As the SAT draws closer, it’s time to brush up all your skills related to the topics which are coming. Now many students think that they might not need any specific help resource for this, even I did at one point of time; but I realized later that it isn’t so, for all those who want really high SAT scores. SAT, tests nothing which you’ve learnt at school, or will learn in college; instead, as The Princeton Review says, ETS (the SAT writing company), simply tests you against their standards. So I’d really advice all you people out there to buy a good book. Here’s a buying guide to the books available here in the Indian market.
Basically, you’ll find three companies here whose books are available easily – Barron’s, Kaplan, and The Princeton Review. And within their materials, you’ll find two kinds of books on the SAT – one is the ‘Cracking the SAT’ type, which have a few sample papers, and loads of tips and tricks for the SAT; and the second is sample paper books. My advice is that you should buy the first type, because you’ll be able to loads of SAT papers for free online anyway – almost every prep company gives out one as a promotional trial. What you really need, is the information and statistics behind each section, and their tips. Here’s how the three line up:
Barron’s: The Indian publisher of Barron’s books prints them on really horrible paper. In fact, the MTNL telephone directory uses better quality recycled paper than Barron’s. It’s really going to be a strain reading from this, and you’d not want that because you want to give 4-hour long online SATs, don’t you? This is the cheapest of the three.
Kaplan: Although not so popular in India, Kaplan is pretty good, although it is the costliest of the lot. Also, it’s found in a lesser number of bookstores than the other two. Kaplan’s materials are pretty good, but then again it loses out badly on the cost factor. More on Kaplan in a future post.
The Princeton Review: TPR is widely available in India, and scores big because it’s cheap, and has good quality too, although not as good as Kaplan. TPR is aimed more at slightly above average students who want to improve their score, and students looking for near-perfect or a bit lesser scores might be disappointed. Still, the analysis and the techniques given are real good. Their tips WILL give you higher accuracy, however, turning up for the SAT without practicing their techniques WILL slow you down since their philosophy aims at a higher accuracy rate. TPR also gives online resources, for which you must register using the serial of your book, so if you’ve an old one, you might not be able to access that. Another major reason why you might want to buy TPR is that the girl on the cover is hot.
A word about the official SAT guide – it won’t let you in on as many tips as the other books, so maybe you shouldn’t take that. And when you DO buy a book, please, don’t keep in neat and clean, because it’s gonna be useless one year down the line for anyone. Feel free to jot down notes and attempt answers in it.