If you search on Google for the “best SAT test prep” you’ll get about 3,990,000 results.
Now that doesn’t mean all those results are for SAT Test Prep programs and books, but there are lot.
And more often than not, most non-College Board test prep material is poor quality. Some of it is even bad, where it’s not really helpful, and borderline a “waste of time”. That’s a big statement, so let us clarify what we mean.
Not all unofficial test prep material is “poor” There are a bunch of excellent choices out there. And you can take a look at some of there here. But the problem is a lot of the options found in the market claim to be the best ways to master the SAT when if fact they’ll leave you grossly unprepared. It’s as if the marketing teams of each book triumphed the actual writers! And that’s not cool.
And with so many options out there, it’s tough to sort through the mess and identify the good from the bad. It’s not a job for the average person. That’s why we started this site – to help decipher the good test prep books from the bad.
But we wanted to write a post that gives you a little more insight into what makes a good SAT prep book.
The 5 Signs of a “Good” SAT test prep book
1. If the book isn’t published by a big name test prep company like Kaplan or Princeton Review, it should almost always refer back to the The Official SAT Study Guide (the Blue Book). The Blue Book is an excellent source of high quality practice questions written by the SAT test makers.
2. The book should be written by an SAT expert. That means someone who has been a tutor or had some history working with SAT prep. Having a PhD doesn’t mean you know the SAT. So read up about the authors – their bio’s are a good place to start.
3. This point is related to #1 – good prep material should always recommend official material for diagnostic SAT, and the full official practice test as part of your test preparation.If it doesn’t it should at least offer something to match it and be from a trusted preparatory name.
4. Has goal setting strategies as a means to progress. The sections in the book should have some order of difficulty to them, where you start easier and move on up to harder material. You should be learning how to answer questions, not leave them blank.
5. Provides fundamental skill and test strategies. Note: some prep books targeting those looking to score exceptionally well, may forgo these sections.