When it comes to preparing for the PSAT, there are a lot of resources out there to choose from. We went in and chose the best PSAT study guides to include in your PSAT prep so that you can feel confident in taking the PSAT in October. We chose these as the best PSAT study guides because they are able to break down concepts into an effective and summarized format that will be great for reviewing topics before the PSAT.
Think you may need additional PSAT prep? We got you covered with these PSAT prep books!
In a hurry? Here are our top 3 picks:
Best PSAT Study Guides
We’ve got two categories of our best PSAT study guides: Best PSAT Study Guides for Purchase and Best Free PSAT Study Guides. Depending on your budget, you can consider any of these PSAT study guides as a supplement to your PSAT study plan. Still wondering what’s the big deal about the PSAT? Read our article about Why you should take the PSAT!
You do not need to feel obligated to break the bank with your PSAT prep. Here are some affordable PSAT study guides. If you don’t find one that suits your learning style, read on to see our picks of the best free PSAT study guides!
Looking for an in-person or online PSAT course? Start Here.
PSAT Prep 2020 Study Guide
This study guide by Test Prep Books makes our list of the best PSAT study guides for its comprehensive coverage of the PSAT in only 170 pages. With this PSAT study guide, you will receive comprehensive reviews of each section, proven test strategies, and practice test questions. These practice test questions come with detailed answer explanations so that you can fully digest the reason you made mistakes and improve upon them in the future.
We love this PSAT study guide because its format and information makes learning the concepts tested on the PSAT easy. All the extra fat from other PSAT prep books has been cut off to only offer information and questions that you should expect to be on the most recent PSAT test.
Not only will you be able to study the main concepts being tested on the PSAT, but you will also have practice questions after the end of each PSAT section: Reading, Writing & Language, and Math. You are guaranteed to raise your PSAT score after completing this PSAT study guide.
PSAT Exam Secrets Study Guide
The PSAT Exam Secrets Study Guide comes at a loftier price than the previously mentioned PSAT study guide but with the name Mometrix behind the study guide, you can rest assured that you are receiving a quality test prep product that is going to simplify the PSAT prep process.
This PSAT prep study guide includes an in-depth overview of the PSAT, a breakdown of the Evidence-Based Reading Test, Math Test, and Writing and Language Test. Each of these sections are laid out and explained in full detail. We find this PSAT study guide to be laid out in a logical format that makes following along with the contents smooth and simple. You will have the opportunity to work through practice PSAT questions as well as look at full explanations of these questions to help improve your ability to answer accurately.
One of the highlights of the PSAT Exam Secrets Study Guide is their 1-2-3-4- Method for writing the essay, which essentially lays out a template to answer any essay prompt both quickly and effortlessly.
Apex Prep 2018 & 2019 PSAT Study Guide
The last among our list of the best PSAT study guides for purchase is Apex’s PSAT Study Guide that was recently published in 2018. This study guide is comprehensive and straightforward, coming in at only 167 pages. What you will get with this study guide are easy test-taking tips, a general overview of what to expect on the PSAT, test section breakdowns, and practice questions with detailed explanations.
The questions Apex provides in their practice tests are extremely close to what you will actually see on the PSAT, so you can feel a bit more confident when you show up on test day. You will be able to see a full explanation of each question and an answer key so that you can fully comprehend how the correct answer was found.
Mometrix PSAT Prep Quick Study Guide
Mometrix makes our list of the best PSAT study guides with their Quick Study Guide that integrates review and practice questions to prepare for the PSAT. This study guide is broken out into an easy-to-digest format with a quick review of the PSAT, followed by an analysis of the critical reading test, math test, and writing test. Also provided in this book are practice questions accompanied by detailed answer explanations so you can actually learn from your mistakes.
This is exactly what a study guide should be. Short, concise, and only providing the required, most tested information so that you can prepare efficiently and effectively!
