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Recommended Study Guides for High School Test Prep for 2023-24

High school tests are updated and changed fairly often. For example, the SAT® dropped the essay portion of the test and completely discontinued the SAT® Subject Tests in 2021, and in 2024 they announced the tests would now be taken in a digital form. It takes a while for the study guide companies to update their high school test prep materials. This post will help you find the latest study guide each year, to be sure your high school test prep will be effective. Make sure your student prepares for the current version of the test.

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Getting Started

The best high school test prep starts with a high quality study guide.

  1. Use a study guide specific to the test your student will take.
  2. Use a study guide with real test questions.
  3. Use a calm, matter-of-fact approach along with the study guide.
  4. Use one section of the test, timed, each study session.
  5. Review the incorrect answers in the answer key.
  6. Take one full-length test, timed, each month.

In the beginning, have the student read the testing instructions. Review one test section at a time, at a leisurely pace. Within a few weeks, transition to one test section (timed) and discuss strategy as needed. 

Keep in mind that the PSAT® will be digital in fall of 2023, and the SAT® will be digital in spring of 2024. The ACT® will gradually expand to digital testing across 2024. (To learn more, read here.) The questions on the tests aren't changing, so if you prefer your student to still practice when paper and pencil, that will be just fine. To gain digital test-taking skills, have your student practice online about once a month. That will help them get comfortable with the online format without spending all their practice time online.

For some students with testing anxiety, it may be best to do all of your practices online so they become familiar with the digital format and won't be thrown off their game on the big day. 

For your study time, consider getting an analog timer to help your student manage their time. Most school settings use an analog clock that shows the passage of time. However, most students use a digital timer, like the one on their phone, which does not show the passage of time. The difference can be confusing to some students as they try to manage the timing of the test. Look at the following timer example; it can be very helpful for practicing tests at home! Visual Countdown Timer (silent)

Keep your eyes peeled for engaging ways to include test prep, but understand that daily prep with official test questions is always important!

Suggested Study Guides for High School Test Preparation 

SAT® Prep Recommended Study Guides

The College Board Guide: Official Study Guide 2020 Edition (most current edition)

The Official Digital SAT Study Guide (Official Digital Study Guide)

The Princeton Review Digital SAT Premium Prep, 2024

SAT Flash Cards 2023 - Vocabulary and Math

Barron's SAT Vocabulary Flashcards

If your student has been studying for a while and is close to a perfect score, use one of these:

Barron's SAT 1600: Aiming for the Perfect Score

Peterson's SAT Prep Guide 1600: Prep for the Perfect Score

PSAT/NMSQT® Prep Recommended Study Guides

Because the PSAT® is almost the same as the SAT®, it's less expensive to purchase one test prep book you can use for both the SAT® and the PSAT®. However, if you want a book that is specific to just the PSAT/NMSQT® then I suggest these:

Princeton Review PSAT/NMSQT Prep, 2023-2024

Barron's Digital PSAT/NMSQT Study Guide Premium, 2024

ACT® Prep Recommended Study Guides

Princeton Review ACT Premium Prep, 2023

The Official ACT Prep Guide 2023-2024

If your student has been studying for a while and is close to a perfect score, use this book: Barron's ACT 36: Aiming for the Perfect Score

AP® Test Prep Recommended Study Guides

Choose study guides for each specific test. My favorite study guides are from Princeton Review. To maximize scores, consider two different study guide books plus flashcards for the best test prep. See these examples for Chemistry:

Princeton Review AP Chemistry Premium Prep, 2024: 7 Practice Tests + Complete Content Review + Strategies & Techniques

Barron's AP Chemistry Premium, 2024: 6 Practice Tests + Comprehensive Content Review + Online Practice

Add flash cards from Barron's which can be very helpful. See this example:

CLEP® Test Prep Recommended Study Guides

Take Sample CLEP® Exams in every subject with this book: CLEP Official Study Guide 2022

Choose a Study Guide for the individual CLEP® Exams the student will take. REA provides CLEP® study guides like this one for college mathematics: CLEP® College Mathematics, 4th Ed., Book + Online

Learn More 

Do you need more information? Confused by the acronyms of common tests taken in high school? Learn study strategies, secrets, and pro tips, on the ever-changing PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT®, ACT®, CLT, AP® and CLEP® in my free, pre-recorded, online workshop, High School Testing Simply Explained.

This short article will give you specific instructions on how to maximize your score on the SAT® and ACT®: College Admission Tests - How to Ace the SAT or ACT®.

If you are ready to take the next step in educating yourself, download my free eBook on AP® and CLEP®, College Credit in High School: Critical Tests that Increase Admission Chances and Decrease College Costs.

I hope this gives you some peace about high school test prep. If you need some personalized help in your homeschool, please consider joining my Gold Care Club. I can help you find the perfect balance with test prep in your high school! 

SAT®, AP®, and CLEP® are trademarks owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this blog post or The HomeScholar, LLC.

PSAT/NMSQT® is a registered trademark of the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

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