SAT and ACT Test Prep Options on a Budget
Preparing for the ACT and SAT takes months. Students read and take practice tests, go to SAT prep classes and sometimes hire tutors to walk them through the process. For many students, these preliminary steps can be daunting and expensive. A two-month prep class can cost up to $1,200.
We’ve compiled a list of the best books, blogs and video tutorials to help students prepare for the SAT and ACT at a low cost.
The Official SAT Guide
This book, which was released by the College Board in 2017, is a compilation of seven real SAT tests that you can study and take at your leisure. By practicing with real tests, you'll get a sense of how the exam is structured, as well as the difficulty level of various questions in different sections.
Practicing with this book also will help you reduce your test taking time because you'll be familiar with the format and instructions. The book costs about $20. You also can rent it on Amazon for $9.99.
The Official ACT Prep Guide
The Official ACT Prep Guide provides students with five real ACT tests to take. Like with the SAT prep book, this guide will help you familiarize yourself with the format of the test. Time yourself when taking sections and simulate real test conditions as you practice. The book retails for $21.95 on Amazon. You also cab sign up for a yearlong subscription to the ACT site for the same cost, which includes access to practice questions and tests, as well as daily study tips and helpful hints.
Khan Academy is an excellent online resource for students, especially for the math section of the SAT. On its website, you can find videos explaining every math question on previous SAT tests. Khan Academy also has a number of videos about how to prepare for the ACT, including accompanying transcripts and a section for questions and tips. These videos are precise, thorough, and free.
The Critical Reader and EriktheRed
Both of these websites, The Critical Reader and EriktheRed, provide free study guides, SAT and ACT facts and blog posts detailing study methods and test-taking tips. The Critical Reader has a page devoted to vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension. On EriktheRed, students will find practice tests and quizzes, as well as pages of need-to-know math facts and formulas. There's also a strategies section with test-taking tactics.
The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review is one of the many college admission service companies that has lowered its prices in recent years. Its book is one of the more highly regarded resources for SAT and ACT. Students can order books on Amazon with practice tests and answers for between $15 and $35. Its website also provides admissions information, homework help and private tutoring services for a higher cost.