- Series: Real ACT Prep Guide
- Paperback: 936 pages
- Publisher: Peterson's; 3 edition (September 6, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 076893432X
- ISBN-13: 978-0768934328
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.5 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 413 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Real ACT, 3rd Edition (Real ACT Prep Guide) 3rd Edition
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The book's main downside, however, lies in the introductory content sections before the practice tests are introduced. In the math section, for example, the guide tells you that you need to have a clear understanding of basic trigonometric relationships to be successful on the test. On page 55, the book gives you an example problem and simply tells you that you must use the sin relationship to answer the question. However, it does not state the definition of the different trigonometric relationships needed for the test, such as sin, cos, and tan(and in some cases: cot, sec, and csc). While looking at real ACT tests, I have seen many questions in the math section where the test asks one to evaluate a specific trigonometric expression, such as "What is the tan of (specific angle in triangle) in triangle ABC". A clear understanding of these identities is indeed needed to solve these problems, but the ACT prep guide fails to define these, assuming that the reader already has a firm understanding of them. A prep guide does not have to go into the detail of a text book, but it should at least define the core concepts that will be tested. The prep guide also tells you to think about the question extensively before writing anything down- not a very good idea. When approaching a problem, you should always write expressions or representations of the problems, as it is much easier to see relationships on paper than in your head. Using your pencil frees up storage in your short term memory, so you can focus on the approach to the problem. Strategies that are not often beneficial with regards to the time constraints of the test are also present in the science reasoning introductory content section. For example, on page 115, the guide states that it is important to read the text thoroughly and make notes in the margins before you approach the questions. Because of the extreme time constraints of the science section, it is very hard if not impossible to completely understand the introduction to the experiments in each passage and still have time to answer all of the questions. The English section fails to mention a few concepts such as parallel structure and other smaller concepts that I have seen on multiple real ACTs in the past.
Despite these shortcomings in the introductory concept sections of the Real ACT Prep Guide, it is still an invaluable resource for ACT test prep. No other company can make ACT questions like the ACT. Even my book, Dissecting The ACT 2.0: ACT TEST PREPARATION ADVICE OF A PERFECT SCORER or ACT TEST PREP WITH REAL ACT QUESTIONS, is dependent on real test materials that the ACT provides free of charge. Using and analyzing real test materials is the single best way to prep for the ACT, and this book has five of them.
This book is an improvement over the previous edition because it contains an additional TWO tests on top of the three that were present in that edition(these three tests have not been changed). Aside from these additions, nothing has changed with regards to the content or layout of the book. It is absolutely worth your while to purchase this version if only for the two additional and extremely valuable real practice tests. However, you should save your money and get the non CD edition of the new book, because the CD does not have any information pertaining to test prep, but rather general information about college, planning your major, etc.
Bottom Line: A must have book, but use only the practice tests and explanations to the questions on those tests. Ignore the rest of the book since it contains quite a bit of bad advice. This is based on my experience of taking the real ACT and getting a perfect score of 36. For ACT content and strategy there are other better books, but no other book gives you five real ACT tests.