For those who choose to do it themselves, trade publishers offer a variety of paperback study guides for the SAT. For the self-assured student, there are books promising shortcuts and strategies to "ace" the test. For the less confident there are books with reams of vocabulary words, math reviews and sample tests. The harried and rushed can bone up on exponential equations and antonyms in pocket-sized formats. In addition, the Educational Testing Service sends a "Study Guide" free of charge, with its Bulletin of Information, available through school guidance counselors.

MONARCH'S PREPARATION FOR THE SAT, by Edward C. Gruber and Morris Bramson (Monarch, $6.95). About two-thirds of the book is devoted to practice SATs. There are also reviews of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry as well as a list of 1,000 vocabulary words. The book concludes with tips on how to raise your reading comprehension scores ("Read as widely as possible.")

HOW TO ACE THE SAT, by John Kelly and Richard Rosenberg, with Charles Steir (Fireside, $8.95). Promising to help you "Score more with less preparation," How to Ace the SAT provides a general description of the test plus "strategies," rather than sample questions. In vocabulary, Latin and Greek roots are stressed. The math review is standard, but explanations are clear and concise.

HOW TO TAKE THE SAT, by Marcia Lawrence (Plume, $5.95). A straightforward, non-gimmicky approach. First, the user takes a 45-question pre-test, then reviews of each section of the verbal aptitude test, takes more sample tests, then retakes the pre-test and compares the two scores. The same approach is used for mathematics.

INSIDE STRATEGIES FOR THE SAT, by Gary R. Gruber (Educational Design, $5.95). Because it takes a certain amount of intelligence to remember all the tips Gruber gives for outsmarting the SAT, Inside Strategies seems aimed at an audience who's likely to do pretty well on the test anyhow, although the strategies may help raise an already high score just a bit higher. Gruber recommends memorizing beforehand the directions for each section, since those directions never vary, and it's a waste of valuable time to puzzle them out during the test. He has also determined just how much time, in seconds and minutes, one should spend on each question. Another strategy is to leave no questions blank. Only a fraction of a point is deducted for each incorrect answer. You're bound to guess right sometimes.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TEST, by Lester Hirsch (McGraw-Hill, $5.95). Slimmer than most guides and therefore less intimidating, this book is a test preparation sandwich. That is, between two simulated SAT tests is a hefty chunk of review of both math and verbal skills. This approach might be especially useful to a first-time SAT taker.

BARRON'S SAT: 11th Edition, by Samuel C. Brownstein and Mitchel Weiner (Barron's Educational Services, $7.95). The granddaddy of all the SAT guides, Barron's first edition came out in 1954. Now, with all the competition, Barron's is touting its gimmicks just like everybody else. In addition to the "strategies" for answering questions, there is a "new" 30-hour study plan, a list of 3,000 words "you need to know for the SAT" and a complete "SAT Diagnostic Test" designed to reveal weaknesses which can then be strengthened with Barron's study plan. Barron's has also distilled this fat book into a pocket-sized one called Basic Tips on the SAT ($2.95).

HOW TO BEAT TEST ANXIETY AND SCORE HIGHER ON THE SAT, by Dr. James H. Divine and David W. Kylen (Barron's, $3.95). No sample tests here. This Barron's book is devoted entirely to the psychology of test-taking. It's full of advice like "Check the (test) room environment. Do not arrive too soon . . . but arrive before most do so that you can pick out a good spot." The book stresses building one's confidence and abiding by good study habits. Most of the advice seems sound and might help the apprehensive.

BARRON'S MATHEMATICS WORKBOOK FOR COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS, by Samuel C. Brownstein and BARRON'S VERBAL APTITUDE WORKBOOK FOR COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS, by Mitchel Weiner (Barron's, $6.95 and $4.95). Drill, drill, drill is what these books are about.

601 WORDS YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR THE SAT, by Murray Bromberg and Julius Liebb (Barron's, $4.95). Words are not simply listed with their definitions in alphabetical order but are grouped according to roots or subject.

MATHEMATICS WORKBOOK FOR THE SAT, by Brigitte Saunders and VERBAL WORKBOOK FOR THE SAT, by Gabriel P. Freedman, with Margaret A. Haller (Arco, $6 each). Sample questions and sample tests make up the bulk of both books, with a smattering of strategy, test-taking hints and suggestions on shortcuts as leaven.

PREPARATION FOR THE SAT, (Arco, $6.95). This comprehensive guide tries to cover all the bases from "Obtaining Financial Aid" to how to conquer the various sections of the SAT. Pretest, review, and final practice test constitute the format. It's all boiled down in a smaller book called Practice for the SAT, ($2.95).

ARCO PAGE-A-DAY SAT STUDY GUIDE, by Frances C. Bennett and Sunny Chang (Arco, $4.95). Also meant as a portable study guide, this book features perforated pages which can be easily torn out at the rate of one a day for 105 days. Each features a little review and mini-test aimed at specific verbal and math skills.