The Best SAT Prep Books To Achieve Higher Scores

Matt Larriva
Jul 28, 2023
Home » The Best SAT Prep Books To Achieve Higher Scores

As we ramp up for the busiest test season of the year, let’s remember to prep intelligently by using the best SAT prep books and full length practice tests.

Below, we’ll share top tips on choosing the best study materials for you and your goals. And we’ll follow that up with our top picks for practice materials and books to help you prepare for the SAT test.

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Choosing the best test prep books

Remember that what happens to be the best SAT prep book for you may not be as great of a selection for other students. When gathering practice study materials, customize your selections for what best suits you.

Some personal aspects to consider are:

  • where you are in your test prep journey
  • your strengths and weaknesses
  • and your goals

On top of that, test takers need to consider the study materials themselves.

Keep in mind that not all books will help you prep for the SAT.

Luckily, the best SAT test prep books will have a few key characteristics:

  • a few strategies
  • tons of practice problems
  • and an appropriate difficulty level

Essential Books To Prep for SAT Test

As you’re reading through the list of recommendations and test taking tips, you’ll notice we’ve included which test prep scenario each book is best suited for.

best sat books reading list
If you have read the selections carefully and are still unsure which practice materials to get, feel free to schedule a free consultation with us so that we can help you develop a more personalized study plan for your SAT test prep.

Improve my overall SAT score with a limited number of books to buy:

The Princeton Review’s SAT Premium Prep and/or The Princeton Review’s SAT Prep are excellent options for this. 

Both offer an overview of all the material on the test along with 4-paper and 5-electronic practice tests (in the premium version) and 4-paper and 2-electronic practice tests (in the regular version). 

It is an especially good option if you have not done any previous prep for the SAT.

Additional features of the Princeton Review SAT Premium Prep book:

  • An in – depth look at the redesigned SAT, including strategies for each section of the test.
  • A comprehensive review of all math and reading skills needed to do well on the exam.
  • Four full length practice tests with detailed explanations, so you can see where you missed mistakes and what you need to work on next.

Some similar options include:

To focus on taking practice tests rather than reviewing skills…

One of the best ways to improve your SAT score is by simply working through a book of practice tests, reviewing the answers, and self-analyzing.

Practice tests also help students master crucial skills like test-taking stamina and timing.

As such, taking a practice test that feels a little more like the actual SAT test can be beneficial in improving a student’s test scores in a number of ways.

If this is you, these two SAT test prep books are worth looking into:

Master practice tests that are more difficult than the actual SAT

As we covered in our article, Is the Real SAT Harder Than The Official Practice Tests, we learned several reasons why the practice tests are typically easier. (I suggest you check out that article next for some excellent practice test taking tips.)

So, if you’re looking for an additional challenge, Barron’s 7 SAT Practice Tests is an excellent choice.

In our experience, many students find this book to be of higher difficulty than the official SAT practice tests as well as the real SAT test itself.

Additional features of the Barron’s Test Prep 7 SAT Practice Tests book:

  • Simulate the experience of taking the real SAT exam
  • Build your understanding with practice materials tailored to the most recent version of the SAT exam
  • Features a timed test mode
  • Includes detailed answer explanations

Get 10 full length practice tests for the SAT that are completely free

Don’t forget that the College Board offers (at the time of writing this) 8 free full length practice tests to help you study for the SAT. They offer options on their website for both print and online testing.

Test takers can download the College Board’s official SAT practice tests using the links below (the College Board no longer offers tests 2 or 4, but they were replaced with practice tests 9 and 10):

The types of questions you’ll encounter on the practices tests will cover all the different sections of the SAT including the reading and writing sections and the math section.

Downloadable Full-Length Practice Tests to use in 3 month sat study plan
The College Board offers free SAT practice materials in the form of full length practice tests on their website.

Not all test prep books are created equally

While we do recommend the free practice tests linked just above, we suggest that you don’t rely too heavily on test prep books from The College Board.

For example, The Official SAT Study Guide (College Board).

Although this book seems to be the best source of realistic tests, our data indicates that they’re generally a bit easier than the actual test.

Focus on a specific subject using supplementary SAT prep books

If you have specific areas you need to work on these books are great to incorporate into your . You can use them on their own or in conjunction with any of the more generalized books we’ve already mentioned, like Princeton Review’s Premium Prep

Here are just a few reasons we recommend this book for students prepping for the SAT:

  • Videos that teach strategies for taking different sections of the SAT (online access)
  • Pacing tips to help you maximize your time
  • Tactics to help you avoid traps and master the SAT

Alternatively, you can work through the test prep books we will list below once you’ve finished one or more of the generalized books above.

Using this test taking strategy, you can continue to work on the areas that give you difficulty.

To improve my SAT scores on the Reading and Writing sections

For students who want to focus on the reading and writing portions of the SAT, we recommend both of Erica Meltzer’s books we’ve linked to below.

Some key benefits of these books include:

  • Demonstrates how to work through each problem type
  • Techniques for comprehending complex passages and identifying key information quickly and efficiently
  • Tips for improving your vocabulary and comprehension strategies
  • Includes a list of all the Reading questions from the Official College Board SAT Guide

To improve your score on the Math section

We recommend Dr. Steve Warner’s 28 SAT Math Lessons for students who need to sharpen their SAT math skills.

The collection of SAT prep books is suited for every level:

  • Beginner (for students scoring below 500)
  • Intermediate (for students scoring between 500 and 600)
  • Advanced (for students scoring above 600)

Additionally, we also recommend Neilson Phu’s The Collge Panda SAT Math Series and Princeton Review’s Math Workout for the SAT.

How To Get The Most Out Of The Best SAT Prep Books

First, don’t waste time reviewing the subject matter you’re already strong in.

Prep more efficiently by practicing the areas in which you are weakest. Use targeted materials like Reading and Writing Workout for the SAT or SAT Math Workbook to focus in on your weak spots.

This is a recurring theme among all those who are excellent in their fields: athletes, musicians, and test prep stars alike.

Though it’s satisfying to do an hour’s worth of math problems and get them all correct, there’s less learned.

Finally, your goal should be to have the actual SAT feel easy.

In other words, the best test taking strategy is to understand through over-preparation.

Test takers can accomplish this by choosing very challenging the best SAT prep books like Advanced Prep SAT Writing and 28 SAT Math Lessons (Advanced). Books which feature very challenging problems help you achieve a perfect score.

Okay, armed with any of the top SAT prep books mentioned above, we’re confident you’ll find your way to improved SAT scores.

ahbed happily studying for the sat with sat prep book

Here’s to a great school year of high scores!

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Learn how our expertise can help your student get into their dream school using a customized test prep program.

Schedule a consultation using the calendar below. Need answers now? Call us at 805-876-4687 now to discuss.