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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2010
I tutor students for the ACT, so I had pre-ordered this new version of the ACT Prep Guide months ago based upon the product description at Amazon.com that promised the CD had "supplemental test prep & exercises". The book arrived today and the CD has NO supplemental Test Prep whatsoever. The CD has NOTHING to do with preparing for the ACT! It is a CD with resources from the publisher Peterson's. Resources entitled "Find a Major", "Plan Your Career", "440 Great Colleges" and "College Planning Advice". So, the reason I gave this product one star is that the CD is not related to test prep and most people would believe they are spending the extra money for the CD to get some extra resources to prepare for the ACT. If you are preparing for the ACT and that's what you want help with, buy the version of the workbook without the CD.

This workbook is going to be shipped back to Amazon in the morning!
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83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2009
We run a very successful test prep company and highly recommend The Real ACT Prep Guide to students. It is important to note that the ACT is one of the most predictable tests ever created. This test always tests the same skills--in the same amounts!--on each section of the test. For example, the English test will ALWAYS have 10 questions testing punctuation, 12 questions testing grammar, 18 questions testing sentence structure, etc. And within those categories, the same skills are always tested. This predictability can be found in all sections of the test. The math section will ALWAYS have 14 plane geometry questions, 4 trig questions, etc.

Why am I blabbering on about this? Since the ACT is so predictable, the best way to prep for the test is to take official ACTs. The same question types just repeat and repeat. With enough practice, you'll know exactly what to expect on test day. And no, the fake Princeton Review and Kaplan ACT practice tests just don't cut it. (Just check out all those Amazon reviews for those books. Sadly, they are filled with comments like, "The tests in this book were nothing like the real thing. Not a good thing to find out on test day." Oy.)

This book is the only one out there offering real ACT tests. You need this book!

There are several problems with this book, however:

1) The Real Guide doesn't give you a "big picture" view of the skills you need to improve. Let's say you answer a test question incorrectly and review the answers and explanations. Hopefully, you won't get a similar question wrong next time. But you don't necessarily have a "macro" sense of the topics you need to review.

2) Even if you realize what skills you need to improve, the Real ACT Prep Guide doesn't really review any skills tested on the ACT. Don't remember how to calculate the distance formula? Forgot what subject-verb agreement is? You're stuck.

3) The Real ACT Prep Guide doesn't offer practice problems (besides for the 3 included tests). We often find that students who are most successful practice with hundreds of practice problems before test day (particularly those practice problems that focus on their weak areas).

4) The Real ACT Prep Guide doesn't offer "sneaky" strategies. After all, this would be a conflict of interest for the ACT folks.

As a result, you need more for good ACT prep. In our program, we use Boost Your Score! The Unofficial Software Guide to the Real ACT along with this book, since it analyzes student performance on the real ACT tests in the book and then provides practice problems and strategies to boost weak areas. We have actually turned out two perfect scorers using the software in combination with The Real ACT Guide.

Other good products we have used include Princeton Review's 1,296 ACT Practice Questions (College Test Preparation) or the Kaplan or Princeton books when they are used just for strategy, but not for the practice tests.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2009
This is the only ACT prep book that contains 3 actual, retired ACT tests, and hence it is the best book available. All other ACT prep books contain tests created by the test prep company, and they are NOT THE SAME as an actual test! They may look the same, but don't be fooled! The amount of work and expertise that goes into developing an actual ACT test is staggering, and it cannot be duplicated by Kaplan, Barron's, Princeton Review, etc. I make my living providing ACT prep, and this is the only book I use. I give it 5 stars, but with a warning: if you own the 2005 edition, don't buy the new one. The practice tests and study materials are exactly the same. The new edition does provide some updated information about test norms, but this is a single page of data, and is essentially meaningless to about 99% of the users of this book. I thought it was misleading, even dishonest, to advertise this as an updated product, but nonetheless, this is still the only book I recommend.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2011
As another reviewer mentioned, there is no test prep on this CD. This is actually the second time I have been disappointed with a "new" release of an ACT prep book from the company! (You'd think I would have learned by now!) I was also one of those test prep instructors first in line for the 2007 version of the Real ACT Prep Guide, just to find out the tests in it were identical to those in the older version (2005). Oh, well. I will keep my CD to lend to students who can benefit from the college admissions resources.

