23 Aug 2014
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SAT Prep Books: A Recommendation for Each Section

SAT Prep Books: A Recommendation for Each Section
The summer months are ideal for SAT prep.  Last year around this time, I wrote a review of my favorite general SAT Prep book: McGraw-Hill's SAT 2013.  While that and the College Board's The Official SAT Study Guide book are still my go-to general prep guides that I provide to new clients, I also recommend specialized secondary resources.  I have no business affiliation with the publishers of these books, I just find them to be very helpful.

First, SAT 2013 and The Official SAT Study Guide provide the best support I've seen in terms of essay support.  I make sure to use the lesson on the "weak thesis" vs. "strong thesis" in the former.  The latter provides succinct advice in avoiding the pitfalls of abstract writing and verbosity.

While the authors of SAT 2013 do provide good lessons and practice for the writing multiple choice, I find Erica Meltzer, with Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar,  to do so more efficiently.  Ms. Meltzer has managed to analyze these questions and in her book she draws out every question type, explains the rule behind it, and then offers many challenging practice questions (with answers provided).

When working on the math section, I prefer Mike McClenathan's PWN the SAT over SAT 2013.  Mr. McClenathan, like Ms. Meltzer, scrutinized his target section, developed lessons based on types of questions, and then shared knock-out strategies, all with an easy-going style.  This is my students' favorite of all the books.

If a student is in need of Critical Reading support, I use a combination of SAT 2013 and another of Ms. Meltzer's guide books, The Critical Reader.  The former describes how to approach the passages using active reading-hunting for the purpose and main idea.  Ms. Meltzer takes this one step further by pinpointing exactly where the main idea will be located in most of the passages.  She also breaks down all the question types and how to approach them.

In addition to supporting students on the reading passages, both publications include helpful lessons about tackling the sentence completions.  However, Ms. Meltzer provides practice questions that are both greater in number and clearer.  Vocabulary words, (and vital lessons about roots), are included in both books as well.

Best of luck with the SATs this fall.  My blog, which is linked to http://www.tanya-lesser.com/sat-and-hw-blog/ has further tips and links to helpful websites.

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