The Best ACT Prep Books
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General ACT Prep Books | ACT Math Books | ACT Science Books | ACT English and Reading Books
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Many colleges require ACT or SAT scores for admission. Lasting 3.5 hours (with breaks), the ACT comprises five sections: English, math, reading, science, and an optional 40-minute writing test. Colleges and universities often rely on standardized test results to make admission decisions and compare candidates with similar credentials.
Because good scores can boost your chances of getting admitted to competitive schools, many students turn to ACT study guides to help them prepare.
With so many options available, it can be challenging to figure out which resources you should use. This is why we compiled a list of the best ACT test prep books.
Why Use an ACT Prep Book?
On both the ACT and SAT, higher scores can improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice. While anything above the national average is generally considered a good score, some schools maintain more selective score requirements.
To avoid surprises, improve scores, and earn admission to your target school, it's recommended that you study with the help of a comprehensive book or guide. When choosing a prep book, students should consider their weaknesses and find an option that emphasizes those areas.
You may also check with your school or local library to see whether they offer any ACT prep books you can borrow. Another option is to use free online ACT resources and websites.
Top ACT Prep Books
$ = Under $10 | $$ = $10-$25 | $$$ = $26-$50 | $$$$ = Over $50
Top General ACT Prep Books
"The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2021-2022"
Created by ACT Inc. — the organization that administers the exam — "The Official ACT Prep Guide" provides test-takers with six full-length practice tests, available both online and in the book. This highly rated guide comes with in-depth answer explanations and helpful advice for all major content areas and question types.
Online ACT practice exams can be filtered and tracked to identify your biggest weaknesses. You also get access to 400 digital flashcards.
The Princeton Review's "ACT Premium Prep, 2021"
This popular ACT prep book provides test-takers with eight complete practice tests (four online, four in the book) along with easy-to-understand, in-depth answer explanations. The guide also comes with video tutorials, content review and drills for each test section, and comprehensive study plans.
The Princeton Review identifies the main skills needed for each of the five ACT sections and offers students proven techniques and strategies to earn a higher score.
"ACT Prep Black Book, 2nd Edition"
A great companion to "The Official ACT Prep Guide," the ACT black book provides step-by-step instructions for all practice questions across the three publicly released official ACT practice tests.
You'll also learn strategies and tips to maximize your score, including how to identify which questions to spend time on, how to read and interpret questions correctly, and how to craft a high-scoring essay.
Kaplan's "ACT Prep Plus 2022"
"ACT Prep Plus 2022" features five practice exams (one printed and four online) and both diagnostic pre-quizzes and practice assessments after each chapter. Created by famed test prep company Kaplan, this guide takes a detailed look at an official ACT practice test, breaking down questions and scoring formulas.
By buying this book, you'll also get access to video lessons and a one-year membership to Kaplan's online center.
Barron's "ACT Premium Study Guide, 2022-2023"
Barron's "ACT Premium Study Guide" boasts five full-length practice exams (three in the book, two online) and one diagnostic test to help students identify their biggest weaknesses. The guide provides customizable study plans that focus on a student's testing goals, as well as advice on test-taking strategies, exam mindsets, and time and mood management.
Passages arranged by difficulty (easy, medium, and hard) allow you to tailor your prep to your skill level and areas of improvement.
McGraw Hill Education's "10 ACT Practice Tests, 6th Edition"
Written by test prep experts, this book contains 10 complete ACT practice tests along with scoring worksheets and additional online practice exams. The guide explains in detail the test structure, informing students what each question evaluates, how to maximize efficiency, and how to control anxiety.
It also includes comprehensive answer explanations. With so many practice problems, "10 ACT Practice Tests" is arguably best for test-takers needing lots of extra practice.
Manhattan Prep's "5 lb. Book of ACT Practice Problems"
This giant prep book contains over 1,800 ACT practice questions that span every section of the exam. An in-book diagnostic test helps students build skills in the content areas they struggle with the most. You'll also get one-year access to additional online content, including extra practice questions and vocabulary help.
