SAT preparation-Books and study materials
Updated on Jul 5, 2016 - 12:09 p.m. IST by Tenzin pema

SAT preparation books and study materials - SAT is an internationally recognised standardised test which assesses how well test takers analyse and solve problems. Taken for admission to undergraduate programmes, SAT is demanded mainly by universities in USA and Canada besides being accepted by some colleges in Singapore and Australia. Interestingly, acceptance records of some of the top colleges in the world suggest that their selection processes can be very competitive and put a lot of weight to SAT score. “When an admissions office receives your college application, they’ll look at all of the components in the application package. A good SAT score plays a big role in giving your application a boost,” says Adarsh Khandelwal, Co-Founder, Collegify. In fact, to get into some of the top colleges in the world like Harvard you need to score at least within 600 to 800 in each section of SAT as well as submit subject test scores. Hence, if you are planning to pursue your undergraduate degree from some of the best colleges in the world, your first step should be to develop an effective SAT preparation strategy. To guide test takers through the right SAT preparation plan, Careers360 brings some of the best SAT preparation books that candidates can study from.


Before analysing the best SAT study materials let us take a closer look at the SAT test pattern:


The total duration of SAT is 3 hours. However, candidates are given another 50 minutes for an optional Essay. The SAT test pattern has, essentially, four sections --  Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Reading Test, Writing and Language Test and Math. SAT Subject tests are not mandatory and should be taken only when the institute demands or prefers scores of specific subjects along with SAT 1 scores.


Here are some of the leading SAT preparation materials that will help you tackle the test in the most efficient way:


1. College Board- College Board is an American private organisation that administers SAT. However, its function is not only limited to administering SAT as it also provides official SAT study materials for students who want to take the SAT test. In fact, College Board’s official SAT study guide is the most authentic and reliable source of preparation for the SAT test.


Here are some SAT preparation books by College Board-


1) The Official SAT Study Guide (official guide for the new SAT) 2017

College Board’s Official SAT Study Guide is ideal for anyone who wants to be introduced to the undergraduate exam and the changes in the redesigned SAT. The best feature of the official SAT study guide is that it includes practice tests similar to that in the actual test. Following are the features in the book:

  • Sample essays along with practise essay questions

  • Ten official practise tests papers, 3 recent exam papers

  • The official SAT study guide also features sample of essay responses and detailed guidance on the essay section

  • It has up to date information and strategies that students can use to crack the test

  • The official SAT study guide is the most authoritative guide among the others as it is written and developed by the test makers themselves.

2) The Official Study guide for all SAT subject tests, 2nd Edition

Another popular book from the test makers, the official study guide for all SAT subject tests, includes 20 actual test papers for subject tests. The SAT study guide comprises all latest formats to answer the questions, the reason being that the students know what to expect on the test day. The book not only has up-to-date information on the latest changes in SAT, it also guides students on the best time to take the test and how to be ready for it. And if you are someone on the lookout for quality information on SAT subject tests, this is the book you need.

CollegeBoard’s official SAT study materials for all SAT subject tests boasts of detailed description of each subject tests and apart from the actual test papers it also features sample questions with brief answers.


2. Kaplan- Kaplan is one of the most popular education providers which churns out fresh SAT study materials for test takers annually. It is a well-known study material provider among test takers as its study guides feature a lot of practice papers with detailed answers. What the Kaplan’s SAT study materials essentially do is give students an insight of what the undergraduate test looks like and how to approach it.


Some of its popular SAT preparation books are:


1) Kaplan 8 practise tests for SAT 2017

The best part of the Kaplan 8 practise tests for Sat 2017 is that it has over 350 questions in the Writing and Language section, over 450 questions in the Math section and 400 plus evidence based reading questions for practice. The book features detailed explanations by experts to help students understand their strengths and weaknesses and work on them.


Kaplan 8 practise also has 8 full length practice test papers with detailed answers which help students figure out what type of questions will be asked in the actual exam. Kaplan’s SAT study materials are highly recommended for those who want to take their score to the next level.


