Cracking the ACT exam and getting admission in the college you want is just a cup of tea!
You might be thinking; is it really that easy?
Yeah, surely it is.
You just need the right ACT study guide, hard work and strong determination to crack the exam.
Now, how do you know whether a study guide is right for you or not?
Well, for that I’m here to help you. Below, I've reviewed the Best ACT exam prep books. Just go through it and decide which one is best for you.
First of all, let's have a look at the comparison table of the Best ACT prep Books below!
- 1 Best ACT Prep Books for 2018-2019
- 1.1 The Official ACT Prep Pack with6 Full Practice Tests, 2018-2019
- 1.2 Barron's ACT, 3rd Edition: With Bonus Online Tests
- 1.3 ACT Prep Plus 2019: 5 Practice Tests +Proven Strategies + Online
- 1.4 Barron's ACT 36, with Bonus Online Tests
- 1.5 Cracking the ACT with 6 Practice Tests
- 1.6 ACT Prep Black Book: The Most Effective ACT Strategies Ever Published
- 1.7 Up Your Score: ACT, 2018-2019 Edition: The Underground Guide to Outsmarting "The Test”
- 1.8 McGraw-Hill Education: Top 50 ACT Math Skills for a Top Score
- 1.9 5 lb. Book of ACT Practice Problems
- 1.10 McGraw-Hill ACT ELITE 2019
- 1.11 What is ACT?
- 1.12 Tips and test taking strategies:
- 1.13 Summing it up:
Best ACT Prep Books for 2018-2019
No. of Pages
The Princeton Review
ACT Prep Books
You can also check the complete review of the Best ACT prep Books!
The official Act Prep guide is one of the top rated ACT Prep Books.
Now you might be wondering what makes it the best? Right?
OK, let me explain:
The official ACT prep guide is the bestselling study guide for the students who are preparing for the ACT exam. The official ACT study guide is the only official prep guide written by the certified exam makers. It contains real test questions taken from previous official exams. You won’t stare blank at any questions on the exam day because there won’t be any that you see for the first time. It leads you step by step from registration to your score report and explains you effective test taking strategies.
The ACT exam is a bit weird and will test concepts in ways you have never seen before. It simply means you need to train yourself with realistic questions so that you learn the patterns of this exam. This ACT prep guide comes with six full length practice tests. So you can easily learn the tips, tricks and strategies that you need to use in the exam. The book and online content includes actual ACT test forms.
This Act Prep Book also contains additional questions and material which includes articles on every topic starting with preparing a college application, getting into your top school choice and finally succeeding in college. The Act Prep Study Guide contains data on scoring well in your writing test. New reporting categories and tips on how to prepare well for the exam and score high are also mentioned. The official guide offers an additional 400 practice questions which are available online.
The limitation of this ACT Prep Book is that some questions are from the old guide which refers to old question patterns. The advantage is that those questions are still appropriate for the newer version of the exam. Regardless of these limitations, it's still the best test preparation book overall in our list.
This Act Prep Book is informally called the ACT Red book. This is the only book written by the certified exam makers. The questions in this book are test like. Though the book has some limitations but still we recommend it as the best ACT Prep Book overall for your test preparation.
Barron’s ACT provides the best value for your money. It's the best budget pick for ACT Prep Books. This book has a low price but still maintains high quality if you're going to take the ACT exam.
The additional benefit of this ACT Prep Book is that questions are similar to those in the exam. So you won't be shocked with harder questions as you already have practiced and prepared for them. Practicing these test questions will boost your confidence.
If you're looking for a large amount of content, practice questions and strategies in a single ACT Prep Book then this book is for you. This is one of the best ACT Prep Books which will clearly guide you to a top score.
This ACT Prep Book starts with an introduction to ACT, provides a study plan and then tests you with a diagnostic test which to measure your level. Afterwards, it contains around 50 pages for each section with test taking strategies, skills, and concept questions and practice tests.
