The Official ACT Prep Guide 2020 - 2021: (Book + 5 Practice Tests + Bonus Online Content) Paperback – Illustrated, 21 April 2020
|New from||Used from|
Amazon International Store
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From the Back Cover
The Official ACT(R) Prep Guide Includes:
- Information about the new enhancements to the ACT(R)
- The only guide to include real ACT(R) Tests
- 5 full-length tests in the book and online
- Online practice that mimics your testing experience
- Customizable item bank
The comprehensive guide to the 2020-2021 ACT(R) test, with 5 genuine, full-length practice tests in print and online.
This 2020-2021 guide includes five actual ACT(R) tests - all of which contain the optional writing test - that you can use to practice at your own pace. To help you review test subjects and improve your understanding, this guide provides clear explanations for every answer. You'll also get practical tips for boosting your score on the English, math, reading, and science tests, as well as the optional writing test. Additionally, you can access the five tests online through the access code provided in the guide.
The test's creators filled this guide with expert advice on how to both mentally and physically prepare for the exam. It will also help you:
- Review the entire ACT(R) test content so you'll know what to expect on test day
- Understand the procedures you'll follow when you're taking the ACT(R)
- Prepare for the types of questions you can expect to find on the test
- Adopt test-taking strategies that are right for you
The Official ACT(R) Prep Guide 2020-2021 is the best resource to prepare you for test day. By using this guide you can feel comfortable that you're prepared to do your best!
About the Author
You Got This: A Breakdown Of The ACT Scores
So, You've Decided to Take the ACT Test - Great Choice!
The ACT is the leading US college admissions test, giving college admission departments a deeper look into your capabilities as a student and how prepared you are for college. In fact, some say your ACT scores hold greater value than your GPA in college admissions, so it's important to know how scores are measured, what to aim for, and how colleges and universities view your results.
The ACT could very well be your ticket into the school of your dreams (no pressure!). You probably already have a good idea of what you're going to be tested on, but with so much riding on one test, it doesn't hurt to take a moment to review what's on the ACT.
Quick ACT Refresher:
- Math: Number & Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Geometry, Statistics & Probability, Modeling, and more
- English: Grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, rhetoric
- Reading: Comprehension
- Science: Questions surrounding scientific charts, graphs, and research
- Writing: Essay (optional and does not contribute to your composite score)
It Doesn't Hurt to Guess:
- Read the question more than once.
- Eliminate the most outlandish choices.
- Analyze your remaining options.
- Select the best two options and then choose one.
Keep in Mind:
Although your scores will reflect your own strengths and areas of needed improvement, here are a few general things to keep in mind:
- A composite score of 21 is average.
- A composite score of 16 or below is considered low.
- Scores are solely based on the number of correct answers, so even if you don't know an answer, you should take a chance and guess.
The ACT is scored comprehensively, which means that each section is tallied individually and then averaged to create your composite score. Scores are intended to show your academic development and achievement, which means they are unique to each student.
Your Composite Score
Each section is graded on a scale of 1 to 36. This means your number of correct answers converts to a score that ranges from 1 to 36 for each of the four tests (English, math, reading, and science). Your composite score is the average of the scores on these sections. Remember, the writing section does not contribute to your composite score.
If you decide to take the writing test, your essay will be scored on a scale of 1 to 6 by two expert readers in each of the four writing domains: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions.
Readers will assess how well you applied these four domains, which represent the essential skills and abilities you need to meet the writing demands of college. To break it down a bit more, the writing test is intended to see how well you can:
- State ideas and introduce other perspectives.
- Develop ideas with supporting evidence.
- Organize your thoughts logically.
- Express ideas through proper English.
If the readers disagree by more than one point, a third reader will be called in to evaluate the essay for fairness. The two scores for each domain will be added together, and your total writing score is the average of your four domain scores rounded to the nearest whole number.
