Table of Contents
A number of weeks ago, while perusing some online listings of SAT preparation books and materials, I stumbled across the SAT Secrets Study Guide prep book. As someone who’s spent more time than I like to admit walking up and down the aisles of Barnes and Noble, scouring the shelves for any study materials I could get my hands on, at first glance you might say that I am acting a bit obsessively. But getting into my first-choice college is not something I want to mess around with. People will put endless amounts of time into preparing for a job interview, a presentation, or even a date. Is the decision of which college to attend any less important or life-changing than the aforementioned situations?
Before this past year, I was a pretty chilled-out high school student like the rest of you. My weekends were typically spent going to the mall or football games with my friends, and I participated in a couple of after-school clubs and activities because I found them them fun, not just because I thought it would look good on a college application. I’m a pretty balanced person. But now that I’m a junior, I recognize how important it is to take my SAT studying very seriously, and I find that most of my friends feel the same way. And while it’s true that there was never really a point in studying for standardized tests in the past, since elementary- and middle-school standardized tests are more about evaluating the school district than the particular students, the SAT is a whole different ball game.
Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing
The merits and shortfalls of standardized testing have been debated endlessly since long before the “No Child Left Behind” act was passed into law over a decade ago. Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, public school children in grades 3-8 are required to undergo reading and math testing each year, to ensure that schools and teachers are providing an education which is considered up to par with the rest of the country.
On the one hand, supporters will argue that this form of standardized testing ensures that there are minimum standards upheld across state and regional lines, and that children from particular geographic areas will not be lacking in particular areas. This is particularly relevant for those students who will go on to attend college or university, where students from all over the country will converge under the same roof and be expected to learn from the same materials. On the other hand, opponents of “No Child Left Behind” cite a number of problems with the requirements set forth in this law, including the loss of state control over their own standards and tests; the fear that teachers will simply “teach to the test” and not encourage creative or independent thinking; and that funding for all of these new testing methods will have to come out of often already-limited school resources.
Regardless of where you fall and which side you support in this ongoing debate, the fact of the matter remains that at this moment in time, standardized tests are a reality for most children and young adults attending American schools. Love them or hate them, these tests are a requirement nonetheless. And when it comes time to complete your high school education, if you are interested in going on to attend college, there is no better time than to learn how to best prepare for what is potentially the biggest standardized test you will ever take: the SAT.
SAT Secrets Study Guide review
The SAT Secrets Study Guide: Your Key to Exam Success is a complete review package including practice tests, video tutorials, and topic reviews for the new SAT exam. This prep book study guide was published in November 2015, so it’s one of the most updated materials on the market today. The SATs are one place where an old edition won’t really help you, since the test itself keeps getting updated by the College Board and an old review book won’t be able to prepare you for the most current test, which comes into effect as of March 2016.
SAT Prep Book: SAT Secrets Study Guide runs through a review of the entire exam, plus specific in-depth sections on the evidence-based reading test, mathematics test, and the writing and language test. Each practice question comes together with a detailed explanation of the answer, allowing you to really learn from each question you answered incorrectly. The reading section focuses on topics including rhetoric, synthesis, reading passages, and sentence completions; the math section provides info on algebra, problem solving, and data analysis, among other things; and the writing and language section covers punctuation, text complexity, and expression of ideas. Each concept is explained in full detail, so students can really absorb and integrate the knowledge before flipping to the practice questions.
One aspect I particularly appreciated about this book is the fact that it’s written clearly and concisely. No academic jargon and needless big words here; just what you actually need to succeed. The charts at the beginning of each section are also helpful in regards to understanding the various subsections and percentages that each topic counts for.
Studying for the SAT test
There is no one-size-fits all approach in regards to SAT studying, and it is for this reason that many people will benefit from a combination of different books and techniques. The College Board official SAT study guide 2016 is another great book to check out, if for no other reason than the fact that it is published by the actual creators of the SAT themselves. This book clearly reflects all of the new changes to the 2016 exam update and helps you understand what has shifted and what has remained the same from years past.
The Kaplan new SAT premier 2016 is published by a company that has been preparing students for decades, and clearly knows what they are doing. The included diagnostic test really helped me isolate and understand the particular sections which required the most of my time and effort.
Through integrating these review books into my SAT studying, I realize just how much I’ve come to learn and understand, and feel ready to take on the SATs!