ACT Prep Resources Guide
The ACT is one of the leading admissions exams and getting ready for it can be nerve wracking! To be well prepared, students should explore multiple resources and find the study tactics that work best for them. Below we have curated a list of some of our favorite tools to help get you started on your journey towards a business degree.
Websites can be a great starting resource for students to utilize as they often provide a variety of different perspectives on how to study for the ACT. They can also provide a great place to interact with others who are also prepping for the ACT exam. Below we have listed ten online resources you should check out. Please keep in mind, some of the websites do offer additional paid products. The sections we link to are all available free of charge.
Magoosh ACT Ebook – This Ebook from Magoosh offers a free download that explains the format of the ACT exam, as well as offering strategies and practice problems. It is a PDF that is easily printable so you can bring it with you. Even after you have taken the exam, this pamphlet can help you understand your score and how to prepare for another attempt if necessary.
Magoosh ACT Blog – Another section to check out on magoosh.com is the ACT archives. Both students and professionals post information about helpful topics; such as how to improve your score, what to study for, and whether you should submit both your ACT and SAT scores to a college.
College Confidential – College Confidential offers some great general preparation tips for college covering a variety of topics, including the ACT. This forum thread link allows people to post questions specific to the ACT. Once posted, other community members can answer and discuss.
Prep Scholar – The Prep Scholar blog is a free resource provided by the Prep Scholar team and a large group of regular contributors. The blog is frequently updated and offers advice on ACT study strategies and general college prep.
The Prep Factory – The Prep Factory offers some fantastic ACT prep resources. The only catch is that the website requires students to sign up for a free account in order to gain access. Once registered, students can study the information in short segments by category. This resource offers an English, science, reading and math overview. Students can watch videos and read notes, then they can take a five question quiz to ensure the information has been retained.
Sophia – The ACT preparation on sophia.org offers full-length tests with answer keys, so you can see how you did. They also offer tutorials and strategies for the exam for each category including math, science, and English. Students can also take sample college courses which may be helpful in preparing for both the exam and life at college.
The Study Guide Zone – The study guide zone offers ACT exam study guides, flashcards, and practice exams. They also offer help with the essay portion, as well as tips for test anxiety and what to expect on the test date. Some of the skill-building exercises offered for the English portion cover reading comprehension and basic grammar. Algebra I and geometry exercises are offered for the math portion.
My College Options – My College Options offers an ACT prep game which makes studying and preparing for the exam fun and easy. The essential guide to the ACT PDF has eight chapters focused on reviewing test subjects, and also includes tips for taking the test, practice quizzes, and additional related resources.
Grockit – Grockit is a unique and helpful resource that explains the scoring process for students. It shows top scores in comparison to average scores. The site also explains how a small improvement in your score can equate to a significant improvement in your percentile ranking.
Yes College – Yes College offers a breakdown of college admissions tests including the ACT and SAT. It provides helpful tips about subject matter such as the best time to take the ACT and how to get more information about the ACT fee waiver.
ACT Practice Tests
Practice tests can be particularly useful, because they give students the opportunity to see what test day will be like. They also help sharpen important skill sets such as time management and reading comprehension abilities. Having practice tests with answer keys is especially beneficial since students can see the questions they got wrong and learn from their mistakes.
The below tests and practice questions can be very helpful, but we always recommend doing at least one current and official practice test in conjuction with some of the below resources before your official test date.
Official ACT Online Prep – This test prep is different than others because it is the only one made by the makers of ACT, which may prove to be more helpful and relevant to students. The structure of their practice tests is very similar to the actual exam, so students can familiarize themselves with the concept and format.
The Princeton Review – The Princeton Review offers a free ACT online demo and test that students must register for. The test is given under similar conditions as the actual exam. They also offer in-person exams for students who would prefer to practice that way. After you take the test, you’ll get a personalized score report showing the subjects you did well in and the ones that need improvement.
Peterson’s – Peterson’s offers 90 days of access to three timed, full-length, online practice tests. For an additional cost, students can get essay scoring. It costs $24.95 for an automatic scoring of all three essays and $19.95 to access scoring guidelines that allow students to grade the essay themselves.
