Reviews of Kaplan SAT Subject Test Study Guides for 2011-2012 US History and Literature

I apologize for my absence, I’ve been really busy since school has ended! I will update with a more personal post and respond to messages/comments  soon, but I felt the need to catch up on my book reviews first.

I’ll start with the SAT subject test in US History and then proceed to Literature. These are just my thoughts on the books themselves – if you want my advice on preparing for the actual exams, please don’t hesitate to contact me via private message or comment!

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I actually didn’t read most of the material in this book, though after scanning through it I would recommend it to those taking the test. I used another book to review, and felt that after taking the corresponding AP course for US History that I had sufficient knowledge already.

I used this book for its practice tests, which proved to be extremely helpful. I took the diagnostic test and all three of the practice ones, and went over each question I got wrong to make sure I understood the material. I should have went through all of the practice MC questions they supplied at the end of each chapter, but at the end of the school year I was too busy to do so.

The practice tests are a little harder than the real thing – I was scoring around a 720 or 730 on Kaplan’s tests, but got a 770 on the actual exam. Like for the subject test in Literature, I attribute a large portion of my success to Kaplan.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

As an English person, I still found the SAT subject test in literature extremely difficult.

I don’t know whether it was because of how the passages, questions, and answer choices could be interpreted in so many different ways, or if it’s because I am mediocre at analyzing poetry, but this test proved way harder than the Critical Reading portion of the SAT I or the AP Language multiple choice section.

However, this book helped out quite a bit. I started out by taking the diagnostic test, in which I got around a 620, then took around four or five of the practice tests in the book later on (after reviewing the sections with strategies.) I wish I had planned my time better so that I could have taken all of the practice tests, but my score managed to gradually improve as I took each one.

The brief sections on how to deal with each type of passage that would show up on the test were concise and well-written. The practice MC questions and the practice tests were comparable to those that showed up on the actual exam.

Using this book, I got a 730 on the SAT subject test in literature. While not super happy about my score, I am content enough to not retake it. I definitely contribute some of my success to this book.

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