The Official ACT Prep Guide 2020 (book & online content)

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  • Edition: Study Gui.
  • Format: Paperback w/ Access Code
  • Copyright: 2019-04-16
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • View Upgraded Edition

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


The only guide from the makers of the ACT exam, packed with 5 genuine, full-length practice tests and 400 additional questions online

This new edition includes:

  • A NEW never-before-seen, full-length practice test with optional writing test (215 questions)
  • 400 online questions that can be filtered and organized into custom practice sets
  • Updated writing prompts and directions
  • Real ACT test forms used in previous years

The Official ACT Prep Guide 2019-2020 is the only guide from the makers of the exam and includes actual ACT test forms taken from past ACT exams. This updated edition includes 5 actual ACT tests (all with optional writing test) to help you practice at your own pace and discover areas where you may need more work. The Official ACT Prep Guide 2019-2020 provides detailed explanations for every answer and practical tips on how to boost your score on the English, math, reading, science, and optional writing tests.

You’ll also get access to special online bonus content developed with the test taking experience in mind:

  • Practice with 400 additional test questions that can be organized, filtered, and tracked for performance
  • Take a closer look at test day, learn what to expect, and get familiar with the test-taking strategies that are right for you
The Official ACT Prep Guide 2019-2020 is your definitive guide to getting ready for the ACT and feeling confident and comfortable on test day!

Author Biography

ACT (Iowa City, IA) is a not-for-profit organization providing assessment, research, information, and program management services to support education and workforce development. Known most widely as the makers of the ACT exam--the college readiness and placement assessment taken by some 1.8 million high school students each year--ACT produces a number of assessments and services reaching more than 10 million people along the kindergarten through career continuum. ACT's rigorous research informs policy decisions and helps develop programs that boost lifelong learning potential in schools and workplaces around the world. To learn more, visit

