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Not at all what I expected
on June 24, 2010
When I bought this book, I expected it to be better than the Official SAT Guide at preparing me to get a 2400. However, after going through the first few chapters, I realized the questions are HORRIBLE.
I've gotten an 800 in both Critical Reading and Writing sections on the SAT both times I've taken it, and really just wanted this book to help with math. But, since I bought it, I figured I should look at the Critical Reading and Writing sections anyway. I was surprised to find how different the practice questions are from the actual SAT-Barron shouldn't be able to say the questions are based on "real SAT" questions, because they are obviously not.
The questions seem very basic, like the authors didn't want to spend much time at all making them. They throw in a lot of (the same) "difficult vocabulary words" into the questions, but these really can't hide the fact that the questions themselves are extremely lower-level. And once you've done a chapter or 2, you know ALL the vocab words Barron uses-for instance, the word "myriad" was used in three separate questions in the same section---definitely NOT what happens on the actual SAT.
The answers for the questions are even worse. No answer seems to be the "best", they all seem to be equally correct or incorrect. The explanations for the answers are weak, with some of the "correct" answers so obviously wrong that I couldn't believe they even attempted to explain why they were right. The answers would NOT be correct on the SAT, so by learning what Barron deems "correct", I'm sure a lot of people would do worse on the SAT than they should.
On the otherhand, the strategies are refreshing and a lot different than the typical strategies given by other guides. They are concise, and only about 2 pages per section-they are much easier to read through than the Official Guide to the SAT, which is extremely long.
But that being said, the horrible questions (and even worse answers) ruin this book.
On the positive side, there's a helpful vocab list in the back (although it's pretty short, and quite basic) and the strategies are new and interesting, even if you don't decide to use them.
However, DO NOT buy this book if you are looking for helpful practice questions that will improve your SAT score. I'd recommend using the Official Guide---actual SAT questions from the maker---if you need them. Barron's SAT 2400 is good for brief strategies, but if you want to actually increase your score through practice, DO NOT buy this book.