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List of the Best SAT Subject Test Prep Books

schoolisfunschoolisfun 1103 replies135 threads- Senior Member
So this thread:http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/sat-subject-tests-preparation/358168-list-best-review-books.html?highlight=review+books has been buried for quite a long time and people don't bother looking all the way through, searching, etc. There have been tons of threads asking for good prep materials for so and so test, so I have posted the most updated list here:

Listening tests in general:

- The Official Study Guide for all SAT Subject Tests by the College Board (A, H)
This book is great for the listening tests because it has CDs for all the subjects, and all the exams are taken from previous years. However, it cannot be used for studying because it consists only of practice tests.

All tests in general:

- The Official Study Guide for all SAT Subject Tests by the College Board (A, H)
Great practice tests for all the exams. However, there is nothing more in the book except practice tests (one per subject)

A - Accurate practice tests.
B - Good for learning material you don't know.
C - Easy to read and understand.
D - Not a lot of superfluous material.
E - Teacher recommendation.
F - Slightly harder than the real thing. (Write F+ if it's a lot harder than the real thing)
G - Good practice questions (outside of the practice tests)
H - A lot of practice tests (more than 4)

English Literature:

- Kaplan (C, F, G, H)
The review sections are generally superfluous (unless you need a review of literary terms), but the practice tests are great, though they are slightly more difficult than the actual test in that they use more esoteric words (hey, better overprepared than under, right?). For best results, you may want to use it with the Princeton Review book (see below).
Reviewer’s score: 780.

- Princeton Review (A, C, G)
I felt that their practice tests were more similar to the actual test than Kaplan's, though their review sections are similarly redundant. Quantity, however, seems to matter over quality, so if you must choose either PR or Kaplan, I would go with Kaplan.
Reviewer’s score: 780.

- Barron’s (B, C, F, G, H)
Very comprehensive and complete. It contains everything you could possibly look for in a prep book, including excellent explanations and practice questions. Goes above and beyond the necessary material (it even contains an essay-writing section).

U.S. History:

- Sparknotes Review Book with 3 Online Tests (A,C,D)
Great for last week review and refresh.
Recommender's score: 790.

- Princeton Review (AP) (G)
Great prep for the SAT II (some identical questions!)

- Kaplan (A, B, C, D, E, F, G)
Recommender 1: Read it cover to cover a week before the exam and felt really prepared. It really helps for stuff you didn't cover in class.
Recommender 1's score: 790.
Recommender 2: I wasn't in APUSH, and my class started with Civil War onward, so I had not learned a good 30% of what was on the test. I read Kaplan cover to cover and did 2 or 3 of the practice tests. The tests were slightly harder but left me extremely prepared. The chapters were concise and great for only teaching you what you need to know.
Recommender 2's score: 790

- AMSCO (AP) (B, C, E)
It is the most conversational textbook-ish thing I've ever read. Amazing at reviewing material. The practice tests are helpful for review, even though they are AP practice tests. Note: The recommender for this book is the same as the one for the Barron's book.
Recommender's score: 800.

- Barron's (F+, H)
This book is MUCH harder than the real thing, and the recommender got 30-40 mistakes on each practice test despite getting an 800 for the actual test. Use if if you want to be very well prepared, but do not fret over a bad score, because it is highly inaccurate. Note: The recommender for this book is the same as the one for the AMSCO book.
Recommender's score: 800.
ditto above. on average 40-45 mistakes despite scoring high on the actual test. There is no scale for the tests, but there was a lot of overlap on the may exam.
Recommender’s score: 770

World History:

- Princeton Review (A, B, C, G)
This book is awesome because it covers everything in a comprehensive, easy to read, and cohesive review.
Recommender's score: 800.

- Barron’s (AP) ( B, C)
If you're taking AP, just get this book and use it to study for AP and SAT II. It's VERY detailed, so start studying at least a month in advance. Very comprehensive, excellent text.

Mathematics Level 1:

- Princeton Review (C, D, E )
Covers everything for this test, and is easy to read.

