Best SAT Prep Books 2021

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There are a lot of “Best SAT Books” lists out there, but we think that most of them aren’t very good or thorough. As a result, I’ve tried to write a much better guide here.

In this article, you’ll learn which books are absolutely critical for your SAT prep, which books you can use to improve your individual section scores, and which books you’ll need if you’re aiming for a top score. More importantly,

you’ll learn how to use these SAT prep books for effective studying

.

This guide is pretty detailed, so here are reference links you can use to jump directly to different parts of the article. That said, I recommend reading the whole guide if you can!


What’s Better About This Guide to the Best SAT Books?

Since your SAT score is important for your

college applications

and you’ll likely spend a fair amount of time studying for the test, it’s important to get the right advice. Follow the wrong advice, and by the time you realize it’s wrong, it’ll probably be too late to improve your SAT score.

Ideally, you’ll vet any advice you get (including ours) before deciding on your

SAT prep plan

. Before you read each article in your research, be sure to ask yourself,

“Why should I trust this person online giving me SAT advice?”

Well, we answer that question right here. Here’s why this SAT prep books guide is far better than others you might find online:


  • I explain in detail why certain SAT books are good and what each book’s flaws are.

    You probably haven’t heard of some of these prep books; many are newer or less well known and thus aren’t featured as widely as books from more popular companies with larger marketing budgets. Most other SAT books guides just list a few books without context, but we tell you

    every

    critical piece of information you need to know before buying a book.


  • I believe it’s important to target your weaknesses and where you need to prep.

    I’ll point out SAT books that are best for training for specific sections and books that are better for low or high scorers. Other guides assume that all students are the same, but we tailor ours to a variety of test-taker levels.


  • I don’t get paid for promoting these SAT books over others.

    I don’t know any of these authors personally. In reality, I’ve studied dozens of SAT prep books, and these are the ones I’d use if I myself were prepping. Other sites, such as about.com and reviews.com, get paid to adjust their rankings or get kickbacks from publishers for mentioning their prep books.


  • I like to think that I know what I’m talking about.

    I scored

    two perfect scores on the SAT

    and have worked directly with thousands of students prepping for the SAT. I’ve helped test takers of all levels, from those scoring around 800 to those aiming for 1530+. Other writers don’t have the expertise needed to differentiate between good and bad SAT books, and end up recommending books as an afterthought.


One important disclaimer

: I’m co-founder of

PrepScholar, an online SAT/ACT prep program

. I believe we’ve built the best SAT prep program available. It

diagnoses your strengths and weaknesses

and gives you a structured all-in-one guide, combining the best aspects of the SAT books below so you can know

exactly

what to study at every point in your prep.

I want to stress that

you don’t need a prep program to do well on the SAT

. In fact, writing this guide could lose us some customers if you decide you don’t need a program after all. If, however, you’re

not

interested in managing 10 books and would rather have an integrated program that’s customized to your learning style,

check out our SAT prep program now

.

In either case,

if you’re serious about SAT prep, keep reading

.

study_studying.jpg


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, the program

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Who Is This SAT Prep Books Guide For?


First, this guide is for students who are serious about test prep.


You need to be motivated to get a high score

, and you need to be willing to put in hard work. Getting through these books will take dozens of hours simply because the SAT covers so much material.

If you plan to study just five hours or so,

your choice of book won’t make much difference

. In this case, it’s best to focus on taking an

official SAT practice test

and

reviewing your answers

. With such little prep time, your score won’t go up much in the end, so don’t expect any miracles.

Buying SAT prep books is the first and easiest step of SAT prep. You’ll need to put in

serious work

to actually get the score improvements you want, though. In the following sections, we explain the best ways to get the most out of each SAT book we recommend.


Secondly, this guide targets students who want to improve their scores by more than 100 points.

To consistently score this much higher on the SAT, you’ll need more than just tricks; you’ll need to understand the actual

content

being tested, that is, the underlying math concepts and grammar rules. Don’t bother with ineffective “tricks” that simply make you feel as though you’ve learned something when you actually haven’t.

