Best New SAT Prep: An Expert's Guide

Looking for the best New SAT prep materials to help raise your score? Having worked as an independent tutor with thousands of students over the past twenty years on the SAT, I am always on the hunt for the best materials to help students raise their SAT scores. 

Because the New SAT changed recently, please be careful not to purchase SAT prep books for the Old SAT (these will not be much help). The new version is substantially different and requires materials specifically created for the New SAT. You might also be interested in reading my Best ACT Book recommendations as well.

"Must Haves"

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If you plan to take the New SAT, this is one of the best SAT prep books available. Why? Because The Official SAT Study Guide (2018 edition) is only SAT prep book that has "real" SAT exams, ones actually created by the College Board. It contains four real exams (which is not a lot). Be careful: The "used" version of this book can be previous edition created for the Old SAT.

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If you are willing to commit a few more dollars to your SAT test prep, consider purchasing Kaplan New SAT Premier Book. This 1300-page book contains everything: five practice tests, extensive drills, online personalized feedback and instructional DVD. Together, the Official SAT Study Guide and this book simulate the private coaching experience for under $50!

So many students could benefit from an inexpensive timer, a necessary test prep tool. In my office, I always have at least three timers on my desk. So many students use cell phones as timers, but the cell phone can be a big distraction when studying for the test. 

Best New SAT Prep: Advanced (1300+)

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If you are looking for something a little more challenging, maybe you already scored well (1300+) and you want a book that targets more advanced problems, try Princeton Review's SAT Elite 1600, which gives lots of drills and strategy review for harder problems. The book, however, does not focus on full-length tests, so I typically supplement this book with the College Board's Official Guide to the SAT, which contains four copy-righted tests.

Best New SAT Prep - Math

Most students, I find, benefit from a generalized math review. Often the SAT exam is taken in the spring of the junior year. By that time, many students have advanced to Algebra II/Trig or Pre-Calculus, subjects that are not covered in depth on the SAT exam. For many students, a really good refresher in pre-algebra, basic algebra, intermediate algebra, and geometry can do wonders for the SAT score results. 

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Even if you are a strong math student, you still need to review this material because I find that the SAT Math is very different from "classroom" mathematics. If you are strong in the Reading and Writing portions of the New SAT and, instead, want to target Math, the Kaplan New SAT Math Workbook is for you.

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In my coaching practice, I love the diehard math students who want those perfect scores! For them, I like The 150 Hardest Math Problems for the New SAT. The title pretty much says it all! Great for students trying to score 700+ in the Math section of the New SAT.

Best New SAT Prep - Reading and Writing

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If you struggle with the Reading and Writing sections then you may want to target those areas with Kaplan's Evidence-based Reading Writing, and Essay Workbook. Also, the New SAT Writing section will have a much different essay format and this book does a good job of covering the newer Writing section, which I feel is more difficult than the previous SAT essay format.

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Erika Meltzer does a great job with her book SAT Grammar (3rd edition)You can tell she is an experienced tutor because the questions and review are targeted to exactly what the New SAT tests in grammar and writing.  If you have been having trouble with the grammar on the SAT, this is the book for you.

Best New SAT Prep - Essay Score

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If you are looking specifically for help raising your SAT Essay score, College Panda's SAT Essay Battle-Tested Guide is a good one (all of the College Panda books are very good). For lots of students (and tutors), the new SAT essay prompts are challenging, but this books does a GREAT job of breaking it down.

Best New SAT Prep: Vocabulary 

The New SAT does not specifically test vocabulary words except within the context of the reading passages. So students do not directly benefit from studying huge vocabulary lists and making tons of SAT vocabulary flashcards. 

SAT Subject Tests

Are you taking the SAT Subject Tests? Not sure if you need, then read "Do I Need to Take the SAT Subject Tests?". If you know you are applying to colleges that recommend or require them, read my recommendations for best SAT prep book for for the Math 2 Subject Test.

Worried you do not have a good score on the ACT or SAT? Don't forget to read about colleges and universities that offer test-optional admissions (that's right, these schools do not require students to take the ACT or SAT exams to be admitted).

Test Prep Updates: Stay Current

Several times each week, I post articles and test taking tips about the SAT and ACT tests as well as college admissions. These blog entries are a great way to keep current with what is happening in high school test prep and college admissions. So please bookmark this page (or subscribe to my RSS feed) and let your friends and family know about!