The 8 Best SAT Prep Books to Buy in 2018

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When you're gearing up for the SAT, everyone could benefit from a few test-taking tips. And every test-taker needs something different from an SAT prep book, but the best ones have certain things in common: high-quality practice questions, detailed answer explanations, helpful test-taking strategies, as well as targeted practice for what you most need to improve. We’ve put together a list of the best SAT prep books available, categorized according to your unique needs.

Want nothing but practice questions? The Tutorverse’s The New SAT: 1,500+ Practice Questions offers just that. It’s bulging with, just like the title says, over 1,500 practice questions, all conveniently in print so you can haul the book to the library for a study session. Each practice question is accompanied by a detailed answer explanation and a fleshed-out description of the relevant concepts and skills to help you assess your strengths and weaknesses.

The book also includes a grammar review, practice essay questions and sample responses and a full-length practice test. Notably, the practice questions in the book are organized by difficulty — getting progressively difficult as you complete more of them — which will help you understand exactly how far along you are in your SAT prep progress.

If you have difficulty with SAT math problems or are a high scorer looking to boost your score on the math section, The College Panda’s SAT Math: Advanced Guide and Workbook for the New SAT is an ideal prep book. The comprehensive SAT math guide includes a rundown of every single SAT math concept you might need to know for the test, from the broadest and most common to tricky, obscure quantitative skills. Upwards of 500 practice questions and detailed answer explanations will help you hone in on your particular math-related weak spots.

The examples of each SAT math question type are particularly helpful, as even if you understand a concept in the abstract, you might not recognize the way it shows up on the SAT. The College Panda authors also delve into each of the most common traps and mistakes students make on the exam, to help you avoid them yourself as you prepare for the SAT math section.

Although the SAT essay is now optional, it’s still important for many students: Many top schools still require it to apply for admission, and many others require it if you want to be considered for a merit scholarship. If you’re looking to ace the SAT essay and sharpen your writing skills, the New SAT Essay Practice Book from IES Test Prep provides a comprehensive guide to the section. The writing templates provided by the authors are flexible and can be adapted to nearly any SAT essay prompt, while the analysis sections will help you approach any essay prompt with confidence.

The paperback edition of the New SAT Essay Practice Book includes over 100 practice exercises and drills and 105 essay mastery exercises, so prepping for the essay can be seamlessly integrated into your overall SAT prep. The book also includes 70 essential writing terms to familiarize yourself with so you’re armed with all the rhetorical tools you need each time you start writing a response to an SAT essay prompt.

Do you struggle with the SAT reading passages? Have a hard time getting through them quickly or knowing where to find the relevant information in a passage? You’re not alone, and The Complete Guide to SAT Reading by The Critical Reader can help. Each chapter is devoted to a different question type you’ll see in the SAT reading section and includes an in-depth breakdown of the question type, as well as walkthroughs of several example passages and questions. Whether you struggle with pacing, reading charts and graphs on the SAT, or pinpointing the key information in a given passage on the exam, you’ll find detailed information on it here.

The Complete Guide to SAT Reading will also be of assistance if you want to improve your vocabulary, as it provides definitions and synonyms for the most common complex words you’ll encounter on the SAT. This book goes well with the official resources from The College Board, as it references the official SAT practice questions frequently.

Even if you consider yourself an English whiz, SAT grammar can be tricky. The exam tests grammar in specific, idiosyncratic ways that aren’t always intuitive, even if you’re a frequent reader and skilled writer. A prep book that offers a detailed SAT grammar review can be a big help in this respect.

Erica L. Meltzer, who also wrote The Critical Reader, provides students with a comprehensive overview of SAT grammar in The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar. She breaks each grammar concept down into its respective parts, helping students move from the abstract understanding of a given skill to the practical application of a concept as it will apply in the SAT Writing section. The book includes every College Board and Khan Academy practice SAT question as it pertains to grammar, categorizing them by question type and difficulty level. Plenty of drills will allow students to see exactly how each grammar skill shows up on the exam.

If you’re already scoring well on SAT practice tests and just looking to hone in on a few particular weaknesses, you need an SAT prep book that can meet you where you are and that won’t waste your time on the basics. Enter Kaplan’s SAT Advanced Practice: Prep for 1600, specifically designed for high scorers who are looking to perfect their scores and improve even further.

This volume includes only seven sets of the most complex, high-difficulty SAT practice questions. All 700+ practice questions include detailed answer explanations. The Kaplan prep book also provides step-by-step strategies for approaching the most notoriously difficult question types on the SAT. Finally, the book includes a review of each section of the test, with an eye towards the more complex questions rather than the basics.

The Official SAT Study Guide, written by the authors of the actual SAT, means that the practice questions are very close to what you’ll encounter on exam day. The text includes eight full-length SAT practice tests written by The College Board, answer explanations for each practice question, as well as a detailed guide to the exam. Included in this guide are descriptions of each question type on the test and step-by-step walkthroughs of practice questions, plus practice quizzes, guidance on the optional essay question and sample essays for you to pore over.

If you’re using the free Khan Academy resources as part of your SAT prep, The Official SAT Study Guide is a good find. The book is integrated with those resources and includes references to Khan Academy sections, so you can target your weaknesses effectively.

Kaplan’s SAT Prep Plus 2018 provides a comprehensive, multimedia guide to the SAT. Particularly notable are the guide’s testing strategies, which include effective pacing methods and in-depth modes of attack for each SAT question type. The Kaplan Method gives you a step-by-step means of approaching every question type and every skill you’ll need to master for the SAT.

The book also features plenty of opportunities for practice and includes over 1,400 practice questions total. Kaplan’s SAT prep book has three full-length online practice tests and two practice SATs within the pages of the book itself. Of course, each practice question is accompanied by detailed answer explanations. Your purchase of Kaplan’s guide to the SAT also includes access to online resources, including video lessons and additional practice questions.