After years of denial the SAT finally admitted what we’ve known for a long time: preparation for the SAT improves scores. The SAT found that using the online Khan Academy official practice tests for six to eight hours results in an average 90 point increase and using it for 20 hours can result in a 115 point increase! Clearly practice is important! Make sure that your practice is worthwhile by using only high quality material.
The quality of SAT test preparation books is much higher than that of ACT test preparation books. The reason behind this is that the SAT is much more popular in areas – large cities on the East and West Coast of the United States – where parents can afford to invest significantly more money in test preparation for their students. As a result, the market for creating high quality SAT test prep questions is far more competitive than it is for ACT test prep questions. With more competition comes higher quality. So, if you are looking for test prep materials for the SAT, you will find a lot out there, not all of which is good solid material.
I have worked with a number of books over the years for the SAT: Princeton Review, Barron’s, Kaplan, Gruber’s and others. Overall, these are all of pretty good quality to use for practice for the SAT and PSAT. However, the very best book to use is “The Official SAT Study Guide” from the College Board. You can find it here:
Why is this? Because it has 4 previously used SAT tests. Even though it has very little in terms of strategy, it does have a decent content review for the Math and Writing sections. Most importantly, it will give you the best idea of what you will find on the actual SAT because it comes right from the makers of the test.