The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2021 Revised + Updated Edition, (book + online content)

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback w/ Access Code
  • Copyright: 2020-04-06
  • Publisher: Wiley
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


The only guide from the ACT organization, the makers of the exam, with 5 genuine, full-length practice tests in print and online.

The Official ACT Prep Guide 2020-2021 is the only guide from the makers of the exam and it includes actual ACT test forms (taken from past ACT exams). It offers 5 actual ACT tests (all with optional writing tests) so you can practice at your own pace. To help you review, this guide 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.

The test creators also created online resources accessible through this book. You can practice online with 5 full length practice tests to mimic the test day experience.  These test questions can be organized, filtered, and tracked to test your exam performance.

Get ready for test day with this bestselling guide to the ACT. The Official ACT Prep Guide 2020-2021 will help you feel comfortable, confident, and prepared to do your best to ace the ACT!

The Official ACT Prep Guide 2020-2021 includes:

  • Information about the September 2020 ACT enhancements
  • Real ACT test forms used in previous years’ exams
  • Five full-length tests available in the book and online, including one NEW full-length test with optional writing test
  • Online practice that mimics the testing experience
  • Customizable questions bank with detailed answer explanations
  • Helpful advice for 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 www.act.org.

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 Full ACT Test 4

English Test 4

Mathematics Test 6

Reading Test 14

Science Test 17

Writing Test (Optional) 19

The Fifth Test and Section Retesting 21

ACT Test Formats: Paper and Online 21

Using a Calculator 21

Taking the Test 23

Summary 24

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 99

Scoring Your Multiple-Choice Practice Tests 100

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test Essay 106

Reviewing Explanatory Answers 111

Chapter 4: Identifying Areas for Improvement 196

Reviewing Your Overall Performance 197

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the English Test 197

Test-Taking Errors 198

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the Mathematics Test 200

Math Subject Areas 200

Test-Taking Errors 200

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the Reading Test 201

Types of Reading Passages 202

Reading Skills Tested 202

Test-Taking Errors 203

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the Science Test 204

Science Subject Areas 204

Types of Science Questions 205

Test-Taking Errors 205

Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Improvement on the Writing Test 206

Writing Skills Tested 206

Writing Strategy or Process Errors 207

Part Three: Improving Your Score 209

Chapter 5: Improving Your English Score 211

Content of the ACT English Test 211

Types of Questions on the ACT English Test 212

Strategies for Taking the ACT English Test 221

Chapter 6: Improving Your Math Score 237

Content of the ACT Mathematics Test 238

Preparing for Higher Math 238

Integrating Essential Skills 238

Modeling 239

Types of Questions on the ACT Mathematics Test 239

Basic Math Problems 239

Basic Math Problems in Settings 243

Very Challenging Problems 247

Question Sets 254

Strategies for Taking the ACT Mathematics Test 259

Pace Yourself 259

Answer All Questions 259

Answer All the Easy Questions First, Then Go Back to Answer the Hard Ones 260

Read Each Problem Carefully 260

Look for Information in the Answer Choices 260

Use Illustrations Wisely and Whenever You Can 261

Use Your Calculator Wisely 261

Think! 261

Show Your Work 262

Check Your Answers 262

Chapter 7: Improving Your Reading Score 263

Content of the ACT Reading Test 263

Key Ideas and Details 264

Craft and Structure 264

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas 264

Types of Questions on the ACT Reading Test 264

Representative ACT Reading Test Questions 265

Strategies for Taking the ACT Reading Test 275

Pace Yourself 275

Use the Time Allotted 275

Think of an Overall Strategy That Works for You 276

Keep the Passage as a Whole in Mind 276

Find a Strategy for Approaching Each Question 276

Reading Strategies Summary 277

Chapter 8: Improving Your Science Score 285

Content of the ACT Science Test 285

Format of the ACT Science Test 286

Data Representation Format 287

Discussion of Sample Passage I (Data Representation) 289

Research Summaries Format 292

Discussion of Sample Passage II (Research Summaries) 294

Conflicting Viewpoints Format 296

Discussion of Sample Passage III (Conflicting Viewpoints) 298

Strategies for Taking the ACT Science Test 301

Develop a Problem-Solving Method 301

Take Notes 302

Pace Yourself 302

Practice Interpreting Graphs, Tables, and Diagrams 302

Make the Most of the Information in Graphs 303

Make the Most of the Information in Tables 305

Develop an Understanding of Scientific Investigations 306

Carefully Analyze Conflicting Viewpoints 306

Chapter 9: Improving Your Score on the Optional Writing Test 307

Content of the ACT Writing Test 308

How Your Essay Will Be Scored 308

Sample Prompt and Essays 308

Sample ACT Writing Test Prompt 309

Sample Essay Responses 311

Strategies for Taking the ACT Writing Test 335

Prewrite 335

Write 335

Review Your Essay 336

Practice 336

Part Four: Taking Additional Practice Tests 337

Chapter 10: Taking Additional Practice Tests 339

Practice Test 2 345

Explanatory Answers 405

Practice Test 3 483

Explanatory Answers 543

Practice Test 4 621

Explanatory Answers 679

Practice Test 5 751

Explanatory Answers 809

Chapter 11: Scoring the Additional Practice Tests 879

Scoring Your Practice Tests 880

Scoring Practice Test 2 881

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Tests 881

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test 2 Essay 887

Scoring Practice Test 3 890

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Tests 890

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test 3 Essay 895

Scoring Practice Test 4 897

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Tests 897

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test 4 Essay 902

Scoring Practice Test 5 904

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Tests 904

Scoring Your Practice Writing Test 5 Essay 909

Chapter 12: Interpreting Your ACT Test Scores and Ranks 911

Understanding Your ACT Test Results 913

How ACT Scores Your Multiple-Choice Tests 913

How ACT Scores Your Writing Test 913

Recognizing That Test Scores are Estimates of Educational Achievement 913

Using Ranks to Interpret Your Scores 914

Comparing Your Test Scores to Each Other 914

Comparing Your Scores and Ranks to Your High School Grades 914

Comparing Your Scores to Those of Enrolled First-Year College Students 914

Using ACT College and Career Readiness Standards to Help You Understand Your ACT Scores 915

Planning Your Education and Career 916

Seeking Additional Information and Guidance 916

ACT College and Career Readiness Standards—English 917

Production of Writing 917

ACT College and Career Readiness Standards—Mathematics 924

ACT College and Career Readiness Standards—Reading 933

Text Complexity Rubric—Reading 940

ACT College and Career Readiness Standards—Science 947

Part Five: Moving Forward to Test Day 951

Chapter 13: Registering, Planning, and Packing for Test Day 953

National Testing Program versus State and District Testing 954

Registering for the ACT 954

Selecting a National Testing Date and Location 954

Selecting a Test Option 956

Registering 956

Registering Under Special Circumstances 957

Planning and Packing for Test Day 957

Getting to the Test Center 957

Dressing for Test Day 958

Packing for Test Day: What to Bring 958

Obtaining Additional Test Details 959

At the Test Center 959

Checking In 959

Following the Rules 960

Communicating with the Testing Staff 961

Maintaining Your Composure and Energy 962

Voiding Your Answer Documents on Test Day 962

Testing More Than Once 963

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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