Anyway, I did want to note that The Real ACT Prep Guide is absolutely essential for prep. This is my tenth year of test prep tutoring and I always find that students who prepare with real ACTs have more confidence and get higher scores than those who don't. I should probably note, however, that the strategies in this book are lame. The ACT company just isn't going to give anything away. For the past few years, I have used The Real ACT Prep Guide along with Boost Your Score! The Unofficial Software Guide to the Real ACT with great success. It gives diagnostic feedback for the tests in The Real ACT Prep Guide and provides strategies and resources. Together with The Real ACT Prep Guide, it's kind of a "course in a box" and students love the reports so they can track their progress as they complete the official ACTs.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2011
I am an Associate Professor of Mathematics, SAT and ACT Math tutor, and author of the book "The 32 Most Effective SAT Math Strategies." I also tutor the Science section of the ACT. If you are preparing for the ACT, then you must have this book since it is the only one with 3 actual exams. I only wish that this book had more actual tests, or at least more actual ACT questions. To prepare effectively for the ACT you unfortunately need more than this book simply because it doesn't have enough questions. When I tutor for the ACT I generally have my students do 5 practice tests (including these 3 and the free one you should be able to pick up at your guidance counselor's office). In addition I use another 3 tests for additional practice (these are done in class and for homework, but not under timed conditions). This amount of preparation is more than sufficient for a substantial improvement to your score. It is important however to be implementing the correct strategies as you prepare. The Science section in particular can be a bit tricky since your time must be used wisely. Let me finish this review by telling you exactly how I teach my students to take the Science section of the test.

First of all I teach my students to only use the passages to look up answers to questions - NEVER read the passages before the questions. This wastes too much time. In fact, in many questions you will not have to read the passages at all. Often you will just have to look up the answers in the appropriate charts, graphs, tables, figures, etc.

Second, always save the "arguments" passage for last. This is the wordiest passage which has two or more people giving two opposing viewpoints. This passage can suck your time away quickly if you're not careful. Again, do not read the passage first here - use the passage to look up the answers, but always start with the questions.

Third, pacing is important. Do not get hung up on one question. If you're spending more than a minute on a question it may be time to move on and come back to this question later.

Note that there is no guessing penalty on the ACT, so make sure that you answer every question even if you have to guess.

Best of luck to everyone taking the ACT!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2008
Not the best review or test taking tips; ACT is not going to give too much away. The value of this book is in the three practice tests it contains. There is no substitute for practicing on the real thing. Answers and detailed explanations are included.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2008
I'm a college student and I coordinate an ACT tutoring program for the inner-city high schools and we purchased 5 copies of this book. So far, it's been a very good resource. I felt that the best way to prepare for the ACT exam is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE -- so we just work through problems from the exams and go over the answers. And this book comes with 3 REAL ACT EXAMS! PERFECT for what we're doing. :D
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
My daughter just took the ACT after working through this book. She found the English and science portions helpful, but the math presented in this book was not anywhere near the level of the problems on the actual test. She consistently aced the practice test problems easily, but not so on the actual test. The English and science portions were an accurate reflection of actual test level. This guide also did not cover the writing section at all (which is optional on the actual test, but was my daughter's worst area by a long shot - it would help to have more guidance in that area in the prep book).
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2008
The Real ACT book is one of the best books of its kind. I teach SAT and ACT prep, and this book not only is well formatted with REAL ACT problems (by the test-makers), but the book gives the fullest explanations of the correct and incorrect answers that I have ever seen. I'm using it exclusively in my classes. Parents looking to help their kids get prepared should buy NO OTHER BOOK.

Robert Sposato
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2008
I used this book along with the Real ACT book, the McGraw Hill 10 Practice Tests, and Sparknotes Guide to the ACT. I found that this books was one of the more helpful ones. The strategies given are insignificant, as it is a conflict of interest. This book's value is attributed only by the 3 practice tests. The three practice tests are exactly the same as you would see them during test day. The answer sheet is exactly the same, and there are also blanks for you to add your personal information as you would during test day. That example shows that the book prepares you so that you will not be unpleasantly surprised during test day. The tests are exactly the same in content as you would find during test day. The answer explanations are one of the best aspects of this book; you will find out exactly what you did wrong as the explanations are completely thorough. By practicing on a real ACT, finding out what you did wrong, and using the corrections through the extensive explanations to deter future mistakes, the Real ACT book is the way to go.

This book helped me get a 33!
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