A Note on SAT Subject Test Books
Note: The College Board discontinued the SAT Subject Tests in January 2021. If you registered for a Subject Test, the College Board will automatically cancel your registration and refund your fee.
We will be removing this page in due time.
Our advice on SAT Subject Test study books is very similar to our advice on SAT Reasoning Test books. We strongly advise all prospective college applicants to purchase at least 2 books on the SAT Subject Tests.
First, we recommend an official guide. The College Board, the organization behind the SAT and SAT Subject Tests, publishes test-specific books for the Math, Chemistry and Biology tests as well as a “catch-all” for all the other tests titled The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests. 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.
Secondly, we recommend purchasing a subject-specific “unofficial” guide for the test you are taking. 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 Subject Test-taking strategies and knowledge of actual questions from previous exams.
Barron’s SAT Subject Test Math Level 2, 13th Edition by Richard Ku
We’ve yet to see a SAT Subject Test guide to the Mathematics Level II exam that we like as much as this one. It presents six full-length model exams with all questions answered and explained. Subject review chapters cover arithmetic, algebra, geometry (plane, solid, and coordinate), trigonometry, functions and probability, and statistics. Test takers will also find hundreds of multiple-choice questions.
Barron’s SAT Subject Test Biology E/M, 6th Edition by Deborah Goldberg
We have two favorites for the biology exam. This Barron’s guide is one of them. It contains an overview of the two SAT Subject Tests in biology, along with a review of test-taking strategies, a short diagnostic test, review chapters covering 11 biology topics, two full-length practice tests (each with an answer key), and over 350 additional practice questions and answers.
Cracking the SAT Biology E/M Subject Test, 17th Edition by Princeton Review
We like this Princeton Review book largely because it is easier to read than the Barron’s guide. However, we have some reservations about its subject content. We appreciate that the book is meant to teach you to do well on the SAT Subject Test in Biology rather than to teach anyone biology. That said, we suspect they may have cut some corners in selecting material to present for review. Nonetheless, this book is relatively easy to read and includes many good test-taking tips. If you feel comfortable with what you learned in your AP biology class and do not think you need a subject review or refresher, this book will likely prove to be more helpful to you than the Barron’s guide described above.