to skip the drills and go straight to the game. By taking a number of practice tests, students can still familiarize themselves with types of questions and concepts that will be on the SAT. This book is good for someone who is ready to just practice. Practice. Practice.
An online best seller, this book truly gets to the heart of the strategies and techniques needed to succeed on the SAT. While this book itself doesn’t include any practice tests, it does walk you through official SAT practice questions. Plus, it explains in detail how to approach the question and why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. This book is good for someone who might already have a good grasp on concepts and content, but just needs a little extra work with strategies and techniques.
This book is a tried and true option that offers a step-by-step approach to each section of the SAT. Each section will repeat the necessary steps and strategies to be successful in each section, examining the questions from different angles in each different section. This book is good for someone who does well with some repetition as part of their review.
4 TEST PREP By Subject Books
One of the hardest parts of the reading section of standardized tests like this is the timing. Therefore, learning some strategies is extremely important to be successful on this section of the test. This book not only breaks down strategies for the reading section, but also breaks down question types and answer choices so that you know exactly what to expect from every angle.
There are a lot of grammar rules to remember, and some of those pieces of punctuation are small and easy to forget. This book helps you review all the rules and then apply them to passages like you would see on the SAT.
There are many different types of math that you will see on the SAT, anything from algebra to advanced math to data analysis. If you know math is not your strong suit but aren’t exactly sure which type of math is your weak spot, then this book can help. Take a diagnostic test at the beginning to figure out your mathematical strengths and weaknesses to help you prioritize which types of math questions you need to focus on for studying.
Written by someone who made a perfect score on the SAT, this book brings you all the strategies and sample material needed to find success on the math section. Written in a witty style, students can enjoy studying for both the “calculator” and the “no calculator” sections of the test. Students will be given multiple ways to approach problems in order to find one that works best for them.
Hopefully all your hard work will pay off when it comes to test day! Then, once you have your score in hand, College Raptor can help you see college matches based on your SAT score and more!