As a professional, independent SAT tutor, and a perfect 2400 scorer on the SAT, I have definitely done my background research – for years – on what SAT prep books are the best, and which ones barely help at all.

Here are a few quick reviews of the BEST SAT prep books on the market, why they’re the best, and how to use them effectively. I’ve also included a link to Amazon for each book so you can purchase them quickly and easily!

BEST SAT Prep Book Review #1:

The Official SAT Study Guide on Amazon.com

Why it’s the best: This is THE bible of SAT prep books. It has 10 full-length practice tests, which adds up to hundreds and hundreds of practice problems for each section of the SAT: Math, Critical Reading, Writing, and the essay. That’s way more practice than most students will ever do, so this SAT prep book has you covered. It’s definitely one of the best bargains, too – it’s very reasonably priced.

Official SAT Study Guide

 

How to use it: Take at least one full-length, timed SAT practice test on a weekend morning, and score yourself. This will give you a feel for how much endurance the SAT exam requires and how you will score on it. It also will identify and expose your SAT weak spots. Also, make a regular habit of doing individual SAT practice sections with a timer. They are only 20 to 25 minutes long and you can easily fit one in to your busy schedule, if you make an effort. Don’t worry too much about all the explanations at the beginning of the book, unless you’re a total newbie to the SAT. Use this excellent SAT prep book for the most realistic and accurate SAT practice problems and sections.

 

BEST SAT Prep Book Review #2:

Top 50 Skills for a Top Score: SAT Math on Amazon.com

Why it’s the best: I was so incredibly happy to finally find a well-organized, clearly-explained list of virtually all the Math topics the SAT will ever test, along with practice questions ranked by difficulty. Brian Leaf is an exceptionally gifted SAT prep book author and his books are a godsend to any student (or tutor!) getting ready to take the SAT. It covers everything you need, and nothing that you don’t.

 

Top 50 SAT Math Skills

How to use it: There are 50 lessons in this book, along with a pre-test and a post-test. Take the pre-test first (it has one question for each of the 50 types of math problems) and use it to diagnose your weak spots. Then, go right away to those topics in the book and figure out what you’re doing wrong. After that, start working through the rest of the book. Every single page has valuable information that you might not realize about the SAT math section, even if you think you know a topic cold. After all, the SAT math section frequently tests familiar topics in very unfamiliar ways, and Brian Leaf knows all their tricks. When you’ve worked through the book to your satisfaction, take the 50-question post-test and see if you’ve truly mastered the math. Rinse and repeat on your weak points!

 

BEST SAT Prep Book Review #3:

Top 50 Skills for a Top Score: SAT Critical Reading and Writing on Amazon.com

Why it’s the best: Yup, Brian Leaf made it onto this list twice. Keep in mind that I’ve probably been through about 20 different SAT prep books and authors as a student AND a tutor… this guy REALLY has it together. Again, Leaf dissects the SAT test and breaks it into easily-managed chunks, and each page has “aha!” moments that other authors simply can’t match.

Top 50 SAT Reading and Writing Skills

 

How to use it: Yup, another 50 lessons, and a pre-test and post-test. Do the pre-test first, identify your weak spots, and do those lessons first, before working through the rest of the book. No matter how strong you feel about grammar, I recommend carefully working through each of the grammar lessons in the book. Don’t forget to practice his essay advice, too – in my experience, students like to sweep the essay under the rug when it comes to practice. Spend a little time prepping your SAT essay, and test day will go down a lot smoother.

 

 

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4 Responses to Top 3 Best SAT Prep Book Reviews

  1. Rich says:

    AWESOME stuff Christian! My son wants to take the ACT, do you have the same info for the ACT? If not, where can I get some great study info like your SAT gems?

    • Christian says:

      Glad it’s helping out! I have a second website that details my dislike of the ACT, which you can read about here: http://lovethesat.com/sat_vs_act
      Personally I really dislike prepping for/taking the ACT, even though it was the test I originally worked on, but if he’s set on taking it, I’d start with The Real ACT Prep Guide, which is straight from the authors of the test!
      Good luck and thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Frank says:

    Hi Christian,
    How far back can I go in publication date? For example, can I get a 2006 edition and pretty much get the same info as the current versions? Also, is the DVD a must? Is their a useful online website?

    Thanks.

    • Christian says:

      Hey Frank – you definitely want to get the MOST-updated version possible. The test is constantly adapting in small ways each year.

      The DVD is not something I use, but you might find something of value on it. My laptop doesn’t have a CD drive (oh my gosh, we’re in the FUTURE) so I actually don’t have a good way to use it!

      If you give it a try, why don’t you come back here and tell us if it’s useful or not! It would be so helpful to know more about it!

      Thanks for reading my blog, and good luck with everything!

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About Christian

Perfect-scorer, pro tutor, entrepreneur, web designer, textbook author, motorcyclist, rock and roll guitarist, classical pianist, songwriter, wanderer, environmentalist, dog lover, cat lover, spicy food addict.

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Thanks for checking out my website. I'm here to help you ace the SAT exam. If you want to get in touch or have a question about the SAT, you should leave a comment, and I'll get back to you. Learn more about me!