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Best SAT Prep Books [2022 Expert Review] 

 January 31, 2022

By  Chuky Ofoegbu

books on a table

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We've purchased and spent weeks reviewing several SAT books on the market, to help you find the best SAT prep book for your needs. 

Despite the adoption of test-optional requirements for college admissions, most high school students still opt to take the SAT before graduating. 

And in order to obtain high SAT scores and be competitive for college admissions, students need to utilize the right resources such as SAT prep books and prep courses.

SAT Prep Books We Recommend

Best Overall: Princeton Review SAT Premium Prep, 2022

Best for Practice Tests: The Princeton Review 10 Practice Tests for the SAT, 2022

Best for SAT Strategies and Techniques: SAT Prep Black Book

Why Trust Our  SAT Prep Book Ratings?

Our team of college admissions specialists have over ten years experience helping students prepare for the SAT, through one-on-one tutoring, directing courses, and offering college advice as needed. In addition, our SAT experts scored in the top 98th percentile of students when they took the test themselves!

How we Picked the best SAT Prep Books

Don’t fret - at Sojourning Scholar, we’ve compiled a list of the best SAT prep books for 2022 based on the following criteria:

  • Difficulty of Questions
    • Are the questions very close to what you’ll see on the real SAT? Are they harder than average or are they too easy?
  • Online Resources
    • What other online resources come with the book? (i.e., online practice questions, study schedules, videos, drills)
  • Quantity 
    • How many practice tests are there? How many total questions are in the test bank?
    • Sometimes more is better and when it comes to SAT practice questions, that’s a major factor in our ranking system
  • Strategies
    • Does the book only contain test questions or are there techniques and strategies explained? You can't practice the questions without knowing the right way to approach them.

Based on the criteria above, we rated the SAT prep books available for 2022 and selected the top one for the following categories:

Best Overall SAT Prep Book: Princeton Review SAT Premium Prep, 2022

In the race for the Best SAT Prep Book 2022, The Princeton Review’s SAT Premium Prep is the clear winner. The Princeton Review is known for developing challenging prep materials for the GRE and ACT, and this also holds true for the SAT. 

Students who get this prep book will experience higher than average difficulty questions (typically harder than what comes up on the actual SAT). This gets them over-prepared in a way that builds confidence on test day. 

The goal is for students to  finish this book feeling confident that all the resources will help them succeed. With 9 full-length practice tests, section drills, score reports, videos, and college data online, this book is the best bang for your buck. 

One caveat is that students who think they can just skim this book without putting in all their effort will not succeed. For those students who are performing below average in school, this book probably isn't a good fit because the explanations are geared towards high-achievers or those who are already advanced academically.

Difficulty

Online Resources

Quantity

Strategies

4.5

5

5

5


Pros:

  • High difficulty questions  
  • 9 Practice Tests (4 in the book and 5 online)
  • Drills for each test section (Reading, Writing and Language, and Math)
  • Detailed online score reports for all practice tests
  • Additional online resources:
    • Videos geared towards both test-taking strategies and commonly tested topics
    • Access to college and university rankings, college admissions advice, and financial aid tips

Cons:

  • Can be overwhelming 
  • Not much improvement from 2021 - Many customers have written that the difference between Princeton’s 2021 and 2022 book is slight, with only one extra test added for the new year.

Most Practice Tests: The Princeton Review 10 Practice Tests for the SAT, 2022

If you’re looking for a book that includes the most full-length practice tests, this is the SAT prep book for you. In our opinion. This 10-test practice book is best to use as a supplement for another technique/strategy-based book. We recommend this for the students who need to just sit down and focus on studying in the same way the test will really be administered.

Difficulty

Online Resources

Quantity

Strategies

5

0

5

4


Pros:

  • 10 full-length practice tests included in the book with detailed answer explanations
  • Over 1,500 questions and an experimental section
  • Self-scoring reports
  • Questions are realistic - not too difficult, not too easy compared to the real SAT

Cons:

  • No online resources - If you’re looking to just practice full-length tests to prepare, then this might not be a problem. However, if you want extra drills and exercises, this book is not for you.
  • The newer (2023) version will be released in May 2022
  • *There are numerous accounts online of an incorrect answer key for the first practice test

Best Strategies and Techniques: SAT Prep Black Book

The SAT Prep Black Book isn’t associated with a large company like The Princeton Review, Kaplan, or Barron’s. Instead, Mike Barrett developed this prep book to use strategies that are different and potentially more effective.