- English: 20.3
- Math: 20.9
- Reading: 21.3
- Science: 20.8
- Composite: 21
- Writing: 17.2
Making Sense of Your Scores
After you've taken the ACT, your scores are analyzed, calculated, and reported on your ACT Student Score Report. Here's how to make sense of it all and see where you stand:
- Correct answers are counted in each of the four subjects. You will also see college readiness information so you can tell if your scores meet or fall short of these expectations.
- Your composite score is determined by averaging the scores from each of the four subject areas (not including your writing score). You can see how well you did in each subject by viewing the detailed results which show the total number and types of questions asked, how many you got right, and the percentage of correct answers.
- You can compare your scores to US and state rankings broken down by composite and subject scores.
The Waiting Game
You can view your scores online as soon as two weeks after taking the ACT. Score reports are released within three to eight weeks after the test date.
If you take the writing test, your score report will be available only after ALL of your scores - including your writing score - are ready, usually within five to eight weeks after taking the test.
Sending Your Scores
You can automatically send your ACT score report to four schools for free, if you select this option at the time of registration. You can always add more schools after you complete the exam and receive your scores.
ACT scores aren't the only thing schools look at, but they are usually high on the list for Admissions, Course Placement, Academic Advising, Scholarships, and Financial Aid.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
No customer reviews
|5 star (0%)||0%|
|4 star (0%)||0%|
|3 star (0%)||0%|
|2 star (0%)||0%|
|1 star (0%)||0%|
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I've been an SAT / ACT tutor since 2008, so I write this review from that perspective.
There's nothing wrong with this book. If it dropped out of the sky onto your front lawn, I'd say to pick it up, dust it off, and give it to your kid if she's preparing for the ACT. It's super important to practice with official ACT practice tests (ones written by third-party companies like The Princeton Review and Kaplan are unrealistic and not good practice).
However, I wouldn't BUY this book, since all 5 tests in it are already online for free as PDFs as part of the ACT's TIR (test information release). You may have to google a bit to find them (but there are dozens of old, official ACT tests online now that are great practice).
Now of course, if you don't feel like printing a bunch of tests, you might feel the book's price is justified. I think it's interesting that as of the time I'm writing this review (April 14th, 2020) that we're thinking the ACT might be offered online soon because, you know, COVID-19. So practicing online might be a good idea.
The limited value, then, imo, of buying this book is to access the tests' answer explanations. However, I don't think those answer explanations are particularly good. They're pretty cursory and technical. 3 out of 5 stars for the explanations.
If you're interested in what I DO recommend for ACT prep, here are the books I like best for each section of the test:
English: Erica Meltzer's Complete Guide to ACT English
Math: Brooke Hanson's Best ACT Math Books Ever (1 and 2)
Reading: Erica Meltzer's Complete Guide to ACT Reading
Science: Hugh Hung Vo's Master Key to ACT Science
Practice Tests: Google (see above)
All these books were written by veteran tutors, and are dripping with insight compared to the official ACT prep guide. Just like you hire a CPA to give you tax advice instead of getting tax tips from the IRS website, it's a good idea to seek out tutors' advice for tests like the ACT (ok, I'm biased, but still).
The big feature that you MIGHT want in any case is the access to the computerized versions of all 5 tests if you’re planning to take the ACT on a computer (ALL international students, any students electing to retake individual sections of the ACT starting in 2021, and possibly anyone planning to take the computerized exam in 2021 from home if COVID 19 continues to shut down test centers).
I’ve been tutoring the ACT for over a decade, have scored perfectly on it as an adult, and have coached students to perfect scores on the test. I run a YouTube channel offering free ACT / SAT prep and college advice (SupertutorTV), have created an online prep course for the ACT, and have written two books on the math section of the ACT (The Best ACT Math Books Ever Vol 1 & 2). In short, I spend an inordinate amount of brain space on the ACT.
When it comes to ACT prep, the number one advice I have for my students is to USE AUTHENTIC MATERIALS from the test maker. That means if you’re taking the ACT, and can afford nothing but one book, this is the number one resource I would recommend. Still there are some caveats.
