Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
Poorly written and contains mistakes
on September 12, 2012
Get the Real ACT Prep guide before you even think about buying this book.
I'm a professional SAT and ACT tutor.
Students often come to me asking for book recommendations for where they can get extra practice, as ACT Inc's official guide only contains 5 full-length practice tests. This book seemed like a good way to go, because it's inexpensive and contains 10 tests. Though I initially felt fine about recommending it to my students, closer examination revealed some major flaws in this book.
Recently, I had a student take a timed test out of this book and we went over his mistakes together (he had exhausted the five tests in his Real ACT Prep Guide). This was my first close examination of this book, and I found it downright shocking.
Essentially, what Steve has done is poorly mimic ACT Reading and English passages, math problems, and science passages and then multiplied this formula by 10. When I say that he has done so poorly I mean that his reading passages have none of the careful selection found on the actual ACT. Many of the reading passages seemed like ones that he had written himself in a few hours. Sorry, Mr. Dulan, but a bunch of thrown together passages that you wrote one evening isn't going to prepare students for the subtlety of a real ACT.
In the Math section, things got even worse. My student and I came across one problem that had the wrong answer. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal. Honestly, it isn't; this book contains 600 Math problems, and we found an error in one of them.
What I couldn't believe is that I checked Mr. Dulan's justification, and he had carelessly justified his own mistake. The problem involved two similar triangles whose corresponding sides had a ratio of 2:3 or something like that. He then asked what the ratio of their areas would be, and gave his answer, 2:3. Sorry Mr. Dulan. I defy you to find me a single example of two similar triangles whose sides have a ratio of 2:3 and whose areas have the same ratio. When we enter 2 dimensions, the ratio gets squared, and becomes 4:9.
The funny thing is, I remember seeing a similar problem on the ACT that dealt with the perimeter of two triangles. My guess is that Steve copied-and-pasted this problem and changed one detail: perimeter became area.
The carelessness and "copy-and-paste" approach didn't end there.
The Science section was just too easy. He did very little research; it seemed like most of his passages came out of a 10th grade Biology or Earth Sciences textbook. The makers of the ACT will push students a lot harder than this, and students who score a 32 on Mr. Dulan's ACT tests will have a rude awakening when they face down the real thing.
So if you're preparing for the ACT, start with the Real ACT Prep Guide. If you need extra practice, look to Barron's or Kaplan or Princeton Review. But whatever you do, stay away from this book.