If you’re only looking to improve your score by 50 points or so, however, it’s possible for you to do this just by

retaking the SAT

, especially if you’ve taken the test only once.


Lastly, to improve your score through SAT prep books, you’ll need to have an excellent study strategy.

It isn’t enough to just read a book cover to cover—you must focus on your weaknesses by brushing up on the content you struggle with the most.

Unfortunately, many students spend dozens of hours poring over one book after another without improving their SAT scores. Why? Because

they’re not understanding what their weaknesses are and aren’t focusing their time on their weaknesses

.

Without learning how to attack your weak spots, you won’t improve your SAT score! It might sound obvious, but it’s pretty hard for many students to do this well. I write a lot more about how to prep for the SAT in

my guide to a perfect SAT score

. It’s also how I designed

our online SAT program

to do all of the hard structural work for you.

Ultimately, if you’re serious about SAT score improvement and want to study with top prep books,

this is the guide for you

.

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The Best SAT Prep Books of 2021

For this guide, we’re going to divide our picks for the best SAT books into the following categories:


  • Critical Books:

    These are must-have SAT books for your prep, no matter your strengths or weaknesses.

  • Subject-Specific Books:

    These are by far the best books to use to better your SAT Reading, Math, and Writing skills.

  • Books for Top Scorers:

    These SAT prep books are guaranteed to push you over the top and help you get the best score you’re capable of achieving.

  • Books for Low Scorers and Low Motivation:

    If you only want to study for a few hours and improve your SAT score just slightly, these books are OK to use. Otherwise, avoid them.

  • The #1 Book to Avoid:

    The book I always used to recommend for the old version of the SAT is now squarely on the “Do Not Buy” list. Find out why!

Since the

format of the SAT changed so much in early 2016

,

I do

not

recommend using old SAT books to study for the current SAT

. Although older SAT practice tests

do

share some similarities with newer ones, you’ll waste a lot of time studying for the wrong topics and questions if you don’t know exactly

how the old SAT differs from the current SAT

.

Therefore, always use books that target the current SAT (that is, books published in 2016 or later), such as the ones listed below. You can also use

our online SAT prep program

to learn more about your specific weaknesses and how you can improve them.


Critical SAT Prep Books

These are the books I believe

all

test takers should have, regardless of their SAT scores or what skills they need to improve. This is an extremely high standard to meet—in fact,

there are only two books

out of dozens I’ve tested that qualify for this title. We introduce them below.

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Official SAT Practice Tests

We’ve written at length about the importance of official SAT practice questions. As you might know, the SAT is a bizarre exam that tests concepts in ways you’ve never seen in school; thus,

you must train with realistic questions

in order to accurately learn the patterns of the SAT.


Official SAT tests released by the College Board are the gold standard for practice questions.

At present, there are 10 official tests. These aren’t exactly a “prep book” in the standard sense, but altogether they make up quite an important resource not too different from a book.

Each test contains real questions given to actual students on previous administrations of the SAT. Without a doubt, the quality of official questions is far better than that of questions written by unofficial sources such as Kaplan or Barron’s.

Even better,

all official SAT practice tests are free

! You can download the tests as PDFs from the

College Board website

or

our complete guide to official SAT practice tests

. Make sure to print them out to get the realistic on-paper testing experience.

Pros

  • They’re the

    best set of SAT practice tests you can get anywhere, period

    . If you want to take a full-length practice test, these are absolutely the ones you should use first.

  • Each test is

    completely free

    to access and download.

  • Ten full-length practice tests mean a

    decent amount of studying

    . If each test takes about four hours to take and two hours to review, that’s a solid 60 hours of study time.


  • Answers and answer explanations are available

    for all questions.

Cons


  • Most students will find that the answer explanations aren’t that helpful for self-learning.

    Many explanations read like this: “A is wrong because A is wrong. B is correct for these reasons.” In other words, they don’t show you how to solve the question from step one. If you don’t know key strategies such as

    how to approach reading passages

    or

    how to plug in numbers for math problems

    , you’ll need a different resource to teach you.

  • The tests

    don’t offer any other instructional material

    . If you’re bad at algebra, you can’t rely on this resource alone. These tests are just that—practice tests and practice questions. Nothing else!