This ACT Prep Book will clearly explain the main concepts that you'll need to answer questions. It'll also give illustrations of math concepts like algebra and coordinate geometry. The book also reviews data representation, research summary and questions of the science section.
A lot of suggestions are given in this ACT Prep Book which are unique and you can’t find it in any other study guide. All these strategies will increase your score. But for those who want to score high we would suggest Barron’s 36 because of the more difficult questions presented. This ACT Prep Book has lot of benefits and only a few limitations. At a low price, it's definitely a must have ACT Prep Book.
Barron’s ACT has the best value and is a budget pick for the ACT exam. The book is available at a low price but it is still of high quality. The questions given in this study guide are like the actual test. For those who want to score high, then we will recommend Barron's 36 for practicing difficult questions. Barron’s has a lot of strengths and very few limitations.
Kaplan's ACT Prep Plus is one of the best ACT Prep Books that provide an appropriate section review and guides you in the right direction. This ACT Prep Book is one of the longest and gives very good explanations of answers so that you won’t be confused or frustrated while practicing questions.
Kaplan's ACT Prep Plus includes expert strategies, online practices and video tutorials which help you crack the exam. You'll be able to face the exam with confidence.
Kaplan is an official partner for live online prep for the ACT. Kaplan's ACT Prep Plus will provide proper guidance and guarantee. After studying with online resources, you'll score high in the ACT . Otherwise, you get your money back. Login in from any place to watch videos, lessons, complete quizzes and practice tests.
Kaplan also has also a feature called smart points which will tell you which questions are asked more in the exam. It will allow you to focus on those portions which are important and frequently asked in the exams. “Smart points” really helps you save time while studying for the exam as you already know which questions types are the most important.
Kaplan has a lot of information but some of strategies take time to understand and will actually take a long time to effectively apply in the actual test. Some of the questions in the study guide are easier than the questions in the exam. English and reading sections are easier than the actual test. Math and science are likewise easy.
Kaplan's Act Prep Book covers all sections and contains practice questions and tests. It covers the most important concepts but it won’t excel in every topic. It has reasonable content when compared to any other book. I won’t recommend the book if you want to improve your ACT score but if you want a single source then you can go with this ACT Prep Book.
Barron’s 36 is a great Act Prep Book for those who want to score high. This book contains a lot of hard questions which are even harder than the actual test. It means that you will be prepared to answer any question that most other students just skip.
This ACT Prep Book will provide advice and strategies for cracking the most difficult questions. The guide also provides extra challenging practice tests in English, Math, Reading, Science and the optional Writing test. For boosting your science score, it'll give special tips. It also provides detailed advice on how to write a winning easy. Finally, the authors will give you instructions on reading effectively.
The book can be purchased also with an optional CD ROM which includes a full length ACT practice test that closely matches the actual ACT exam and also includes 50 extra difficult questions with answers.
This ACT Prep Book offers advanced strategies and concepts which are not found in other study guides. These advanced strategies and concepts will help you score high in the exam.
This ACT Prep Book is best for scoring high in the exam. If you're taking the exam for the first time, then we recommend that you also purchase another overall review guide. This ACT Prep Book will not include things like basic test taking strategies and tips to avoid common errors which generally people make on the exam.
This ACT study guide provides only one full length practice test. Even though it has its own limitations , still it's made it to our list for high scorers.
This ACT Prep Book is for high scorers. If you're taking the exam for the very first time, I will also suggest that you purchase another overall review book. This study guide doesn’t include basic test taking strategies and tips for cracking the most common errors. This guide comes at a low price and is only recommended for those who want to score high.
Cracking the act is the all in one solution for your high score in act exam. The big advantage of this best prep act book is it will simplify the basics and really make it very easy for you to learn of all the subjects you won’t be frustrated or get confused about certain review topics.
This Act Prep Book is a comprehensive traditional Act Prep Book which will provide a full review of concept, practice questions and techniques. This Act Prep Book will cover maths and science sections deeply while the English and reading sections are not covered in deep.