College Tidbits – This preparation PDF offers full-length practice, multiple-choice tests, in addition to a writing test. It also teaches you how to score the exam and provides a sample answer document. The practice tests have questions from older versions of the ACT exam.
Power Score 2005-2006 – This booklet from Power Score also provides full-length practice, multiple-choice tests, and a practice writing test. Tips, strategies, scoring data, and answer keys are also included. Before the practice test, this booklet reminds students that there is no penalty for a wrong answer, so students are encouraged to guess rather than leaving questions blank. While this resource has older questions and is the 2005-2006 version, it can still be a great resource to use early on in your studying.
Power Score 2009-2010 – This is similar to the previous power score practice test, but it is the 2009-2010 version. It offers a new and updated, full-length practice exam, in addition to information about the optional writing exam and practice test.
4 Tests – This ACT practice test from 4 Tests is uniquely helpful because students can choose which section they want to focus on. Taking a practice exam with all four sections included is also possible. However, if students feel they need more help with mathematics or science, they can take a practice exam exclusively covering those specific subjects.
McGraw-Hill Practice Plus – McGraw Hill’s website offers four different practice exams, in addition to a few mini quizzes. Each test is broken up into the four categories, so that you can practice each subject, one at a time. The subjects are always given in the same order on the real ACT exam so that students can get accustomed to the format and structure. Taking this practice test can help assess where you are in preparation for the exam.
Varsity Tutors – The Varsity Tutors website offers a multitude of tests for each subject. Currently, there are 203 English practice tests, 767 math practice tests, 144 reading practice tests, and 142 science practice tests. You can practice each section separately, or in the order of the real ACT exam.
Crack Act – Crack Act offers 72 ACT English practice tests, 70 ACT math practice tests, 58 ACT reading practice tests, and 92 ACT science practice tests. Each of the English tests includes five passages with 15 questions each, adding up to 75 questions.
Books can be a great study tool to help you prepare for the ACT exam. They are especially convenient at times you might not have access to the internet or other applications. Books also allow you to review the work you did and study it.
The Real ACT Prep Guide – The Real ACT Prep Guide book comes equipped with tips and strategies directly from the makers of the ACT. It includes five full-length exams that have been administered in previous years, in addition to a CD with college planning resources.
Tutor Ted’s Guide to the ACT – Tutor Ted’s Guide to the ACT offers practice questions and tutorials to help students succeed on the ACT. It also places a strong emphasis on the science portion of the exam, providing students with the science knowledge they need to perform well. Tutor Ted’s Guide uses humor to make the studying process fun and engaging.
McGraw-Hill Education ACT 2017 – This is the latest edition of the McGraw-Hill ACT prep book. It includes six full-length practice tests, with updated statistics and probability questions for the new math exam, and an eight-week training schedule.
Barrons ACT 36 – The Barrons book offers practice exams in all four subjects and also includes the writing portion. There is also a section of special tips on improving your science score. The paperback edition costs $35.99; the Kindle edition is $9.99.
Math Science Workout ACT – This book can be especially helpful for those who need extra help in the math and science department, but are proficient in the reading and English sections.
ACT Bad Test Takers – The ACT Bad Test Takers book can be helpful for those who struggle with standardized testing and are looking for strategies to improve their poor performance and testing anxiety issues. The advice provided is meant to help students start to think differently about the exam.
1,460 ACT Practice Questions – Princeton Review publishes this compilation of 1,460 ACT practice questions to help students prepare for the exam. Three full-length exams are included in this book, in addition to hundreds of other test questions, so that students can practice the subjects they need to work on most.
McGraw-Hill Education ACT 2016 – This McGraw-Hill book offers six full-length practice exams, in addition to an answer key that identifies some of the most common test-taking errors.
McGraw-Hill Education ACT Practice Tests – This McGraw-Hill book offers 10 ACT practice tests including ten different sample writing prompts. It gives time management tips and costs $19.42 for the paperback edition.