  • With only 10 practice tests available,

    there’s not enough practice material for more motivated students or those seeking a large score improvement

    . You’ll want to have one test to get used to the format and figure out your current score level, three to track your progress, one to take right before the actual test, and a couple to keep as backups. Unfortunately, you’ll need more practice questions to drill with than you can get from the leftover tests to get really good at the SAT (which is why

    our prep program has the equivalent of four more practice tests

    to help you improve your skills).

  • You have to

    print out the PDFs yourself to be able to work through them on paper

    . But in my opinion, this is better than having to buy the tests as hard copies (more on this later).

  • Taking practice tests without a system for learning SAT content isn’t going to improve your score, and the

    tests don’t provide any guidance on how to do this

    . Remember, mastering the SAT is as much about strategy as it is about content!

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SAT Prep Black Book, Second Edition

The

Black Book

by Mike and Patrick Barrett is the only other critical book I recommend for SAT prep. Unfortunately, the book itself isn’t sufficient, and even with the practice tests above you’ll likely need supplemental help (as I explain below).

What it

does

have, though, is so good that I believe

every student studying with SAT prep books should read it

.

What you’ll get from the

Black Book

is essentially a way to think about the SAT. But what does this mean exactly? Here are a few examples:

  • You’ll learn that the SAT is designed to be a

    predictable, standardized test

    . It needs to test basic concepts so that it can be administered nationwide to all students, but it also needs to be difficult, so it often distorts questions in a weird way.

  • It explains how

    every answer on the SAT must be unambiguously correct

    , or else test takers would complain that their incorrect answers are correct. Therefore, your main strategy should be to rule out all incorrect answer choices—this is especially

    important on SAT Reading

    .

The concepts in this book were things I understood intuitively back when I took the SAT and was

studying for a perfect score

. This resource influenced the way I think about

teaching our students at PrepScholar

. Overall, of all books on the market,

the

Black Book

aligns most closely with my personal philosophies on how to succeed on the SAT

.

Pros

  • It offers a

    very lucid take

    on the SAT. Its ideas will not only change your view on the SAT, but will also motivate you to work harder by showing you that any student can excel on it.

  • The book contains

    practical strategies

    that are more helpful than those in most other SAT books. Unlike other popular prep books, this one doesn’t rely on ineffective tricks.


  • It doesn’t assume all students are the same.

    Rather, the book offers a few alternatives for strategies, and then suggests you try them out to see which ones work best for you.

  • The book has a

    thorough set of answer walk-throughs for all Reading, Writing, and Math questions in the first four official SAT practice tests

    (included in the recommended “book” above). Each explanation clearly breaks down how to approach the question and get the right answer.

Cons


  • The book requires a ton of self-discipline and insight to be able to use it effectively.

    Because you’re

    learning from your mistakes

    with no one there to guide you, you must be self-driven and willing to experiment with different strategies to figure out which one works best for you. For some students, following a set of straight guidelines could be less confusing.


  • The fundamental content is lacking.

    If you’re weak in word problems, for example, this book alone will not help you master the subject. I believe in recognizing your weaknesses and then mastering that skill through

    focused prep and practice questions

    . While this book gives you a general approach to SAT prep, it doesn’t teach you the specific content you’ll need to know.

  • It’s

    fairly long

    (more than 550 pages!), with answer explanations that

    often feel repetitive

    ; however, that’s partly due to the structure of the SAT itself (remember, it’s a standardized test and therefore repetitive in how it tests certain skills).


  • I personally disagree with some of the key points in this book.

    For example, the writers believe you should aim to reach a certain skill level rather than aim for a particular score. By contrast, I believe that

    setting an SAT score goal

    is a useful motivator.

Once again,

I highly recommend these two resources for all students studying with (or only with) SAT prep books

. We cover most of the important concepts in the

Black Book

in our

SAT prep program

and also provide focused practice on individual skills.

As mentioned above, you’ll most likely need specific training on each subject to be able to shore up your weaknesses. Next, we provide you with key resources for individual subjects on the SAT.