This Act Prep Book will clear maths concepts and important grammar rules which you need to know about the exam. It will also provide ways to use process of elimination. It will provide tips regarding in what order to answer the questions so that it will save your time and think which answers to attempt and which to leave.
In this Act Prep Book every section has example questions. This book will provide six full practice tests, four of them are I book itself and two are online. This Act Prep Book is good at basics but some concepts will be difficult to group with the help of this book alone.
English grammar given in this Act Prep Book is fine but lacks thoroughness. The reading section is having good strategies. But the science sections the content which is necessary to attain a top score.
The practice tests given in this Act Prep Book are generally easier than the actual test. And also the practice questions aren’t official. This will make you unprepared for the exam.
This Act Prep Book is good at simplifying the basics and making easy to learn all the subjects. You won’t get confused or frustrated in certain topics. It has clean layout and will be very easy to follow. I would recommend you to purchase other Act Prep Book if you want to learn the things beyond the basics.
This Act Prep Book focuses on important aspect of using strategies to crack the different level of questions. This act prep black book will provide you unique and effective act strategies from Mike Barrett. Now you would like to know who is Mike Barrett. Mike Barrett is an act tutor who have clients whole over the world who will pay to him hundreds of dollars for simply an hour for phone tutoring.
This Act Prep Book will help to work on the weakness and timing issues which a student will face during the exam. It will teach you what is the general process for answering questions in act exam. It will also teach you techniques and strategies to answer maths questions. It advises on how to tackle the English questions. But it less concerned about teaching you the skills and more focused on how the test will work.
The ideas given in this Act Prep Book will motivate you to work harder and harder. The ideas given are based on certain evidences. The strategies given in this Act Prep Book are more helpful, you will also learn not to simply dependent on only tricks. This Act Prep Book considers every student as different. Therefore it provides alternatives in strategies and suggests you to try them to know which one will work best for you.
The answer explanations are in detail for the toughest question and the author finds the best approach to explain you each questions. This Act Prep Book works only for one thing. It will help you to use act’s design and flaws against it to gain more score. The book is very much clear and concise. It will explain you how the every question works and how to crack the question in the least possible time.
Question explanations are on the basis of the old 3rd edition of the red book. If you are having that book then it will be difficult or impossible to use this black Act Prep Book. Most of the explanations of the question cover the hardest questions which are in the red book. If you are scoring low on these questions will seem confusing to you.
If you are weak in any particular area the book alone will not help you to master that area. For e.g. if you are weak in algebra then you will need any other Act Prep Book as a supplement to master in that area. The science section and English section of this Act Prep Book are not as strong as reading and maths section are. Because English is less about understanding and more about mastering grammar rules.
Act prep black book is only the critical book which I can recommend but you cannot use this Act Prep Book you will need any other guide as a supplement. Moreover the book has not been updated since 2014. This Act Prep Book will teach you a lot but it will take a lot of time and energy in it. This book is for the students who are willing to understanding the act and how it works.
Up your score is the Act Prep Book which is alternative to big, bad, boring Act Prep Books. Up your score is the underground Act Prep Book for those million kids who take the act every year. Up your score: act is written by Chris Arp who is Princeton graduate.
This Act Prep Book follows the fun approach for the preparation of the act exam. It explains the formal and concepts in humorous way so that you can easily remember it and it also provides some test taking strategies.
The book also deals with the issues of stress and pressure you face during the exam and offers advises for boosting your confidence. This book is different from traditional prep books. But the book is more like the prep book which you need to start your study, clear your questions, frustration around the test and learn about the test and experience it.
This Act Prep Book will help you to develop your readings section by developing the five habits of lean forward reading. It will also include treat reading like a conversation and also pay attention to direction words. It will help you to master the maths section by using techniques like plugging in. plugging in is the amazing trick which will simplify all the algebra word problems. Act exam grammar is bit tough so the study guide focus on commas, semicolons, pronouns, transitions etc. the book covers the science section very well as it is covered in exams.
