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on July 18, 2011
This Barron's Critical Reading Workbook will guide you through the CR section of the SAT if you use it right. Admittedly, some of these questions are extremely ambiguous and I would really think they're not SAT caliber questions. With that being said, the book can be used to enhance your critical reading skills, because you'll be used to dealing with tough questions. The book also has a very useful vocab list of SAT words, which can help you prepare for the SAT by building your vocabulary bank.

I said that the book frustrating, because, as mentioned before, some questions are really ambiguous. To add to that, I've spotted multiple errors in spelling in the reading and in answer choices, that have resulted in words that simply don't exist, and caused me to pick the wrong choice... Buy this if you need all the help you need for the SAT Critical Reading Section and you're using all the resources you have. Otherwise, look elsewhere, because I'm sure there are better options out there.
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on August 16, 2011
Do not waste time and money on this book! As covered by other reviews, the Reading Comprehension section of this book is terrible. The questions and answers are so vague and convoluted that you have very little chance of guessing correctly. Guessing is sometimes your only option as some of the questions do not have a reasonable answer listed. The explanations given for the "correct" answers make very little if any sense. This book is very discouraging to students and made me very anxious and scared about taking the SAT. I felt that there was no way to get these ridiculous questions correct no matter how much I studied. I have used other workbooks since that make much more sense and match what you will actually find on the SAT.
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on December 10, 2011
The workbook is probably the least useful of any Barron's resources I have tried in the past. It is littered with ambiguity and questions that you would just not find on a real test. Some of the passages it labels "easy" often ask questions so hard and subjective that only someone going for a perfect 800 would find doable without error. I consistently get 700's on official college board tests on the critical reading section, but I find myself getting multiple wrong on each practice set of 5-8 questions. The book will help you because you will read through at least 30 passages when said and done, but the questions are nothing you would find on a real SAT. This can really screw you up if you aren't using this with an official prep book like the one by college board.
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on September 1, 2008
Obviously, this book can not be your only guide to the SAT;it only covers a third of it. But it does a very thorough job with the Critical Reading section. The sentence completion practice tests (4 tests per set, 3 different difficulty level sets) are very close to the real College Board ones. The reading comprehension pieces are decent; nothing amazing, but as good as close to the real SAT as you can find.

The most valuable part of this book (for the average person), is the comprehensive vocabulary list. It consists of 800 words (80 sets of 10 words). Being very familiar with the actual SAT, I can say that the words on the list are indeed very high-frequency SAT words. If you know every word on that list it would be hard to answer more than 2 sentence completion questions incorrectly on the real SAT. For the vocabulary list alone, the book is worth the buy.
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on December 4, 2010
The book's tests dont resemble the ones on the SAT. Firstly, the comprehensions passages are nearly double in length of the actual paper(I actually counted words for 5 of them) and dont give you realistic practice. Some of the answers also seem rather arbitrary. I am not too pleased. It does however improve your timing in the comprehension questions.
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on October 25, 2013
I don't really have any complaints with this book, and it's amazing for the price that is offered through Amazon.
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VINE VOICEon March 17, 2010
Pros: Hundreds of practice questions; Multiple ability levels; Answer key with explanations; Great vocabulary words
Cons: Brief descriptions of problem-solving strategies; C level questions more challenging than official SAT questions; Flashcards for vocabulary; Short answer explanations

I recommended using The Barron's Critical Reading Workbook for the SAT with other SAT prep materials. The workbook as a stand alone critical reading SAT prep is not enough for the majority of high school juniors and seniors preparing for their first SAT exam. Barron's provides an ample number of practice questions for students of all ability levels, however, Barron's Critical Reading Workbook does not provide sufficient vocabulary exercises or overall SAT test taking strategies.

Sophomores who are looking to gain an edge by beginning their SAT test prep early and are simply looking for a way to become familiar with the types and styles of questions they will face on the SAT may find this workbook sufficient preparation for the verbal section.

While the vocabulary in this workbook is excellent, the presentation of the vocabulary is less than stellar. Many students do not enjoy the burden of flashcards and some students may discover that they have learning styles that are incompatible with rote memorization. A separate vocabulary book such as Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power or The Critical Thinking Company's Word Roots: Level A; Book 2: Learning the Building Blocks of Better Spelling and Vocabulary series is recommended to use with this Barron's Critical Reading Workbook to provide alternative and enriching vocabulary activities.

If used in conjunction with better vocabulary exercises Barron's Critical Reading Workbook is appropriate for independent, individual use by high achieving, highly motivated high school seniors preparing to take the SAT reasoning test. With a high level of motivation students will be able to easily follow the guidelines provided at the beginning of the workbook and proceed through the book independently; without this motivation students may need the help of a parent, teacher, tutor or coach to guide them through the book and assign specific sections and pages to complete.

Students of all levels may find it helpful to have a tutor, teacher or mentor guide them through the Barron's workbook to provide problem-solving strategies, test-taking skills, enrichment activities and encouragement that the book by itself does not.
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on July 2, 2012
Just as always, Barron's always makes things MUCH HARDER than the actual test. These passages are unrealistically long and the questions require extremely high level of thinking. But at the end, they train you well by preparing you for the impossible. I like using this because it "over prepares" me for the the SAT.
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on January 17, 2007
This book is great! It has several practice passages, and the questions are really good. They adhere to the SAT format, and the answer choices are challenging, yet fair. The additional sentence completion exercises and prefix and root sections are really useful in SAT preparation. The only drawback to this book is that it uses many of the same sentence completion questions that you will see in their other test books, namely the Verbal Workbook for the SAT and the GRE test prep book. Other than that, the book is excellent.
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on May 6, 2011
Hey I'm a sophomore and I took the test in January. Honestly, my critical reading score was far below my writing and math. When I took the PSAT, my projected critical reading score was 680, but 2 weeks before the actual SAT test, I rigorously studied everyday using this book. When the results of my SAT came out, I was shocked to see my critical reading score was 730! I know it doesn't sound like much of an increase, but to the me who had hoped for just 700, this was like a God-sent miracle. :)
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