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Best SAT Books by Subject

Beyond the critical SAT books covered above, you’ll likely need supplemental help on specific SAT sections. Here, we discuss the best prep books to use for SAT Reading, Math, and Writing. These books all follow my

SAT prep philosophy

:


  • Divide SAT content into skills

    , and then get focused training on those skills.
  • Use

    realistic, high-quality questions

    that prep you well for the SAT.

  • Cover

    only

    what you need to know

    —not advanced material that won’t be on the SAT.

Best SAT Reading Prep Book

In my experience with thousands of students,

SAT Reading is the most difficult section score to improve

. This section uses logical reasoning skills that aren’t as easily mastered as math concepts or grammar rules are. As a result, it’s extremely important to learn what kinds of questions will be asked and how you can approach them in a systematic way.

critical reader

My recommendation for best SAT Reading book is



The Critical Reader: The Complete Guide to SAT Reading, Fourth Edition



by Erica L. Meltzer. This book dissects the SAT Reading section by question type and skill, and does a great job teaching the core of what each question is asking. It also clearly explains how to work with a passage to arrive at the correct answer.

Of all writers,

Meltzer uses an approach to SAT Reading prep that aligns most closely with mine

: to

drill questions skill by skill so you can recognize patterns

.

Pros

  • It offers a

    great breakdown of the Reading section on a skill-by-skill level

    , as well as helpful strategies for every question type. This is the same

    approach we use in our own SAT prep program

    .

  • There are lots of

    high-quality, realistic passages and questions

    . Meltzer uses passages that are extremely similar to those you’ll see on the actual SAT.

  • The book has

    a helpful guide listing the questions on the SAT by skill

    so you can get even more focused practice.

Cons

  • The

    cost is somewhat high

    for a book that covers just one SAT section (about $30-$35).

  • Its writing style is

    dry and clinical

    like that of an academic textbook. It feels very formal and there are no images to break up the text. I personally prefer this style—cut out the fluff—but it can be too dense for some students. What this means is that

    you might not even read the book because you find it so boring

    .

  • Its lack of creative page layouts and lots of text on large pages can get

    tiresome

    —sort of like reading a phone book.

Best SAT Math Prep Book

My philosophy on SAT Math is that

the best way to significantly improve your Math score is to learn the underlying content

. Getting familiar with math questions and learning some strategies like

plugging in answer choices

can help you make some progress, but you’ll quickly run into a wall if you have gaps in your underlying math knowledge.

Your best bet, therefore, is to find a book that can

teach you math content in an organized way

and give you practice problems you can use to focus on individual skills. It should also

cater to your skill level

since math questions that are too hard or easy for you will be a waste of time.

satmath

For these reasons, I recommend


Steve Warner’s series of SAT Math books


. He’s written multiple SAT prep books for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students, and has a set of 240 SAT Math problems organized by topic and difficulty.

Pros


  • Lessons that teach math concepts are clear and helpful.

    They suggest ways to speed up your ability to solve questions and help you identify what a question is really asking.


  • Practice questions are all fairly realistic

    with good answer explanations.

  • Customizing your SAT Math practice by skill level is important. If you’re scoring below 600, there’s no reason to focus on attacking the hardest questions on the test.

    Warner’s books give you appropriate practice for your specific math level.

Cons

  • The books’ categories are

    too broad

    , making it difficult to find specific math concepts to practice. In contrast, our SAT program

    splits large topics into smaller subjects

    . In algebra, for example, we go over

    linear functions

    ,

    single-variable equations

    , and

    systems of equations

    . By focusing on each individual skill, you can more accurately pinpoint your weaknesses and drill them in your prep.

  • If you’re planning to make a large score improvement, you’ll need to buy multiple SAT Math books,

    which can end up costing you around $100

    . This is pretty pricey for basically pages of practice questions.


  • Math questions can get repetitive from book to book

    , as though they’re being generated from templates. You definitely need to supplement these books with real practice tests to get broader exposure to how the College Board phrases SAT Math questions.

  • The SAT has some

    creative, out-there math questions that I don’t see covered well in Warner’s books

    .

