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Last Updated: September 11, 2022

Top 7 Books to Prepare for ACT

Purchasing a prep book can be a daunting task when it comes to examinations like the ACT since there are too many options available and one does not want to miss out on any information that can be deemed relevant. The whole point of purchasing a prep book then relies completely on the prep method the candidate opts for, their current proficiency level in the subjects, and the score they aspire to achieve.

While some students will need a step-by-step book that deals with the examination and content information, others might only require practice questions and strategies that can help them score higher. In other cases, candidates might already be part of ACT prep programs or they could be aiming for self-study both of which will require different kinds of prep books. A few of the best prep books that one can choose from based on these factors are as follows-

List of Best ACT Prep Books

Barron’s ACT 36- 4th Edition$16.30
  • Exam Strategies
  • Content Review
  • Practice Tests
The Official ACT Prep Guide-2022-2023$29.74
  • Practice Tests
  • Essay Prompts
  • Content Review
  • Test Information
ACT Prep Plus 2022-Kaplan$29.49
  • Practice Test
  • Online Tests
  • Quizzes
  • Video Lessons
  • Exam Strategies
Barron’s 6 ACT Practice Tests-3rd Edition$37.72
  • Practice Tests
  • Detailed Answer Analysis
  • Diagnostic Test
ACT Prep Black Book-2nd Edition$28.48
  • Exam Strategies
  • Walkthroughs
Princeton Review-Cracking the ACT-2019 Edition$32.27
  • Content Review
  • Practice Tests
  • Exam Strategies
Manhattan Prep-5 lb. Book of Act Practice Problems $49.15
  • Progress Tracker
  • Practice Questions
  • Topical Grading Sheets
  • Online Resources

Barron's ACT 36: Aiming for the Perfect Score

Cost- $16.30
This book is for candidates who are looking for a guide that focuses less on practice questions and more on strategy and content. The book pairs well with practice paper guides that can be used to further enhance one’s skills. The book is great for both English and Mathematics but is generally considered to be a little behind the times for the Sciences. This text put out by the test-prep giant, Barron's, aims to get students a 36 on the exam, a perfect score but claims that this lofty goal is something all students should aspire to achieve.

Pros- Cons-

The Official ACT Prep Guide(2019-2020)

Cost- $29.74
Candidates who are looking for authentic materials from the creators of the ACT will find this book to be the best option they can find. Unlike the previous test guides offered by ACT, this book offers essays that provide essay prompts demanding at least one perspective, The earlier practice for the same was to demand the integration of multiple perspectives from the same essay prompt.

The book's downside would be that the question bank can only be accessed online unlike the printable pdf versions of the bonus questions that came with older editions. It borrows heavily from previous editions(only Mathematics) and is not a recommended purchase if one owns the previous versions of the book(especially The Real ACT 3rd Edition).

Pros- Cons-

ACT Prep Plus 2021(Kaplan Test Prep)

Cost- $29.49
Kaplan, being an official teaching partner of ACT, updates itself regularly providing students with fresh content. Purchasing this book avails one printed full-length practice test along with four online tests which will be accessible for a year along with additional quizzes and videos to enable better performance.

The book has a lot of organized information divided into plenty of sections which helps one choose the sections without skimming through the entire book to find a particular section. This helps students skip entire portions they do not want to go through and also helps them understand the categorical difference between sections that can aid in individually focusing on the section after section than all of them in bulk.

Pros- Cons-

6 ACT Practice Tests(Barron's Test Prep)3rd Edition

Cost- $37.72
If the candidate in question has been going through book after book reading and studying the strategies required but need to finally use these strategies in detail, this book is for them. It is a book that caters to people with a low budget though that doesn't imply a lack of quality. Whether one tries to practice one section at a time or an entire paper at a time, it helps to manage time and understand where they are falling back since it is in the structure of a question paper than a guide. The answers and explanations come after the full question paper which can give candidates a tendency of going back after every question to check their responses. Even in this scenario, the book helps them understand where exactly was there a flaw in judgment and to rectify the same.

Pros- Cons-

ACT Prep Black Book: The Most Effective ACT Strategies Ever Published. 2nd Edition

Cost- $28.48
This book is offered by Mike Barrett who is an ACT tutor with an international clientele. The book claims to be a detailed walkthrough of the Official ACT Prep Guide and aims to aid above-average students in entering the Ivy League or to score a 10 per section to claim sports scholarships.

Even when certain aspects mentioned may seem commonsensical, the way the information has been articulated makes one wonder about the simplicity and complexity of the approach simultaneously. The book aids in making the student understand their mistakes and repeat their steps correctly thereby eliminating the necessity for a tutor.

Pros- Cons-

Princeton Review Cracking the ACT Premium Edition 2019

Cost- $32.27
Princeton Review is one of the leading prep tool providers for most competitive examinations. This ACT prep book focuses on lower test scorers and so provides questions on the easier side but covers the basics in such a manner that candidates will understand the test and the strategies required to clear the test. For a beginner, this book may be the best place to start as for a high-end score earner this book may not be recommended given its simplicity.

Pros- Cons-

Manhattan Prep-5 lb. Book of Act Practice Problems

Cost- $49.15
Despite being a 2015 edition, most tutors and students seem to be after this guide due to the difficulty level and form that is both easily understandable and perceivable than other strategy-focusing texts. This guide also includes one-year access to additional online resources along with supplemental practice questions in the Science section.

Pros- Cons-
For Prep Books on Mathematics follow link.

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