I’ve been skimming an advance copy of The Critical Reader by Erica Meltzer, and I have concluded that if you want an 800 on the critical reading section of the SAT, this is the book to buy. It is intended to be a companion volume to The Official SAT Study Guide. Given that, and the purchase price, it may be the most expensive option out there.
The book isn’t a quick read, either; it’s 334 dense pages of material and exercises. You won’t work your way through this book in a week. It will lead you through hours of intense study.
Now, if you’ve read some of my previous blog posts, you might have noticed that I have recommended against spending hundreds of hours preparing for one test. Have I changed my mind? Not at all! Here’s the difference: while some study guides focus on the test itself with tunnel vision, this book is designed to help you raise your test scores by becoming a more critical reader. The author recognizes that your motivation is to do better on a test; however, she takes the time to explain why the skills measured on the test are important skills for a college student. Then she teaches you those skills. Once you have worked your way through this book, you can reap the benefits of being a better reader for the rest of your life! Isn’t that worth a good bit of your time?
If you plan to go to college, get this book. You will want to work through it before your college entrance exam, so if you are planning to take the test during the next school year, buy the book now and work through it over the summer. This book is also a must-have for test prep coaches.