Who doesn’t need this book:
This edition has a noticeable price increase from the last edition (hence my 4 stars, not 5), likely because it includes access to “online” versions of the computerized ACT (note these tests online are IDENTICAL to the tests in the book—you’re not getting 10 tests, you’re getting 5). If you’re taking the test on paper and can get a hold of the 2019-2020 edition for $15-18 less, you might want to do so. You also might know that there are several tests free online you can practice with (more on that later) so if you only have time for a test or two in the book, or already have the previous edition, again, it might not be worth it.
How this book compares to previous editions:
Like previous editions of the same/similar title, this book reflects the changes to the ACT exam that rolled out in 2014 when ACT added more probability/statistics items to the math section, reduced the number of science passages from 7 to 6, and added a dual reading passage section. The ACT has also revamped the essay a couple of times since 2014, so the newer two editions are best to that end.
Unlike previous editions, the online question “bank” now has access to computerized versions of the 5 ACT tests included in the book, but does NOT include the 400 additional bonus questions that were accessible with a code in previous editions (that’s right, NO bonus question access anymore). The tests are available both in a “quiz” format (which I don’t recommend) and in the same format as the “computerized” ACT given internationally and at select testing sites in the US. This is also the same format students will be required to use if they elect to retake individual sections of the ACT, an option available in the US starting in 2021 (this roll out has been pushed due to COVID 19). The Kindle Edition also includes the bank of computerized exams. If you’re an international student or just aiming to retake a section or two at this point and are buying this for practice in that format, save some cash and go with the Kindle edition.
Also, the first diagnostic test in this book is “new”: form code 20MC6, AKA Code A11, an ACT administered in June 2019. To make room for this new test, this edition omits what was test 3 (Code 16MC3) in the 2017-2019 editions, and in a somewhat confusing fashion, ACT has renumbered the exams (i.e. what used to be test “1” is now labelled test “2”). Go by the form code (16MC1 etc.) if you are working with anyone who has an older version of the book. This replacement is a fine move, as test “3” repeated quite a bit of material from tests 4 & 5 in the “Real ACT Prep Guide” (now out of print), so overachievers can dig up used copies of that guide and get a few more practice tests out of it. Likewise, A11 is a newer test and thus slightly more accurate practice than the old test “3.” The remaining four tests are identical (albeit #1/#2 are numbered differently) to those in the 2019-2020 guide.
A few complaints:
No bonus questions! Previous versions had a scratch off code for 400 ADDITIONAL practice questions in addition to the practice test questions, sourced from the out of print Real ACT Prep Guide. Now all the content accessible online is redundant to what’s in the book.
Additionally, the OFFICIAL ACT PREP GUIDE (this book) and all versions of it borrows heavily from the previous book of ACT Tests pre-2014 changes called The Real ACT 3rd Edition, particularly in the math sections (more on this below) of tests 2-3 in this book. That's kind of annoying, as it means you can't buy both books and get 10 tests. If you buy both you get more like 8-9 tests. I know the other one is out of print, but it would still be nice to be able to buy that book used and get even more tests to practice with in complete form. As time goes on, there are more tests in this book, and now 2 free pdfs of post 2014 tests (see below) available, so this is becoming less of an issue, but it’s still something.
Finally, there is only one set of example essays for the essay section based on one prompt (not all the prompts that are paired with the tests). Students who really want to learn more about the essay may be left wanting more input.
1) Five “real” ACT tests.
The last four exams appear to be identical to those in previous editions of this guide. I’ve noted the form codes these were sourced from below in case you know of these past exams.
Test 1 (diagnostic): June 2019 Code A11 (Code 20MC6), all sections
Test 2: English, Reading, Science, Math (Jun 2015 73C), Math (73C+10 random questions from The Real ACT Prep Guide exams, mix of exams, and a few originals), (Code 16MC1)
Test 3: English, Reading, Science (Apr 2015 73G), Math (random questions from The Real ACT Prep Guide exams, mostly from Exam #2, and a few originals), (Code 16MC2)
Test 4: June 2017 Code 74C (Code 18MC4), all sections
Test 5: Dec 2017 Code A10 (Code 19MC5), all sections
2) Essay prompts
All five tests include a complete essay prompt; a sixth prompt is in the chapter on the essay.
