SAT Prep – Official Guides

2023 SAT Official Guide Overview

The College Board has published a 2020 SAT handbook entitled The Official SAT Study Guide. This 1300-page book is available from the College Board website for $29.99, and at bookstores for similar cost. This official guide summarizes the SAT, explains the scoring system, and thoroughly covers all sections of the SAT, including question types, skills tested, and tips to improve performance. Eight complete SATs, which have been written by College Board test creators, can also be found in this official guide, along with answers and answer explanations. The official guide should be considered an essential resource for all students taking the 2023 SAT. While this guide does include information on the Essay section of the exam, which was discontinued in 2021, the rest of the information remains relevant to the current version of the test.

SAT Official Guide (Coverage of Test Content)

The Official SAT Study Guide is organized by content area (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math). Individual chapters within these sections discuss the tests in each section and the specific skills evaluated on each test. Students can also find detailed information about how the SAT's skills assessment relates to the coursework that they will be required to do in college, along with summaries of the number and type of questions they can expect on each test. As mentioned before, this guide contains information on the Essay section of the test, which was discontinued in 2021, but the rest of the information remains relevant to the 2023 version of the exam.

SAT Official Guide

The official guide includes an introductory section that provides detailed information on the current SAT's enhanced scoring, which is constructed from test scores, sub scores, and cross-test scores in addition to the traditional section and composite scores. The introductory portion of the official guide also features chapters on the PSAT/NMSQT, the SAT's latest revisions, and keys to the best possible SAT scores. Test-takers are advised to focus on their schoolwork, do plenty of reading and writing outside of school, and become familiar with the new SAT through ample practice on test passages and test questions.

SAT Official Guide (Practice Tests)

The official guide's eight included practice tests are identical to the actual SAT in appearance and content. The practice tests are given with answer sheets and pages for writing essays. The answer explanations for each test discuss why the correct choice is the best answer for a given question, and why the other options should be excluded.

Other College Board SAT Publications

The College Board website is full of free, easily accessible resources to help students prepare for the SAT. Students may download eight official practice tests for free. In anticipation of the SAT going from paper-and-pencil format to digital format in 2023 for international students (and 2024 for students in the United States), students may also explore four full-length linear (nonadaptive) practice tests and four full-length practice tests through Bluebook, with complete instructions available through the SAT Suite on the College Board website.

The College Board has also published a 2022-2023 Student Guide to the SAT that can be downloaded as a free pdf. This 50-page guide provides everything students need to know about registering for the SAT, content of the test, test-taking tips and strategies, as well as practice questions.

PDFs of College Board studies on a variety of topics, including SAT validity, college outcomes, technical reports, and demographic analyses, can be perused and downloaded without cost.

Best Use of the Official Guide and Other Materials

Students are encouraged to take advantage of College Board resources, but they should also remember that SAT preparation is a complicated process. The best results are usually achieved through a combination of available official resources and professional SAT instruction. Although there are isolated cases of success through independent study, few students receive their highest possible SAT scores without informed guidance, structured learning plans, and regular assessments of progress. It is always important to ensure study materials are up-to-date and relevant to the most current version of the SAT. As the transition to a digitally-delivered SAT nears, more information will likely be forthcoming from the College Board to assist students in preparing for this important exam, although overall content and scoring will not be undergoing changes for the digital version of the test.

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