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List of the best review books


Replies to: List of the best review books

  • az1698az1698 1800 replies100 threads Senior Member
    barons chem tests are not like real tests?
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  • RuiL514RuiL514 106 replies35 threads Junior Member
    Is the Kaplan book good for me if just want to use it to prepare for my Spanish 4 Honors class? (Everyone says that class is brutal) Does that book teach most of the basics or does it go more into advanced material?
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  • az1698az1698 1800 replies100 threads Senior Member
    Lets keep this bumped up or get this posted, It will get rid of a ton of new threads.
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  • tick629tick629 28 replies1 threads New Member
    can someone make a consolidated list of the best per subject?
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  • az1698az1698 1800 replies100 threads Senior Member
    Here tick:


    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:

    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, G)
    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'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.
    A lot of people at my school use this book. However most people in general do not take the APUSH test because it is mad long.

    - 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.

    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.

    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.

    Biology E/M: (this should be combined)

    - Princeton Review (A, C, D) Rec 2: (B, C, D, F, G) Rec 3: (me: A, B, C, D)
    Recommender's score (by 3+ people) 730, 800, 800
    Yeah I didn't listen to my guy friends and screwed this book over. Shouldn't have done that. They both got 800s and said this is the only book you need.


    - Barron's (B, E) Rec 2: (A, C)
    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.

    - 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.


    - 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:


    - 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...)

    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:
    Cho Insook's and the the other one with the tape ::forgetting::
    From experience if you're fluent, listening is a breeze. Just remember to jot a few notes down so you don't forget. There are actually only two and so... use them both?
    ACG for both books
    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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  • tick629tick629 28 replies1 threads New Member
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  • StevenHiltonStevenHilton 77 replies24 threads Junior Member
    So nobody knows a good book for GERMAN ??
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  • jamesfordjamesford 3336 replies111 threads Senior Member
    World history:
    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.

    Math II:
    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 misc. topics (probability, sets, unions, etc.) that showed up on the real test.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 27022 replies175 threads Senior Member
    no Lit suggestions on this thread?
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  • willigetinwilligetin 18 replies1 threads New Member
    princeton review for biology M.....SUCKS!!!!!
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  • trjohnson1trjohnson1 250 replies43 threads Junior Member
    I'm with bluebayou, does no one have a suggestion for a good Literature prep book?
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  • melis19melis19 41 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I didn't enjoy the Princeton Review book for Literature for several reasons. I'm not a big fan of the Princeton Review in general.

    The blue book is generally thought as the best for anything but is limiting to do just that. I'm getting Barron's book for literature tomorrow and I have liked those books in the past.
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  • han607han607 20 replies3 threads New Member
    Barrons Biology E (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. (800)
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  • Lu JinnyLu Jinny 123 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Aren't there any Literature recommendations yet? I'd like to contribute, then.

    - 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 pair it with...

    - 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.

    My Literature score was 780.

    I didn't have access to the Barron's book, so please don't think that I'm not recommending it based on a negative experience with it.
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  • lolcats4lolcats4 3147 replies56 threads Senior Member
    Interesting...on PR I got a 670 on my first test, and on my first Kaplan test I got a 780...yet you say Kaplan is harder.

    By far the best Lit book is Barron's - even though I only got a 620 on the diagnostic, I pulled it up to a 710 after doing only 1 review chapter (I think the diagnostic might be designed to be harder than the other practice tests?)

    Why Barron's is great:

    -Comprehensive Literature study. If you've never done any literature study before then the lessons in the book will overprepare you for the test. I found them and the dozens of selections in the review chapters really engaging and interesting.

    -There are like 30 practice questions per review chapter. That's a whole test's worth every two chapters!!

    -Comprehensive chapter review: much better than the pitiful 4-5 question review at the end of a PR of Kaplan book. Each chapter review suggests new test taking strategies, provides more MC questions, as well as other types of questions to ensure you learned the material. The last part of each chapter review has you make your own test questions based on parts in certain passages. This brilliant approach helps you solve the tougher questions because you know what to look for!

    -Two diagnostic tests: One at the start to tell you what your problem areas are (if you want you can skip to those chapters, but frankly that's a waste of the rest of the book imo), and one for when you finish all the chapters so you can see where you've improved and where you still need work.

    -SEVEN Practice tests. That makes a total of nine tests! More than you'll find in any book.

    -Focused practice sets: as if there weren't enough practice problems already, the author provides 3 addition practice sets. Each set has 5 passages (2 prose, 2 poetry, and 1 drama) and then a total of 35 questions - 7 on each passage, divided into the "seven literary elements" that form the book's chapters. So if you need more practice on "tone" for example, you can go to a practice set, read the 5 passages, and answer the 5 questions on tone. If you need more tone practice, go to the other practice sets.

    -A bonus section on essay writing

    The book is the best review book I've ever come across for ANY subject. It goes above and beyond in every way possible, with everything you need. If I don't get an 800 it will not be because I wasn't prepared.

    Of course, Barron's may not be for everyone. The tests are tough, and if you're in a hurry to prepare the review will be slow. The sooner you start the better.

    I will update this thread with my score so we can see how good Barron's really was.
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  • TTwhiteTTwhite 684 replies66 threads Member
    In my own experience:
    US history: dont do PR. I took apush and SAT II a year later, and it was not a very good review (IMO)... AMSCO is much better (of course).

    PR was OK for math's. I didn't do amazing on them.
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  • rob22rob22 190 replies17 threads Junior Member
    Chemistry: Barron's worked very well. There was some unneccessary 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. Score: 790 (On practice tests I got 730s-760s)

    Math II: Princeton Review was not very good...at all. I would not recommend it. Go Barron's. It's harder, but good preparation. Score: 800.
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  • Ryan1119Ryan1119 506 replies5 threads Member
    What's the lastest edition of the AMSCO's USH? Is it still that one issued in 2006?
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  • schoolsearchingschoolsearching 365 replies65 threads Member
    yeh i was wondering too ^, i looked for AMSCO US Hist at my local Barnes & Noble and Borders and neither had AMSCO. Do you have to buy it online now?
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  • voodoo_santavoodoo_santa 806 replies91 threads Member
    for those of you who have used the princeton review book to study for the biology sat2...how long did it take it? and how many times did you read through the book?
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