Most juniors and sophomores need to take PSAT as they prepare for their SAT. However, even as PSAT isn’t a college admission test, there is a need to actually prepare for it. This is because PSAT prep can strongly come in handy if you hope to nab a scholarship or get a high score in your SAT (Source).
PSAT is the gateway for scoring high in your SAT. It gives you an early sense of what to expect and identifies the content areas you need to strengthen. It also shows you strategies and approaches that will work well as you prepare for the main exam. There are several options, guides, and companies to choose from.
Overall, the right book should guide you in the right areas to revise and read on. It should also give insights on how SAT exams are structured and practice you regarding the best way to answer them.
Best PSAT Prep Books
1. Barron’s Strategies and Practice PSAT Prep Book – Best for Students Looking for Additional PSAT Tests
The Best for Students Looking for Additional PSAT Tests is hands-down the best book to prepare for your exams. It is not as thick as other review books, but it doesn’t need to be any bigger. This is because you wouldn’t want to spend much time on things you already know.
Like other prep books, this book comprises the usual tips, strategies, and tricks for specific sections of an exam. Whereas these tips are very useful, you probably know most of them by now. Notably, the two full practice exams are the truly outstanding parts of this test book. Going through these two exams enables you to understand the feelings of the SAT exam.
Keep in mind that when doing these exams, it is good to practice using real test timing. With this, you will get to know how fast or slow you should work on the various sections of the test for a better score. Most students find themselves finishing the math section quickly, but struggle with reading sections. However, everyone is different. Therefore, practicing the exam is a great way to figure out what and where you should improve on.
Before finally sitting on the SAT, consider going through the various sample questions, practice the passages in the book, and work on the practice exams. This is a proven way of learning and improving your test scores.
- 2 full-length practice exams
- Includes answers, rationales, and explanations
- Content easy to understand
- Online materials for additional practice
- Format can be confusing to students
- Some answer rationales can be confusing
2. Cracking the PSAT/NMSQT PSAT Prep Book – Best for Students Brushing up on PSAT Prep
Despite being nearly double the number of pages our first book has, the Best for Students Brushing up on PSAT Prep isn’t great for building up a high score, but better for those brushing up their prep. It covers the basic and ideal areas you ought to have already known. Like our first model, it comes with two practice exams with questions of highly mixed difficulty. So to say, some are easier compared to the real exams while others are quite harder.
This implies that if you don’t understand or have a good baseline of how long each section should take, you might end up running out of time. Additionally, the exam book features tips for answering each question, some general time management notes, and general exam taking strategies. This may or may not be useful, depending on your style.
- Two complete practice exams
- Answer guide and rationales
- Extensive content review
- Contains recent info that helps students avoid surprises
- Only best for those short on time
- Best only for those well-versed with content
3. Barron’s 1520 PSAT Prep Book – Best for Those Looking for National Merit
If you are looking for a book to help you get some national merit, consider the Barron’s 1520 PSAT Prep Book. This is the best you can study to get a perfect score on PSAT. Furthermore, this is one of the new PSAT prep books students can buy on a budget. It contains various practice exercises and tests that are more than enough to fill the student’s busy agenda, too.
Additionally, the book’s content is very detailed; it allows students to cover nearly everything they may need to know for the exams. Plus, it is comprehensive enough to be used solely. Moreover, its practice questions are tough enough to help students get the idea of what is expected from them in PSAT. It also allows them to breeze through the final SAT exam. Each question’s difficulty level is similar to the actual exam; this helps students manage expectations and helps develop an effective and efficient SAT test-taking experience.
Lastly, this book also has an optional CD-ROM that has two practice exams graded with answer rationales for students. Students also access the study advice and various important testing tips that help them improve on their score within a short period. There are different strategies provided for each exam module as well.
- Full-length practice exams
- Online materials for more practice exams
- Easy to understand the content and rationale
- Tips and strategies to answer questions
- Each chapter is difficult to understand
- Some students can be confused
4. PSAT Exam Secrets Study Guide – Most Detailed PSAT Exam Prep Book
Whereas the PSAT Exam Secrets Study Guide isn’t as popular as some of the PSAT prep books on our list. However, it is one of the most detailed exam prep books you can buy. The book comes with a guide that helps students do well on their first attempt.