Even though the book was released back in 2015, it remains a go-to resource for many test-takers today.
Top ACT Math Books
"Ultimate Guide to the Math ACT, 2nd Edition"
Written by math tutor and test prep expert Richard F. Corn, "Ultimate Guide to the Math ACT" helps students learn key math strategies and boost their ACT Math scores.
The in-depth guide includes customizable training for both beginners and advanced learners, tips for TI-84 calculators, 38 lessons, and over 550 homework problems with solutions.
"The Official ACT Mathematics Guide, 2nd Edition"
Designed by the creators of the ACT, this prep book provides a walkthrough of the entire (and often tricky) ACT Math section. Students learn to identify the various types of math questions they'll see on the exam, effective problem-solving methods, and handy test-taking strategies.
Though it contains fewer practice questions than many of its competitors, this book is one of the only to use official ACT Math questions.
"ACT Math: The Guide, 1st Edition"
Through this book, you can prepare for every type of math question on the ACT. Each topic includes diagrams, problem sets, practice questions, online videos, and strategies for tackling questions. The guide also offers ACT practice tests to teach students how to identify their weaknesses and a score study guide to help test-takers hit their goals.
"ACT Math: The Guide" is designed to function more like an ACT prep class than it is a typical prep book, which may appeal to students who prefer lots of structure in their studying.
Kaplan's "ACT Math & Science Prep, 4th Edition"
Kaplan's "ACT Math & Science Prep" helps students prepare for the ACT Math and Science sections with over 500 quality, focused questions. The book highlights the 100 most important ACT math topics, helping test-takers pinpoint their weaknesses and identify opportunities to raise their scores.
The company even offers a money-back guarantee if you don't see an improvement in your total ACT score.
Top ACT Science Books
Barron's "ACT Math and Science Workbook, 3rd Edition"
With Barron's "ACT Math and Science Workbook," you'll gain a full understanding of the ACT's math and science requirements. In addition to sample questions, passages, and practice exams for the two sections, this guide offers useful test-taking strategies, such as a four-step drill approach to science questions.
"For the Love of ACT Science"
Updated in 2019-20, this popular guide from 2015 teaches strategies you can use to tackle different types of ACT Science questions. Using various components of the scientific method, this approach helps students fully understand questions so they can provide complete answers for full marks.
The book includes realistic ACT Science practice questions. What's more, many reviewers say they or their children earned higher ACT Science scores after studying with this guide.
"The Official ACT Science Guide, 2nd Edition"
Created by ACT Inc., "The Official ACT Science Guide" presents a complete walkthrough of the Science portion of the exam. You'll learn to identify the various types of science questions, along with key terminology and approaches needed to solve each problem.
The guide also provides access to a full pool of questions online, giving you the option to customize your prep.
Top ACT English and Reading Books
The College Panda's "ACT English, 1st Edition"
Featuring three full ACT English practice tests and a thorough review of the section, this prep book assists students with mastering the English section of the exam. The guide outlines common grammar rules, suggests drills for boosting confidence, and lays out specific tips and general strategies to use on test day.
Altogether, test-takers will benefit from hundreds of realistic ACT English practice problems.
"The Critical Reader: The Complete Guide to ACT English, 4th Edition"
Written by test prep expert Erica L. Meltzer, this prep book offers an in-depth analysis of grammar and rhetoric rules, along with hundreds of helpful explanations for all types of ACT English questions. You'll learn the most common testing errors and gain insight into useful strategies for acing this tricky ACT section.
Students scoring low or high on ACT English will likely benefit from the comprehensive coverage of the section in this go-to guide.
Test Prep Books' "ACT English, Reading, and Writing Prep Book, 3rd Edition"
Written by real test prep experts, this study guide provides a thorough review of the content and topics tested on the ACT English and Reading sections. In this book, you'll find strategies that help students prepare for every question type, identify their weaknesses, and maximize their time on the exam.
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