Customer Review

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just the best, the ONLY good general ACT prep book to use! Because it's REAL!, April 24, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Real ACT (CD) 3rd Edition (Real Act Prep Guide) (Paperback)
I'm revising my review to delete now-irrelevant comments and to add a few remarks about the datedness of the practice tests in this book. This is still the best book on the market for those wishing to prepare for the ACT. However, I have noted that some reviewers have given it a low rating because they say that the tests in this book are not like recent ACT tests. There is some truth to that claim. The tests in this book are several years old. The ACT does evolve, and those who have taken the test within the past year or so may find that the earlier tests in this book are not identical to what they experienced. I think ACT should issue a new edition that drops the first three tests now in the book and adds three more recent tests. I think not doing so is a bit irresponsible. Hello, ACT??

Having said all that, I want to advise those considering the purchase of this edition to buy it anyway. Let's consider the 4 subjects. First, English. It is my opinion that the English tests in this book are representative of recent tests. Using only this book, I have helped several students within the past 6 months to achieve high scores on the English test, including a perfect 36, a 35, and several 33s and 34s.

Now, on to Math. Recent ACT math tests have included a few problems that are real doozies, including a jaw-dropping item on the April test! The hardest problem in the red book is not as hard as a few of those recent problems. However, there is still a lot of overlap between even the oldest test in this book and the most recent test for which I have a copy, April, 2014. I just worked with a student who took the April test and scored a 27 in math; using the red book, I helped him raise math to a 31 on the Sept. test. That said, the math in this book may be its weakest point, and you may want to consider some other books to supplement it; please see my other reviews.

Next, Reading. A recent ACT test included a reading passage that asked students to compare and contrast two related texts.To my knowledge, ACT has not released any examples of that kind of reading task. Boo, ACT! However, the reading test from April appears to be similar to all the tests in the red book. The reading test is speeded: it is difficult for all but the fastest readers to complete the 4 passages. Practicing the tests in the red book will be very useful to any student.

Finally, Science. There is so much variation in how a passage can be structured and what topics will be addressed that it is impossible to make a point-by-point comparison between any two tests. There is also a luck factor for this test: if a student gets passages on topics they find interesting, then they will score higher. The Science test is just plain hard. But if a student works through all 5 tests in the red book, they WILL do better on science. I've coached two students within the past year who scored a 36 on Science and several others have scored in the 30's.

[end of new comments]

If you are looking for the best overall ACT test prep book, look no further. All the other test prep book companies have fake practice tests made by the employees of that company, and please believe me, they are NOT the same as a real ACT test. I worked in test development for years, including at ETS, which develops the SAT, and I assure you that the amount of work that goes into a real standardized test is staggering. Those test-prep companies can't replicate it. Really. Buy this book. If you do all five of these tests and want still more practice tests, search online for old versions of the ACT yearly publication, "Preparing for the ACT" in PDF form. They are easy to find. If that's not enough for you - you insatiable test-taker, you! - then go ahead and get a book from Barron's, or McGraw-Hill, or Kaplan, or Princeton Review, but don't be surprised if some of the math questions look familiar, as one (perhaps more than one) of the above publishers "borrowed" at least one of the real ACT math tests and just changed the numbers a bit. A little, little bit. Sorry, don't ask which one.

Other reviewers have commented that this book does not give a thorough enough content review. And they are correct. Of the four ACT test sections, math is probably the one for which people need the most actual content review, and this book does not provide a comprehensive systematic review of math content. If you need that, you will need to investigate other books. The other three test sections do not lend themselves as neatly to a content review. I do review grammar with my students, but I use my own materials that cover only those principles that are likely to be tested on the ACT. (I have had only one student who was interested in a comprehensive systematic English grammar review!) The concept of a content review does not apply in the case of the reading section, and the science section is not content-based; it is a science reasoning test based largely on the ability to read and interpret graphs, tables, and figures. So the book's lack of "content review" is not as serious as it might at first appear to be.

Oh yeah, this new book also includes a CD on college planning, which you will probably never use. If you can get the version without the CD for less money, buy that one. In either case, this book is a great value. I have been using successive editions of the book for seven years to coach kids in ACT prep and I intend to continue using it along with my own materials. Buy this book! Use it to its fullest! Ace that test! I'm rooting for you!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 12, 2012 3:19:32 PM PDT
DESH says:
Wow! I love your review. I am looking for a book to raise my daughter's great score (32) to a fantastic score - and the one thing I think she needs is more practice. She took the first test cold - and if a few practice tests can help her do better in the science area (the only area she needs it, especially because she wants to go to med school!) - then great. I was really hemming and hawing about which book to get and this really helps me. The REAL bummer is that we were in TC for 3 weeks and have just returned. Had I known you were there I would have sought you out for a crash course! Ah well, so it goes. Thanks for the great review. :)

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 3:19:58 PM PDT
DESH says:
Wow! I love your review. I am looking for a book to raise my daughter's great score (32) to a fantastic score - and the one thing I think she needs is more practice. She took the first test cold - and if a few practice tests can help her do better in the science area (the only area she needs it, especially because she wants to go to med school!) - then great. I was really hemming and hawing about which book to get and this really helps me. The REAL bummer is that we were in TC for 3 weeks and have just returned. Had I known you were there I would have sought you out for a crash course! Ah well, so it goes. Thanks for the great review. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 5:36:34 PM PDT
Thank you! I am glad that my review was helpful. Your daughter WILL benefit from the extra practice. I am sorry I missed you when you were in town, but I actually do not offer any last-minute crash courses. If your daughter is going to take the ACT again in October or later, feel free to call me, as I do provide test prep via Skype. Kind regards, Mary Gribbin.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2013 8:51:49 PM PST
Dear Ms. Gribbin,
How can I contact you for a possible test prep via Skype?
Best,
Marcelo

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2013 7:14:35 AM PST
Dear Marcelo,
Please visit my web page at www.voyageurprep.com for more information. Thank you!
Kind regards,
Mary Gribbin
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details