15 Best SAT Prep Books in 2020
Dec 13, 2019
SAT Prep Books
When you’re gearing up for the SAT, everyone could benefit from a few test-taking tips. And every test-taker needs something different from an SAT prep book, but the best ones have certain things in common: high-quality practice questions, detailed answer explanations, helpful test-taking strategies, as well as targeted practice for what you most need to improve.
We’ve put together a list of 15 best SAT prep books available to help you achieve the scores you want.
In this article, you’ll learn which books are absolutely critical for your SAT prep, which books you can use to improve your individual section scores, and which books you’ll need if you’re aiming for a top score. More importantly, you’ll learn how to use these SAT prep books for effective studying.
1.The College Panda’s SAT Math
Author: Nielson Phu
Publisher: College Panda, The; 1 edition (January 6, 2015)
This book brings together everything you need to know for the SAT math section. Unlike most other test prep books, this one is truly geared towards the student aiming for the perfect score. It leaves no stones unturned.
Inside, You’ll Find:
- Clear explanations of the tested math concepts, from the simplest to the most obscure
- Hundreds of examples to illustrate all the question types and the different ways they can show up
- Over 500 practice questions and explanations to help you master each topic
- The most common mistakes students make (so you don’t)
2.Critical SAT Prep Books
These are the books I believe all test takers should have, regardless of their SAT scores or what skills they need to improve. This is an extremely high standard to meet—in fact, there are only two books out of dozens I’ve tested that qualify for this title. We introduce them below.
We’ve written at length about the importance of official SAT practice questions. As you might know, the SAT is a bizarre exam that tests concepts in ways you’ve never seen in school. Thus, you must train with realistic questions in order to accurately learn the patterns of the SAT.
Official SAT tests released by the College Board are the gold standard for practice questions. At present, there are ten official tests. These aren’t exactly a “prep book” in the standard sense, but altogether they make up quite an important resource not too different from a book.
Each test contains real questions given to actual students on previous administrations of the SAT. Without a doubt, the quality of official questions is far better than that of questions written by unofficial sources such as Kaplan or Barron’s.
Even better, all official SAT practice tests are free! You can download the tests as PDFs from the College Board website or our complete guide to official SAT practice tests. Make sure to print them out to get the realistic on-paper testing experience.
3.SAT Prep Black Book: The Most Effective SAT Strategies Ever Published
Author: Mike Barrett (Author), Patrick Barrett (Author)
Publisher: ACT Prep Books; 2 edition (July 1, 2017)
This book was absolutely worth it. Barrett changed my whole perspective on the test and really helped me understand what I needed to do in order to get a high score. He clearly explains how the SAT is made and why understanding this is so crucial to doing well on it. I used this book all summer to study for my SAT and got a 1550 on my first try!!
4.The Critical Reader, 3rd Edition: The Complete Guide to SAT Reading
Author: Erica L. Meltzer
Publisher: Critical Reader, The; Three edition (July 26, 2017)
Intended to clearly and systematically demystify what is often considered the most challenging section of the SAT, The Critical Reader: The Complete Guide to SAT® Reading, 3rd Edition, provides a comprehensive review of the reading skills tested on the redesigned exam for students who are serious about raising their scores.
A chapter-by-chapter breakdown of question types, with in-depth explanations and numerous examples demonstrating how to work through each type.
Techniques for comprehending complex passages and identifying key information quickly and efficiently.
Extensive strategies for simplifying and answering paired supporting evidence questions as well as graph- and chart-based data analysis questions.
A list of alternate definitions of common words, plus strategies for using context clues to decipher the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary.
To allow students to apply the strategies outlined in this book to College Board material while focusing on the specific areas in which they are seeking to improve, this book also includes a list of all the Reading questions from the Official College Board SAT Guide, 2018 Edition, arranged both by category and by test.
