Saturday, December 17, 2016

Study materials review: Top 50 Skills for a Top Score SAT Math 2nd edition

I reviewed the 1st edition of this book in 2014.  It was a staple on my shelf for several years, but I put it away when the the SAT was revised.  I forgot about it until a student showed up one day with the 2nd edition.

Brian Leaf has a series of four college entrance exam study guides - two for the SAT and two for the ACT.  One of the SAT guides focuses on math and the other on critical reading and writing.  Unlike many study guides which can be thick and difficult to navigate, these guides are very user-friendly.  Each guide begins with a pre-test.  Each question in the pre-test corresponds to one of 50 "skills."  If you miss a question, there is a page of explanation and a page of targeted practice for that skill.

The guides, which run about 180 pages also include flashcards and an online component.  These study guides are ideal for the student who is currently scoring in the 500's, but wants to score in the 600's and who wants to study on his or her own.

Top 50 Skills for a Top Score SAT Math:

Topics have been updated for the new test, and include proportions, systems of linear equations, averages, geometry, functions, sequences, counting, probability, some math vocabulary and cautions against common algebra errors.  There is a good mix of test-taking advice and content review.  There are 50 flash cards - one for each of the 50 skills.  A few involve specialized vocabulary, but most of them are simply aids in remembering the author's advice.  I used to think that flashcards for test-taking advice were silly, but after watching my advice go in one ear and out the other for scores of students, I am beginning to come around.

Much of this book is taken straight from the old book, although the questions have been updated to reflect the fact that the new test has only four answer choices per question.  A few questions have been added, and several sections are new.  I need to start pulling this book out more often.  If you are interested in owning one, you can order it here:


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