The Best ACT Review Books of 2019

By April 27, 2019 September 11th, 2019 Entrance Exam Resource Reviews
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In this article, we’re going to detail the best ACT review books for this year. We’ll tell you about our top picks, runner ups, and value picks to get you the best ACT study guide that will help you win big on test day. In short: if you want to score a 36, you’ll want to read on. Let’s get started.

The ACT is one of the two main standardized tests for college admissions in the country. It assesses a student’s readiness for college and their capability to handle the level of difficulty of higher education. As such, it is imperative for students to perform well on the ACT if they want their college of choice to accept their application.

If you want to get the highest score possible in the upcoming ACT, you need to equip yourself with the and most up-to-date and high-quality review books you can find on the market. If you’re looking for the best calculators for the ACT, read this article.

Without further ado, here are what we believe are the best ACT review books:

Our Favorites for Best ACT Review Books (the best out of the bunch)

The Official ACT Prep Guide by ACT

The people behind the ACT test itself published their own official review book for the exam. As one of the best ACT study guides you can find, The Official ACT Prep Guide was designed to be representative of the type of tests you will be encountering in the ACT. In that sense, it was patterned after the ACT itself and has the same level of difficulty and style as the actual test.

The practice tests, which were written by the same ACT test makers, are actually really great. Answering The Official ACT Prep Guide’s sample questions and practice tests give you a sense of what it is like taking the ACT. Even if you are not using The Official ACT Prep Guide for its other contents, it is still worth every penny because of the practice tests. Simply put, you cannot find any other book that has the same quality of practice tests as this prep material.

It does not have the best ACT content review or tips and strategies (because the authors do not want to give away the secrets of the ACT) but it still is one of the best ACT review books around primarily or even solely because of the practice tests. Tutors all over the country will always recommend their students to use this material as their primary resource.

What makes it unique:

  • It is the official ACT prep book, featuring authentic materials
  • The sample questions are very similar to the real ACT
  • It has three practice tests that mimic the actual ACT tests
  • There is an extensive online bank of questions for practicing key sections like ACT Science, ACT Math, and ACT Reading. Although note: the bank is now only available online and can’t be printed
  • The essays section has been updated to reflect the latest version where students are only required to incorporate “at least one” other perspective

Why choose this book:

  • Get as close as possible to the source by using the ACT’s official prep book
  • It arguably has the best sample questions and practice tests for the ACT because the style and quality are the same as the real thing

ACT Prep Plus by Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep is one of the most recognizable names in the history of test prep books. In that regard, the company’s ACT Prep Plus ranks as one of the best ACT practice books or prep materials to use because it gives you a holistic and complete review experience.

ACT Prep Plus helps bolster your knowledge of the fundamentals needed for the sections tested in the ACT by providing you with a quick yet thorough content review. This portion of the book is quite easy to understand and does not feel too heavy though some parts might seem lengthy. It also has a section on test-taking strategies though this portion of the book does not seem to stand out much.

The main highlight of this review books is how detailed its answer explanations are. It offers one practice test in the book and four more online. All five of those tests have their own comprehensive answer explanations that teach you the ins and outs of knowing how to get the right choice during the ACT. In a sense, the answer explanations also serve as a mini review for you because of how detailed they are.

While not entirely their best feature, ACT Prep Plus gives you access to a lot of online content that will surely bolster your review and improve your chances of getting the highest score possible in the ACT. You can use the quizzes and the videos that can be found in Kaplan’s online center.

What makes it unique:

  • It includes a comprehensive content review of the topics tested in the ACT—you can review information selectively to brush up on the areas you’re weakest for the test
  • The five practice tests have thorough answer explanations
  • You can get access to helpful online content so you can study “on the go” as well as review key ACT strategies

Why choose this book:

  • It may be the best review book if you want an ACT review material that helps you brush up on the important concepts and topics covered by the test
  • The answer explanations are helpful enough to make you understand how to get to the right answer for every question in the ACT

ACT Prep Black Book by Mike Barrett

This prep book’s author specializes in providing his students with strategies and tricks to use not only for the ACT but also for the other standardized tests as well. In that regard, the ACT Prep Black Book was designed not as a material that provides you with thorough content review and tons of practice questions but as one of the best ACT review books when it comes to teaching you the ins and outs of the ACT.

ACT Prep Black Book narrows down its focus on providing an avenue of learning how the test works and how you can find your way around the questions you will be encountering in the ACT. The author believes that there is a pattern you need to learn and study so that you will be able to get to the correct answers in the most efficient way possible.

In that sense, the book teaches you ways of getting around the ACT by providing you with hundreds of detailed walkthroughs of actual questions you can find in the real test. It explains how all of those different types of questions work and how you can get in the mind of the test makers to see the ACT from their perspective so that going through the actual test will become a bit of a breeze for you.

What makes it unique:

  • Its main focus is on test-taking tips and strategies for the ACT
  • The ACT Prep Black Book shows how different ACT questions work
  • It does not have practice questions or a content review but it fixes your mindset to be ACT-ready

Why choose this book:

  • An unconventional book itself, it is a useful tool for knowing the tricks and strategies necessary to ace the ACT
  • It prepares your mind for the ACT-styled questions

Our Top Pick for the Best ACT Math Review Book

ACT Math: The Guide by Jacob Brezinski

While it is not the biggest name in the ACT prep book industry, this ranks as one of the best ACT Math review books and even has a five-star rating on Amazon. It is that helpful of a prep material as it tackles your review for the ACT Math section from all angles.

