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Which ACT Prep book should I get?


From my earlier question I’ve decided to take the ACT over the SAT but now the question is what prep book should I get. I thought SAT/ACT prep books were expensive but when I checked amazon I found some for $15-$30. But as I always do when I order something online I read the reviews which can kind of leave someone at a standstill.

I’ve looked up which books are the best and most websites say the same ones over and over again (the official ACT prep book, the black book, Kaplan, Prepscholar, and Magoosh) but when I read the reviews on all of the books some people say some faults each book has. Now I know no book can really be perfect and be the God of prep books but I might as well ask for help since this site kind of always guides me in the right direction lol. Right now I’m leaning on the Magoosh ACT Prep book because many people have said it’s very useful, fun, and provides strategies. Plus it’s only $20. So if anyone would like to share their opinion feel free.


3 answers

answered on

IMO each book caters to a specific individual and everyone has their own preferences. Personally I use Princeton Review and the Collegeboard books for SAT (ACT), Barrons for APs, the PSAT, and Sat Subject Tests, but neither Magoosh nor Kaplan. Ive used Kaplan in the past for PSAT prep and it was decent but not my speed since they don’t have lengthy explanations. I would use ACT since they basically teach you from the ground up, and they’ve included a more generic and wholistic approach to learning the subject. The book (at least for SAT) also includes some really helpful basic strategies to ensure you do well on each section. If you’e already nearing your target score and you want more of a fine-tune approach then that book might not be the best for you. It basically teaches you as if you know very little about how the ACT works and it’s a really supportive set of materials. I recommend PR :)

** oops i meant Princeton Review ACT lol
answered on
Did the exact same thing and got a 36. If you spend enough time applying the black book strategies to the practice problems in the official book they really do work.
Not to act like a negative Nancy but those two books together are $60 or more plus each book is about 200+ pages so that’s around 500 pages minimum to read... I’m more just looking for a single less expensive book that can tell me everything. If I got the black book by itself would it be useful or do I HAVE TO buy the official act prep book with it?
The only reason you’re getting the official act prep book with it is for the practice problems. If you’re able to find some elsewhere then there’s no need for it. You can also see if anyone you know has one of these books so you can borrow it.
I actually was thinking about that. When I did my research about each prep book I did read that the 2020 act official prep practice tests are mostly the same questions from last years 2019 edition and i also read that you can search them up and get it on an online pdf. So I think I will just buy the black book and use it with the online official practice tests or any practice test that is close to the official thing.
@cp839 I’m just coming back to tell you that I did find a link with the pdf of the whole entire official act prep guide third edition. It has every single page which is great!! So now that I basically have the act prep book online with all 5 practice tests, do you think it would actually work with the black book?
I used a website called thriftbooks to get the black book. They sell used books for $5-$10.
i highly recommend thrift books or buying a new/gently used version on eBay!! i use eBay to buy lots of gently used/new but previously textbooks that I want to have a second copy of for school so I don’t have to carry it around all the time. i bought a $110 book there for like 15 bucks. i think they could have some of the ACT prep books there as well if you look hard! the PR book is also an all-in-one book and is pretty affordable ($20 when i got it) on amazon, i got it to prep for the ACT
Yes it would work of luck...
answered on

I think that the most helpful prep book would be the official ACT Prep book. They give you questions similar to the level of difficulty that the actual ACT gives. They also have answer explanations and lots of tips and strategies to help maximize your score. This book is also very affordable and well worth the expense.