Get a stand out score with our favorite SAT prep books

Kailey Fralick

On test day be sure to bring plenty of pencils, a calculator that you're familiar with and has fresh batteries, as well as high-protein snacks.

Your SAT scores can play a big role in determining your future, and many students feel heavy pressure to perform well on the exam. Thankfully, studying with the right SAT prep book can help relieve some of that pressure. Before you buy a prep book, it helps to think deeply about what you hope to get out of it.

You might want to get a comprehensive overview of the entire exam.

You might want to focus primarily on practice questions.

You might want to focus on one particular area of the SAT in order to bring up a previous score.

Whatever your goals are, keep the following features in mind as you shop for an SAT prep book.

SAT prep book features

Test overview

A good SAT prep book should walk you through all sections of the exam, explaining text format and the topics that will be covered in each section.

Comprehensive content review

If you need to brush up on one or more of the subjects that will be on the test, look for a prep book that covers each key concept thoroughly.

Full-length practice tests

Full-length practice tests give you an opportunity to see where you're at and where you could use improvement. Most, but not all, SAT prep books contain at least one full-length practice test.

Practice question bank

Some books have a separate section of practice questions so you can target the areas where you're struggling.

Supplemental materials

Some SAT prep books come with access to DVDs or online study materials, so you can add a bit of variety to your studying routine.


Before you begin studying for the exam, it's a good idea to take a practice test to assess what you already know. Most SAT prep books contain several full-length practice tests. Otherwise, you can find some for free online.

People often wonder how many weeks or months they should devote to SAT test prep. We suggest that you break the SAT prep book down into sections and decide how much you want to cover each day. Then, work backward from your test date to figure out when you should begin studying.

If you're having trouble staying on task, consider studying with a friend or classmate.

Continue taking practice tests as you go. The feedback you get from the practice tests can help you adjust your focus as you go.

Time yourself when you take practice tests, and try to simulate the conditions of the real exam as closely as possible as you do so. This will give you a better idea of where you stand, and it will help you feel more confident on test day.

If you know the colleges you want to apply to then bring in a list on test day. You can add them to a list of places where your scores will be sent.


Best of the Best: Kaplan Test Prep SAT: Total Prep 2018

Our take: If you're looking for a detailed and comprehensive review of the SAT, this is an excellent option. It covers all of the important topics in detail and gives you plenty of opportunities to practice what you've learned.
What we like: This book includes five full-length practice tests and thousands of additional practice questions to help you zero in on your weak areas. It also includes hundreds of pages of test-taking strategies and content explanations, plus 15 video tutorials if you prefer to watch rather than read.
What we dislike: This book may be too large and overwhelming if you're just looking for a quick refresher on some key topics.

Best Value: The College Board The Official SAT Study Guide

Our take: This is a great option if you just want a quick overview of the exam and an opportunity to test yourself with realistic practice questions.
What we like: This book contains eight full-length SATs designed by the creators of the exam, so you can be sure the questions are comparable to those on the real exam. It also gives a brief overview of each exam section so you know what to expect.
What we dislike: Some students find the answers to some of the math practice questions confusing and overly wordy.

Choice 3: The Princeton Review Cracking the SAT Premium Edition

Our take: This is a good resource for students who want a varied study routine. If you're looking for guidance on the best place to focus your efforts, it's a book to consider.
What we like: This prep book has seven full-length practice tests and detailed score reports that help you decide where to focus your attention. It includes a comprehensive overview of each section of the exam, test-taking tips, and access to The Princeton Review's detailed video lessons.
What we dislike: If you're aiming for a very high score on the SAT, you may find that the questions and exercises in this book aren't challenging enough to help you reach your goal.

Kailey is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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