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The Best Books to Prepare for the SAT

Our experts have listed down the best books and resources you will need to crack the SAT

Mahesh Ramani

The explosion of information on the internet and the mushrooming of test preparation websites have made exam preparation for the SAT easier. You have websites that offer free and paid tests.

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The SAT continues to remain one of the most popular tests for students aspiring to study an undergraduate degree in the USA. The SAT is administered by the College Board and is accepted by more than 2000 universities across the USA. The explosion of information on the internet and the mushrooming of test preparation websites have made exam preparation for the SAT easier. You have websites that offer free and paid tests. Students can receive customised test results with tips on improving their scores. This service is offered at a nominal price. Students also get access to a vast collection of resources that can be accessed online anytime. 

However convenient websites and mobile apps are - there is something definite and reassuring about old fashioned books with sample question papers.This article looks at five books that are extremely popular among students who are planning to write the SAT. So without further ado the top books that we would like to recommend to students are:

  • The Official SAT Study Guide
  • Gruber's Complete SAT Guide 2015
  • Barron’s Prep
  • The SAT Prep Black Book
  • The Official SAT Study Guide:

Published by the College Board, ‘The Official SAT Study Guide’ remains the most popular book of its kind. Including sample question papers from past SAT tests the book is detailed, well-structured and serves as a comprehensive learning resource. The December 2012 edition of the book came with a DVD which featured learning videos to crack the SAT. 

Gruber's Complete SAT Guide 2015:

For more than a decade Dr. Gruber’s books have been used by students especially within the USA to prepare for the SAT. The past two to three years, which have seen the rise of e-commerce in India, have made Dr. Gruber’s books much easier to access. The best part of this book is that it can be used to prepare for other competitive exams as well. The preparation modules for the Mathematics section are often more complex than the actual SAT test-paper itself. Spend ample time with this book and you are sure to get a good score. 

Barron’s Prep:

Barron’s issues a set of books every year that cover the general SAT and subject-specific SAT papers. ‘Barron’s SAT 2400’takes students beyond standard test prep exercises, presenting novel and effective strategies, such as the Reading Rule of Thirds and Grammar Counting, for tackling the SAT s hardest questions. The August 2012 issue of the book can be purchased with an optional CD that has additional practice material and mock tests.

The SAT Prep Black Book:

‘SAT Prep Black Book: The Most Effective SAT Strategies Ever Published’ by Mike Barrett is a bit different from the usual crop of SAT preparation books. Instead of intimidating students with vocabulary building exercises and lengthy critical reading passages, this book offers strategies and techniques that can be used by students to crack the SAT. It covers aspects like structure of the SAT, time management tips, cracking the Mathematics module, essay-writing, tips for non-native speakers of English, etc.,. This book should be used in conjunction with the Official Sat Study Guide.

Other Books:

The four books mentioned above are the best in the industry. To capitalise on the growing demand of students who wish to go through lots of reference material a number of publishers have come out with various books. SAT examiners and teachers keep reiterating that students should avoid books by third-party publishers as the sample tests used are different from the actual SAT. Two books that offer additional practice but have their own set of pros and cons are:

  • ‘11 Practice Tests for the SAT and PSAT, 2015 Edition’ 
  • ‘Kaplan 12 Practice Tests for the SAT 2015’

With the exam structure changing in March 2016, if you are planning to write the SAT in 2015, we would recommend the ‘Official SAT Guide’with any of the three other books mentioned at the beginning of this article. 

Did you find any book to be particularly useful when you prepared for the SAT? Please share your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.

Want to know more about the SAT?

Priyanka G Priyanka G,
Study abroad expert.
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