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Best SAT and ACT prep books?

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Start with one of the 8 free SAT practice tests at College Board's website or Khan (same tests).  They can be printed out.  #5-8 are actual prior administrations of the new SAT.  Since the test is still relatively new, test prep companies have not done an awesome job mimicking the real test yet, from what I have gathered.  (and FYI, at least my kid thinks that the reading sections on the Aug and Nov SAT were significantly harder than the prior administrations)


For ACT, there's the big red book of official practice tests.

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Start with the test company official books and do a real practice test, (as others have noted you can also download the practice SAT tests for free but depending on your cost per page to print the book is a good deal).


Until you know your child's strengths and weaknesses, you don't know what help you're looking for.


We ended up giving up on the SAT. For ACT, we used the ACT Red Book, Barron's ACT, and For the Love of ACT Science. For someone with a weakness in reading, Erica Meltzer's books are the gold standard. She has ACT and SAT versions.

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Agreeing with JanetC and Angie in VA on the ACT science book after doing practice tests. There is a free video series that you could use instead, but videos don't work as well with my oldest as a physical book. First practice test after using the science book linked above turned the science section into one of the stronger ones for Dd#1 vs her weakest. We'll see how well the lessons stay with her as she takes the actual test in April.


Khan Academy is the gold standard to start with for the SAT.

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  • 1 month later...

So, I just wanted to update after DD just got back her ACT scores. She used For Love of ACT Science as Science was her lowest subscore.

It was incredibly helpful for strategies on how to get the most questions right and get through the whole section with enough time to go back over tough ones. On stand-alone Science practice tests, she was doing very well. However, on full practice tests and on the actual ACT, the fatigue factor of that last section was too much to overcome. The Science section, while greatly improved from a year prior, remained her lowest subsection score.

(Note: we are very happy with her scores.) With my next kid, I will use the science book again (linked above), but also increase the full practice test sessions so she takes them more often (once per month for last 4-5 months) to replicate actual testing conditions and try to get past the fatigue factor.

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