The Best Book on Zen SAT Prep

by Pam Allen

What's in the book?

Pam Allen, an experienced SAT tutor, shares her unique method for fast SAT improvement.

    • Step-by-step guide for successful SAT prep
    • A detailed breakdown of each SAT section
    • Instructions for integrating meditation into your study routine
    • Tips on writing great SAT essays
    • Common SAT math mistakes and how to avoid them



Have you been caught up in the frenzy over college admissions tests, feeling as though you ought to have started your preparation early in your high school career?

Don’t distress, de-stress because with the advice from Zen SAT Prep you can complete your preparation in six short weeks or less in the summer before your senior year and maximize your scores using sane and targeted techniques that will help you get the test “out of your way.”

Zen SAT Prep contains Pam Allen's best strategies for preparing to take the SAT. These are the strategies that Pam has developed from 15 years of experience as an SAT tutor.


I already took the ACT, isn’t it the same as the SAT?

Not at all. These are two very different exams: The ACT focuses on English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, whereas The SAT assesses Critical Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. The SAT doesn’t test science at all, and the ACT doesn’t assess your knowledge of vocabulary. In general, the ACT tests in a linear fashion, proving your ability to proceed to a more sophisticated curriculum, while the SAT forces you to think outside the box as you analyze and think critically.

A lot of my friends are pressured into taking The SAT during junior year, so they start studying during school - should I?

No - you should PRACTICE during your junior year, and wait to take the exam during your senior year. Also, avoid concentrated SAT preparation during school, since you already have enough on your plate! Your brain is still developing when you’re sixteen, so it’s a good idea to put your brain to work when it’s at full strength - not when it’s still growing.

I heard you can take the SAT as much as you want. Why study - can’t I just take it a bunch of times to get practice?

You could - but it’s not a good idea. Many colleges like to see a student who succeeded in one or two tries - it shows preparation and diligence. If you take it more than twice, you’re going to have a fluctuating list of grades - some good, some bad. It’s best to give yourself six weeks or rigorous prep time, to help you prove yourself in as few attempts as possible. Plus, the test is expensive - wouldn’t you rather put that money toward decorating your dorm room?

Meditation - that sounds so ridiculous! I thought only monks meditated - why should I do it for The SAT?

In short, because it helps. Meditation is used by a lot of people - not just monks. Guided meditation is employed by many elite athletes, who use it to focus their strengths even before game day. It helps them relax, let’s them focus, and opens up communication with their subconscious mind. Every technique you master, and each problem you solve is stored in your subconscious mind. Retrieving these memories is easier after you’ve centered yourself. This is an essential concept for those who want to master the craft of meditation. Master the Principles of the 3 P’s - by staying Positive, thinking Powerfully, and remaining in the Present Tense - to harness the magnificent strength of your mind.

Letter From The Author

Hi Reader,

I want to let you know why I wrote this book.

First, I have experienced a countless variety of SAT prep materials: everything from books and sample tests to full-blown prep courses. Sure, a lot of these are great resources - but, they all seemed to focus on a single path instead of employing a more holistic approach. When I sat down to write Zen SAT Prep, I had one main goal in mind: I wanted to provide my students with a tool box - not just a hammer. It’s always better to have a diverse range of techniques, and not a single, one-dimensional strategy. Zen SAT Prep utilizes general test-taking methods, SAT-specific techniques, and powerful study strategies to give you an arsenal of instruments. With this versatility, you can attack each problem with proven methodologies that complement your own strengths, instead of hoping that your one trick will always work.

Second, I saw my own children suffer through SAT prep, and I wanted to make the process efficient and effective - not painful.

Reading through dozens of SAT Prep manuals, taking sample tests, and attending SAT prep courses can leave you lethargic and sick of the exam - even before you pick up a number 2 pencil! I know students have a full course load during their latter high-school years, and I believe that endless, rigorous repetition isn’t as effective as a concentrated period of practice and mastery. I designed Zen SAT Prep to function in a short six-week period. I know you can achieve greatness if you take the time to perfect a handful of essential procedures. Not only will you improve your SAT score, but you’ll develop an exceptional skill set that will help you on future exam days!

Which brings me to my final reason for writing Zen SAT Prep: to enhance your strengths AND minimize weakness.

I didn’t only want to help familiarize you with the SAT, I wanted you to be comfortable taking it. This required me to focus on all facets of the exam - both the test itself and the environment it defines. In other words, many students sabotage themselves with nervousness; it’s true, test-time jitters aren’t as rare as you might think - a lot of my own students were very worried on test day - no matter how much they studied!

I knew I’d have to explore this if I was really going to help students succeed. So, I decided to incorporate the art of meditation - which truly makes this book unique among other SAT Prep materials.

Understanding the fundamentals of zen meditation will help you maintain composure during the exam, which will enhance your ability to remember your training. Instead of desperately trying to remember all the tricks you memorized, you’ll confidently apply a functional course of action that can help you save time and energy with every question. You’ll become focused and poised - ready to find the answer without hesitation. No more exam anxiety, and no more wasting precious minutes on a single question. After reading my book, you’ll know how to approach the exam, how to read the questions, how to identify the best answer quickly and efficiently.

The SAT is the door to your future, and if you have to open it - knock it off the hinges! Sharpen your study skills, tighten your mental focus, and earn the score that you deserve.

Good Luck!

Things You'll Learn:

  • Break down the test into sections - like the rungs of a ladder. That way, you won’t be overwhelmed - just climbing confidently toward success!
  • Know the process. Define the limitations per section, and learn the fundamentals of time management, as well as how to focus your attention on the most valuable questions.
  • Uncover the truth - and deflate the myths. Learn where to gain confidence and why you should’t base your SAT assumptions on your PSAT score.
  • Identify the best time to take the test. Think it’s during school? Nope. Think you should take it before senior year? Wrong. Learn when to take it and increase your chance for success.
  • Understand the significant differences between The SAT and The ACT. Studying for one does NOT mean you’re prepared for the other.
  • Make an effective plan. Six weeks of intensive study will work wonders. And, plan to do this after junior year, since a lot of important brain growth happens after you turn 16.
  • What to avoid. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different prep books, and spend your practice time wisely.
  • Put meditation to work. Learn how to maintain a calm serenity and attack the exam like a well-trained athlete - concentrated and in perfect shape.
  • Prevent careless mistakes! Remaining focused and taking notes throughout the math section will help you immensely. Learn how to do it - and why it helps.
  • 7 great tips for the math section - from saving the hardest for last to knowing when to move on - improve your confidence with strategy.
  • Dissect the SAT essay by defining the structure and format before proceeding into your answer. Learn why this helps, and how it makes time management and organization easier.
  • Ace the SAT critical reading portion by learning how to locate the main idea, and how to make reading more efficient.
  • 5 extra tips for reading comprehension success. Everything from focusing on tonal words to avoiding extreme answers, you’ll see the SAT in a whole new light!
  • 7 Simple SAT Day Tips. All the practice in the world doesn’t help if you lose it on test day. Learn why your health matters, to arrive early, and why you should avoid prep work.

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