ACT Dummies with Online Practice Tests – The ACT for Dummies offers subject reviews and full-length practice tests, in addition to online practice tests. The For Dummies brand is written in a friendly tone that makes studying easier and can help you improve your ACT score.
Official ACT Prep Guide – This official prep guide walks students through the entire test-taking process, including registration and results, which is a lot more advice than some other guides provide. This is the 2016-2017 guide, so there are many new full-length tests offered.
Cracking Practice Tests College Preparation – The Cracking Practice Tests College Preparation is another guide book put out by the Princeton Review; this one offers drills for each section, providing instant score reports for the affiliated online tests. The paperback version costs $12.00, or less if used. The Kindle version is $17.99.
ACT Math Science Prep Questions – The ACT Math Science Prep Questions is another prep guide focused entirely on math and science questions. There are over 500 subject-specific questions included in this guide.
ACT Prep Black Book Strategies – This book is marketed as the “most effective ACT prep book ever published.” It claims to use the ACT’s design flaws against it with over 200 solutions to real ACT questions published in the affiliated red book.
Prep Book 2016 Study Guide – Along with test-taking strategies and practice exams, this book offers an appendix with an SAT to ACT equivalency table. This resource can be extremely beneficial for those preparing for both tests, and sets this book apart from others.
ACT Exam Secrets Study Guide – The ACT Exam Secrets Study Guide provides an in-depth breakdown of what each section contains. It offers an analysis of each math subject; such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. This guide also provides detailed descriptions of reading comprehension and science understanding techniques.
Up Your Score 2016-2017 – This book was written by a Princeton graduate and top ACT tutor, qualifying it as an insider’s guide for students. It addresses a lot of the changes that were made to the test in 2015, including digital administration of the exam and the essay requiring more analysis.
Tutor Teds ACT Practice Tests – This ACT guide book is the companion to Tutor Ted’s Guide to the ACT. It offers the solutions to the 645 questions present in its companion book, as well as three realistic practice tests.
Peterson’s ACT Prep Guide PLUS 2016 – The Peterson’s Prep Guide PLUS book offers six practice tests, a companion mobile app, and a DVD featuring video study guides explaining some of the most difficult material.
In such a technology-driven age, apps can help reach young high school students prepare for college and standardized tests in a new and innovative way. Most of them are easily accessible on students’ cell phones making it easy to study anytime and anywhere.
Khan Academy – Not only does the Khan Academy app offer support and guidance in preparing for the ACT, but it has thousands of videos covering multiple subjects. It is available in the iTunes store, as well as on Google Play.
Magoosh ACT Flashcards – Magoosh flashcards are easy to use pre-made flashcards that give students the opportunity to study 216 different terms that might pop up on the ACTs. They can help students study math, science, and English terms, while tracking their progress.
ACT® Test Prep For Dummies App – This app offers a multitude of questions that you might see on test day from each subject, and it will let you know immediately if the answer is right or wrong. There are also full-length, practice tests and tips to prepare you for the test.
ACT® Test Prep by Shmoop – This unique app helps you study by using references from popular television shows, making it a more engaging and fun way to learn.
ACT Prep – This prep app offers both full-length exams and pre-made flashcards exploring a variety of subjects. It also allows students to build their flashcards with the subjects they need to study most.
FreducatorXL ACT – The Freducator app offers 75 tips for getting a top score on the ACT, while only focusing on the necessary subjects. It uses an ‘If This, Than That’ approach to studying.
ACT Up – ACT Up has more than 1,000 practice questions, in addition to progress cards, vocabulary games, and personalized lesson plans based on your progress.
ACT Online Prep – ACT Online Prep is one of the few apps that predicts exactly what your real ACT score will be. It will also identify exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are.
College Passport – This, college focused, app lets students browse schools and find out the required ACT scores for their desired schools.
The Grading Game – The Grading Game is a proofreading app which can improve a student’s English and reading comprehension scores.
Math Brain Booster – Math Brain Booster app improves the productivity and attentiveness of your mind.
Allen Prep – Allen Prep’s test bank authors have achieved perfect scores on their exams, and the app allows students to study efficiently, track their progress, and take mock exams.
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