More ACT Prep Books

The ACT prep books below are meant to offer additional study resources and supplement the "Must Haves" materials, so please visit the Best ACT Prep Books page, if you have not done so already. The book recommendations below are designed for "fine-tuning" portions of the exam after a student has done a general review.

After a student as completed a general review and maybe taken the first "real" ACT, students need to focus on "weaker" areas for the next sitting of the ACT exam. The book recommendations below are designed to help students "fine-tune" but are NOT a replacement for the "Must-Have" books. Remember that many colleges super score the ACT, so students should always plan to take the ACT at least twice to stay competitive.

More Practice Tests

Even though I am thrilled that we finally have an "official" ACT guide for the revised ACT (released September 2015), I am a little disappointed that it only includes three tests, not really enough for a more intensive preparation. Most students will want more practice tests, so here are my suggestions.

If you already have taken the three practice tests in the The Official Guide to the ACT  (listed above) and you need more tests, I recommend purchasing the previous "official" study guide The Real Guide to the ACT (if you can find a "Good" or "Very  Good" edition), which offers five more additional practice tests with answer explanations. 

Note: All of these tests are very similar to the current ACT. The one exception: the essay prompt at the end of each test has changed substantially (do not write on the prompts in this edition).

While I prefer to always use "copyrighted" ACT practice tests, the Princeton Review's Cracking the ACT with 6 Practice Tests is also a good option, with the advantage of also including some strategies and concept review.

ACT Books: Math and Science

Some students struggle specifically in the Math and Science sections (the more English and History types). So if a student is strong in the English and Reading sections, Princeton's Review Math and Science Workout can be a great book for targeting those areas.


ACT Books: English and Reading

Erika  Meltzer's Complete Guide to ACT English is very comprehensive, perfect for those wanting to score 30+Her book gives nice summaries, but more importantly, tons of practice questions on specific grammar topics, like semi-colons vs colons, who vs. whom, subject-verb agreement, you get the picture. If you are looking to raise your ACT English section on the ACT, this is a great resource.

Her book gives nice summaries, but more importantly, tons of practice questions on specific grammar topics, like semi-colons vs colons, who vs. whom, subject-verb agreement, you get the picture. If you scored low on the English section of the ACT, this is a great resource.

The ACT Reading can be a very tough section for students, mainly because of the timing issues. What I like about Erica Meltzer's other book The ACT Guide to Reading also very good. 


I like that that she does not propose one "magical" reading solution, but instead provides to students several options. There is no "one size fits all" approach to the ACT Reading section, so I appreciate her offering several approaches and letting the student figure out which one works best.

ACT Prep Book for Writing

The Mighty Oak Guide to Mastering the New ACT Essay is very well done. The book includes 12 essay prompts, sample essays, and tips for scoring well. I always prefer test preparation books by tutors (rather than large companies and publishing houses) because the writers are more in tune with the needs of students. 

Insider Tip

For the April, June and December ACT Tests, students can pay a little extra to request a copy of your test questions and answers. If you order and pay for the Test Information Release (TIR), currently an additional $20, you will receive a copy of test, a list of your answers, and the answer key. If you took the essay portion, you will receive a copy of the writing prompt and the scoring rubric (but unfortunately not a copy of the student's essay). 

If you plan to retake the ACT, I highly recommend paying the extra charge for this service. It can really help a student figure out what types of errors made on the actual exam.

If you need the test dates for 2016, please click here. Test dates typically correspond to the school year, rather than calendar year, but every year, the test are offered six times: February, April, June September, October, and December. Most colleges will take test scores from any test taken before December of the senior year (and some schools may also take the December ACT test too).