Monday, January 30, 2017

Study Materials Review: College Panda SAT Math

I am often introduced to a new resource by my students.  That's how I became aware of The College Panda SAT Math Advanced Guide and Workbook.  The students was one for whom I would usually recommend PWN the SAT Math Guide: an advanced math student who has covered most of the material but who needs practice with looking at problems from different angles.  He had already been through PWN the SAT and was looking for more problems.  Somehow he stumbled across College Panda.

The tag line on the back of the book reads, "If it's not in this book, it's not on the test," and that's pretty nearly true.  This is a comprehensive book with a LOT of problems.  The problems represent a wide range of styles and difficulties and are nicely divided into categories so you can target your problem areas.  The problems also "feel" right.  The most difficult problems in each sections tend to be a tad more difficult than the most difficult problems on the SAT.  That's a good thing.  (Actually, in a few spots the problems resembled those on the SAT Math II subject test.)

The book does not include any practice tests to work on strategy or timing, so you will need access to some practice tests for that purpose.  (The same company has helpfully provided a book of practice tests in case the 7 - as of this writing - provided by the College Board aren't enough.  I haven't taken a good look at it, yet, so you can expect a review of that eventually.)

If this book has one weakness, it is that it is light on strategy.  It consists of examples, practice problems, and annotated answers.  There is little in the way of advice about timing, approaching multiple choice questions, or anything else that might fall under the category of "testing tip."  The author, Nielson Phu, seems to feel that the road to a perfect math score shouldn't involve any sign-posts for students who can't answers questions through sheer math prowess.  While I agree with that in principle, even the best math students needs a toolbox of techniques to pull out for when she or he doesn't immediately see how to approach a problem.  Students in the 600's to low 700's might get the most out of this book when used in conjunction with a tutor.

If you would like a copy, you can order it here:

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