SAT ExamPreperation Books

The first time you walk into a bookstore to look for an SAT guide, the number of options can be staggering. There are probably plenty of brands you've heard of - Kaplan, Princeton Review, Barrons - and dozens more you haven't. While there are many guides that will walk you through specific exercises intended to improve your basic skills for a given section, there is only one book that you should use for practice tests: The Official College Board Guide (aka the Big Blue Book).

Why, you may ask? The reason is simple. The College Board Guide is the only book that contains questions from actual exams. The questions contained in many of the other guides are written as approximations of SAT questions and often do not truly conform to the actual structure and content of real test questions. In general, Kaplan's questions tend to be easier than those on the actual test, while the questions in Barrons tend to be more difficult (they also cover material that is not tested on the actual SAT - for example, their Critical Reading questions often deal with literary analysis and rhetorical forms; real SAT questions do not presume any particular knowledge of literary devices). Level of difficulty aside, however, the only way to truly figure out the exact skills you need for the real SAT is to take the real SAT!


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