5.Official SAT Study Guide 2020 Edition
Author: The College Board
Publisher: College Board; Study Guide edition (May 7, 2019)
The 2018 edition of The Official SAT Study Guide doubles the number of official SAT(R) practice tests to eight - all of them created by the test maker. As part of the College Board’s commitment to transparency, all practice tests are available on the College Board’s website, but The Official SAT Study Guide is the only place to find them in print along with over 250 pages of additional instruction, guidance, and test information.
With updated guidance and practice problems that reflect the most recent information, this new edition takes the best-selling SAT guide and makes it even more relevant and useful. Be ready for the SAT with strategies and up-to-date information straight from the exam writers.
The Official SAT Study Guide will help students get ready for the SAT with:
- 8 official SAT practice tests, written in the exact same process and by the same team of authors as the actual exam
- detailed descriptions of the math and evidenced based reading and writing sections
- targeted practice questions for each SAT question type
- guidance on the new optional essay, including practice essay questions with sample responses
- seamless integration with Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy.Age range: Teen
6.KALLIS’ Redesigned SAT Pattern Strategy 3rd Edition
Author: Kallis Edu
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 3rd edition (October 12, 2018)
- The SAT questions are generally realistic and closely mimic official test questions.
- Kallis goes beyond the official guide’s simple explanations to give step-by-step answer explanations for each question. These in-depth descriptions help you understand any mistakes and fix them for next time—a key strategy for improving your scores.
- The book discusses 101 topics you’ll find on the SAT and offers a clear, focused presentation of fundamental concepts in grammar, literature, and math. Beyond content review, this book gives some analysis of the various question types, allowing you to take a more strategic approach to your prep.
- Kallis goes over the structure, format, and topics covered on the SAT in detail, so you’ll have a strong grasp of logistics before test day. This review will save you time in having to read any instructions and pace yourself since you’ll know exactly what to expect on the SAT.
- While this book does a good job providing realistic practice questions and content review, it’s less helpful for learning key SAT strategies, such as time management and the process of elimination. Because this book emphasizes a “learning by doing” approach, it doesn’t spend a lot of time going over mindset and critical test-taking strategies.
- This book is relatively expensive at around $30 on Amazon.
- It requires a lot of independence and self-discipline. You’ll need to take responsibility for dividing up the material in the most effective way and designing and sticking to a productive study plan. While the practice questions are there, it’s up to you to put in the work and make the most out of them.
7.The College Panda’s SAT Writing: Advanced Guide and Workbook
Author: Nielson Phu
Publisher: College Panda, The; 2nd edition (July 17, 2018)
This book brings together everything you need to know for the SAT writing section, from the simplest to the most advanced grammar rule. Unlike most other test prep books, this one is truly geared towards the student aiming for the perfect score. It leaves no stones unturned.
Inside, You’ll Find:
- Clear explanations of all the tested SAT grammar rules, from the simplest to the most obscure
- Tons of examples to illustrate each question type and the different ways it can show up
- Hundreds of drills and practice questions to help you master the concepts
- The most common mistakes students make (so you don’t make them)
- Three practice tests
- Fun illustrations
Changes from the 1st edition include:
- Additional chapters on topics that have been added to the exam (faulty comparisons, pairs, singular plural noun inconsistency)
- An overview of the present perfect and past perfect tenses (with additional exercise questions)
- More tips, common traps, and examples in the “Topic, Conclusion, & Transition Sentences” chapter
- A completely revised “Odds & Ends” chapter now with two exercises (now encompasses question mark errors, point of view errors, and more)
- Removal of paragraph placement section and exercises (seemingly no longer tested)
- Fleshed out “Data Interpretation” chapter with tips and examples
- Removal of “Comparatives vs. Superlatives” chapter (not tested)
- An even easier to understand section on Dashes and Colons
- More strategies in the “Combining Sentences” chapter
- Fixes for all known typos in the 1st edition
- Improvements to the “Word Choice” chapter
- More answer explanations to questions that students have frequently asked about
- A handful of edits to the practice tests
8.PWN the SAT: Math Guide
Author: Mike McClenathan
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 4 edition (February 25, 2016)
The PWN the SAT Math Guide was created to help ambitious, highly motivated kids maximize their SAT math scores. Do you crave a higher score? Are you willing to do a little hard work to achieve it? Good. I knew I liked you.
