Maybe a course or private tutoring just isn’t in the budget, or maybe you want to give SAT or ACT test prep a try on your own first. There are so many materials out there, though. What to choose? The teachers at Advantage Point have compiled a list of the most powerful and affordable test prep materials available.
Believe it or not, we have tested nearly every test prep resource out there. In fact, our Cleveland location includes a large resource room stocked with almost every currently available SAT or ACT test prep product for our students to borrow. We’ve gone through all the books and received feedback from thousands of students. Here are our homegrown products and top picks for the ACT and SAT:
Our staff is composed of former instructors at both Kaplan and Princeton Review, but we all agreed that Princeton Review’s 1,296 ACT Practice Questions is next in our list of helpful ACT test prep products. If you buy most of the Kaplan or Princeton Review test prep books, you’ll quickly see that there are simply not enough practice problems wth decent explanations. Again, since the ACT is so predictable, the same questions types will always repeat. One sure path to ACT success is to practice, practice, practice with sample questions.
We love Kaplan’s SAT workbooks and recommend them to students all the time. Since the Kaplan folks devote an entire workbook to each SAT subject, the books provide a level of throughness not seen in other SAT prep materials. The writing workbook provides a comprehensive overview of the writing section, reviews all the necessary skills, presents powerful strategies, and includes a ton of practice material.
We love Kaplan’s SAT workbooks and recommend them to students all the time. Since the Kaplan folks devote an entire workbook to each SAT subject, the books provide a level of throughness not seen in other SAT prep materials. The crtical reading workbook provides a comprehensive overview of the critical reading section, reviews all the necessary skills, presents powerful strategies, and includes a ton of practice for both long and short reading comprehension as well as sentence completions.
We strongly recommend The Real ACT Prep Guide, put out by ACT, Inc. Because the ACT is so predictable, the best way to crack it is by taking and analyzing real ACT tests. The ACT Prep Guide is the only book out there that includes 5 previously administered ACT tests, complete with great answers and explanations.
Please note that this book does not provide particularly good test taking strategies (this would be a conflict of interest for the ACT folks!) or an adequate review of skills. However, our Boost Your Score! software, when combined with the Real ACT Prep Guide, will turn you into a lean, mean test-taking machine! Our software provides a comprehensive analysis of your strengths and weaknesses based on your performance on the real ACT tests in the ACT Prep Guide. Based on your performance on the official ACT tests, our software will provide you with skill-building worksheets, quizzes, and interactive tutorials to boost the exact skills that need improvement. To read more, see Devorah’s blog post here.
We strongly recommend The Official SAT Study Guide, put out by ETS, the SAT company. The SAT is an extremely predictable test, so one of the best ways to prepare is to take a whole bunch of official practice tests and analyze them. This book includes 10 real practice tests.
Please note that this book does not provide particularly good test taking strategies (this would be a conflict of interest for the SAT folks!) or an adequate review of skills. Therefore, while this book is a fantastic part of a do-it-yourself test prep program, you will need other materials as well. In addition, it is important to realize that while the official SATs in this book come with an answer key, there are no explanations along with those answers. This is the part that always gets us steamed up. After all, how can you learn from your performance on an official test if you don’t understand the mistakes you made? That’s why we recommend students buy a separate SAT solutions manual (see below), which provides answers and explanations to this version of the Official SAT Study Guide.