Table of Contents

Preface xi

How This Book Is Arranged xii

Before You Begin xii

Part One: Getting Acquainted with the ACT Test 1

Chapter 1: About the ACT 3

Description of the ACT 4

English Test 4

Mathematics Test 6

Reading Test 14

Science Test 17

Writing Test (Optional) 19

The Fifth Test 21

ACT Test Formats: Paper and Online 21

Using a Calculator 21

Taking the Test 22

Summary 23

Chapter 2: Preparation, Skills, and Strategies 25

Mental Preparation 26

Identify Strengths and Address Areas of Improvement 26

Develop a Positive Mental Attitude 27

Keep the Test in Perspective 27

General Test-Taking Strategies and Skills 27

Remain Calm 27

Pace Yourself 28

Know the Directions Ahead of Time 29

Read Carefully and Thoroughly 29

Choose Strategies for Answering Easier and More Difficult Questions 30

Use Logic on More Difficult Questions 30

Choose a Strategy for Guessing on Multiple-Choice Questions 30

Choose a Strategy for Changing Answers 31

Write Notes in Your Test Booklet 31

Mark Your Answers Carefully 31

Plan to Check Your Answers 32

Learn Strategies for Specific Tests 32

Summary 32

Part Two: Taking and Evaluating Your First Practice Test 33

Chapter 3: Taking and Scoring Your First ACT Practice Test 35

Simulating Testing Conditions 35

Practice Test 1 41

Scoring Your Practice Test 101

Scoring Your Multiple-Choice Practice Tests 102

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test Essay 108

Reviewing Explanatory Answers 113

Chapter 4: Identifying Areas for Improvement 188

Reviewing Your Overall Performance 189

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the English Test 189

Test-Taking Errors 190

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the Mathematics Test 192

Math Subject Areas 192

Test-Taking Errors 192

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the Reading Test 193

Types of Reading Passages 194

Reading Skills Tested 194

Test-Taking Errors 195

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the Science Test 196

Science Subject Areas 196

Types of Science Questions 197

Test-Taking Errors 197

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the Writing Test 198

Writing Skills Tested 198

Writing Strategy or Process Errors 199

Part Three: Improving Your Score 201

Chapter 5: Improving Your English Score 203

Content of the ACT English Test 203

Types of Questions on the ACT English Test 204

Strategies for Taking the ACT English Test 213

Chapter 6: Improving Your Math Score 229

Content of the ACT Mathematics Test 230

Preparing for Higher Math 230

Integrating Essential Skills 230

Modeling 231

Types of Questions on the ACT Mathematics Test 231

Basic Math Problems 231

Basic Math Problems in Settings 235

Very Challenging Problems 239

Question Sets 246

Strategies for Taking the ACT Mathematics Test 251

Pace Yourself 251

Answer All Questions 251

Answer All the Easy Questions First, Then Go Back to Answer the Hard Ones 252

Read Each Problem Carefully 252

Look for Information in the Answer Choices 252

Use Illustrations Wisely and Whenever You Can 253

Use Your Calculator Wisely 253

Think! 253

Show Your Work 254

Check Your Answers 254

Chapter 7: Improving Your Reading Score 255

Content of the ACT Reading Test 255

Key Ideas and Details 256

Craft and Structure 256

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas 256

Types of Questions on the ACT Reading Test 256

Representative ACT Reading Test Questions 257

Strategies for Taking the ACT Reading Test 267

Pace Yourself 267

Use the Time Allotted 267

Think of an Overall Strategy That Works for You 268

Keep the Passage as a Whole in Mind 268

Find a Strategy for Approaching Each Question 268

Reading Strategies Summary 269

Chapter 8: Improving Your Science Score 277

Content of the ACT Science Test 277

Format of the ACT Science Test 278

Data Representation Format 279

Discussion of Sample Passage I (Data Representation) 281

Research Summaries Format 284

Discussion of Sample Passage II (Research Summaries) 286

Conflicting Viewpoints Format 288

Discussion of Sample Passage III (Conflicting Viewpoints) 290

Strategies for Taking the ACT Science Test 293

Develop a Problem-Solving Method 293

Take Notes 294

Pace Yourself 294

Practice Interpreting Graphs, Tables, and Diagrams 294

Make the Most of the Information in Graphs 295

Make the Most of the Information in Tables 297

Develop an Understanding of Scientific Investigations 298

Carefully Analyze Conflicting Viewpoints 298

Chapter 9: Improving Your Score on the Optional Writing Test 299

Content of the ACT Writing Test 300

How Your Essay Will Be Scored 300

Sample Prompt and Essays 300

Sample ACT Writing Test Prompt 301

Sample Essay Responses 303

Strategies for Taking the ACT Writing Test 327

Prewrite 327

Write 327

Review Your Essay 328

Practice 328

Part Four: Taking Additional Practice Tests 329

Chapter 10: Taking Additional Practice Tests 331

Practice Test 2 337

Explanatory Answers 397

Practice Test 3 477

Explanatory Answers 537

Practice Test 4 625

Explanatory Answers 683

Practice Test 5 757

Explanatory Answers 815

Chapter 11: Scoring the Additional Practice Tests 886

Scoring Your Practice Tests 887

Scoring Practice Test 2 888

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Tests 888

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test 2 Essay 894

Scoring Practice Test 3 897

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Tests 897

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test 3 Essay 902

Scoring Practice Test 4 904

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Tests 904

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test 4 Essay 909

Scoring Practice Test 5 911

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Tests 911

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test 5 Essay 916

Chapter 12: Interpreting Your ACT Test Scores and Ranks 918

Understanding Your ACT Test Results 920

How ACT Scores Your Multiple-Choice Tests 920

How ACT Scores Your Writing Test 920

Recognizing That Test Scores Are Estimates of Educational Achievement 920

Using Ranks to Interpret Your Scores 921

Comparing Your Test Scores to Each Other 921

Comparing Your Scores and Ranks to Your High School Grades 921

Comparing Your Scores to Those of Enrolled First-Year College Students 921

Using ACT College and Career Readiness Standards to Help You Understand Your ACT Scores 922

Planning Your Education and Career 923

Seeking Additional Information and Guidance 923

ACT College and Career Readiness Standards—English 924

Production of Writing 924

ACT College and Career Readiness Standards—Mathematics 931

ACT College and Career Readiness Standards—Reading 940

Text Complexity Rubric—Reading 947

ACT College and Career Readiness Standards—Science 954

Part Five: Moving Forward to Test Day 959

Chapter 13: Registering, Planning, and Packing for Test Day 961

National Testing Program versus State and District Testing 962

Registering for the ACT 962

Selecting a National Testing Date and Location 962

Selecting a Test Option 964

Registering 964

Registering Under Special Circumstances 965

Planning and Packing for Test Day 965

Getting to the Test Center 965

Dressing for Test Day 966

Packing for Test Day: What to Bring 966

Obtaining Additional Test Details 967

At the Test Center 967

Checking In 967

Following the Rules 968

Communicating with the Testing Staff 969

Maintaining Your Composure and Energy 970

Voiding Your Answer Documents on Test Day 970

Testing More Than Once 971

Rewards Program

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