Customer Reviews: McGraw-Hill's 10 ACT Practice Tests, Third Edition
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on March 13, 2011
I was so happy to see a book containing 10 practice tests! I already had The Real ACT Prep Guide: The Only Guide to Include 3Real ACT Tests and theBoost Your Score! The Unofficial Software Guide to the Real ACT software that goes with it. This was a really, really good combination and I really wanted to stick with those products since they are based on real ACTs. However, I found that with the reading and science sections, I really needed help with pacing and the only way to do that was to take many of those sections to get used to the timing. I used this book to take A LOT of reading and science practice sections and gradually got faster.

I do have two complaints: 1) some of the answers are too short and left me still unsure of what to do, and 2) at times, it was obvious to me that these tests were not real ACTs. I did feel that the reading passages were easier than the real thing, although the questions felt similar. Also, I used Boost Your Score: Underground Calculator Programs for the ACT Test and was able to use them many times on the real ACTs but not as often on some of the math sections here so I do also think the math sections are a bit different. However, just for comparison: my last few tests from this book were a 25, 26, and 26 while the last real ACT I took (around the same time) was a 25. Overall, I would recommend this book to others (and actually, I already have).
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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.
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on July 3, 2011
I have been tutoring kids in ACT and SAT and used this book for beginning the ACT process. It is definitely easier to get a 33-34 on this test than on the real thing but you can resolve a lot of timing issues and get familiar with the format with this. After some point the student using these tests the student should be pretty good (31-35 on these) and then it is time to go to the real thing with "The Real ACT Prep Guide" or some of the sample tests from the ACT web site. There will be a drop of about 5-10 points in scores but the timing and format issues will be resolved and the confidence has risen from seeing the improvement in the "made up" tests here. These are important issues and worth the investment in time and money since the real tests are in short supply.

The science questions are easier in that the real test often requires looking at relationships between two charts, or a table and a chart, where this book only asks for interpreting one table, passage or chart at a time. Many people have trouble reading tables or graphs so getting familiar with them is a good thing.

What I do is go over every error with the student that they made on the sample test, make sure there is complete understanding, make up some similar math problems, or similar questions related to the reading or science passage, and show what the underlying method is to answering this sort of question.

There is no reason to need a tutor like me if the student can fully understand most of the answers to the tests, stay on schedule (like doing a test a week or whatever time allows), make up (or find) similar problems to get practice and figure out the short cuts. That many people cannot do all of the above is what keeps the tutoring field alive.

The reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is the tests are too easy, and there seem to be about 1-2 errors on each test which is not enough to worry about. So use this book, keep to a schedule, go to the real ACT book when you have a good score on these, and make sure you understand the answers.
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on June 28, 2011
I ordered this book to help students get a lot of practice with taking ACT tests. The English and Math sections are pretty close to the difficulty of the real ACT. The Reading and Science sections are little easier particularly the Reading. The passages are much shorter and the questions are much easier than on the real ACT. The Science is a little better and does a good job testing basic skills needed but is a little easier.
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on September 26, 2011
As a high school teacher, I can't stress enough how important practice is when wanting to improve a skill or test score. Students often believe the misconception that an ACT cannot be improved upon. That is not true at all. The key to improvement is taking practice tests like those in 10 ACT Practice Tests, reviewing the answers that were wrong, and then doing remedial work on the needed concepts.
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on June 7, 2013
The Reading section is a lot easier than the actual reading sections. I have also found that the Answer Key has multiple Errors. The test makers made multiple mistakes, such as in the Science Section of Test 7. I do believe that it can be helpful because the ACT has not released many tests, and many students need sample test for practice. Due to the limited availability, this book can give your student extra practice, but I would advise you exhaust other, better test prep books first. This one has too many errors in it.
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on July 9, 2013
So far the tests are good. obviously the difficulties of the tests will vary, because they also vary with the actual ACT. Some people complain that they score higher on the tests in the book than on the actual test but i dont think they are aware of how being nervous for the actual test can mess with you. This book is a tool, not a gauge for what you will actually get om test day.
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on October 31, 2011
Do NOT get this book if this is the only practice ACT book you will get! The english and reading portions are not even close to the level of difficulty on the real thing. This book isn't competent! I only missed four on two reading tests in this book; it boosted my cynical attitude. Then I took the real thing and only got finished with 3 of the 4 passages! Use this book as practice for the REAL ACT PRACTICE book (2nd or 3rd edition). That's why I titled this practice for practice.
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on November 11, 2011
I bought this book in the hopes of getting lots of practice on the ACT. I did a couple tests out of this book, and a couple out of McGraw-Hill's ACT Prep book. On all of them, I scored a 31-32, which was really impressive. I was expecting to get about that score on the real thing.
I got a 27. My friends called that score respectable, but with my expectations set by the practice tests, I was very frustrated.
This book is horrible. If you want a self-esteem boost, go for this product. But if you want to study for the ACT, this book should be avoided at all costs.
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on April 4, 2012
This book contains many mistakes, especially in the Science section, were many answers are simply wrong. Get the official ACT book, this book is garbage.
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