This Act Prep Book is alternative to boring books. The study guide uses fun approach for exam preparation. But the book is not updated since many years and it will also not be a sufficient resource to go through.
Mc Graw hill’s top 50 skills for math are especially for those who are weak in the maths section. This best Act Prep Book of maths is written in engaging style. This study guide discusses 50 critical math skills which you need to know for the act exam.
This Act Prep Book provides sample question which illustrates each concept. This Act Prep Book is written by an expert who has lot of experience about SAT and ACT preparation. This study guide provides strategies and concepts you need to know about exam which will help you to raise scores in exam. This study book is designed in such a way that it will identify your weakness in maths and focuses on it. This study guide provides 2 extra test online. This Act Prep Book also provides answer book with explanations of answer in detail.
This Act Prep Book is more focused in teaching top 50 skills of math but it has only limited number of questions. This study book will help you to review the concepts but you will also need another book for practice. This Act Prep Book is useful to students at all the level but it only provides strategies and tips which are ordinary only.
This Act Prep Book is only for those who are weaker in maths section.
The Manhattan 5 lb. book is the companion to the official act guide and official act website. This Act Prep Book comes with 1800 practice questions which are written by expert. It covers all the topics which are essential for exam. This Act Prep Book is perfect resource for the students which will help in creating basic skills through targeted practice.
When it comes to maths section the questions given are 100% of the same difficulty level which you will see in the act exam. They follow the same format and same level of difficulty. You can use the maths portion with closing your eyes and it will completely help you for the exam and it will boost up your confidence. The problem in Manhattan’s act reading and English and reading section are delicate but yet meaningful. The practice question in this Act Prep Book is quiet easier than in the actual exam.
For answering the act English questions you will need the knowledge of grammar, vocabulary and punctuation. But this Act Prep Book has 50-50 balance of harder and simpler questions. Similarly the science section is quiet are easier than the average. The science charts and graphs are simpler than the act science visuals. Some of the questions in this Act Prep Book of science questions involve pre-algebra math which are appropriate for maths but not for science.
Each answer explanations provided in this Act Prep Book will act as a lesson and will be applicable to the other act questions. Certain additional questions are also provided in this Act Prep Book so that you can practice challenging questions too.
The Manhattan 5 lb. book is the companion to the official act guide and official act website. This Act Prep Book comes with 1800 practice questions which are written by expert. It covers all the topics which are essential for exam. The maths section follows same level of difficulty but the science and English section are easier than actual exam.
McGraw hill is written by Steven W. Dulan who is the founder president of advantage education, Inc., which offers live test prep classes at distance as well as in schools and colleges. Dulan has personally prepared thousands of students for success on such exams.
This Act Prep Book will provide 3 practice tests and 3 more are available online. It also provides additional practice questions for every section. So you can practice a lot and it will boost up your confidence. This Act Prep Book hasn’t fixed the mistakes with the English passage length but it has improved its English question. First it used to focus on grammar at an extreme level now the questions are balanced.
This study guide has right number of questions in maths in topics like algebra, geometry and trigonometry. But the most complicated questions of pre-algebra and elementary algebra are not considered. The reading section is too hard. The fiction passages are full of detail instead of dialogue and action as well as nonfiction passage is over loaded with information.
The book excels in science section. The essay format is mostly right. The book provides more practice in statistics and probability. It will provide 50 test day strategies. The answer explanations are not upto the expectation level. This Act Prep Book has skills and building practice materials for English, math, reading and science. There is good advice strategy throughout the chapter. The book ignores concepts of logarithms. The advice portions of this Act Prep Book are written in a confusing way. Psychology section focuses only on practice rather than learning concepts.
This Act Prep Book is good for some sections while there are limitations also. Some of the approaches may or may not be useful to you. Think and purchase the book and if you purchase use only what is needed and ignore the stuff that doesn’t make any sense or is useless.
What is ACT?
