The Official ACT Prep Guide is the best source for the preparation to the ACT test from the ACT organization, the makers of the test itself. It’s the only official guide out there.
This go-to handbook consists of the actual exam parts from the real ACTs. It’s an all-in-one instruction, containing an extensive range of info on the test - strategies, and approaches for taking the test, tips on how to prepare mentally and physically, information on what to take with you on the exam and how to register for the test. That’s all you need in one book, even a bunch of useful articles on the broad scope of themes from articles about the creation of the exceptional college application to the tips on doing great in college.
Though the new revised and updated 2018 edition of the Prep Guide is almost an exact version of the previous guide, it displays current changes, contains updated writing section prompts, new tips on how to prepare better and how to perform better on the test, reflects changes in the science and reading sections. There are also 400 extra practice questions available online.
Pros and cons of the new Red Book
The new ACT Prep Guide is designed to reflect all the recent shifts in the test: more questions on statistics and data representation in the math section, changes in the structure of the texts in the reading section, like an addition of two-passage in one subsection. You get a thorough guide through the scoring system. The Red book is good at explaining how to analyze and evaluate your scores.
Prep Guide abounds in test-taking tips and strategies for each section. However, they are quite general, and it’s not so easy to put them into practice. Like a piece of advice to “remain calm…panic detracts from test performance by causing students to become confused and discouraged.” We’ve already known that, thanks, y’all.
The guide has a smart structure: the chapters’ content is consistent and logical. Starting off with a first diagnostic test, analyzing the mistakes and then finishing with more practice tests to evaluate your progress is a winning strategy. But the style of the book is quite dull and formal, which complicates perception of the info.
What’s inside the handbook?
The Prep Guide includes 5 parts, subdivided into chapters.
The first part, Getting Acquainted with the ACT Test, covers general information on the test. It describes test sections (English, Mathematics, Reading, Science and Writing) and explains their structure and format, talks about online and paper versions of the test and the rules of using a calculator, provides essential study and test-taking strategies and tips.
The second part, Taking and Evaluating Your First Practice Test, offers a practice test and is designed to assess your readiness and identify weak spots needing improvement, covers common test-taking errors, explains how to analyze and review your performance.
The third part, Improving Your Score, includes strategies of test-taking in each section, describes content and types and formats of questions in 5 sections. This section of the book mainly talks about improving your scores.
After you analyzed your mistakes, revealed weak areas and worked them through, you get to the part four of the book - Taking Additional Practice Tests. It contains two additional practice tests to take and look at your progress.
Moving Forward to Test Day is a concluding fifth part. It explains how to register, plan and what to expect. There are even chapters on how to pack and dress for the test day.
Summing up, the new ACT Prep Guide includes 3 practice tests and 400 online bonus practice questions - 100 for each section (English, Math, Reading, and Science).
Should you buy the book?
If you are not completely sure in your ability to self-organize and build a structured preparation plan, the answer is yes! Red Book provides the basics and gives you a system for organizing. Don’t rely exclusively on the Prep Guide - 3 practice tests are not enough. But to take it as a base and build your preparation up around it wouldn’t be a bad idea.