Related: 11 FREE PSAT Practice Tests
The Official SAT Study Guide
Second on our list of the best PSAT study guides is actually the Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board. As you know, the PSAT is a practice test for the SAT, which means that the majority of tested concepts overlap between these two tests. To better understand the differences, check out our post on the PSAT vs SAT.
This new edition SAT study guide aggregates all of the SAT practice tests that are available online but prints it into a book to make practice convenient and organized. Along with 8 official SAT practice tests (which are written by the actual writers of the SAT test), you will receive detailed answer explanations for Math, Reading, and Writing. This book incorporates targeted questions that cover all concepts tested on the SAT (and PSAT).
Best Free PSAT Study Guides & Practice Tests
Just because these PSAT study guides are free does not discredit their usefulness in preparing for the PSAT. Check out these 3 free PSAT study guides and practice tests that you can add to your study plan – no strings attached!
The Princeton Review offers a free PSAT practice test that can be taken online. To get this free test, click here.
Union Test Prep is awesome at creating free study guides for all types of test prep needs. In their free PSAT study guide, they offer a 3-page Math study guide, a 2-page Reading study guide, and a 2-page Writing & Language study guide.
In each of these study guides, you will walk through the general information of the section, terms to know, and then concepts that you need to know and understand for the PSAT. This study guide works a bit differently than the previous PSAT study guides on our list because it does not provide questions to work on but rather just breaks out the concepts you need to remember when walking into test day. It’s a great supplement to whatever PSAT study plan you are currently pursuing.
Study Guide Zone’s study guide made our list of the best PSAT study guides because of its PSAT practice tests for each section as well as its breakdown of tough concepts that will be tested on the PSAT. You may have already noticed that they offer a paid-for PSAT study guide that was already mentioned in our list as #2. This is a great supplement to your PSAT study plan and will offer some free additional practice so that you can show up confident on test day!
What the Best PSAT Study Guides Will Cover
The first step to preparing for the PSAT is nailing down the PSAT format. Even if you aren’t trying to win The National Merit Scholarship, everyone will benefit from understanding the format of the test, including what is tested, what the timing is, how many questions you need to answer, and how the PSAT is scored.
All of the PSAT study guides we listed here provide the basic PSAT formatting and will get you up-to-speed on what the PSAT is and how to get your mind ready for preparing to study for the PSAT. The PSAT is pretty much a trial-run for the SAT, which, along with the ACT, are the qualifying tests required for most college and university admissions. Learn more about the differences between the PSAT vs the SAT.
Practice Questions or Practice Tests
Practicing for the PSAT is one of the best ways to improve your score. The best PSAT study guides provide practice questions that you can work through. These practice questions should cover specific concepts in detail and be used to work through them to better grasp this concept. There are also PSAT practice tests so that you can work through an entire PSAT so that you can feel what it’s like to work through a full PSAT test like you will on test day. Get started with these 11 free PSAT practice tests.
There is no use in working through practice questions if you cannot learn from mistakes. The PSAT study guides we listed here on this page are all full of detailed explanations so that you can understand the principles behind the questions as well as the rationale behind the answers. It’s imperative, in order to improve your score, that you understand why you answered a question correctly and improve upon that.
When to Consider a PSAT Tutor
Depending on your goals, you may be considering hiring a PSAT tutor. For those who are using the PSAT as simply practice for the SAT, hiring a tutor for this test is not necessary. For those who are hoping to qualify for National Merit or achieve top scores for the SAT, however, a PSAT tutor can be extremely beneficial to reach the scores required. If you are considering a PSAT tutor, we recommend opting for the one-on-one PSAT tutoring offered by Varsity Tutors.
Now that you know what to look for in the best PSAT study guides as well as have a general idea of the best guides on the market today, we believe you are fully equipped to begin your PSAT prep journey. At the end of the day, the amount of work and time you put into the PSAT is going to not only improve your PSAT score but will also improve your chances of scoring higher on the SAT as well.