Review – Barron’s SAT 2400

After I published my review of Barron’s SAT, several people asked me how it compares to Barron’s SAT 2400,  so I decided to review it posthaste.

Barron’s SAT 2400 comes in two versions: with and without a CD-ROM (the covers are nearly identical, except for the image of the CD in the lower left corner).

2400” is currently in its third edition; this is a much more recent effort than Barron’s SAT, which is in its 25th edition. The older text was never targeted at any specific subset of the SAT-taking community. As its title implies, SAT 2400 is targeted at top students (“Aiming for the Perfect Score”). At 373 pages, it is much shorter than the older volume (920 pages, although much of them are devoted to practice tests, which are not found in “2400“).

SAT and SAT 2400 were written by different authors.

Organization

Introduction to the 2400 Club

Strategies arranged by section

Appendix: Upper-Level Vocabulary Reading

Useful Math Formulas

The CD-ROM contains some extra practice material. In my opinion, it is not worth the large difference in list price, but it can be found cheaper.

Pros

This book includes some strategies which are not found in the older book. Some of the strategies are most useful on harder questions – e.g. remembering that there is often a necessary final step in hard math problems that is easy to forget about.

The book is full of mnemonics, and pitfalls to avoid.

Plenty of example questions are provided.

The book is very affordable at Amazon.

Cons

There are no practice tests in this book, but students should be using the Blue Book (The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd ed.) anyhow. And you can buy Barron’s SAT if you want extra tests.

The practice questions differ from real ones somewhat. While that is true for any non-College Board questions, many of the questions in this book had an unusual “feel” – that is, they were stylistically more different than others I have seen.

For a book that purports to be aimed at top students, there was a surprising shortage of difficult questions.

Most important, there are few strategies here that aren’t found in other books, and most of the strategies are general ones – i.e. techniques that are not specifically beneficial to top students.

Overview

My overall impression is that 1) this is a well-written, useful SAT prep guide, and 2) it is NOT what it is advertised to be.

While it is certainly possible that high-scoring students will improve their skills with this book, it is not optimized for this purpose. in fact, I found that, in some ways, Barron’s “general” prep book (Barron’s SAT) would be more useful, in that it contains more techniques, and more thorough review. I would recommend that top students use both books. Note that the Amazon reviews are more scattered for the current offering (and have a lower average rating).

Barron’s SAT 2400 was clearly meant to compete with Kaplan SAT 2400. I have not read the Kaplan book thoroughly, but Pencil Nerd (Douglas Groene) reviewed it here.

For top students looking to improve on the Math section, the just-published PWN the SAT Math Guide is a game changer.

The books are available here:

Book Only

Book With CD

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One comment on “Review – Barron’s SAT 2400

  1. Rita Cohen says:

    Wise commentary. The Barrons SAT questions are not related to the actual test. The sentence completions are not as difficult and the readings are not as complex. However, it is an additional source of practice. Rita Cohen

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