If you’re really struggling with SAT Math at a basic level (say, scoring 500 and below), I recommend supplementing your work with

Khan Academy

‘s math modules. This website is a free program that provides an engaging way to train your most basic skills. I believe the core Khan Academy program has better instruction than its

SAT prep program

, even though it’s not focused on the SAT.

Best SAT Writing Prep Book

The best way to excel at SAT Writing is to

understand the grammar rules and how they appear on the test

. You also need to answer a lot of high-quality practice questions to ensure you learn the patterns of the SAT (that’s

how we designed our online SAT program to teach you grammar

!).

SAT grammar

Once again, I’m returning to

Erica L. Meltzer

for her

SAT grammar books

. Meltzer’s fantastic at distilling all the rules of English grammar into what you need to know for the SAT; you won’t learn any arcane grammar concepts not on the SAT. For the rules that

are

tested, Meltzer presents them clearly and covers their foundations in case you’ve forgotten grammar rules learned in school.

Unlike her single prep book covering SAT Reading, Meltzer has

two books for SAT Writing

:


Neither book is sufficient on its own, which is a big drawback.

The first one doesn’t have enough SAT Writing questions to let you really drill grammar rules. Meanwhile, the second one doesn’t teach grammar rules, and questions aren’t organized by rule. These problems can complicate studying for students, but I still believe these are the best SAT Writing books out there.

Pros

  • Each book uses a

    clear writing style

    and cleanly articulates SAT grammar rules.

  • The books cover

    only

    what you need to know for SAT Writing and

    omit extraneous material

    . A lot of SAT grammar books suffer from including too many esoteric rules that aren’t tested on the SAT.

  • The Writing practice questions are all

    fairly realistic

    .

Cons


  • There’s no guidance on study strategy.

    The books offer a nice breakdown of the SAT, but you don’t get instruction on

    how

    to use each book to best maximize your Writing score.
  • Like other SAT resources,

    the price for each book is a bit high—about $30

    . They have good content, but I believe Meltzer could get a lot more customers by lowering her prices.


  • I’d prefer a more unified, skill-based approach in a single book.

    Ideally, you’d practice single grammar rules with practice questions and then bring them all together in a full-length practice test. At PrepScholar, we believe in a unified, seamless experience, and

    integrate test content, customization, and feedback into a single package

    .


Bonus: Looking for the very best guides to every SAT section?

Check out our top guides for every single section of the SAT. Choose the score level you’re aiming for:


800 Score Guides:


SAT Reading

|

SAT Writing

|

SAT Math

|

SAT Essay

Choose these guides if you’re scoring a 600 or above on a section, and you want to get the highest SAT score possible.


600 Score Guides:


SAT Reading

|

SAT Writing

|

SAT Math

|

SAT Essay

Choose these guides if you’re scoring below a 600 on a section, and you want to boost your score to at least a 600 level.

These are the very best guides available on boosting your SAT score, section by section. They’re written by Harvard grads and perfect SAT scorers. Don’t disappoint yourself—read these guides and improve your score today.


Best Books for Top SAT Scorers

As you can see, you already have a lot to work on.

With 10 full-length practice tests and more than five SAT books at your disposal, you’ll be studying for well over 50 hours.

By using the guidelines we recommend, you can make huge improvements in your score.

barron

If you still need extra practice, though, I recommend


Barron’s SAT prep books

,

especially if you want a perfect or near-perfect score. I remember using these books for my

own SAT prep in high school

. While their questions aren’t as good as those in official SAT practice tests,

they’re a solid backup source to use when you finish all the other SAT prep books above

.

Pros

  • Each book offers

    a lot of content

    —thousands of practice questions and detailed lessons with many examples.

  • The books are

    extremely thorough

    , covering every nook and cranny of what you need to know for the SAT. You can be confident that little is tested outside of what’s in these books.

Cons

  • The topics can get too difficult for what you need to know on the SAT.

    Some questions get unrealistically hard

    in a way you’d never see on the actual test. If you’re not an SAT expert yet, you won’t be able to detect when this happens and might end up wasting time studying irrelevant concepts.