Difficulty

Online Resources

Quantity

Strategies

5

0

4

5


Pros:

  • Real College Board Questions - As a private SAT tutor, Mike Barret ensures that his book includes easy-to-follow walkthroughs for every question in 4 of the College Board official SAT practice tests
  • Designed for all levels - The Black Book provides techniques that work for everyone. Whether you are a straight-A student looking to get into the Ivy Leagues or a football player who needs to improve their total SAT score by 50 points to get their scholarship, this book will help you achieve your goals.
  • Includes a wide variety of information, from content knowledge to test-taking skills, all of which help students get in the minds of the test-makers. Here are some of the unique topics covered:
    • Why every SAT question can only have one valid answer
    • What you're supposed to do when the SAT asks you about an author's attitude…
    • Why the "order of difficulty" doesn't exist…
    • Why every real SAT question can potentially be answered in under 30 seconds…

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include the actual College Board tests - The four tests that are walked through in the Black Book are available for free on the College Board website, but they are not included as a hard copy in this book
  • A lot of reading - this book is supposed to give you the strategies and techniques to master the test, but some students learn better by just doing practice problems

Honorable Mentions

To round up our list of Best SAT Prep Books 2022, we’ll include a couple of honorable mentions. These are the books that were “good” but not “great” enough to make it on the best lists.

Barron's SAT Study Guide Premium, 2021-2022

  • For those students who are starting with little to no experience with the SAT, or those who don't typically perform well in school, the Barron's SAT Study Guide Premium is a good fit because it sticks to the basics. 
  • While some of the questions might not be quite as hard as those created by College Board, this is a great book for someone who is starting low and aiming for average.
  • This book has 4 full-length practice tests in the book and 2 online. In addition, Barron’s has some extra online resources to help you prep, like vocab flashcards and automatic scoring
  • A couple of things we didn’t like about this book were the Barron's way of wording for questions doesn't perfectly align with the way the College Board writes and the questions are generally low and moderate difficulty. The high-difficulty SAT questions are not accurately depicted

Kaplan SAT Prep Plus 2022

  • While some students learn best by sitting down with a pen or pencil and a paper book, others prefer to use online resources. If you are a student who likes to study on your computer and use lots of interactive, self-paced resources, the Kaplan SAT Prep Plus 2022 is for you.
  • There are two practice tests included in the book and three online, “strategy” notes and “reflect” pages for tracking progress, and  a higher score guarantee. One bad thing about this book is not very many students have used/reviewed it yet, which means we don’t have the full consensus on what worked and didn’t work

Kaplan SAT Total Prep 2022

  • Even though we recommend Kaplan's other SAT Premium Prep book for the best online resources, the Total Prep 2022 includes a lot of practice for students to master the test. 
  • One thing that people didn't like as much was that it is very long and almost too comprehensive. However, if you're looking for another solid SAT prep book, the Kaplan SAT Total Prep 2022 has the potential to raise your score - in fact, they also include the higher score guarantee.

Princeton Review SAT Prep, 2022: 6 Practice Tests + Review & Techniques + Online Tools (2021) (College Test Preparation)

  • The Princeton Review SAT Premium Prep is superior to their original prep book, but this will still do a good job of getting students ready for the SAT. 
  • With only 6 practice tests and fewer online tools, the regular Princeton Review SAT Prep 2022 falls short of the premium book. However, this prep book still comes out close to the top in terms of rankings. 
  • One con is that this book is aimed primarily toward high-achievers, which is both good and bad. This is because it has the potential to overwhelm students who are performing below average. Since there are six practice tests instead of the Premium book's 9, this might be hard to catch up to the appropriate level in time for test day.

How to Raise Your SAT Score

The best way to raise a low SAT score is to prepare for the test with a strategy that's focused more on your weak areas and less on your strong area.

While SAT prep books are a helpful resource, students can see SAT score improvements in a much shorter time by investing in a high quality SAT prep course.

And to help you find a top quality SAT prep course that can translate to a higher SAT score, we have purchased and reviewed several SAT courses on the market, so you don't have to.

So, check out our recommendation for the best SAT classes and courses on the market, some of which guarantee an SAT score improvement over 150+ points or your money back.

If you’re looking for more information on choosing your target SAT score, read our article on What is a good SAT score, where we break down SAT score data from ETS in simple terms to help you determine what SAT score to aim for.

Conclusion

Now that you've discovered some of the best SAT Prep Books for 2022, it's time to make a study plan and stick to it. While using one of the best prep books is helpful, there are tons of other ways to prepare, such as:

When you're getting ready for the SAT in 2022, you want to make sure you've done everything you can to set yourself up for success. 

Best of luck!

Chuky Ofoegbu


With almost a decade of experience pursuing higher education in the United States, I fully understand the pain points foreign students endure. I created this website to help foreign students successfully navigate their way through the challenges they will face while living in the United States.

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