Mathematics Level 2:

- Barron's (E, F+) Rec 2: (F+, H)
Almost everyone uses it and my teacher recommends it, even though it's COMPLETELY unrealistic (because it's a lot harder). But, because it's so much harder, it prepares you wonderfully, and the real thing is a breeze.
Recommender 2's comment: Very much harder than the real thing, but with 8 practice tests.
Recommender 2's score: 800.
Recommender 3's comment: Ignore the diagnostic test, it's crazy. As for the 8 practices tests, I think they're really good(althoug harder than the real thing) if you want to get an 800 for sure.
Recommender 3's score: 800

- SAT II Math for Dummies (A, B, C, D)
I'm a good math student so I didn't feel the need to review much or research the best book. This book helped clear up a few miscellaneous topics (probability, sets, unions, etc.) that showed up on the real test.

- McGraw Hill (A, H)
I didn't use the McGraw Hill for studying. I used Barron's for all my studying...McGraw Hill for practice tests because i finished all the practice tests in Barron's. Tests are pretty accurate. I usually skipped two or less but on the real test I skipped 3.
Recommender’s score: 800.

Biology E:

- Princeton Review (A, B, C, D)
Two of my friends used this book and said it was great. Both got 800s.

- Barron’s (C, D, E, F+)
The fact that it was so hard, scared me, but made the real test seem like a walk in the park.
Recommender’s score: 800

I quote, “I studied this book for like a day and I got an 800. The Barron’s book is so hard, but it made the test so much easier. I wanna go take a real test to prove to myself that I know Bio.”
Recommender’s score: 800
note: the recommender actually spent around 10 days carrying around the Barron’s book and studying in various nooks and crannies. Not to mention the hours she must have spent studying at home.

Biology M:

- Princeton Review (A, C, D) Rec 2: (B, C, D, F, G) Rec 3: (A, B, C, D)
Two of my friends used this book and said it was great. Both got 800s.
note: all PR editions are identical from 2006-2010. (don’t worry I checked.)

-Sparknotes (well organized. none of the other letters apply)
It was well organized by topic which was nice. Some errors included, but you’re on your own for that one. Would not recommend.
Recommender’s score: (730, 760)


- Barron's (B, E) Rec 2: (A, C) Rec 3: (B, F, G)
1: The practice tests are nothing like the real thing, but the book is still a good review of EVERYTHING in high school chem.
2: Some extra information, but not too much.
Recommender's score: 800.
3: There was some unnecessary information, but it's fairly well done. I did a few practice tests and skimmed the topics that were confusing or unfamiliar to me. For me, the T/T/CE section was the hardest, but this book had questions that prepared me for the test very well.
Recommender’s score: 790.
Recommender’s score: 770

- Princeton Review (A, B, G) Rec 2: (B, C)
Recommender's score: 770.
Recommender 2's comment: Lacks some information, and is extremely brief and easy. However, it's good to use to learn material you don't know. The third practice test contains a lot of material that was not covered by the book, and is thus very difficult. This book isn't enough for someone who wants to get an 800.
Recommender 2's score: 760.

Kaplan (A, B, C, D, F, G)
The Kaplan books seem to get a bit of a bad rap, and I'm not entirely sure why. I did 3 Kaplan tests, read through a few chapters, and no other studying, and I was really prepared.
Recommender's Score: 780


- Barron's (A, B, C, D)
Practice tests were somewhat different from the actual, but in general still good preparation. Little superfluous material, however preparation in some parts is on the scarce side.

- Kaplan (B, C)
Good for acquiring a general knowledge of previously unknown material, however the Princeton Review book is required for more in-depth knowledge. Practice tests are much easier than the real thing.

- Princeton Review (A)
Explanation of concepts is hard to understand, but practice tests are extremely accurate, although there aren't many of them.