The act exam is a standardized test which is used for taking admissions in college in United States. In 2015 act started taking computer based exams rather than paper based format. All four year colleges and universities in US accept the Act score for admissions but different institutions will set different criteria for admissions. Institutes will include GPA, class rank and extracurricular activities as criteria.
The act is divided into four subjects: English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. Each correct answer is awarded with one mark. There is no consequence for making incorrect answers on the multiple choices in the exam. The act exam comes four to six times in a year depending on your state. The act exam is always taken on Saturdays.
Following is the format of the act exam:
No. of questions
English usage, mechanics and rhetorical skills.
Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, reasoning and problem-solving.
Interpretation analysis, evaluation, reasoning and problem solving.
Tips and test taking strategies:
- Practice, practice and practice: practice makes perfect and practicing will boost up your confidence. By practicing you will be ready for whatever comes in exam. Practice with those problems that are not too easy or not too hard.
- Work on weak points more: improving your weakness will help you to score more in the exam. You will be feeling tough in starting but later on it will be worth it.
- Work on easy problems without a calculator: a lot of math problems can be solved without calculator through certain tricks. Sometimes solving such questions without calculator can save your time.
- If you don’t have any idea regarding the question then guess: on the exam there is no negative marking for guessing so always attempt all the questions.
- Answer the easy questions first: attempt the entire question first so you will get extra time for tough questions.it will boost up your confidence too.
- Don’t spend too much time on any questions: if any question is too difficult don’t spend too much time on it, move on to next question. It will waste your time if the question is too hard.
- Don’t focus a lot on vocab most of the exams focus on vocab but act exam no longer focuses on vocab so don’t stress yourself studying more on vocab.
- Read every question thoroughly: if you will read every question carefully then you won’t require it to read it again and it can save your time.
- Spend more time on questions than on the passages: reading the questions carefully will help you to understand which part of the passage is more important and which can be skipped out.
- Don’t ignore the passage introductions: passage introduction can give important information’s like background information and other critical information of the passage. Therefore never skip introduction.
- Do not get stuck on the big science words: the exam makers will try to make confuse by putting big confusing science words. These words will distract you and simply waste your time so ignore such words.
- Know the science terms which are common in use: most science terms can be ignored but some of them are most commonly used. Terms like absolute zero, independent variable and acceleration are important to know.
- Keep your writing style simple: most of the people try to impress the examiners with words that you even don’t know well. Don’t try to do such things. It will be very easy to catch a mistake but hard to convince someone who is perfect.
- Try to write a longer essay: longer essay will help you to gain more marks and you can scope out more viewpoints and more thoughtful arguments.
- Avoid wordiness: your writing should be concise and to the point. Don’t write words to make longer essays. Every sentence should have some meaning.
- Get proper sleep before exam day: getting proper rest is essential. So make sure you have proper sleep before the exam day.
- Have a good, healthy breakfast: good breakfast will give you energy. Breakfast is the important meal of the day so have good healthy breakfast.
- Bring a watch: bring a watch to know how much time is remaining for each section. It will help you to complete the exam in time.
- Bring a drink: you will feel thirsty during the exam so carry some water or energy drink with you.
- Reach the location early: to avoid traffic and other issues make sure you start early and nothing will ruin your day on the exam day.
Summing it up:
“Good grades are life’s way of saying that there is a bright future in store for you.”
You can score well only if you work hard, practice and have a good study guide. I hope the above mentioned reviews will help to select a good study guide. In case you are not able to find a good study guide for you then I will recommend you some books.
If you are not concerned with price then overall THE OFFICIAL ACT PREP GUIDE is the best Act Prep Book. If you are concerned with price then you can go with BARRON’S ACT because it is available with low price and good quality. Now if you want to score high in exam then BARRON’S ACT 36 is top pick for high scorers.
I hope now you will be able to select a proper guide and crack the exam easily!
Checkout more ACT prep books on amazon! ;)
Wish you all the best for your preparations and exams!