Customer Review

272 of 289 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only book you *must* have for SAT preparation, August 4, 2009
This review is from: The Official SAT Study Guide Second Edition (Paperback)
It's been a few years since I wrote my original review for the earlier edition of this book. Back then, I was a student taking the exam in order to get into college. However as a tutor I have taken the exam multiple times since I applied to college, gotten a few more 2300+ scores, and now pass on my knowledge to the next generation of students vying for competitive college admissions. The first thing I tell my students to do is to buy the Official SAT Study guide. It's simply the best. Why?

Well, first off, let me start with the changes to this new edition. It now has 10 practice tests, three of which are recycled from the new administration (now that they've given enough tests to disclose them) and seven from the original book. So I'll say now that it may not be a good idea to buy this if you have the older edition, but this newer edition is much more useful since there are three *real* exams. Other than that, it's pretty much the same as the old book.

The review sections are divided into three categories: critical reading, math, and writing. The reading section isn't all that helpful. A few obvious test taking tips and some practice passages with explained answers. Good for a warmup, but not much else. The math section, the most substantial in the book, is pretty useful. It contains most of the facts from middle schoool/early high school math that you've likely forgotten by the time you're a junior or a senior. It also has some sample problems to show you the kind of "out of the box" thinking you'll have to do: SAT math isn't a factual recall or "plug 'n chug" exam, but the section does give you the facts you need to survive. And finally the writing section. The review section has a lot of information, including good writing habits as well as a set of grammar rules.

The review sections, as I've mentioned, have good sets of review problems (that do NOT overlap with th practice tests) that will get you used to the *type* of questions, but it is the practice tests that will take you from small sprints to the longer marathon. Each practice test is comprised of real questions or questions of real-standard (mostly recycled from 10 Real SATs -- the predecessor to the first blue book). I usually suggest to my students to do two or three exams untimed but continuously, two exams in pieces (do individual sections timed), and the rest under real, pressured conditions (in a library or other quiet place preferably). Not only does this get the student used to the format, but it will get the student to try to devise ways to make his or her thinking more efficient and suitable for the exam.

The College Board, when it says the SAT can't be prepped for, is telling a half-truth. No, you can't prepare for it by cramming lots of facts, but you can prepare through practice, and in that practice your SAT skills don't just go up, but your ability to handle academic situations. Your thinking becomes clearer.

So I wholeheartedly reccomend this second edition of the Official SAT Study Guide. It's more useful than its predecessor because it has more tests and more accurate tests, and if used effectively can be the single best tool to prepare for the SAT.

Good luck and best of luck with college admissions. Don't see the SAT as an obstacle; see it as an opportunity to show what you can do.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 15, 2009 1:45:46 PM PDT
John says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Sep 27, 2010 10:41:15 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 5, 2010 7:58:10 AM PDT]

Posted on Dec 3, 2011 12:29:44 PM PST
Zayn says:
hello, i really find it helpful that you posted this review and was wondring if you had any suggestion sor any useful info onthe online course from collegeboard?

Posted on Mar 25, 2012 1:35:43 PM PDT
Saz says:
I bought this book. But solution is not given for the practice test. Do you now how can i get the solution? thanks
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