Boston Tutoring Services uses two sets of materials for our SSAT test preparation.
Our tutors are trained in the Princeton Review book as well as the official materials put out by SSAT.Org. Recently, both of these sets of materials have put out new editions for 2014. All of our tutors are informed about these changes so that we are using the most up-to-date materials and strategies.
In the 2014 edition of the Princeton Review book, the differences are very minor from the 2013 edition. They are based on the changes that have been made to the essays, for the most part.
First of all, the 2014 edition vocabulary chapter is much shorter. All of vocabulary words are listed in alphabetical order, rather than grouped by category, which may be easier. There are also no longer any word webs. The 2014 edition also uses less prefixes and roots in their vocabulary list.
The essay section is the only thing that is completely different. Since the SSAT changed their essay topics, this book is finally up to date on accommodating that. This book has almost no information about organizing essays. Instead of all of that information which is in the previous book, it just lists a bunch of essay topics. This is a great resource. I’ve listed below the options for essay topics that are listed the 2014 edition:
Middle level, grades 5 through 7:
1: “I picked up the magazine and saw on the cover…” (Remember the middle level only has creative prompts)
2: “No one else was in the museum.”
Upper level, grades 8 through 11:
1: “Describe a mistake that you would correct if you could go back in time.”
2: “Sometimes, the results are quite different from what you would expect.”
“Who is your favorite teacher? Why have you chosen this person?”
“If you could solve one problem in the world today, what would you choose and how would you solve the problem?”
“Name someone you consider to be a success and describe what it is about that person that makes him or her successful.”
Luckily, the initial fundamental math chapter is identical in both editions, as are the math, verbal, and reading sections and all of the practice tests. The only difference on the practice tests are the essay topics, just like the essay topics in the essay chapter. The only other difference is now the Princeton Review book lists what used to be called the lower level SSAT practice test as the middle level practice test. It is the exact same test, it just has a different name. Everything else in the two books are the same.
Now, with the books from the SSAT.Org website, about a third of the practice tests in the new book have completely different questions. There’s a lot of math especially in these prep books that is not in the Princeton Review books, even in the 2014 edition. A student is just not going to be completely prepared unless you’re using this additional SSAT prep book.
Because our tutors are informed of all changes on the test prep materials that we use, they are able to adapt and provide students with the most accurate test preparation possible. All of our test preparation continues to be customized to the individual learning needs of our students. We take pride in our test preparation and the high test scores that our students achieve.