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List of the best review books


Replies to: List of the best review books

  • SenseAndNonsenseSenseAndNonsense 3 replies0 threads New Member
    If you add, please copy and paste this to add so it doesn't get lost.


    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.
    -I swear by PR for Bio M. Great for teaching yourself new topics (though slightly light on plants) Great preparation for the test, though the score you get on the practice test doesn't necessarily reflects what you'll actually get. (PR: 730, actual: 790)
    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) Rec: 3 (A, C, D)
    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.
    3: Overall, the Princeton Review was a great book to brush up on Chemistry. It is a great book to familiarize yourself with the SAT Chemistry format, and it provides accurate practice tests for the real subject test. I would recommend this book if you are comfortable with Chemistry, but you need a little more practice to improve your score. A lot of people say the Princeton Review isn't enough to get a perfect score, but I believe as long as you understand the material, The Princeton Review can help significantly. (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) (F)
    Recommender 1: Only SAT Chinese book out there. Written by the College Board.
    Amazon.com: Sat II Vol 2 W/ CD (Chinese Edition): College Board: Books
    Recommender 2: This is harder than the actual test. i usually get 4-5 wrong in the practice test, but i got one wrong in the real test and got 800 (im not even native speaker) in actual test, there is ALWAY ONE TRICKY QUESTION. i asked my chinese friends and even they didnt know the answer.....lol This book is both in english and chinese. Directions are written in english, just like the real sat test, and the questions are in chinese, of course.
    Recommender 2's score: 800.


    - 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.

    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).
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  • hluoluoluohluoluoluo 42 replies5 threads Junior Member
    This is such a good thread with great advice so I'll just bump it with a post on Bio Prep Books.

    Biology M:
    Kaplan (B,C,F,G)
    Kaplan was a good book but it was far from great. There was a lot of superfluous material that was just so unnecessary like Animal Physiology. However if you're learning from scratch, it is a good place to start. However this should not be the only book you get. The practice tests weren't very accurate but there were lots of practice questions.
    Reviewer's Score: 740

    Barron's (C,D,F,G)
    Barron's is good for review. If you took the Biology course as a freshmen and just had your Bio final, Barron's is good to do a simple refresher on everything. It's got a lot of the major material you need and not a lot of extraneous material. Once again, the practice tests were a little faulty but overall good book. Definitely Barron's over Kaplan.
    Reviewer's Score: 740
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  • dhagerstromdhagerstrom 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Kaplan: (A, C, G, H)
    This was my favorite book by far because I thought it had the most accurate questions. It did not overemphasize literary terms as Barron's did and I was able to process the book within a week of rigorous studying. I highly recommend this book.

    Barron's: (B, C, F+, H)
    I did not have a good experience with this book. It was significantly harder than the real tests, but the reason for this is that (in my opinion) its questions were more subjective and did not reflect the real test accurately. This book is certainly challenging and I overall I did gain from it, though I do not think this is Barron's best book.

    My score: 740 (one try)
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  • themaariclethemaaricle 25 replies6 threads Junior Member
    U.S. History:
    Direct hits (B, C, D)
    AMAZING. I used this book and AP US Crash course (which I read the day before) to review. I did take APUSH the previous year, and thus read AMSCO the year prior--but I didn't want to read ~700 pages of review material again. Use this book; it's the best alternative to AMSCO for those who don't want to/don't have time to read 700 pages of material. (It's about 300, but is a smaller book--not large like Barron's, PR, etc)
    Score: 800
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  • themaariclethemaaricle 25 replies6 threads Junior Member
    note: For practice tests, I used sparknotes as well.
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  • CHD2013CHD2013 2355 replies173 threads Senior Member
    Does it make sense to start this up again?
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  • saintsmdsaintsmd 22 replies0 threads New Member
    @CHD2013 Definitely. This hasn't been updated since 2011
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  • CHD2013CHD2013 2355 replies173 threads Senior Member
    Well, for math there’s a new book by Dr. Steve Warner. His books are great for the regular SAT. Also, Dr. Chung gets good reviews. Reviews on his books are very mixed for regular SATs, but I’m hoping their better for the subject tests. Anyone have any good ideas for Bio, US History or Spanish?
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  • imlikeabird2imlikeabird2 86 replies30 threads Junior Member
    US History I just used AMSCO & got 770 w/out specifically prepping for SAT since I was studying for AP.
    Bio I'm using Barron's, and it seems really good.
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