The College Board administers the SAT, which is a standardized test that is broadly recognized for admissions in the United States. It is a three-hour-long multiple-choice test with two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.
The total score for the SAT is 1600, with each section scored out of 800. In order to ease your way into the ivy leagues, it is highly recommended to ensure that your SAT score is above 1450.
Unfortunately, the average score is only 1060. Most high school students take the SAT during the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year.
However, it’s important to retake the test if you are required or need to increase your score before you apply to college. So, if you have already taken the SAT once or twice, you might be asking yourself, what could I have done to get a better score? Perhaps you haven’t been using the right resources.
There are countless SAT prep books and various other resources online. These books guide you by providing tips, practice questions, strategies, reading examples and so much more. Take advantage of these SAT study materials to improve your knowledge and understanding of the test.
So if you’re looking to get into MIT or Harvard, or even minimize your financial burden, keep reading to discover the 9 best SAT prep books.
SAT prep black book second edition by Mike and Patrick Barett
Pros: Effective and practical strategies, provides actual practice tests with explanations to the answers and allows you to look at the SAT questions from various perspectives.
Cons: A major disadvantage is that the book is 629 pages long and it still misses out on certain fundamental topics.
College Board official SAT practice tests, 2020 edition
Pros: It includes official SAT practice tests which allows you to familiarize with the actual SAT test. Every single type of question is included and the book is completely free.
Cons: The explanations to the answers are not as strong compared to other books.
Kaplan SAT prep plus 2023
Pros: This book teaches you test-taking strategies, provides five entire SAT practice tests, all sections of the SAT are included and it is affordable. It also provides proper and clear explanations of questions and their answers so that you can understand better.
Cons: There are some anomalies in the book and certain questions are unrealistic.
Princeton review cracking the SAT premium 2020
Pros: This book is especially good for math practice questions, it provides test-taking strategies, deals with interpreting graphs in a much more detailed manner, and it has online score reports.
Cons: While the math section is strong, it lacks in the reading and writing section. Furthermore, it can also overwhelm you because of the content.
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. — Pelé
Barron’s SAT premium study guide 2023 by Sharon Green
Pros: it has a flashcard app to help improve your vocabulary, teaches you test-taking strategies, provides a detailed solution to math problems and has multiple practice tests.
It additionally has also resolved the issue with the reading and writing sections.
Additionally, It does not tell the student which concepts in the reading and writing section are absolutely essential.
Also Read: 10 Perfectly Good Strategies for Better SAT Scores
The critical reader: the complete guide to SAT reading, fourth edition
Pros: It includes College Board practice questions, test-taking strategies for complex reading passages, and detailed explanations to every question and breaks it down to simpler ones.
Cons: However, the book can seem to be academic and the writing feels impersonal and detached.
The critical reader: the complete guide to SAT grammar, fourth edition
Pros: The SAT usually tries to trick you by providing two answers that are grammatically correct. This book helps you choose between the two. It also provides very detailed answer explanations for writing questions.
Cons: No complete tests, errors and expensive.
Kallis’ SAT pattern strategy edition 3.0
Pros: Has an in-depth analysis of questions and answer explanations, multiple practice tests, practice questions similar to the ones in the SAT and has a great layout.
Cons: It can be too difficult and overwhelming.
Ivy Global SAT study guide, edition 2.3
Pros: Has a good layout, affordable and practice questions similar to the ones in the SAT.
Cons: Not many test-taking strategies and answer explanations are only available online. Now, you must formulate a study plan using the right SAT resources.
SAT study Plans
1 month study plan
In a month, you will most likely be able to increase your score by 50 points. It is recommended to use the Kaplan SAT prep course as they have a detailed guide on how to study for the SAT in one month. Additionally, you will also need to use the official SAT study guide and do as many practice tests as possible.
2 month study plan
With 2 months, you may be able to increase your score by 100-150 points. Similar to the one month study plan, you will require the official SAT study guide and practice as many tests as possible. Magoosh provides you with a detailed 2 month study plan.
3 month study plan
A 3 month study plan should secure an extra 200 points. This study plan is very similar to the 2 month study plan. The only difference is that instead of taking 4 practice tests, now you take 5. Magoosh also provides a 3 month study plan.
6 month study plan
Lastly, if you’ve got 6 months left to prepare for the SAT, you could increase your score by over 250 points. Magoosh also created this SAT study plan for 6 months and it provides review sessions for the math and evidence-based reading and writing section. This allows you to increase your SAT score significantly.
The best and most efficient way to increase your SAT score is by taking up practice tests. Once you have familiarized yourself with the content in both math and English, it is time for you to take your pencil and start shading in some answers.
When you do this, you start to understand the type of questions that could come your way and the way the SAT is structured. It also allows you to identify your weaknesses so that you could focus on them more and turn them into strengths.
Furthermore, practicing the SAT allows you to become more time-efficient and tells you which areas you need to spend more time focusing on. Especially, when it comes to the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, it can be a little difficult to finish it within the time constraint.
Hence, practicing allows you to be better, even if it is only by a minute each time you take it.