The other day I received a question about SAT practice books — which I used and how I prepared for the test.
Once you’ve taken it, you’ll have a good idea what to expect — what types of questions are on it, the typical time limits, and so forth. When you come back and take the test a second time, you’ll know much better what to expect and be far more prepared.
Personally, I didn’t use any SAT books, I did some practice tests provided by the website mycareertools and I took the practice tests there without buying a book. I studied and I guess I got lucky with my test and I was happy enough with the score not to bother retaking the SAT. In the end, I didn’t buy any book, I just “winged” the test and that managed to work out.
When it comes to which book is best, I haven’t experimented with too many. Nate at Debt-Free Scholar wrote a review of the 411 Sat Prep Series, which contains three books with help for the three areas: Math, Writing, and Reading. Based on this review, this series definitely looks like a solid contender.
I believe that using just about any book at all will help. Generally more reputable sources, like Princeton Review, will likely be more beneficial.
The key to preparing is to study your weak areas. If you’re solid at math, then you need to focus on reading and writing to make sure that you’re ready. Take as many practice tests as you can, and look closely at your results to try to find specific areas that need improvement. Study all questions — including the ones you got right — to learn what strategies have and have not worked for you.
One advantage to standardized testing is the multitude of practice tests. I found that practice tests are the best way to prepare for me, and since there are so many SAT practice tests online, it becomes very easy to quickly test yourself.