Read this book from beginning to end, with a pencil in hand and a calculator and an Official SAT Study Guide by your side. When you’re done, you’ll be able to approach the SAT with confidence—very few questions will surprise you, and even fewer will be able to withstand your withering attacks.
Stand tall, intrepid student. Destiny awaits.
Updated for the New SAT
This new edition of the Math Guide has been updated, rather painstakingly, to reflect the realities of the new SAT that launched in March 2016. This book was not rushed to market to take advantage of interest in the new exam. I took my time, and hopefully I got it right.
Chapters are broken into five major sections: Techniques, Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Additional Topics in Math. Each chapter concludes with a reference list of similar questions from official practice tests.
Practice questions are designated as either “Calculator” or “No calculator.” Students will be forbidden from using their calculators for one whole section of the new SAT.
Emphasis is placed on nimbleness—the ability to approach problems in multiple ways to find the one that works best. Calculator solutions and shortcuts are provided where appropriate.
9.SAT Prep 2018 & 2019: SAT Prep Book 2018 & 2019 and Practice Test Questions for the College Board SAT Exam
Author: Test Prep Books
Publisher: Windham Press (March 12, 2018)
Disclaimer: SAT® is a trademark registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this product.
Each section of the test has a comprehensive review created by Test Prep Books that goes into detail to cover all of the content likely to appear on the SAT test.
The Test Prep Books SAT practice test questions are each followed by detailed answer explanations. If you miss a question, it’s important that you are able to understand the nature of your mistake and how to avoid making it again in the future. The answer explanations will help you to learn from your mistakes and overcome them.
Understanding the latest test-taking strategies is essential to preparing you for what you will expect on the exam. A test taker has to not only understand the material that is being covered on the test, but also must be familiar with the strategies that are necessary to properly utilize the time provided and get through the test without making any avoidable errors. Test Prep Books has drilled down the top test-taking tips for you to know.
Anyone planning to take this exam should take advantage of the SAT prep review material, practice test questions, and test-taking strategies contained in this Test Prep Books study guide.
10.SAT Literature Subject Test 2019 & 2020 Study Guide: Test Prep & Practice Test Questions for the College Board SAT Literature Subject Test
Author: Test Prep Books
This text is actually a comprehensive mini-course version of an actual English course. There is an amazing amount of valuable information on reading and writing and test-taking strategies, literary terms and concepts, critical analysis, prose, fiction, essays and non-fiction, poetry, drama, and practice questions with answer explanations.
11.SAT Reading & Writing Prep (Kaplan Test Prep)
Author: Kaplan Test Prep
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing; Seventh edition (July 4, 2017)
Kaplan’s SAT Reading & Writing Prep provides the realistic practice, in-depth review, and expert advice you need to master the reading, writing, and essay sections of the SAT. Our guide includes focused quizzes, essay-writing tips, and score-raising strategies from Kaplan’s top experts to help you face the test with confidence.
We are so certain that SAT Reading & Writing Prep offers the review you need that we guarantee it: After studying with our book, you’ll score higher on the SAT—or you’ll get your money back.
12.Cracking the SAT Premium Edition with 8 Practice Tests, 2020
Author: The Princeton Review
Publisher: Princeton Review; Premium edition (May 7, 2019)
THE ALL-IN-ONE SOLUTION FOR YOUR HIGHEST POSSIBLE SCORE—including 8 full-length practice tests for realistic prep, content reviews for all test sections, techniques for scoring success, and access to premium online extras.
_Everything You Need to Know to Help Achieve a High Score.
_· Comprehensive subject review for every section of the exam
· Valuable practice with complex reading comprehension passages and higher-level math problems
· Hands-on experience with all question types (multi-step problems, passage-based grammar questions, and more)
Practice Your Way to Perfection.
