Are you looking for the best SAT prep book and study guides? Have a look at our team’s hand-picked list of the 10 best SAT books for 2016 and read reviews on why we recommend these resources as the most effective study guides. Note that the current test will be administered once more in January; as of March 2016, the New SAT will be in effect. (If you are interested, we also have a separate list for the best PSAT prep books.)
No list of the best SAT prep books can ignore the SAT Blue Book (or College Board SAT book), which is considered to be the bible of SAT test prep books (and can be used for the PSAT as well).
Authored by the makers of the SAT, the Official SAT Study Guide: 2016 Edition contains a collection of 4 authentic full-length practice tests with answers and explanations for the New SAT 2016 format, which nobody else can offer. While these tests can also be obtained from the College Board’s website, the Official Guide spares you the need for printing these lengthy tests (which you should take on paper in order to simulate the real test) and is much cheaper than self-printing.
Of course, the Official Guide is also a must-have for other reasons. The Guide offers hundreds of pages of tips and advice on how to take the test, with particular strengths in the math section, which features very useful descriptions and worked examples. Overall, because of its official practice tests and reliability in predicting your SAT scores, this is a “must-buy.” If you plan on only getting one SAT prep book, the best choice is the Official SAT Study Guide.
Nevertheless, test-takers are well advised to supplement the College Board’s SAT book with other SAT guides, given that it is (perhaps quite understandably) thin on offering strategic advice on how to ace the test.
Kaplan is another major SAT test prep provider and leading standardized testing guide publisher. Kaplan’s top rated “Premier” manual is also among the best SAT prep books.
This highly accessible guide has now been fully updated and expanded (weighing in at over 1,300 pages) for the New SAT. It excels at providing a broad range of high-quality content: coverage of SAT basics, more than 2,000 practice questions with in-depth answers, strategy advice, quizzes and DVD video tutorials, and five full-length SAT practice tests (two in the book and three accessible online).
In addition, this test study guide adds a nice touch by offering a mobile version of the book, an online diagnostic test, and tips by SAT instructors who earned perfect or high SAT scores. For those who take Kaplan test prep courses, the book comes with a higher SAT score guarantee, which means that students who are not satisfied with their score can study again for free or get their money back.
This highly popular study guide is authored by SAT preparation guru and standardized test expert Dr. Gary Gruber. Gruber, who was motivated early on to analyze test-taking techniques (as a child, he received a below normal IQ test score, which he later managed to improve dramatically) succeeds in combining the provision of core SAT knowledge with strategic advice.
Gruber’s Complete SAT Guide 2015-2016 is notable in that it follows a critical thinking approach aimed at giving test-takers the tools necessary for finding the correct answers in a short time frame. In addition, the book is highly organized, has a clear writing style, and features five full-length practice tests. Highly recommended and likely the best of the best SAT prep books, in particular when it comes to math. Note: This book is still meant for the current version of the SAT (ending March 2016).
This study guide is perhaps the most unusual and original among the best SAT books. It differentiates itself by taking a “boot camp” approach that aids long-term memorization by deliberate repetition of material throughout the book.
The manual also uses a captivating, direct writing style and makes studying for the SAT more interesting by conveying SAT knowledge and test-taking skills via motivating tools such as vocabulary cartoons, mnemonic techniques, or a section entitled the “Panic-Level Module.”
This book is designed to make your brain work overtime and it delivers. With its comprehensive and out-of-the-box approach, it clearly has the potential to give your SAT test results a significant boost.
Barron’s is one of the most trusted providers of leading standardized testing guides. Its top SAT book offers a good mix of SAT subject reviews, general test-taking techniques, study advice, and specific strategies for each of the new test’s sections. It is a straight-forward, no-nonsense manual that provides necessary guidance for building a solid grounding for the SAT.
All SAT sections are well covered, although the well-crafted reading passages are particularly strong. The book also includes four challenging full-length model tests (with additional tests on the CD-ROM) with detailed answers and very clear explanations. As a bonus, every purchase of Barron’s SAT comes with free access to Barron’s online SAT prep course.
While it does not offer any bells and whistles, this is a reliable book that will get the job done well.
This Princeton Review SAT book promises to help you “crack” the SAT test. While this book has a thorough section on providing guidance with the substance of the revised SAT, its real appeal lies in its provision of key techniques and strategies in taking the test.
For example, it boasts strategies such as “Process of Elimination”, which trains test-takers to quickly eliminate incorrect choices on even the most difficult questions. It also uses the fictitious character Joe Bloggs, an average student with average grades, to illustrate how the questions on the SAT are designed to “trick” most examinees into picking the wrong answers and how these traps can be avoided.
This book further features four practice tests with answers and instructive explanations. Also included is online access to video tutorials, two additional SAT practice exams, drills, study plans, and other helpful resources.
Overall, the “Cracking the SAT” approach is convincing and eye-opening, making it a must read.
Are you looking for a friendly, conversational approach to study for the SAT? Tutor Ted is here to help.
Written in a humorous and personable style, this book’s philosophy is that studying is easier when it is interesting and fun. With more than 800 problems and exercises, Tutor Ted’s SAT guide also offers plenty of opportunities to practice and refine your skills.
For test-takers looking for a less serious approach to prepare for the SAT, this book – now in its second edition – is the perfect choice. Nevertheless, since the book tends to be on the easier side, its best to supplement it with other manuals from our list of the best SAT prp books, such as the Official SAT Study Guide with DVD.
McGraw-Hill has improved and substantially revised its flagship study guide, making the 2016 Cross-Platform Edition (referring to the guide’s print, online, and mobile versions that are offered) one of the best SAT prep books and test prep programs on the market. This manual uses plenty of targeted instructions and practice exercises to help you master the SAT.
The book focuses on eight key reasoning skills as the key to achieving high scores and conquering the test. These include, for example, problem mapping and analysis, finding patterns in problems and simplifying them, considering alternatives, and logical thinking.
Moreover, in addition to three full-length practice tests, the manual now includes neat bonuses such as progress update reports, social study, learning analytics, games and quizzes, and an interactive test planning app for customized SAT study schedules.
Extra motivated and ambitious test-takers should have a good look at this SAT prep book. Barron’s SAT 1600 – a nudge to the redesigned SAT’s maximum or top score – is perfect for those who want to go the extra mile. Indeed, the guide wastes no time with easy material and questions but, instead, focuses on the hardest and most challenging parts of the SAT.
Also, this book is probably the best when it comes to applying some of the most effective learning and test-taking strategies to the SAT. It introduces the reader to the Reading Rule of Third, Grammar Counting, and other novel techniques that are useful to mastering the exam. Additionally, the accompanying CD-ROM provides a complete practice test with automatic scoring as well as more questions/explanations.
The book operates at a very high level of difficulty, designed to give test-takers the extra edge on the SAT. Best still, the writing style is clear and friendly and manages to keep its hard-working readers interested.
This book from the “… for Dummies” series is among the most light-hearted SAT guides – which by itself is deserving of a spot on our best SAT prep books list. Its instructions are easy to comprehend and its tips and tricks make even the hardest SAT questions looks less fearsome.
Still, the book is clearly far from a joke. Authored by respected test prep experts Geraldine Woods and Ron Woldoff, this guide has been thoroughly updated and fully revised for the 2016 New SAT test version. The guide also provides advice on how to reduce stress before and during the test, a complete practice test, and 12-months access to additional online practice.
SAT for Dummies might not be the best book for the most ambitious test-takers, but you are no dummy if you buy it.