The SAT test is one of the most important tests you will have to take as a high school student. Colleges use it to measure your ability to think, read, and write. If you score poorly on the exam, it can hurt your chances of getting accepted to the college of your choice. But if you score very well on the exam, it can greatly increase your chance of getting college scholarships.
Since the SAT is an important test, every high school student should prepare for it in some way. The best way to directly prepare for the exam is to become familiar with the layout of the test and to take practice tests. Most SAT prep books help you do just that. But since there are countless options to choose from when it comes to picking a prep course, here are a few of my favorites:
“The New SAT and PSAT,” by Justin Kestler and Ben Florman, is the best SAT prep book on the market. The unique thing about this book is that it is actually entertaining to read. Kestler and Florman add a unique element of humor to this book that is just not found in other SAT prep books. They help calm your fears about the test by giving you specific, concrete rules to follow for each kind of SAT question, clever tricks to use in case you’re stuck on a problem, and detailed analysis of every type of possible problem you may face.
For the SAT Essay, Kestler and Florman give you a concrete template (they call it their “Universal SAT Essay Template” and compare it to a fast food burger) that you can use for any type of SAT essay question. For the Critical Reading section on the SAT, they give you several step by step methods for figuring out each problem, and then they give you several tricks to use in case you have no idea what a certain word means on the test. And finally, for the Math section, they make sure you know how to solve every single kind of problem on the test by providing simple explanations on the different math concepts that the SAT quizzes you on.
At the end of the book they give you three practice tests to take, so that you can see where your weaknesses are. Plus, as an added bonus, they give you a free graded online essay that saves you the trouble of trying to grade your own essay.
The second best SAT prep book is “The Official SAT Study Guide.” Since this book is made by the College Board itself, it is a very valuable resource. It includes eight practice tests made by the test makers themselves. Most of the time the best way to become better at something is to keep practicing. If you actually take all eight of these practice tests in this book, you will be very prepared for the actual exam.
If you are looking for a free alternative to SAT prep courses, try www.number2.com. Number2.com offers free tutorials on the SAT as well as hundreds of practice SAT questions. They have a free vocabulary builder tool (kind of like electronic flash cards) that helps you learn key words that may appear on the exam. Even if you use an SAT prep book, you should still check out Number2.com’s great resources.
The important thing to remember about the SAT is to not panic. You can take the test multiple times, and there are plenty of affordable options for you to choose from that can help you earn the score you want. If you work hard, you will succeed.