  • The books

    lack clear direction

    on what’s important and what’s not for the SAT. For example, a grammar rule that appears once every SAT gets the same number of pages as a grammar rule that appears eight times on the SAT. Specifically, algebra is really important but gets far too little treatment.

    These are definitely

    not

    the books to use if you have limited time to study for the SAT.


  • Not all SAT strategies are top notch.

    For example, I have mixed feelings about the SAT Reading passage strategies detailed in these books.


Best All-in-One Book for Less Motivated Low Scorers

So far my recommendations have been primarily for the super ambitious students who really want to improve their SAT scores. But I know that there are some students who just want to put in a few hours of prep, get exposure to the test, and then take the SAT and forget about it.

I personally believe that for most test takers,

raising your SAT score is the

best way to improve your chances of college admission




. If you don’t want to put in hours of time to raise your score, I strongly suggest questioning your approach to test prep.

kaplansat-1

Still, some of you either won’t have the time or motivation to prep better. If you’re one of those just hoping to get the SAT over with, I recommend using

Kaplan’s


SAT Prep Plus 2021



. It’s an all-in-one book that covers the three sections and has a wide assortment of practice questions and tests.


The book doesn’t excel at any of what it’s doing

, but it addresses the most important bases for SAT prep. It also has more reasonable content than other all-in-one SAT books like the one by The Princeton Review.


The truth is, I don’t love this book.

I don’t even really like it. I don’t recommend it if you actually want to improve your score and are willing to put in the study time needed to do so. However, if you just want a single resource that’s easily digestible and does an OK job teaching you the basics, this book is the best one out there.

Pros

  • It covers all three SAT sections and contains

    five full-length practice tests

    .

  • At about $25, it’s

    quite affordable

    for the breadth of SAT content it covers.

  • The book offers some

    basic test-taking strategies

    that can get you a few easy points if you’re new to standardized testing and often feel like you have no idea what to do.

Cons


  • Practice questions tend to be unrealistic

    —the book doesn’t phrase questions the way the SAT would and doesn’t always test concepts correctly. In addition, the questions don’t trick you in the same ways the real test does.


  • Answers and other materials have a lot of errors

    , indicating poor quality control. You’ll probably notice many of these mistakes yourself, but if you

    don’t

    catch them you’ll learn the wrong facts and strategies.


  • The strategies are not super helpful


    once you move past a 600 score in a section.

    To improve beyond this point, you’ll need to

    master specific content

    and develop customized strategies based on your weaknesses.


Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points?

We’ve written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:






Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points




The #1 SAT Prep Book to

AVOID

Buying

Unlike every other section in this guide, I’m making one specific recommendation

against

buying an SAT book. This is particularly unusual because, prior to 2015, this was the #1 SAT prep book to get!

body_satstudyguide2020

So what book is it? None other than



The Official SAT Study Guide, 2020 Edition


.

It feels really weird to recommend


not


buying this book because, for years and years, this was

the

book to use to study for the SAT. This guide used to contain 10 full-length practice tests you could only get by buying the book.

Here’s the problem today, though:


everything in this book is available for free online


. You just go to the College Board website and download PDFs for every section of the book. (The practice tests contained in it are my #1 recommendation at the beginning of this article.)

So why release this guide for free? This is all part of the College Board’s move to make the SAT

more accessible

to test takers and to

reduce educational inequality

.

Such an endeavor is admirable, and I support them—but it also means that


The Official SAT Study Guide

is now a waste of money

. What’s more, the material outside the practice tests is superficial and overall unhelpful (we’ve written far better guides on the

Reading

,

Math

, and

Writing

sections, all of which are available on our blog for free).

Pros

  • The guide has

    eight official SAT practice tests pre-printed for you

    , so you don’t need to print them out yourself.

  • It can be ripped apart for fire kindling or birdcage lining.

Cons

  • Everything in this guide is

    available for free through the College Board website

    (which actually has two additional practice tests not in this book).

  • The book

    doesn’t provide any instructional material

    , so don’t expect to actually learn skills and content here. If you’re bad at algebra, you can’t rely on this book alone. Most test takers buy it for the tests, and the College Board knows this.

  • Taking practice tests without a system for learning

    isn’t going to improve your score

    , and the book doesn’t provide any guidance on how to do this.


