I designed the Math Guide to be read (and worked through) cover-to-cover alongside the Blue Book, but it’s never been my philosophy that test prep is a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. You don’t have to work through the book linearly to have a successful experience with it. Jump all over the place, if that suits you. Like so:

  1. Take Blue Book Practice Test #1. Correct and score it. That score is your baseline.
    1. In the breakdown in the back of my book for Test #1 (sample of Test #3’s page here), highlight every question you got wrong, and write down the techniques and relevant page numbers.
    2. Work through every chapter (sample chapter) that you’ve written down more than once.
    3. Do the short drills at the end of each chapter. Use my handwritten solutions to understand any mistakes you make.
    4. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Go back to the Blue Book now, and redo every question in the test you got wrong, making efforts to apply the concepts you read about in the book. New techniques won’t be easy or feel natural the first time, but if you want to change your scores, you’re going to have to change your approach.
  2. Read the Strategies chapter in my book. It’ll give you something as you do all the actual math work. You need to know how the test is designed, and how to use that to your advantage, and how not to fall into some of the most common traps. 
  3. Take Blue Book Practice Test #4. Yes, I know this is out of order. Only tests #1-3 have fully accurate scoring tables, so save #2 and #3 for the end of your prep. For this test, record your score as the exact middle of the range of scores you get from the scoring table. Repeat steps A-D for Test #4.
  4. Do Diagnostic Drill #1 in my book.
    1. Use the answer key and technique guide at the end of the drill. Make special note of problem types you’ve been missing over and over again. At this point, it’s safe to call those weaknesses.
    2. Reread the chapters corresponding to your weaknesses again, and use the guides at the end of each chapter to do all the problems contained in Blue Book Tests #7-10 that require those techniques.
  5. Take Blue Book Test #5. Again, record your score as the middle of the range. Repeat steps A-D.
  6. Do Diagnostic Drill #2 in my book. Repeat steps a and b above.
  7. Take Blue Book Test #6. Repeat steps A-D, recording your score as the middle of the range. Take note of any weaknesses that persist. Use the guides at the end of each chapter aimed at your weakness to revisit EVERY question from Test #1 and Tests #4-10.
  8. Take Blue Book Test #2. You’re back to real, previously administered tests now, with accurate scoring tables. Take note of your improvement from the first test you took, and highlight any areas that still require attention. Reread the chapters for any remaining weaknesses AGAIN (yes, I know you’re rereading them over and over again) and revisit the relevant questions in every test except Test #3.
  9. OPTIONAL: Take Diagnostic Drills #3 and #4 in my book. These drills are hard, so if you’re not shooting for super-high scores, you needn’t drive yourself crazy here.
  10. Take Blue Book Test #3. Time it so that you’re doing this a few days (NOT the day before) your SAT. You want this to be an accurate prediction of your score on test day. Think of it like your dress rehearsal.
  11. Get in there and PWN the SAT for real. Do it.

 

Some notes
  • There are 6 full tests in this plan. It’s not something you can do overnight. If you want to do well on the SAT, you need to devote significant time to the task. I think 2 months is the minimum amount of time you should spend on the process.
  • This is obviously just a plan for the math section. You might want to devise a similar plan for the other two sections, using resources like The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar, which contains a similar blue book breakdown for writing questions.
  • As I said above, I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. If this seems a bit too chaotic and unfocused for you, that’s OK. I think this plan will work well for some people.
  • If you have questions as you go, ask me, or check the Blue Book Solutions list to see if there’s already a good explanation for your question available.
  • I might edit this page now and then, based on feedback I get from readers (both tutors and students). So if you think I’m missing something, comment away!