A book that prides itself as being an all-in-one solution for the math section, ACT Math: The Guide helps you in a lot of ways such as giving you pre-test, providing you with a guide on how to answer different ACT Math questions, and drilling you with over 400 questions. There are even video tutorials you can use to improve how well you understand the topics.

All 400 questions found in the book seem quite challenging and are actually good enough to improve your test-answering skills. However, the cream of the crop are the video tutorials where the author himself explains the topics in a brief and concise manner. It is quite easy to understand even the most complex problems and topics by watching the video tutorials.

With all that considered, you might not get an ACT Math prep book that has the overall approach and high-quality contents that ACT Math: The Guide has. It was even crafted for the purpose of convincing you to miss prep courses and to use this book instead.

What makes it unique:

  • Has an all-in-one approach in helping you achieve a high score in the math section
  • Contains video tutorials with the author himself explaining the topics in brief

Why choose this book:

  • It is arguably the best ACT Math book on the market because of its high-quality holistic approach in helping you get the highest score possible
  • It has pre-tests that allow you to target your weaknesses and bolster your strong points
  • The book contains a lot of practice questions you can use to test out your skills and knowledge

Our Top Pick for the Best ACT English Review Book

The Critical Reader: The Complete Guide to ACT English by Erika Meltzer

Unlike a lot of ACT English review books, The Critical Reader: The Complete Guide to ACT English is as comprehensive as it goes. It does not have a specific focus but it performs well in all of the important facets that will surely aid you in your goal of acing the ACT English section.

The Complete Guide to ACT English provides you with a comprehensive review of all of the concepts and topics relevant to the English language. It leaves no stone unturned because of how it drills all of the important concepts and grammar rules inside your head. In that sense, you won’t even forget even the most basic rules while the book teaches you the more complicated concepts of grammar.

The book also instructs you on how to approach the different types of ACT English questions while providing ACT-styled exercises that serve as your avenue of practice. The way the questions were grouped according to topics make it easy for you to look for the ones you feel you should improve more on.

What makes it unique:

  • It offers you a comprehensive content review of all the important grammatical rules and concepts needed
  • The rules and concepts are displayed by showing you both correct and incorrect usages

Why choose this book:

  • It is one of the best ACT English review books at improving your fundamentals of grammar
  • The practice exercises and drills were designed to improve your retention

Our Top Pick for Best ACT Reading Review Book

The Critical Reader: The Complete Guide to ACT Reading by Erika Meltzer

The reading section of the SAT is commonly the most difficult part for students to improve their score on but Erika Meltzer, the same author of The Complete Guide to ACT English made an effort to develop The Critical Reader: The Complete Guide to ACT Reading to help provide students a guide on the skills needed to perform better on ACT Reading.

While it is widely believed that reading comprehension and logical reasoning are naturally gifted skills that some students simply do not have, The Complete Guide to ACT Reading is still able to show you how to improve on that weakness by providing helpful ACT-styled drills.

And even without providing you with the necessary skills, the book can still improve your ACT Reading score by giving you helpful tips and strategies that the author designed to get around the ACT questions not in a subjective way but in a systematic approach. In that sense, it helps in making what is otherwise a subjective part of the ACT into a more objective section.

What makes it unique:

  • It improves your reading comprehension and logical thinking through drills
  • The book has specific strategies designed to make it easier for you to tackle certain ACT Reading questions

Why choose this book:

  • This book does not only aim to improve some of your reading comprehension skills but also helps you look at the questions in an objective way
  • It makes changes your perspective so that you will look at the ACT Reading section systematically rather than subjectively

Our Top Pick for Best ACT Science Review Book

ACT Science Tutor by Test Prep Books

Written by a recognizable name in the test prep industry, ACT Science Tutor is actually one of the few books designed specifically for ACT Science. Nevertheless, the lack of competition does not take away the fact that it is still one of the best ACT Science review books on the market.

Like most comprehensive review books, ACT Science Tutors has an all-around approach in helping you prepare for the ACT Science section. Not only does it have a quick overview of the topics that are most likely to appear in the ACT but it also provides you with test-taking strategies that were designed to help you answer the questions efficiently.

On top of that, it has three ACT Science practice tests that all have their own corresponding answer explanations. The answer explanations are just as helpful as the content review portion because of how they were written in such a way to help you understand where you went wrong and how you can avoid making the same mistake in the actual test.

What makes it unique:

  • It is an all-in-one book that provides content review, strategies, and practice
  • The answer explanations were designed with the goal of helping you improve your weaknesses

Why choose this book:

  • It is one of the few books specifically designed for the ACT Science section
  • You can understand the nature of your mistakes by reading through the answer explanations so that you won’t commit the same errors again

Summary of the Best ACT Review Books

Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following top ACT review resources:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2018-19 Edition $32.95 864
ACT Prep Plus 2019 $32.99 936
ACT Prep Black Book $29.99 579
ACT Math: The Guide $24.99 620
The Complete Guide to ACT English, 3rd Edition $31.95 273
The Complete Guide to ACT Reading, 2nd Edition $29.50 148
ACT Science Tutor Prep Book 2018 & 2019 $19.99 167

As the ACT is fast becoming the preferred standardized test for some of the top colleges and universities in the country, it is imperative that you come out with the highest possible scores in all four sections of the test. And by using our preferred books not only for the entire ACT but also for the individual sections, you can be as confident and as well-prepared as you can be in time for the actual test.

Looking for more on the ACT? Check out our post on the best calculators to use for ACT Math.

Need extra study tips? Read our super comprehensive post outlining 125 ACT study tips here.

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