Other Free Resources to Help You Plan Your SAT Prep

More important than buying SAT books is

knowing how to use them effectively

. The more prep books you have, the more important it is to build a unified study system. We’ve written thorough guides to help guide you through your SAT studies.

Before you buy any books, though,

take a realistic SAT practice test

to assess what areas you’re weak in. Check out

our guide on how to set up a diagnostic practice test

if you aren’t sure where to start.

After taking this first practice test, you’ll need to go over your results in detail to

pinpoint your weaknesses

; this will help you determine

where you should spend your prep time and money

. For instance, if you did fine on the Reading and Writing sections but bombed Math, you’ll want to focus your prep on Math and potentially invest in the SAT Math books recommended above.

It’s also important to


set a target SAT score


so you know what your end goal is for your SAT prep. Students aiming for around 1200 (

600 on Math

and

600 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

) should use different strategies and prep books than students shooting for 1600. If you’re aiming for a top score, check out

my comprehensive guide detailing how I got a perfect SAT score

.

Finally, you’ll need to


build a study plan


that works well with your schedule and lets you figure out

the best time to take the SAT

. We offer a free guide explaining the

five essential components of an SAT study program guaranteed to improve your score by 160+ points

.


body_guidanceneeded.jpg


Use these free resources to guide yourself through the maze that is SAT prep.

(

FutUndBeidl

/Flickr)


Is Using SAT Prep Books the Best Option for You?

There are a lot of prep methods available, and book studying is just one of them. To explore all our options, let’s quickly examine whether using SAT prep books is right for you.

Students who choose to study for the SAT with books do so for different reasons. Some use books because they’re cheaper than other options like prep programs and

tutors

. That said, the best SAT books can get expensive:

if you buy all top books, you’ll be spending around $200

. This is close to the cost of our

online SAT prep program

, which goes beyond books by guiding your studies step by step and motivating you to put in study time.

Other students use SAT prep books because they’re self-motivated and like teaching themselves. If this isn’t you,

books can be a disappointing way for you to spend your time prepping

. Without a solid study strategy, you can put in dozens of hours yet make zero improvement since you’re not understanding your weaknesses and how to fix them.

By far one of the most important ways to improve your SAT score is to


study and learn from your mistakes


. If you can’t do this reliably, you’ll need extra help to get you started. We’ve written a free guide

comparing various methods of SAT prep

. Download this to see which methods are best for you.


body_methodsprep

Recap: The Best SAT Book in Every Category

Here’s our shortlist of the best SAT prep books for 2020-2021, complete with links:


Best Critical SAT Books


Best SAT Subject-Specific Books


Best SAT Books for Top Scorers


Best SAT Book for Low Scorers and Low Motivation

We’ve given you an excellent array of SAT books to choose from. Now, it’s time to start looking for the ones you think will help you the most and get studying!


Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or more?

We’ve put our best advice into a single guide. These are the 5 strategies you MUST be using to have a shot at improving your score.

Download this free SAT guide now:




What’s Next?


Understanding your SAT target score is critical for success.

Read

our step-by-step guide to help you figure out what exact SAT score you need to aim for

on test day.


Want to score a super high SAT score?

Get all the tips and expert advice you need in

my guide to getting a perfect SAT score

.


Looking for additional SAT prep help?

Check out our picks for the

top SAT prep websites

and the

top SAT apps

you should be using in your studies.

——


Check out our industry-leading online SAT program

. We’ve designed it to cover all the advantages of books and tutors at an affordable price. Featuring in-depth strategy lessons and thousands of practice questions, we have the content from the leading books. We include the critical

Official SAT Study Guide

above.

Beyond that, the program

acts like your personal tutor

. It guides you step-by-step through what you should be working on at every moment to best improve your score. It

customizes to your strengths and weaknesses

and then gives you focused practice so you learn the patterns on the SAT. Furthermore, it motivates you to study so that you put in enough time.

There’s a 160-point guarantee—if you don’t

improve your score by 160 points

, you get all your money back.






Improve Your SAT Score by 160+ Points, Guaranteed




These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.