This week I’m giving away all of my old SAT I study guides, so I thought I’d write a review for each of the ones I used to
bring up my book count for 2012 share some insight on the helpfulness of certain ones. I used the 2011 version of Cracking the SAT by Princeton Review Publishing and the 2011 version of 11 Practice Tests for the SAT & PSAT, also by Princeton Review Publishing. In addition to those two, I read through Dr. John Chung’s SAT Math.
To put it bluntly, I highly recommend Princeton Review for the SAT. I took no prep courses and barely any tests or practice questions outside of this book and its companion, and received above the score I was aiming for after my second attempt at the test.
Its section on Critical Reading contains myriad tips and tricks on how to tackle the passages, which I found helpful – not everyone has the same style for approaching this part of the test, but PR offers good advice. Furthermore, the “hit list” of SAT vocabulary is extremely effective. If one can memorize every word this book lists, they will have a good chance of knowing most of the words that will show up on the SAT – the more esoteric words one can find online or by using another source.
The section that focuses on math – my academic kryptonite – is wonderful as well. It not only contains all of the actual knowledge one needs to know, such as formulas, but methods and shortcuts that make the math section much easier than it looks. For example, the writers emphasize that one should “plug in” the answers to each question instead of attempting to answer each question by using algebra – this came in handy so many times when I took the SAT, and I give all the credit to Princeton Review.
The writing section provides plenty of grammar rules and good advice on how to write a high-scoring essay. I did not use this section as much, because my writing score did not need that much improvement, but for someone scoring lower than a 700, reading this section of PR could pull their score up a decent amount.
Once again, I highly recommend Princeton Review. If you or your son or daughter or whoever were to read and retain all of the information in this book and take a couple of practice tests, I can almost promise that you will get the score you want on the SAT. While one of the practice tests in my book lacked an answer key, this book’s overall helpfulness has made that a non-issue.
Rating: 5/5 stars.
Such a helpful study guide. After reading this book and taking about five to seven practice tests out of the 11 practice tests in this book, I scored even higher than what I was originally aiming for. Once you know all of the information, including the vocab, the math tricks and formulas, etc. taking practice tests and reviewing every problem you get wrong is one of the best ways to study. This book provides pellucid explanations to every problem and the sheer amount of repetition should get you ready for what will appear on the actual exam. Highly recommended.
Rating: 4/5 stars.
My dad got me this book for Christmas last year (not relevant to the review, but I thought I would throw that out there…)
I would only recommend this study guide for students scoring above a 650 on the Math section of the SAT I – the practice tests are comprised entirely of difficult and hard level questions, and will frustrate anyone who is not skilled with SAT math. I found the tips, while useful, more clearly and concisely explained in books like the Princeton Review.
The best thing about this book, in my opinion, was the amount of practice questions and practice tests included. If you are scoring a 700 or above on the practice questions in Dr John Chung’s SAT Math, I would say that you are well on your way to attaining a perfect score on the real thing.
Don’t feel obligated to utilize this book just because it is the hardest one – as an English person, I felt that this book was too difficult, so I switched to Princeton Review and obtained above the score I was aiming for. However, if you are a math person and you want to score at least above a 700 (and are at least in the 650+ range currently), then this book may be for you.
Hopefully those reviews were helpful! I am so glad to be done with the SAT, and for those of you who are preparing for it, do not worry. One day you will look back and laugh (or cringe) at the stress you experienced while studying for this exam. Good luck!