Sunday, January 28, 2018

What SAT/ACT prep books are still on my shelf? (ACT edition)

With the transition to the “new” SAT and the somewhat less comprehensive changes to the ACT, my prep resources have undergone a change.  Some books have been culled out or replaced with updated editions, and several new titles have been added.  This is the ACT edition.  Click here for the SAT edition.

Here are the winners:

For ACT English:

The Complete Guide to ACT English, Second Edition by Erica Meltzer

This is one of the most-used books on my shelf.  Sometimes I even use it for SAT students who need punctuation help.

For ACT math:

Ms. Cindy's ACT Math Book by Cynthia Hemminger

Full disclosure:  I wrote this one.  If you buy it I'll get a little money.  (I'm hoping to recoup my costs; I doubt any of the authors on this page are getting rich off of this.)  This book suits my tutoring style, and I will have many of my students buy it.  However, if you are scoring in the 30's already and you really want that 36, you might want a book with more problems and less explanation, such as the following:

The College Panda ACT Math: Advanced Guide and Workbook by Nielson Phu

This book has a LOT of practice problems.  It is fairly comprehensive.  It is the first book off the shelf after mine.

I also pull in problems from my SAT math section.

For ACT Reading:

I’m still looking!  If you have any suggestions, let me know!

ACT Science:

For the Love of ACT Science by Michael Cerro

Is there another ACT Science book?  Not that I know of.  I quite like this one, but I would love to see it expanded.

The “losers”:

Top 50 Skills for a Top Score by Brian Leaf

I used this one for certain students back in the day, but the test has changed over the past several years, and this book hasn’t.

For the Love of ACT Math by Private Prep

This book has a lot going for it, but it doesn’t suit my style.  It looks like it would be really good for someone who needs work in all or most areas of math and who has a lot of time to prep before the test.  It was really designed for you to start at the beginning and march your way through.  It has a LOT of problems, but they aren’t organized in a way that would work for someone trying to take an a la carte approach.  You would also need a high tolerance for “dad jokes” and the ability/willingness to go online for the answer explanations.   I will include a link to order this one in case it sounds like a good match for you.

Manhattan Prep 5 lb Book of ACT Practice Problems

Once I discovered this book, I used it heavily for about a year.  Then the test emphases shifted, but the book hasn’t been updated.  Now it’s gathering dust.  It’s still on my shelf mainly because it’s the right size and heft to keep the other books from flopping over.  I should just find a nice-looking bookend instead.

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