The 10 Best ACT Prep Books

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This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in February of 2018. If you want to get into an elite university, you'll need to score highly on the ACT, and to do that, you'll need one of these prep books. They include game plans, practice questions, and even previous editions of the exam, so you can drill yourself until you're absolutely certain that you're ready. And just think — if you do well enough, you can go to college and take more tests. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Manhattan Prep 5 Lb. Book of ACT

2. Princeton Review ACT Prep

3. Kaplan ACT Prep Plus

Editor's Notes

May 13, 2020:

Just like with our selection of SAT prep books, we prioritized choices that are comprehensive, written by authorities in the field, full of study strategies, and designed to help you not only become comfortable with the material as it is presented on the exam specifically, but also capable of helping you boost your score.

The ACT's content has not seen any notable changes since 2014, but we still overhauled this list to ensure every edition was up to date. None of the books here were printed prior to those amendments, so you can feel confident regardless of your choice.

Today we removed 36 in Just 7 Steps, which is a nice addition to have for some, but not strong enough to keep when volumes like For the Love of ACT Science are around, which we added in its place. This one was developed by a chemical engineer who knows his stuff, and it's written with an extremely approachable tone, clearly explained, and engaging enough that even students who loathe science will likely enjoy it at least a little bit. It's been revised since its initial 2015 release so that it contains new and updated tactics and fresh presentation of certain concepts.

And while you can access past tests in PDF form online, we still kept The Official ACT Prep Guide on our list, as having something in print is quite different than seeing it on a tablet or laptop. It has been recently updated and comes with bonus online content, which adds to its value, and works extremely well in conjunction with the ACT Prep Black Book.

For more practice tests, consider 8 Practice Tests for the ACT by Kaplan, although be aware that many students find these to be easier than the actual exam. It's a great place to start, however, and useful for finding out where you already shine so you can focus on trouble areas.

Special Honors

Magoosh Whether you're brand new to the test or looking to improve your score, Magoosh is a company that offers intensive ACT prep tailored to busy students who have limited time to study. They offer digital materials that can be accessed on a range of devices, video explanations for over 1,300 practice questions of varying difficulty, and text message reminders to keep you on track. These plans come with a +4 point score improvement guarantee.

Official ACT ACT is the nonprofit organization that administers the official test, and as such, their website is a vital resource for students. They provide prep materials, registration tips, information on what to bring on exam day, how to check your score, and more. You can also access webinars that explain the upcoming new test options, which include section retesting and superscoring.

4. Barron's ACT 36

5. For the Love of ACT Science

6. The Complete Guide to ACT English

7. ACT Math: The Guide

8. 8 Practice Tests for the ACT

9. The Official ACT Prep Guide

10. ACT Prep Black Book

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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