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"What SAT prep book should I get?" SAT book reviews

entrancestoneentrancestone 237 replies31 threads Junior Member
edited December 2013 in SAT Preparation
[size=+1]What SAT review book should I get?: THE ANSWER THREAD![/size]

Due to the large number of threads asking the same question, I am making this thread in hopes to consolidate general opinions on the most common review books. I am not ridiculously qualified to lend my opinion, but I have used these books and researched them a lot through the search function.

The Official SAT Study Guide (aka The Blue Book)
  1. Published by the College Board, $11.97, 889 pages
  2. Best for: Practice tests
  3. This guide is the master of all SAT books. It contains 8 official practice tests, which are invaluable if you want to pick apart the SAT. Nothing can give you a more accurate estimation of your real SAT score than an official test.
    The "review" sections are very generic, but still offer additional practice problems from the test makers. Use this book to familarize yourself with the SAT and predict your real SAT score.

The Rocket Review Revolution (aka RR)
  1. By Adam Robinson, $19.77, 736 pages plus access to website
  2. Best for: Critical reading & writing
  3. This guide has a very thorough list of the 14 grammatical rules most often tested in the MC. Each rule is explained and demonstrated through a few examples. The essay section also gives a general formula that is useful, and suggests some of the common strategies (prepare examples ahead of time, use history/literature over personal experience). The list of 323 core words has consistently ranked in the top 3 in analysis of hits/words (search for dark knight's thread for more info). Also has some of the common strategies contained in most other books. The list is really useful. The math is not as great as the other two sections, but the Hall of Fame problems are very helpful.
  4. The website has not been updated for years, and there are no new editions of the books. The website contains OmniProctor, a simulated online proctor, and an automatic essay grader that is not accurate.

  1. By Grammatix.com, $49.95, 193 pages
  2. Best for: Critical reading
  3. The essay portion provides a very systematic formula. The grammar section is not as thorough as Rocket Review. A different approach to passage based reading questions than most books, many CCers have had success with this method. The sentence completion sentence is supposed to be very good. The same generic math review provided in every review book.

Gruber's Complete SAT Guide 2009
  1. By Gary Gruber, $13.57, 1100 pages
  2. Best for: Math
  3. The must have book for math. Contains the most complete review. Also provides new strategies and thoroughly explains each concept. I highly recommend it if you suck at math like me.


The above are the only books I have experience with, so I will leave the reviews of Barrons, Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc. up to you guys. Please give a review of the book pertaining to each section of the SAT and something more substantial than "it rocks". Hopefully we can consolidate helpful reviews here to stop "what book should I get?" threads.

If you want to use my format:
  1. By (author), [url=http://www.(booksite).com] ($$0.00)[/url],() pages
  2. Best for: ()
  3. (your review)


edited December 2013
253 replies
Post edited by entrancestone on
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Replies to: "What SAT prep book should I get?" SAT book reviews

  • legend.draculalegend.dracula 582 replies66 threads Member
    Barron's 2400:
    _ Good strategy for Critical Reading: read each paragraph and answer the questions related to that passage.
    _Math: pretty hard, not much review, only good for those who need math exercises.
    _Writing: I don't have any idea.
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  • HopefulCEOHopefulCEO 620 replies266 threads- Member
    the lack of Barrons disappoints me.
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  • asian sensationasian sensation 458 replies57 threads Member
    ^...at least he tried to make an organized thread...

    thanks and good job entrancestone!
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  • ViviVivi 617 replies14 threads Member
    Is there general hate towards PR on CC or something? =/ Their 11 Practice Tests book was my best friend while studying...
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  • llpitchllpitch 4238 replies80 threads Senior Member
    I hate PR for the SAT. It's so general and I would never use practice tests made by anyone but CB.
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  • KeepRollingKeepRolling 521 replies60 threads Member
    PR is just fine. I believe CB's and PR's effectiveness' separate when one enters upper 2000s... like 2200... CB becomes more useful then.
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  • entrancestoneentrancestone 237 replies31 threads Junior Member
    Hey guys, the point was to review the books you found helpful. I never used PR or Barrons, so I didn't review them.
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  • aminitnaaminitna 37 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Barron's is a great book for Critical Reading and Math. However, overall it seems to be suited more for able test-takers shooting for high scores.

    I felt that the Reading section in particular was more difficult than Collegeboard's usual fare. It's a great way to improve your scores but it might make some people lose confidence in themselves.

    Personally, I wouldn't recommend the writing section. I got a 670 on the Barron's writing (which made me really worried) but ended up with a 780 on the real test. A lot of their multiple choice questions are substantially different than the real SAT, and there are quite a few mistakes.

    That's just my opinion. Hope that helped. :)
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  • somekidinnycsomekidinnyc 229 replies74 threads Junior Member
    Great thread. I already knew about these book but not when i was a new comer to the SAT so this would definitely be helpful for others.
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  • entrancestoneentrancestone 237 replies31 threads Junior Member
    Anyone want to review Kaplan, Princeton Review, McGraw Hill, Direct Hits etc.?
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  • Claire1016Claire1016 1003 replies85 threads Senior Member
    I'll just review the books I have for each seperate section.
    For math I have the barrons book and the McGraw Hill.
    The barrons book is complete overkill, in a good way. I've seen substantial improvement on practice tests since using it. The only bad thing is it's very hard (for me at least) to sit down and do the practice problems because they're really challenging and complicated.
    The McGraw Hill Math book was also pretty good and easier to get though, although I haven't looked at every chapter yet. The practice problems are good, as are the explanations. It also comes with 3 practice tests.

    For critical reading, I use the BB and do the practice tests. I mostly used flashcards just to study the vocab.

    For writing I have the McGraw Hill and the Barrons book. For the writing section the McGraw Hill book was BAD. I would not suggest buying it, buy the barrons book instead. It gives you good tips for writing the essay but the grammar portion of the book was not good. On the practice tests everytime I got a 680+ but on the actual SAT I only got a 630. I haven't used the Barrons book much, but if it's as good as the math one, it's probably a good buy.
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  • Claire1016Claire1016 1003 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Oh, and can someone suggest a really good practice book for the writing?
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  • entrancestoneentrancestone 237 replies31 threads Junior Member
    ^^ For strategies and grammar review, Rocket Review is very thorough, but it doesn't contain practice problems.
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  • JakeusJakeus 314 replies55 threads Member
    Would you guys really recommend grammatix for the critical reading section?

    I have Gruber's, Rocketreview, and Barron's 2400, but I thought Barron's 2400 was the best for CR.
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  • asian sensationasian sensation 458 replies57 threads Member
    what does barrons 2400 recommend for CR? if you don't mind sharing ^^
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  • ModulationModulation 1785 replies92 threads Senior Member
    Ahhh, I love this thread! I "bought" Grammatix today, so I'll put up a review as soon as I read it. Thank you so much for making this!!
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  • Ren the SAT'erRen the SAT'er 2181 replies122 threads Senior Member
    grubers for math yeah.
    rr is okay
    for practice tests, use the official guide and online course and past qas, thats wat im doing =]
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  • MonoTomboMonoTombo 878 replies28 threads Member
    bump...we must keep this thread alive!!!
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  • legend.draculalegend.dracula 582 replies66 threads Member
    I think RR offers you a guide when you don't have any clues to answer.
    Grammatix: it shows you patterns of how to solve CR.
    Barron: the approach to CR is different than the other two.
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  • Claire1016Claire1016 1003 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Does anyone have the Kaplan 2400 book? Maybe I'm thinking of the barrons 2400 book, but I'm pretty sure it was Kaplan.
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