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While general discussion about the ACT test is allowed by ACT, discussion of test questions may violate your agreement with ACT. Please be thoughtful in your posts and replies.

ACT Preparation advice?

ArkaneArkane Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
edited January 2010 in ACT Preparation

My time for taking the ACT will be arriving soon; I'd say I have one school sponsored "official" ACT practice exam and approximately 3 months to prepare for my first real exam. Anyhow, I've done some research throughout this forum board and have compiled a list of top practice books to prepare for the ACT.

I'm looking towards buying 2-3 books and plan on achieving, at the very minimum, a 28 within the next 3 months of preparation. Below are a few books I've found based upon posts around the forum:

* The Real ACT Prep Guide
* Princeton Review - Cracking the ACT
* Princeton Review - 1296 Practice Questions
* Barron's ACT
* Barron's ACT 36

Based upon personal or referential experience, what would be the best books to purchase for preparation in general? Also, which Princeton Review and "Barron's" would be considered better of each of the two? (PR Cracking vs 1296 and Barron's ACT vs ACT 36). Books that offer better sequencing, strategies and are known to help improve scores would be great.

Last and final, would you consider 3 months of preparation a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the average test taker?

If you have any further advice or suggestions, you are more than welcome to post them.

Thanks in advance.
Post edited by Arkane on

Replies to: ACT Preparation advice?

  • cowking15cowking15 Registered User Posts: 725 Member
    i did 2 weeks of studying and got a 32, 3 months is a large amount of time. Just keep doing practice tests and see what youre doing wrong.

    i only used the Red official book
  • JuB0B0JuB0B0 Registered User Posts: 208 Junior Member
    nice job cowking. did you use the triage on the science portion?
  • MarionetteNotesMarionetteNotes Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    2 weeks got you a 32? I have 2 weeks and Barrons and Real ACT, I want to get above a 31, praying for a 33 XD. I got a 27 without studying so I guess I just wanna know if its possible?
    How much did you study? XD
  • ArkaneArkane Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Still looking for specific advice. On a side note, I recently did purchase The Real ACT Prep Guide, PR's 1296 and Barron's ACT.

    Would it be a good idea to start with the 1296, then go towards the Barron's and end it with final tests from the Red Book?
  • depositiondeposition Registered User Posts: 381 Member
    I would take 1 practice test from the red book before you do anything to see what you need to work on. From there you can study what you need, take some practice tests from PR, then end with the final 2 red book tests.
  • AlixMRozAlixMRoz Registered User Posts: 308 Member
    Mmmm. I took both my ACTs cold with no studying, got a 31 and then a 33.
    So you should be fine.
    But I just test well.
  • Egbert SousEgbert Sous Registered User Posts: 654 Member

    do the red book last instead of first, as it will prepare you what to more realistically expect, where Barrons is a tad too hard/ off topic.
  • nluu0929nluu0929 Registered User Posts: 302 Junior Member
    I'm just going off my personal experience. I took the ACT cold and got a 32 with a breakdown of (30, 31, 32, 33). With about 2 weeks of intensive study (i.e. 1-2 practice tests a day), I got a 34 with a breakdown of (36, 36, 31, 34).

    I used the following books:

    Barron's ACT 36
    PR's 1296
    ACT Red Book

    To review the concepts, I just went through all of the Barron's ACT 36 and did all the practice tests. I followed up by going through all the problems in 1296 and it certainly helps to notice patterns in question styles and ideas tested (especially in math and English). In the last week, I just went through the Red Book to review and get a feel for the actual test.

    I think I would have scored higher, but timing really killed me, especially on reading. So, you should definitely time yourself and in fact, should decrease your practice time (e.g. 30 min. for 40 questions on reading instead of 35 min.). I hope all the advice helps you!

    EDIT: I never studied for science...>.> -- It has always been one of my better subjects so I didn't worry about it...sorry, can't help you there.
  • Egbert SousEgbert Sous Registered User Posts: 654 Member
    ^ This post illustrates a prime example of what I am talking about.
  • ArkaneArkane Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Hey guys, thanks for all the great answers.

    I've just received three ACT preparation books- PR's 1296, Barron's ACT and The REAL ACT Prep Guide/Red Book. I started with the 1296 and took a look at the Barron's ACT. It seems like Barron's actually has diagnostic exams and practice tests along with entire sections for tips and strategies, while 1296 is more of a direct test-for-practice based book.

    Anyhow, I'll probably use both of them at the same time alternatively to get more of a variation. The Red Book will serve as concluding exams a week or two beforehand.
  • collegeexamcollegeexam Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    The REAL ACT Prep book (the red book) is the best for practice tests, since it is published by the ACT people. It doesn't have as much in the way of tips, though, so other resources would be better for that.

    The ACT also puts out a booklet every couple of years called "Preparing for the ACT". It has a full practice test. You are probably familiar with it. I found that the ACT people seem to reissue it every odd year. So if you Google for Preparing for the ACT 2007 and Preparing for the ACT 2005, you can find places to download the older booklets from. Combine that with the current one on the ACT website and you have three free practice tests, plus three from the Real ACT book.
This discussion has been closed.