Best ACT Prep Books

The American College Test (ACT) measures what you learned in school and can help you get into to a good college or university. It is also used to help you evaluate your different strengths and match them with various career options. Because your ACT score is important for getting into college, and  you’ll probably spend a good amount of time studying, it’s important that you get the right advice.

ExamPrepBooks has personally researched and reviewed every major ACT prep book on the market to make things easier for you! The comparison chart below will help you figure out which ones will best fit your needs.

Helpful Comparisons + Best Pricing Options

ACT Books ACT for Dummies
RANKINGS

#1

#2

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#5

OVERALL
RATING
COMPANY  The Real ACT Prep Guide  Cracking the ACT Premium  Kaplan ACT 2016  Barron’s ACT  ACT for Dummies
PRICE $22.81  $19.36  $25  $8.32  $11.10
FULL PRACTICE TESTS 5 8 (3 in book, 5 online) 8 (3 in book, 5 online) 3 3
PAGES 936 816 846 816 480
FORMATS Paperback Paperback, Online, and DVD Paperback, Online, and DVD Paperback, Online Paperback
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS None  DVD Compatibility, Internet Access  DVD Compatibility, Internet Access Internet Access  None
PROGRESS TRACKING
FLASHCARDS
KINDLE EDITION
MORE DETAILS Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review
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The Real ACT Prep Guide, 3rd Edition

OVERALL RATING: 

From the Creators of the actual test we are presented with the Real ACT Prep Guide. This book continues to be a standard among those preparing for the ACT and rightfully so. It is the only prep book that includes 5 full-length tests created by the makers of the ACT. The quality of official questions is far better than questions written by unofficial sources like Kaplan and Princeton Review

Those who use this book gain an insider’s perspective on the ACT through test-taking tips, strategy, practice tests, and insights from the ACT creators. The books strengths revolve more around the authentic practice tests, since the tips and strategy may seem on the weaker side.

While there are not many other resources or materials that come with the book it is the authoritative reference for what to actually expect on the test. For this reason it holds strong as the best book in it’s class. There is no way around this book – it’s a clear must-buy.
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The Princeton Review: Cracking the ACT Premium 2017 Edition, 8 Practice Tests

OVERALL RATING: 

Here we have another quality “Cracking the…” prep book from the Princeton Review. With this book users get a whole slew of test taking strategies, numerous practice questions, and 8 full-length practice tests with detailed answer explanations (4 in book, 4 online).

The book is well organized and covers all topics that appear on the ACT. Each chapter contains a summary to help students sort through what is most important for them. This guide explains what to watch out for on the test, teaches the material, and gives sufficient practice.

Along with the book, users will be granted access to Princeton’s premium online portal. Their online resources include video tutorials, customized multi-week study plans, and the ability to see and track scores from online tests and essays.

Overall, we recommend Cracking the ACT as one of the most motivational and best ACT prep books.

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Kaplan ACT 2016 with 8 Practice Tests

OVERALL RATING: 

Kaplan has delivered some good content with their ACT 2015 offering. As always with Kaplan you get much more than just a book.

When purchased students will get access to 8 full-length practice tests (5 online, 3 in the book), a DVD giving brief video tutorial overview of each chapter, and other strategic testing tips. Another great feature is their online center where students can make use of various online quizzes, videos, and flashcards. Kaplan also offers a Kindle version of this product.

Particularly noteworthy among the various features is Kaplan’s SmartPoints approach. SmartPoints is designed to help test-takers to concentrate on those points that are most likely to be tested on the day of the exam.

Considering all of the online content and resources that Kaplan offers, this book provides some great additional value. Some users have complained about not being able to access the online materials along with typos they’ve found, while others have been quite happy with it in their studies.

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Barron’s ACT

OVERALL RATING: 

Barron’s continues to be a hit among students, as they provide a good amount of study material and at a really low price. This course covers all the topics of the act and is known to have content that is very relative to the actual test.

The book starts out with FAQ’s about the ACT exam. It then takes you into a full-length diagnostic test to help set up how you should focus your preparation. They of course cover testing strategy and study plans, along with additional online material. There online materal includes expert video lessons that provide solutions for difficult concepts. This is a rare feature among courses.

Many students enjoy having more practice exams, but if you think 3 is enough for you, than Barron’s would definitely be a good choice. This is definitely a favorite among test takers for both the the content and the price.

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ACT For Dummies

OVERALL RATING: 

From the all too popular “For Dummies” series comes the “ACT For Dummies” prep book. While not as comprehensive as some of the other prep books out there it definitely gives a good overview of the test. Being nearly half the length of other books it is definitely a less intense route of study.

The book is written in a more approachable tone and could be a good place to start for someone who isn’t very familiar with the test material or sure on how to begin studying.

As with the other prep books, readers will have access to  tips, strategies, practice problems, and 3 full-length practice tests that cover all the major topics from the test. If you feel anxious about the material covered on the ACT, this book can be a good way to ease into preparing for the exam, then dive into something with a little more depth afterward.

In sum, a great book and particularly helpful if used together with the accompanying online study tools and practice tests (three full-length tests are already in the book).

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