Customer Reviews: The Official SAT Study Guide Second Edition
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Showing 1-10 of 658 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on July 27, 2009
I am a private math tutor and author of Ultimate Guide to the Math SAT. I gave this book five stars because it has the best collection of practice tests. However I found some errors:

pg 618. The answer to problem 6-14 is 5, not 6.

pg 641. Problem 13 should be c(x)=((600x-200)/x)+k.

pg 680. Decimal points are missing from problems 4-15 and 4-17.

pg 804. The decimal point is missing from problem 3-9.

pg 866. The answer to problem 7-17 is B, not C.

UPDATE AS OF DECEMBER, 2012: There have been at least four printings of this book. In the first printing, there were no indications of any errors. The second printing had a list of errors printed on yellow paper which was inserted into the book. The third printing corrected the errors, had no insert, and said "Updated!" on the cover. The fourth printing has corrected the errors and does not say "Updated!" on the cover. Your particular copy of the book may be from any of these printings.
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on August 4, 2009
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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on January 1, 2012
If you are taking the SAT, you must get this book, no question about it. Make sure to get the correction page from the collegeboard for the answer key, as there are some mistakes in the book.

I attempted to post the link for the correction page but Amazon did not let the link go through, (so I am now editing this review) but I did post a comment to Richard Corn's review, (comes up first as most useful) and if you click on the comments to his review, you should find the url and can copy and paste to get correction page from collegeboard. If it works and helps you, please vote that this was helpful so it gets moved up and can help others.
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on April 18, 2010
I have always believed in that old adage, "an old exam is better than brains." How true! Here is the lowdown on the official SAT study guide:
First: You can ignore all of the introductory material. If you have to read it, you are in trouble already.
Second: Take the first test first. Score it. Now you know what you need to do.
Third: Underline all the words you don't know in the test that you just took. Learn them now.
Four: Take the second test. Score it. Repeat step three.

The key to this guide is to do each and every practice test if time permits. You will become increasingly familiar with the format and style of the questions. For the verbal questions, keep writing down the words that you don't know. For the math questions, figure out what to do on the questions that you missed. When the real SAT comes, you will find that the math questions are all the same, but with different numbers. The verbal questions are all the same, simply with different reading passages. For 20 bucks, you have just significantly raised your score. And isn't that what it is all about?
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Thank goodness I read The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT! Author Debbie Stier emphasizes that the best way to prep for the SAT is to start well in advance, use College Board materials and take numerous practice tests. This book contains 10 practice tests, as well as hundreds of individual sample questions. You can get another practice test on the College Board website, as well as another tool I've been using with my 10th grader, the SAT Question of the Day, which can be accessed by computer or downloaded as an app. SparkNotes Guide to the SAT & PSAT is also useful for the practice tests, even though the book is dated. SparkNotes also has loads of SAT practice information, both content and test strategy, on its website.
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on June 25, 2010
My son used this book to prepare for his SAT test after he took it once in January of his junior year with virtually no prep, and very mediocre scores. The book has 10 full length tests. The college board recommends taking the tests under timed conditions to simulate the real test, but my son honestly did not do this. As you probably know, each test is divided into 10 sections - math, writing and reading. Since he had scored relatively poorly on the writing section, he did pretty much all the writing sections in the entire book. He only did one of the practice essay questions, and that was a mistake - he would have benefitted from more practice. Anyway, he pretty much picked and chose various sections throughout the book depending on how much time he had, and after 4 months or so, he had worked his way through most of the book. His writing score improved dramatically - from a 560 to a 730 - he only scored a 7 (out of 12) on the essay, so I think he got virtually all the fill-in- bubble grammar and usage questions correct. It really, really helps to do these practice tests - after doing several of them, you come to realize that they test the same material over and over, very consistently. He told me that when he first took the test, he even had trouble completing the sections on time. The second time around, he was so familiar with the questions types that he finished with time to spare. Same with the reading section - he improved from 640 to 730.

I also signed up for the free SAT Question of the Day on the College Board web site, and we did those questions daily for 5 months. In addition, I signed up for the online SAT course with the College Board. My son just used it for additional tests to practice with, again mostly the writing sections. It had 10 additional full length tests and is available via the College Board website.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this book. Some students may need additional resources, or possibly a tutor, if they really don't understand the questions - there are no explanations in this book. There are many books out there. I bought the Kaplan SAT review book and we found it useful for the grammar sections of the test and also for the math. It's probably not sophisticated enough for a student gunning for 800's, but if you are trying for 600-700 level scores, it was perfect.
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on June 27, 2015
I bought a used book through Amazon and I'm not disappointed. Except for a couple of smudges on the edges, you can't even tell that this book has been used.

The SAT is important for high school seniors. The score can determine which schools the student can enter. I bought this study guide for my granddaughter as she is preparing for the test. One of the outstanding features of this weighty, thousand page study guide is the test feature. There are ten practice tests and they include correct answers and difficulty level.

This book is a must for those planning to attend college.
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This book is has lots of review notes, practice questions and ten tests. While I as the parent may take comfort in just looking at the size of the book, I think one of the better benefits is the three most recent versions of the exam and being able to score your practice tests.

While it is geared toward the “old” version of the test, I’m convinced the memory joggers, practice questions, and critical thinking skill reminders will be worthwhile for whatever version of the test you or your child may be taking in the future.

For less than $12, or a little more than $1 per practice test (with results), it’s a lot cheaper than some of the practice tests offered by third-party testing providers – provided you or your child has the discipline to make time to sit down and go through the exercises. If you have that type of self-study discipline, I would recommend your trying this practice aid in an effort to maximize your score.
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on September 8, 2015
SO I took the SATs my irst time without any practice. I made a decent grade, but I wanted to improve so I bought this book. I studied hard from this book and retook the SAT. The result was me scoring the exact same in each category. The reason i'm giving this product a 5 is because it has good material, just because it didn't make a difference with my test scores doesn't mean it won"t help someone else. I actually used the material I learned and practice in here to take my ACT and I did awesome. So even though the book is for the SAT, in all its just a good study book for any standardize test.
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on July 23, 2014
I have taken the SAT twice now. After intensive studying and long and arduos hours of intensive studying, I improved my score significantly. What better than a guide created by the test makers themselves? It debunks myths, teaches you strategies and gives you practice test so you can gracefully tackle the test that has stressed countless students. It is the best SAT prep book out there. Look no further.
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