Chinese with Listening:
Sat II Vol 2 W/ CD (Chinese Edition)
only SAT Chinese book out there. Written by the College Board.
Amazon.com: Sat II Vol 2 W/ CD (Chinese Edition): College Board: Books


- Princeton Review (A, B, C, D, G)
The French exam is very centered on grammar, so a lot of the book is focused on that, which makes it a bit dull and boring. However, the practice tests were extremely accurate.
Recommender's score: 760 (but on the listening exam...)
REA has a really good book for SAT French. It has some really good grammar explanations and its practice tests are pretty accurate.
Recommender’s score: 750

French with Listening:

- Princeton Review (A, C, G)
The book includes a very short and unhelpful section for students who will take the listening exam, but at least they tried. The book is good for the reading-based portion of the exam.
Recommender's score: 760.

- Barron's (B, C)
This book includes a CD for the listening section, however it has its drawbacks. The same people were used for all the clips on the CD, which is bad because you get used to their voices. This could make you have to strain to listen to the people for the real test. It's better than nothing, though.
Recommender's score: 760.


German with Listening:


- Barron's (A, C, D, H)
Slightly inaccurate practice tests, but the fact that there are many of them compensates for this.

- Kaplan (B+, E, G)
The book is extremely organized and in-depth so it is more for learning rather than for reviewing. Regardless, it gives in-depth lessons and explanation of grammatical rules (very important in Spanish). Tons of great practice questions, as well as a great diagnostic test. My score went from a 650 to a 740 with this book.
Recommender's score: 740.

Spanish with Listening:

- Barron's (A, C, D)
See comments for Spanish without listening.

Modern Hebrew:



Japanese with Listening:

Korean with Listening:

-Scholastic Aptitude Test SAT Subject Test 한국어 시험 준비서 (cassette tape included) compiled by SAT II 한국어진흥재단 and published by: YBM/Si-sa (Copyrighted in ROK) [one of the only two books that were found after weeks of searching]
Unfortunately it’s for Korean speakers only as the whole book uses sparse English (only for necessary translations when reviewing contents and for directions on the practice tests) unless the user is highly proficient at Korean. Personally as a native speaker, I like this book more because it covers various topics and serves as a decent review.

-한국어 시험문제집 SAT II Korean with Listening by: Insook Jung Cho publisher: Hollym International Corp. (copyrighted in USA)
I don’t like it very much. There are 10 practice tests, but not much to show for review. Everything in Korean can also be found in English on the following page.
Recommender’s score: N/A not planning on taking until further notice.
edited December 2013
59 replies
Post edited by schoolisfun on
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Replies to: List of the Best SAT Subject Test Prep Books

  • ChickenOnRiceChickenOnRice 406 replies64 threads Member
    what do u think of taking physics/chem and math 2 in maY?

    i am in precalc hnrs apphysicsb and ap chem(i have solid b+'s in all threee of the classes);D
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  • cortana431cortana431 4846 replies169 threads- Senior Member
    Thanks a lot for this guide! I was undecided on what review books to buy for Math IIC PHysics and U.S History.
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  • schoolisfunschoolisfun 1103 replies135 threads- Senior Member
    @ChickenOnRice: Get the best prep book for those subjects from this list and buy the Collegeboard's SAT subject test book. Take the practice exams for those 3 and see how you do. I reccommend that if you get an 800, just review till the test date. If you get 700+s study intensely everyday till the day of the test, and and if you get below 700, see if you can study and perfect everything you need to know.