**· 8 full-length practice tests (4 in the book, 4 online)_** _with detailed answer explanations
· Drills for each test section—Reading, Writing and Language, and Math—plus writing exercises to help prepare for the Essay
· In-depth online score reports for all practice tests to help analyze and track your progress
Techniques That Actually Work._
· Powerful tactics to help you avoid traps and beat the SAT
· Pacing tips to help you maximize your time
· Detailed examples of how to employ each strategy to your advantage
Includes Access to Premium Online Exclusives:
· Videos to teach you SAT test-taking strategies and commonly-tested topics
· Access to college and university rankings, college admissions advice, and financial aid tips
· Multi-week study guides
· Special “SAT Insider” section packed with helpful info on picking your perfect school and writing essays that stand out
13.Barron’s SAT Subject Test: Math Level 2 with Online Tests (Barron’s Test Prep)
Author: Richard Ku M.A.
Publisher: Barrons Educational Series; Thirteenth edition (November 6, 2018)
Barron’s SAT Subject Test: Math Level 2 with Online Tests features full-length practice tests with brand new questions, additional online practice, and updated content review.
This edition features:
- Six full-length practice tests in the book with new questions and detailed answer explanations
- Two full-length online practice tests with automatic scoring
- Updated content review, particularly of rational functions and conic sections, with clear examples and explanations
- Diagnostic test and self-evaluation charts help identify areas of improvement
- All chapters have been fully updated and include clear examples, explanations, and practice exercises
- Scoring rubrics to determine raw and scaled scores
- Overview of the exam, information about calculator use and scoring, and tips to increase your score
Content review covers several types of functions; transformations and symmetry; conic sections; polar coordinates; three-dimensional geometry; counting; complex numbers; matrices; sequences and series; vectors; statistics; probability; and much more.
14.SAT Math Prep (Kaplan Test Prep) Seventh Edition
Author: Kaplan Test Prep
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing; Seventh edition (July 4, 2017)
Kaplan’s SAT Math Prep provides the realistic practice, key concepts, and expert advice you need to master the most important math topics on the test. This focused guide includes in-depth content coverage and effective score-raising strategies from Kaplan’s top math experts to help you face the SAT with confidence.
We are so certain that SAT Math Prep offers the review you need that we guarantee it: After studying with our book, you’ll score higher on the SAT—or you’ll get your money back.
Realistic Practice. Effective Strategies.
- 16 comprehensive practice sets with detailed explanations
- More than 250 practice questions with expert explanations
- Methods and strategies to help you build speed and improve your score
- Techniques for tackling multiple choice, grid-in, and extended thinking questions
- Review of the most important math concepts, from basic algebra to advanced trig
- 9 out of 10 Kaplan students get into one or more of their top choice college
- We know the test: Our experts have put tens of thousands of hours into studying the SAT – using real data to design the most effective strategies and study materials.
- We invented test prep. Kaplan has been helping students achieve their goals for over 80 years. Learn more at kaptest.com.
15.McGraw-Hill Education SAT 2019 1st Edition
Author: Christopher Black (Author), Mark Anestis (Author)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (May 9, 2018)
Improve your score and ace the SAT with this essential study guide packed with targeted instruction and valuable practice tests
With more than 125 years of experience in education, McGraw-Hill is the name you trust to deliver results. This MH guide is the most comprehensive and relevant prep tool on the market. We will help you excel on the SAT with:
•5 full-length practice tests •Realistic practice questions with thorough answer explanations that reflect Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Heart of Algebra, and all other question types you’ll see on test day •Hundreds of Math practice questions like the ones on the SAT, covering both grid-ins and multiple-choice answers •A complete Diagnostic test to measure your results and track your improvement •Student-tested strategies by expert authors who prepared thousands of exam takers for success
Challenge Problems Keep an eye out for challenge problems throughout the book that reflect the SAT’s most difficult concepts.
Reading Comprehension Tips Take advantage of specific tips for mastering the Reading Comprehension section you won’t find anywhere else.