You can find innumerable study guides, prep books, and resources for ACT preparation, and each of them will claim to be the best.
But when it comes down to it, most third-party study aids and prep books aren't very good and don't do much to improve your score.
To help you out, we'll be going over the best books for ACT preparation, focusing on individual sections of the test and overall revision.
If you're aiming for a high score, these books are definitely worth your time and investment.
It's important to remember that you must be willing to put in the work if you want to get your target score. No matter what book you choose, it won't make much difference if you don't practice.
Buying quality prep books for your ACT exam is only the first step. You need to put in the work if you want to succeed.
Read on as we discuss the best ACT books for test preparations:
The Best ACT Prep Books of 2021
Before we continue further, it's important to note the types of prep books you can access for your ACT exam.
Some books are more focused on specific subjects; others are more generalized, while some are intended for candidates looking to secure the highest score.
We can't stress enough how vital regular practice is to pass with flying colors. The ACT test is a far cry from your high school tests, and you need to know the pattern if you wish to achieve a decent score.
For that reason, most ACT prep books will have several practice questions modeled according to the ACT exam format.
Furthermore, you must familiarize yourself with the ACT pattern and understand how to go about attempting the questions.
If you're looking for practice tests, the most reliable authority and the go-to resource have to be the official ACT practice tests released by ACT, Inc.
Every test is modeled on the exact pattern of the actual ACT exam and features real questions from previous exams.
We would not recommend going for unofficial sources if you can access the actual practice tests from ACT.
Official ACT practice tests made by – American College Test – the institute that conducts these exams are the best prepping source. Every question on the practice test is from a past ACT paper.
The official questions are far more relevant to the forthcoming test than those devised by unofficial sources such as The Princeton Review or Kaplan.
If you can find the official prep book for ACT tests – also known as the 'Red Book' – that's the best resource for you to practice.
We would also recommend the ACT Prep Black Book; however, you might need some additional help with this.
Best ACT Books by Subject
Another way to tackle ACT prep is to go subject by subject. Here, we look at some of the best prep books for individual sections of the ACT exam, such as Math, Reading, and English.
Best ACT English Prep Book
To ace your ACT English test, you must clearly understand the grammar rules and how they appear on the test.
We would suggest focusing on practice questions to get a firm grasp of the concepts. Familiarize yourself with the question patterns and pay special attention to ACT English practice tests.
Use The Complete Guide To ACT English by Erica L. Meltzer to understand and break down grammar rules and concepts coherently.
This prep book covers all the topics that feature on the English ACT test, in a concise and structured style, preparing you for the essentials of the exam.
Best ACT Math Prep Book
If you want to ace the ACT math section, clarify all intricate concepts.
Familiarize yourself with key ideas and then work through practice questions; otherwise, you'll just be facing tricky questions aimlessly.
The ideal prep book for ACT math will help you understand all the relevant topics and concepts that can feature on the test. It should also offer you related practice questions and problems so you can test what you learn.
Our recommendation for the go-to ACT Math prep book is The Ultimate Guide To The Math ACT by Richard F. Corn.
To master the math section, you need to be well versed in algebra, geometry, and number theory, and this book does an excellent job at addressing these topics. It also sheds light on specific math concepts that students find hard to grasp.
Best ACT Reading Prep Book
For most students, reading is the most challenging section of the ACT test as it compels them to tap into their logical reasoning skills.
And unlike math formulas and grammar rules, there is no set standard to get to the correct answer.
To tackle this section, students must know what types of questions they will encounter and decide on a systematic way to answer them.
Therefore, for the reading section, we recommend the same book we recommended for the English section: The Complete Guide To ACT Reading by Erica L. Meltzer.
We found it to be a very comprehensive guide to the ACT reading section by both question type and style of the test.
Best ACT Science Prep Book
The science section is routinely touted to be the most challenging section within the ACT test, and it's hard to find a book that deals with science prep for the ACT in a concise manner.
However, we have come across one that helps with the entire ACT science test curriculum: The PrepScholar Guide to ACT Science.
It covers all the topics and questions that you will find on an ACT test. Plus, it also comes with plenty of valuable tips and tricks for the ACT science section.
One of the reasons candidates find the science section hard is that it's different from conventional high school science tests.
This book does an excellent job at identifying the style and pattern of the ACT science exam and tells you how to deal with the questions effectively.
Best Books for Top ACT Scorers
Although all the books we mentioned above are suitable to guarantee you a high score if used correctly, however, we would recommend Barron's ACT books for that absolute top percentile score.
We found them to be a great supplemental resource for prep as well as revision, along with some expert tips, tricks, and workable strategies.
But it's important to remember that you must know how to use ACT prep books effectively and utilize them smartly to develop a study plan.
Is It A Good Idea To Use Prep Books For ACT?
Prep books are just one of the many resources for getting ready for the ACTs.
We've delved into some of the books that can help you better understand the material, but it depends on how you incorporate them into your study plan.
If you're on a budget, ACT prep books can be expensive as they can cost approximately $200 or more.
Some students might choose to forego the books and select private tuitions at pretty much the exact cost. And being completely honest, that is a wise call!
There are many private tutoring programs for ACT prep that can help guide and gear you up for the ACT exam.
If you're looking for private tutors around you for your ACTs or your SATs, Superprof brings you an enormous range of qualified teachers in your area.
All you need to do is sign up, connect with a tutor and start your lessons right away!