Best Practice Materials

Using the right practice materials is important, so I’m glad you’re here. Many test prep companies market their own practice tests, but the vast majority of them aren’t good. The best thing you can do is practice on real practice tests.

To someone who isn’t very familiar with the tests, this may be counterintuitive. The reading test is just a reading test, right? Wrong. Once you get to know exactly how the tests work, it is easy to see that there are no practice materials that have mimicked the SAT or the ACT perfectly. For example, I can easily tell if I’m taking a Kaplan or a Princeton review test, which, to my mind, is a clear indicator that those tests have not mimicked the SAT properly. 

The SAT in particular has a unique brand of logic, and the games it plays—and the subtleties with which it plays them—are extremely difficult to replicate.  

If you want to get good at anything, you must spend a lot of time doing that thing. You don’t become excellent at tennis by playing pingpong; similarly, you don’t get good at the SAT by getting good at Kaplan. It just doesn’t translate.

Here is exactly what I would buy:

SAT

  1. Official SAT Study Guide by the College Board (these are real SATs) OR print the tests at home.
  2. If you need help with the Writing and Language section, I would buy Erica Meltzer’s Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar.
  3. If you need help with the Reading section, I would buy Erica Meltzer’s Complete Guide to SAT Reading. It has very useful information about how to do each question type.

ACT

  1. Official ACT Prep Guide (these are real ACTs) OR print the tests at home.
  2. If you want help with the ACT English section, I would buy Erica Meltzer’s Ultimate Guide to ACT English.