    @Cortana431: No problem, I just want to make sure everyone knows this is a collaborative effort on the part of CC and it is a great tool. Also, for physics, I used the PR, and my physics course in school just taught me Kinematics (not including rotational motion/laws of grav) and waves before the test and I am expecting around a 780-800
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  • Mansu007Mansu007 412 replies254 threads Member
    I am planning to take SAT for Bio E & M, Math IC, and WH in this summer.
    Do I can use Barron's-Princeton Review for Bio E and Bio M, Math IC, and WH?? Is Kaplan bad in SAT and AP Sciences, Social Science, and Mathematics?
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  • schoolisfunschoolisfun 1103 replies135 threads- Senior Member
    ^Just look at the guide lol To be completely honest, I am by no means an expert at this. I have just taken ONE sat subject test--physics. Also, just note, this guide is only for SAT Subject Tests, there is a similar guide like this for AP exams in the AP Exam Forum I believe.
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  • afned368afned368 59 replies116 threads Junior Member
    For US History sat subject test I've got Mc Graw Hills. Is it any good?
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  • Mansu007Mansu007 412 replies254 threads Member
    From what I researched and asked, Mcgraw Hill is not really good in SAT Subject Tests. If you can return that book, changed it with either Barron's or Kaplan's. (TPR is not good for extensive review)
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  • Mansu007Mansu007 412 replies254 threads Member
    Prep book called "SAT Chemistry Unveiled" is actually the most efficient book for SAT Chem.
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  • schoolisfunschoolisfun 1103 replies135 threads- Senior Member
    ^Your book seems a little shady. Or at least it appeared that way when I looked at reviews and came across a particularly interesting one.
    (TPR is not good for extensive review)
    Let's not generalize, it was amazing for me for the SAT physics, and I had not learned over 50% of the material. Barron's was unhelpful and Sparknotes was used just as something to refer to once in a while. I am fairly confident I got 770+.
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  • blob793blob793 193 replies44 threads Junior Member
    I am not sure which of the three Math II Books I should buy. Which one do you guys recommend more than the others? Also, for chemistry does the SAT II cover the exact same stuff as the AP?
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  • schoolisfunschoolisfun 1103 replies135 threads- Senior Member
    Math II: Barron's is hands-down recommended by like 99% of CCers, I will be solely using it to study for the June Math II test
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  • hischoolstudenthischoolstudent 195 replies38 threads Junior Member
    i second barron's. I got about 720-760 on each practice test and ended up with only -1 on the actual one.
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  • Mansu007Mansu007 412 replies254 threads Member
    I am not saying that TPR sucks, but the truth is that it is concise book that cannot depends on when you do not know the material and have to self-study. I have some questions: Are Sparknotes SAT Subject Tests prep books are good as others? I found out that Sparknotes has SAT-II prep book that only contains practice exams.

    Also, I think McGraw Hill is good for ACT and APs, but not on SAT-IIs and SAT-I. (just my personal opinion)
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  • Mansu007Mansu007 412 replies254 threads Member
    I am sorry to post the reply again, when I just did a while ago.

    This is nothing to do about discussing various SAT-II prep books, but I have a curious question. I recently got a book-protection-phobia that I cannot stand if any of prep books are damaged by shelf or any accident. I have to buy again and again...when you read and study prep books, do you read it without book-cover; if so, are your prep books are damaged?

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  • BrolexBrolex 260 replies37 threads Junior Member
    bump 10charrr
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  • historyparenthistoryparent 1 replies0 threads New Member
    Check out Barron's new US History prep book for the SAT Subject Test. The book is a total revision with new tests (two of which are on an interactive CD ROM). The book abandons the president-by-president organization and selects the top twenty historical items that should be studied from each time period for review. Then there are five main ideas to know based on those twenty items, along with detailed timelines.
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  • cherryblossom71cherryblossom71 84 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I read the original post but I'm still not too clear about this. Which review book should I get if I want to score an 800 in USH? I'm currently taking APUSH.
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  • CurrrrrymanCurrrrryman 45 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Hey guys I'm going to take the math 2 test in may this year and I was wondering which barrons book do I buy? From what I see a lot of people on amazon say that the barrons quality is poor now and there are a
    lot of mistakes.
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  • jomi77jomi77 1 replies0 threads- New Member
    no, ppl said barrons is the best for math 2
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  • garciacgarciac 131 replies21 threads Junior Member
    Im going to take math 1... I have grubers 2400 hould i just use that for math or should i get barrons for it? Is math 1 the same as the regular sat?
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