Notably, it explains what PSAT exams is all about and briefs you on what to expect from it. It also has sections that dissect all the information students need to succeed. Most students will attest to the fact that math is where they spend much of their time during the tests. Hence, this book focuses more on the math section and gives students some strategies to make the most from their exam.
PSAT Exam Secrets Study Guide has all the vital information comprising of the concepts and processes required by PSAT and final SAT exam. Additionally, it also focuses on the vocabulary, writing, and language portion of your write-up. Overall, this is the book you will need to master before sitting for your exams. Its practice tests are highly technical and accurate with concise information that isn’t difficult to understand.
- Detailed content for exam prep
- Effective essay writing strategies for the English section
- Practice questions with explanations and rationales
- Easy to understand
- Quite pricey
- Might be little confusing
5. Kaplan PSAT/NMSQT Prep PSAT Prep Book – Best One-Stop PSAT Prep Book
The Kaplan PSAT/NMSQT Prep PSAT Prep Book is one of the best PSAT prep books you can use to prepare for any upcoming PSAT exam. This book not only has great wealth with study content that covers all the relevant content, it also provides important strategies and hints.
The most important part of the book is the summary of the key concepts and practice tests that come in handy for those looking to build their confidence in PSAT. This section is essential for those who are already prepared and are simply looking to do some brushing up. The book opens up with a description of PSAT and outlines some testing techniques that have proven helpful to students before. Meanwhile, the second section is a close examination of the main subjects including mathematics, reading, and writing.
Lastly, the best feature of the Kaplan PSAT/NMSQT Prep PSAT Prep Book is that it focuses on each section and provides strategies for each as well as adequate practice materials for all the sections. The answers to the test questions are also shared in the book; therefore, it enables students to compare their answers with those provided.
- Several full-length practice tests
- New test scoring format
- Extensive content
- A reasonable amount of difficulty
- Not good for brushing up – too detailed
As mentioned before, PSAT books are ideal to help students make the most from their study time and sharpen their knowledge and test-taking skills. Well, some of the things you should consider before settling on one of the books include the following;
PSAT Book Details
Before purchasing a prep book, it is good to check the book details. Such information provides an outline of the contents of the prep book, and what students should expect. It also gives some tips on the best way to use the book to help students achieve the highest possible score.
PSAT Book Sections
A good PSAT prep book should have various sections. All these sections should play a role in the overall success of the student. Some of the vital sections any PSAT prep book should have includes the following;
- Studying and test-taking strategies – any book with this section guides students on how they should study for the test. It also provides tips on the various types of questions common in tests. Some prep books go beyond this and offer advice on how to tackle tough questions and ways of approaching different question formats.
- Test section – here, students get more insights on what to expect in individual test categories. For instance, most books have chapters on Math, English, and other common problems found on the PSAT.
- Practice tests – a book with practice test is overly important. It allows students to check on their knowledge as well as progress in preparation for the PSAT. The best book should have several tests and details on how to handle them.
- Answers and explanations – this is the last but crucial section of any PSAT prep book. A good book should provide answers to the practice questions present to help students assess if they got the questions right. The prep book should also contain detailed explanations about the answers.
PSAT Prep Book Price
This is yet another essential factor to consider when searching for prep books. Despite the dire need to pass, you wouldn’t want to break the bank getting this book. Pick one according to your needs.
Besides finding the best PSAT book, knowing how to use them effectively is critical. It is of immense importance to build a unified study system if you have multiple prep books. Note that there are several prep methods available, and book studying is one of them.
PSAT prep books are a cheaper option compared to using alternative options such as programs and tutors. That said, consider an inexpensive prep book that comes with all you need. Ensure that the book has all the necessary sections, easy to use and understand. If you are preparing for an SAT exam, which of the best PSAT prep books outlined above could you pick? Share with us in the comments section below.