Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2010
I have worked for a tutoring company for many years. After I exhaust all my company's materials, I am allowed to use other company's materials. I bought this book to see if I would use it.
A section-by-section review follows.
The Orientation to the SAT provided was brief, but acceptable.
The recommendation as to how to approach the reading questions is one that I disagree with. Nonetheless, it's the author's book. He deserves credit, however, for admitting that different people approach the passage in different ways. His approach is the one he likes, and recommends. I think most students would have trouble applying it under timed test conditions, and it's not the method I teach.
Focusing on pivotal words (but, except, etc...) and giving a brief review of the sorts of questions asked is helpful. He gives a three step method to solving questions, which is too complex for most high-school students. A total of 66 review questions in this section.
A section on 'argument analysis', too difficult for first year college students, let alone high-school students, then follows. Why? Useless. Should have been eliminated.
The sentence completion section features a basic discussion of how to approach the questions, followed by 37 questions with thorough explanation.
The vocabulary section features 4000 words, of which 400 are highlighted as being especially important. These are college level words, not high school level words. But, if you know these words, you're doing great!
A fascinating section on etymology then follows, followed by a discussion of prefixes, suffixes, and roots. 72 synonym questions then follow.
I would not feel prepared taking the Reading portion of the SAT after reading this book.
The writing section begins with an introduction to grammar, followed by a deadly dull, but thorough, grammar review. A discussion on punctuation occurs - the comprehension of which would be beyond most high-school students. This book appears to have been written for someone in their 2nd year of college.
The section on the essay is useful, as it presents three formulas for approaching the essay. Such a cut-and-paste method doesn't appeal to me, but may to others. The example essays given are all perfect; no high school student could write them in 25 minutes. Students need to see flawed essays, so that they can discern what is wrong with them.
The writing section is better than the reading section, due to the strength of the essay section.
This portion of the book has 25 sections, with a practice set of questions after each section. Notably good sections: substitution, functions, geometry (this section in particular has an incredible number of exercises), average, and word problem. Take your time reviewing these sections in particular, and you will be rewarded.
A 30 question section serves as a diagnostic or review test. Explanations for it follow, as well as 111 (!) pages of explanations for the practice sets.
A student would feel prepared to tackle the Math part of the SAT after reading this section and carefully working through the questions. The best part of the book, by far.
There are no practice exams in the book. More practice questions are needed! Very questionable, in my opinion. (Especially since the practice given within the reading and writing sections is not substantial enough.) Buy the SAT Blue Book for practice tests.
The website listed for the course wasn't operating. (I tested 3 times over the course of a week.)
A useful book for SAT tutors, especially for the math section.
Too dry and possibly too advanced (especially in the argument analysis, vocabulary, and possibly the essay sections) for most students.
If your math score is 500 or higher, you could benefit from this book. If your reading or writing score is 600 or higher, you could benefit from this book.
But it's not a book I would recommend with confidence. I will only use it with my students for the Math section.