Update: SAT books, release of new editions

Update, 7/16: Because I need to make an additional few edits to The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar, it’s going to be another day or two before I can get the book up on CreateSpace (probably 7/17-18). I apologize for the delay and am working to make it available as soon as possible.

P.S. This is frustrating for me. These revisions have been going on for almost three months now. There are so many things I want to blog about, but as I keep explaining to people, 20% of my work takes up 99% of my time. I think I might be glimpsing some light at the end of the tunnel, though. Thanks for your patience.

For those of you waiting for the new editions of my SAT books, I have some news.

Because the manuscripts still need to go through a second full round of proofing, it’s going to be another few weeks before the books get up on Amazon. I’m aiming for around the 25th for The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar, 4th Edition; The Critical Reader, 3rd Edition, should follow two or so weeks later.

I will, however, be making pre-publication copies of The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar available through CreateSpace by the end of this week (7/14-15); I will aim to do the same for The Critical Reader by the weekend of 7/21-22.

While the final versions may contain a handful of minor stylistic changes, the actual content will be effectively identical. So if you’re planning to take the new August test, you will be able to use the new editions to study. (And if you have the current versions, please rest assured that they are still extremely comprehensive and will prepare you just fine.) 

I’ll post as soon as the books are available.

New: SAT/ACT Reading Resources Page

New: SAT/ACT Reading Resources Page

From time to time, I get emails asking me to provide suggestions for SAT/ACT reading prep materials, and it finally occurred to me that I should create a formal SAT/ACT Reading Resources Page with all of my recommendations grouped in one place.

In the past, when I’ve received these types of requests, I’ve simply pointed people to Arts & Letters Daily; however, that site contains a huge number of links, some of which go to publications well beyond the scope of college-admissions exams. As a result, I’ve identified a smaller group of (online, free) magazines whose articles I find most reflective of SAT/ACT reading, and provided links to those.

I’ve also included a list of suggested authors, both fiction and non-fiction, classic and contemporary, in case you want to do some poking around on your own. And if you’re studying for the SAT, I’ve included links to a number of key historical documents.

If you’re not much of a reader, though, I’d recommend that you start by focusing on broadening your general knowledge and read shorter pieces about a variety of topics. I strongly suggest you start by picking one of the linked periodicals (magazines) such as Smithsonian or Scientific American and spending a good 15 minutes or so a day reading a couple of articles. That’s probably a better approach than getting bored and frustrated with a 350-page book you don’t really like. Besides, two out of four ACT passages involve natural or social science, as do three out of five SAT passages, so those are the areas you stand to benefit most directly from learning about.

Moreover, the more you know about a lot, the better a chance you’ll have of encountering a familiar topic when you take the test. Studies have actually found that weak readers with strong knowledge of a subject actually outperform ones who have stronger overall reading skills but weaker subject-specific knowledge.

Despite the usual cautions against injecting your outside knowledge into the test, in my experience the issue is usually too little knowledge of a subject rather than too much.

Also, despite the College Board’s insistence that the redesigned SAT reflects “what students are learning in school” (a nonsense statement if ever there was one, given the curricular inconsistency that characterizes the American educational system), the reality is that there continue to be plenty of passages that have, quite frankly, nothing in the least to do with what gets taught in the average high school classroom. As has always been the case, students who read on their own about a lot of different subjects will be at a significant advantage over those who don’t.

New: SAT/ACT reading quizzes!

New: SAT/ACT reading quizzes!

While going through all of my quizzes to make some edits/updates, I noticed that while there were an awful lot of grammar exercises, I was sorely lacking in the reading quizzes department — and that was really a major oversight (oops!) since for a lot of students, that’s the hardest part of the test. So I’ve decided to remedy the issue. (more…)

Previews of my updated SAT books are now available

Previews of my updated SAT books are now available

For those of you who would like an advance look at the forthcoming editions of my SAT grammar and reading books, I’m making made previews available on the relevant pages.

Click here for The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar.

And click here for The Critical Reader.

Release dates are still TBD, but will most likely be mid-late July.

Book updates, study guides & announcements

Book updates, study guides & announcements

So after about two consecutive months of non-stop book updates, I’m finally getting to do some serious work on my long-awaited, much-needed new website. (Thank you, Chuck Moran at Bald Guy Studio, for doing such a fantastic job, and for taking the time to understand what this site was really all about.)

I’m hoping to return to posting on at least a semi-regular basis — assuming that I don’t get completely swallowed up by my books again — but before I start ranting and raving about the College Board’s antics again, I have a few organizational things to cover. (more…)