3) Chapters that review the basic content of each section and have some example questions
Though this might seem to be a great resource, advice from the test makers is rarely as good as advice from private tutors and outside voices. I’m probably biased (I’m a private tutor and develop ACT prep curriculum), but even before I wrote materials, I knew the best tips I found for my students weren’t from the test makers. Ideas like “read carefully and thoroughly," are terrible advice for some students who when doing so can’t even finish half of a section. The voice of the book feels more objective than insightful in its advice.
The biggest value of this book is the real tests, not the section advice. If you want test prep advice, get another book or two from an independent tutor. Still, answer explanations may be useful for those skilled at self-assessment to make progress.
ALSO: Many of the “real” examples from these topic-based chapters are part of fully released exams from prior years, such as 61C (the packet released free of charge in 2008-2009). As a result, the example material is not a huge boon for students, but actual a bit of a "spoiler" for anyone who digs up these old, free, released pdf tests online and wants to use them to practice full exams.
4) General information about the test that details registering, planning and packing for test day.
Can you get most of this for free from the ACT website. But this information is good to have from the source of the test in any case.
If you’re looking to maximize your access to REAL materials, know there are some other options:
1) Get last year’s book (2019-2020 edition). 4/5 of these tests are included, plus one more not here. At the time of writing this review, the old book is over $15 cheaper on Amazon.
2) Find the previously released free exams that ACT.org has offered students from prior years (note some may date from before the test tweaks in 2014):
There is one free right now at ACT's site (2018-2019 practice test, Code 74F PRE),
A second “online” edition free for international students at ACT.org
The 2017-2018 pdf practice test Code 72C PRE is also floating around on the internet,
And many sites have cataloged even older editions (2014-2015, 2011-2012, and 2008-2009) of the Preparing for the ACT packet. A quick online search for SupertutorTV resources will get you to a blog that lists several free ACT tests online.
3) Get a used copy of the The Real ACT (CD) 3rd Edition (Official Act Prep Guide) in addition to this book if you’re looking for more practice tests in print.
You’ll likely want to skip most of the math sections except for anecdotal practice (particularly tests 4 and 2 which show up heavily on the math section of the newer book), but other sections are useful. Know that the reading has no dual passages, and that the science has more passages but the same number of questions.
Get this for the tests if you’re planning to take the ACT on a computer at some point (you can't beat real tests!). Go over your mistakes and learn from them!
Skip most of the chapter advice by topic (Math, Science, Reading, etc.) unless you can't afford more books or alternate options.
If you’re on a budget, or planning to take the test on paper, there are other options (see above).
Note on the KINDLE EDITION: I've also purchased the Kindle version. You can't zoom in on practice test pages at all and the quality is not the best, but it is useable. I would just use the online test access if you do get the Kindle edition as it is more user friendly. Else a hard copy is just a better bet, especially because the hard copy also comes with online access to the digital versions of the exams. However, if you know you’re taking this test on a computer, the Kindle edition is much cheaper and not a bad option. The online access code in the Kindle Edition is much easier to find than with the last edition (it’s at the end of the Kindle book).
The Official ACT Prep Guide 2020 - 2021 is little more than a hodgepodge of old ACT exams that are already freely available online, so in my opinion there is no need waste nearly 40 dollars on it (I bought the Kindle version for $22, and the page numbers are identical).
Even if you are planning to take the computer ACT, which starts in September 2020, this book is hardly necessary, since free digital PDFs of nearly every ACT exam since the late 1990s can easily be found online. While it's true that using a PDF copy of a paper test is not the exact same interface as the digital ACT, it's a close enough substitute.
For more information, google "ACT Action Plan: How to Study and Prepare for the ACT."
Best of luck on the ACT and beyond,