Review: The Critical Reader

The Critical Reader: The Complete Guide to SAT Reading, 2nd Edition by Erica Meltzer


Erica Meltzer is a critical reader. She has spent years working with the SAT (and ACT), breaking down the Reading and Writing sections and disseminating their secrets. The Critical Reader is the culmination of that work.

This is my #1 book suggestion for students who struggle with the reading section of the SAT, with some reservations. If English is your second language, and you never read for pleasure, this book won’t get you a perfect reading score. Most ESL students have holes in their vocabulary, cultural knowledge, and reading abilities that get them stuck in the mid-600s for the Reading/Writing Section. No SAT study book will fix fundamental Reading and Writing Skill problems. Also if you are not good at self-studying, then you might need some hand-holding with this book because the contents are dense.

If you didn’t fall into one of the previous categories, then I would suggest you buy this book. The book is broken down into an overview of the test and test taking skills and then a chapter on each of the types of Reading questions you will encounter. Each chapter takes a question type and breaks it down to the smallest details and explains how to approach the question and what constitutes a wrong answer. There are thorough explanations of both the correct and the incorrect answers and then practice questions to practice your new knowledge. In the back of the book is a break down to the first 4 College Board tests, identifying each of the reading questions type, so that students can identify the questions that give the the most trouble and review those chapters.

Just The Facts:

  • 349 Pages
  • Targeted practice for the Reading section only
  • No full tests, just targeted practice questions
  • Paper Quality: Excellent. You can write and erase without worrying about tearing through
  • Quality of Answer Explanations: Excellent

This book is available through Amazon. Why are you still here? Go buy the book!

Critical Reader at

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