Note to the Class of 2021: Please contact us before purchasing any standardized testing books. You may not even need to take the ACT or SAT depending on your particular list of target schools!
We strongly advise all prospective college applicants to purchase at least 2 books on the SAT.
One should be the official guide from the College Board, the test’s administrator. There is a significant difference between the official questions you will be asked on the exam and the practice questions contained in all other books. You need a College Board publication to familiarize yourself with the quality of questions you will actually face on the SAT.
Secondly, we recommend buying and studying at least one of the “unofficial” guides reviewed below. There is indeed a way to study for this test that will materially improve your score. The better unofficial guides contain many time-proven test-taking strategies that serve that purpose, as well as excellent explanations of the logic behind the correct answers to the practice problems. You will greatly increase your chances of receiving a higher test score if you go to the test armed with SAT test-taking strategies and knowledge of actual questions from previous exams.
For quick reference, here are links to related books we have reviewed:
Official SAT Study Guide 2020 Edition by College Board
We strongly advise all prospective college applicants to purchase this book. This is, by far, the most informative book available on the SAT test. The book includes 8 official practice tests as well as practice essay questions with sample responses.
Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide with 7 Practice Tests by Sharon Green, Ira Wolf and Brian Stewart
This is one of Barron’s better test prep guides. The diagnostic test plus the five full-length practice tests in the book and the two additional online tests alone should justify the purchase. Throw in the detailed instruction for the optional SAT essay and you have a book that is a must for any ambitious test taker!
5th Edition, The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar by Erica Meltzer
This very well written and organized book uses dozens of exercises to cover all the grammar rules you will need to know for the SAT multiple-choice writing section as well as for later writing assignments in college and beyond.
McGraw-Hill Education SAT Elite 2021 by Christopher Black and Mark Anestis
This is a new title that succeeds a book from the same two authors that we really liked. No sleights of hand or “jedi mind tricks” here. Just a lot of solid prep material including 8 practice tests that has drawn raves from droves of past clients.
SAT Total Prep 2021: 5 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video by Kaplan
This bundled package is loaded. And by loaded we mean over 1,500 practice questions, 5 practice tests (2 in the book and 3 online), analysis and scoring for 2 official SAT tests, 1 year of access to the Kaplan online center and personalized feedback. Also noteworthy is the new format adopted based on reader feedback.