I had to consciously stop myself from hugging the poor UPS guy when he unloaded a box of the new Real ACT Prep Guides in our office. I then proceeded to take one of the new books out and perform a little cubicle happy dance. (Ok, that last part is a joke. I thought about it, though. Then I worried it would wrinkle the cover.)
Why is this new version so exciting? Here’s my take on the new third edition of The Real ACT Prep Guide. I should note first that we have always used The Real ACT Prep Guide, put out by ACT, Inc. for our students. The ACT folks have very specific algorithms and very particular topics they test repeatedly, test after test, year after year. Because the ACT is so predictable, the best way to crack it is by taking and analyzing real ACT tests and this book is the only easy-to-find source of official tests. Yes, students can take the fake Kaplan and Princeton Review tests, but they really are not the same. Scores on those tests also don’t boost student confidence (or highlight opportunities for growth) like those on the real ACTs.
The previous editions of The Real ACT Prep Guide included three real ACTs. Along with those three ACTs, we had students take the free ACT on the ACT website (found here:http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/preparing.pdf) for a total of four real ACTs. We felt that was still wimpy, especially for the many students who benefit from taking a bunch of timed sections (instead of only full-length tests) to practice pacing on particular sections. We therefore had to buy additional tests from the ACT company for our local students so we could guarantee they had enough practice with the real stuff.
Now, this new Real ACT Prep Guide has five official ACTs! (FYI: The first three tests match the ones in the previous versions; the last two are new). When you combine five official ACTs (with great answers and explanations for each test) along with the free test on the ACT website, you get 6 full-length official tests to work with. I don’t think that’s wimpy anymore. Students can really improve their ACT scores if they take – and analyze – six real ACTs. In fact, in our experience, something marvelous really ‘clicks’ when students transition between ACT #4 and ACT #5. It’s like they finally have gone through the entire ‘question bank’ of every type of question the ACT folks will ever ask and they truly know exactly what to expect. Again, the ACT is probably the most predictable test students will ever take. Take the test enough times and the questions all start to look very, very familiar.
(Shameless self-promotion alert:) Take those six ACTs and use them along with ourBoost Your Score software to target and boost weak skills, and you’ll be set on test day!