Top 10 Best SAT Prep Books for Students Who Self-Study

Private SAT tutors charge as much as $2,760. Standard prep courses cost around $599 to $999. Unless you have the cash or the time to spare, self-studying is your best choice.

Well, why not? You can study at your own pace, when and wherever you want, on the bus and even in the bathroom!

If you have the discipline to stick to your study plan, then all you need is the best SAT prep book you can get. Luckily, we’ve got that covered. Here are the ten best SAT prep books out there:


best SAT prep book


1. Official SAT Study Guide with DVD

From the test makers themselves, this guide is the blue book for SAT prep. Sure, it fails to offer explanations together with answers to questions. It also doesn’t reveal much strategy to ace the test, but it’s still the book to buy. It has the best practice test available and you’ll get an idea on how actual test questions are worded. It’s also pretty reliable in predicting how much you’ll score on the actual test. So if you’re buying just one guide, make it this one.



2. Boot Camp For Your Brain: A No-nonsense Guide to the SAT I, Third Edition

This book aims to challenge your brain and it actually works. It’s riddled with memorization techniques, SAT info’s and useful test-taking tips. There are also motivational tools like mnemonic techniques and vocabulary cartoons, and points are repeated deliberately throughout the book to help you remember. Although the writing style is direct and creative, some traditional prep book readers might find the format a bit hard to follow.



3. Barron’s SAT 2400

The 2400 in this guide’s title is there for a reason: it’s for students who want the perfect SAT score. The book focuses on the hardest and most challenging materials of the SAT and doesn’t waste time on the easy ones. It’s also got effective learning and test-taking techniques like the reading rule of third, grammar counting and other very original strategies. With its high-level of difficulty, this book is for long-term studying. Quite a bummer if you’re pressed for time.



4. Grubber’s Complete SAT Guide

This book is hands down, the best SAT prep book ever. It combines core knowledge of the SAT with excellent techniques to test-taking, and not just for the SAT. Where other guides teach you tricks, this book teaches you critical thinking strategies. It has a great math content review and essay writing section with very helpful grammar tips. There are also five full-length practice tests to check your readiness for the exam. On top of that, the book is written in a clear, highly organized style, making it a favorite among students and SAT tutors.



5. Cracking the SAT with 8 Practice Tests

The real value of this Princeton Review book is in providing useful techniques and strategies in taking the test. It will teach you how to weed out the wrong choices from SAT questions, even the most difficult ones. It also explains how SAT questions are designed to trick test-takers into picking the wrong answers and offers tips on avoiding these traps. The book could have been more concise with the introduction and explanations though, as it’s quite wordy.



6. SAT for Dummies with CD

The most laid-back SAT guide ever, this book does not only give you creative tips in answering the tough questions, it also gives advice on how to reduce and overcome stress before and during the actual SAT. It’s also got seven practice tests included and 500 flashcards to improve your vocabulary. But because of the easy vibe of the book, it’s not recommended for the advanced, hardcore test prep readers.



7.  Barron’s SAT

This straightforward, no-nonsense guide is the most instructive SAT prep book in the list. Not only does it have great strategies and study advice, it’s also very thorough. And it’s got the best reading passages in terms of language use and structure. Although the guide may not have all the trimmings of the other prep books, it’s very reliable and gets the job done.



8. Tutor Ted’s Guide to the SAT

The book’s friendly, conversational tone actually makes studying for the SAT fun! There are 700 plus problems and exercises, with explanations about concepts and answers that’s clear and concise. This book is funny, highly readable and interesting so students that are easily bored with standard prep books are likely to enjoy this one. It might be a good idea to supplement this one with the other books in this list though.



9. McGraw-Hill’s SAT, 2014 Edition

Easily the best SAT prep book on improving your reasoning skills for the test, this guide is a must-buy. You will learn how to approach questions logically: mapping, analyzing, finding patterns, simplifying and considering alternatives to problems. While it comes with six full-length practice tests, it’s also got added trimmings: access to online coaching videos and a test-planning app to customize your study schedule.



10. Kaplan’s SAT 2014 Premier with 8 Practice Tests and DVD

Another great SAT prep book, this guide essentially covers the usual: SAT basics, tips and strategies, lots of practice questions and in-depth explanation of answers. There’s also the full-length practice test and even one online test simulation of the computer-based testing. If you just need to brush up on your test-taking skills and knowledge of the SAT contents, then this book might be perfect. It’s a huge book however, and some might find it a bit overloaded with resources.

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