The Princeton Review has finally achieved a remarkable goal: A radically new cover design around zero changes from last year's text!
Since 2005 when they revamped their textbook for the new SAT, they have annually produced a new edition. Every year a shiny new cover with a new student of different ethnicity. And every year they managed to adjust the layout a wee bit: change a word or two here or there, but keep essentially the EXACT SAME TEXT from year to year! As a test prep tutor who uses this otherwise helpful book for her students, it is infuriating to be forced to buy a new book every year - rewriting all my notes - just to match the new page numbers.
In 2010, they added another practice test into the book, the only real, if small, improvement, since the rest of the text either stayed the same or lost some of its punch. It is well known that as one edits something repeatedly, it tends to lose energy, as any student working on his or her college application essay is aware. This certainly happened to The Princeton Review SAT text: The Critical Reading section in particular lost a lot when they chose, in 2007, to merge the Long and Short Reading Passages techniques, resulting in a confused and less effective approach to these passage types which require very different techniques and focus.
But this year -or rather, next year, since the 2012 model arrives with almost a half year to go- they gave up all pretense at creating new value. Shamelessly, they radically changed the cover to a dull black and white with a single student smiling in the void. (At least I'll be able to differentiate it from the army of their 2005-2011 editions on my bookshelves!) But the interior of the book is absolutely identical to 2011! I have compared the two texts side by side and flipped at random to dozens of pages in both books and they are the same, totally.
So, pick up a good second-hand copy of 2011 or 2010 if you like and save some money. The Princeton Review is a good course and their basic test-beating techniques are definitely helpful. This text in conjunction with the SAT 'bible' ("The CollegeBoard's Official Guide to the SAT") used for its practice tests, accompanied by "Tutor Ted's SAT Solutions Manual" are the best study trio I have found. For students seeking extra math help, Barrons dedicated "SAT Math Workbook" is terrific, as is the collection of free lessons and CollegeBoard math questions explanations available for free online at Khan Academy.