SAT Book Review of The Month: The College Panda

The SAT is a source of anxiety for hundreds of thousands of students around the United States. Touted as one of the most important tests of a student’s life, the pressure some students feel to perform well leads to their preparation starting as early as their freshman year, loading up on books and finding the best tutors to get them through this test.

I am a firm believer in the fact that most people can perform well on standardized tests- all one needs is practice and the right tools. In my own preparation for the exam, I examined many different sources and reviews to find the most effective books. This knowledge, in addition to my observations within the tutoring company I work for, has led to my discovery of several lesser-known resources that I believe could be beneficial for those looking to prepare for the SAT.

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The College Panda by Nelson Phu

In my opinion, the College Panda Math books are suitable for anyone looking to bring their math score up into the 700s. The College Panda SAT Math Advanced Guide and Workbook,  broken down into 27 different overarching topics, covers every concept you could see on test day, providing tips and techniques I have yet to come across in any other book. The book includes easy to follow explanations in a conversational tone and provides ample practice, with dozens of chapter questions following each topic.

To supplement his workbook, Nelson Phu captures the art of SAT questions in his 10 Practice Tests for the SAT Math book. Each test, structured similarly to the actual SAT, allows you to practice the math section under test conditions, preparing you for your actual test. Furthermore, his questions, while realistic, are slightly more difficult than the actual SAT, leaving you over prepared.

From personal experience, using Phu’s book helped me work faster and prepared me for the types of questions I saw during the real test. Because he tests each concept in a variety of different scenarios, I learned to identify exactly what the question wanted from me in a matter of seconds, allowing me more time to check my work. He also provides numerous shortcuts that helped me avoid silly algebra mistakes by simplifying my work. While many people gloss over this book in favor of more well-known companies, such as Princeton, I believe that this book is well worth the $30 price tag. Whether you struggle with the basic concepts of mathematics or are simply looking to get more efficient at answering SAT math questions, the book is likely to change the way you view the SAT math section.

Disclaimer: this is my own personal experience with the book and may be subject to bias. I do not promote the purchase of this book over others and would actually recommend taking this book out from the library or borrowing from a friend to save money.

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