2) Kaplan SAT Premier 2017 with 5 Practice Tests

Another masterpiece by Kaplan, SAT premier 2017 boasts of 1400 plus practice questions, 5 full length practice tests with detailed explanation and video tutorials from the expert teachers. The 2017 Kaplan SAT premier can be overwhelming at first with over 900 pages, but the education body has made sure that the topics are logically broken down. This helps students understand each and every section.


The book also offers access to online preparation materials with 1 year validity to access additional practice questions and resources. Interestingly, Kaplan has shared its very own methods to tackle the redesigned SAT. Kaplan SAT premier 2017 covers all the new changes and shares tips on how to adjust to the redesigned SAT.


3. Barron’s- Barron’s Educational Series is America’s leading publisher of test materials and guide books, among which the most recognised titles are ACT ,SAT study materials, exam books and guides. Barron’s stands out from thousands of study material providers when it comes to innovations.  Its study guide features vocabulary flash cards at the end of the book that students can use when preparing for the SAT test along with SAT preparation tips focusing on how to save time in the tests.


Here are some of Barron’s SAT preparation study materials -


1) Barron’s New SAT, 28th Edition 2017

Barron’s New SAT comprises four full-length practice test papers with all questions answered. It contains new type of questions for the new SAT. Students can find many instructions for writing the essay section, along with tips and tricks on how to solve the problem. One of the best things about the book is that it includes a compiled dictionary. As a brownie point, at the back of the book, students can find vocabulary flash cards that they could use while writing the essay and incorporate in their everyday life.


2) Barron’s Reading Workbook for the New SAT

This book focuses on the Reading section of the redesigned SAT. The book prepares students for the writing section of the new redesigned SAT Writing and Language test. Students will find three full lengths Writing and Language practice tests with answers and explanations. At the end of the book, there are 5 essay practice papers that the students can use to practise for the essay section. Barron’s Reading workbook for the new SAT provides complete guidance to complete the essay section within the time limit.


4. SAT Prep Black Book: The most effective SAT strategies ever published- Written by Mike Barret, this book demonstrates strategies against the SAT questions by College Board. One of the main highlights of this book is that it prepares students for different types of SAT questions that are written from the perspective of the College Board. Students will be glad to know that the SAT prep black book gives answers to some of the hardest questions that they are likely to find in the official SAT study guide. It changes student’s perspective towards SAT, as at the end of the book they soon figure out that SAT test is predictable and that the main concern of SAT is to test the basic concepts of the students.


However, one of the drawbacks of the book is that it has not yet been updated to the 2016 edition and currently is only available in the 2013 edition. This means that the SAT prep black book is not updated according to the new SAT. However, the basic tricks and strategies can be picked from the SAT study materials.


5. The Princeton Review-  

Known for its range of preparation materials for standardised tests, Princeton’s edge lies in logically breaking down the different components of the SAT test and offering detailed explanation for each question. Here are some of their top selling SAT preparation study materials.


1) Cracking the New SAT Premium Edition with 6 Practice Tests, 2016: Created for the Redesigned 2016 Exam- The premium edition has been specifically redesigned for the new SAT. Students who have to take the SAT test this year will have to go for updated SAT study materials like Princeton’s Cracking the new SAT premium edition. This book offers 6 full length practice tests papers, 4 in the book and 2 online. There are drill tests for each section and detailed answers for each practice test papers.

One of the reasons why it is popular among SAT test takers is the simple language the author has used throughout the book.  The author walks you through each problem with a brief explanation. Students also get exposure to the new 4 choice format that will help them get used to the redesigned SAT.


2) Princeton 500+ Practise Questions- In this book, you will find the type of questions that you are likely to find in the latest SAT. With each practice question you will find a detailed explanation and step by step strategies that you can use to solve the problem. For someone who wants to take the SAT test in future, this book can be pretty handy as it has an introductory guide to the new SAT. Thus, students will have a closer look at the major changes made to the undergraduate entrance exam.  


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