Best ACT Prep Books 2023

Critical ACT Prep Books

Critical ACT prep books are a specialized category of study materials that focus on providing in-depth strategies, targeted content review, and effective techniques to help students improve their ACT scores significantly. These books are known for their comprehensive approach to understanding the test and offering innovative ways to tackle challenging questions. Here are some key features and benefits of critical ACT prep books:

1. Advanced Strategies: Critical ACT prep books go beyond basic test-taking tips and provide advanced strategies for approaching different sections of the ACT. They offer insights into the test makers' thought process, helping students understand how questions are formulated and how to identify the most efficient ways to solve them.

2. Targeted Content Review: These books focus on the specific skills and knowledge needed to excel in each section of the ACT. They offer detailed content review, including grammar rules, math concepts, reading comprehension techniques, and scientific reasoning strategies. By targeting weaknesses, students can make the most of their study time.

3. Analyzing Sample Questions: Critical ACT prep books include numerous practice questions, including challenging ones that closely resemble real ACT questions. The books often provide detailed explanations of the answers, helping students understand the reasoning behind the correct responses and learn from their mistakes.

4. ACT Science and Reading Specialization: Many critical ACT prep books pay special attention to the Science and Reading sections, which are often challenging for students. They offer step-by-step approaches to analyze scientific passages and data, as well as effective reading comprehension techniques to improve accuracy and speed.

5. Test-Taking Mindset: These books emphasize the importance of adopting the right mindset when taking the ACT. They provide strategies for managing test anxiety, time management, and maintaining focus throughout the exam.

6. Customized Study Plans: Critical ACT prep books often include personalized study plans or schedules to help students organize their preparation effectively. They offer guidance on how to allocate time for each section based on individual strengths and weaknesses.

7. Supplemental Online Resources: Some critical ACT prep books come with access to online resources, such as video tutorials, additional practice questions, and interactive tools. These resources can further enhance students' understanding and engagement in the learning process.

8. Real Practice Tests: Many critical ACT prep books include full-length practice tests that closely simulate the actual ACT exam. Taking these tests under timed conditions allows students to gauge their progress and assess their readiness for the real test day.

9. Student Success Stories: Some books feature testimonials or success stories from students who have significantly improved their ACT scores using the strategies provided in the book. These stories can be inspiring and motivating for other test-takers.

10. Expert Authorship: Critical ACT prep books are often authored by experienced test prep tutors, educators, or test experts who have a deep understanding of the ACT. Their expertise and insights are invaluable in guiding students toward effective test preparation.

When considering critical ACT prep books, it is essential to find one that aligns with your learning style, goals, and individual needs. Remember that successful ACT preparation requires consistent practice, dedication, and a proactive approach to understanding the test. By utilizing critical ACT prep books alongside other study materials and resources, students can build the necessary skills and confidence to achieve their desired scores on the ACT.

Here is a list of some highly regarded Critical ACT Prep Books that can help students significantly improve their ACT scores:

1. "The Official ACT Prep Guide 2023-2024" by ACT


Note: This official guide from ACT provides authentic practice tests, detailed explanations, and valuable insights into the test.

2. "The Complete Guide to ACT English" by Erica L. Meltzer


Note: This book is known for its comprehensive review of ACT English concepts and effective strategies for approaching grammar and punctuation questions.

3. "The Complete Guide to ACT Reading" by Erica L. Meltzer


Note: This guide focuses on improving reading comprehension skills and provides techniques for handling complex passages and questions.

4. "The Complete Guide to ACT Math" by Erica L. Meltzer


Note: This book offers comprehensive content review and step-by-step approaches for tackling challenging ACT Math problems.

5. "The Complete Guide to ACT Science" by Erica L. Meltzer


Note: This guide helps students develop analytical skills for interpreting scientific data and passages in the ACT Science section.

6. "ACT Elite 36: Advanced Prep for Advanced Students" by Princeton Review


Note: This book is designed for high-achieving students aiming for a perfect ACT score and includes advanced strategies for each section.

7. "The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar" by Erica L. Meltzer


Note: Although designed for the SAT, this book is valuable for ACT students seeking a strong foundation in English grammar rules.

8. "For the Love of ACT Science" by Michael Cerro


Note: This book focuses specifically on the ACT Science section, offering targeted strategies and practice questions.

9. "ACT Prep Black Book: The Most Effective ACT Strategies Ever Published" by Mike Barrett and Patrick Barrett


Note: This book provides unique strategies and approaches to maximize ACT scores.

10. "The College Panda's ACT Math: Advanced Guide and Workbook" by Nielson Phu


Note: This book is known for its comprehensive coverage of ACT Math topics and extensive practice exercises.

Remember that choosing the right ACT prep book depends on individual preferences, learning style, and areas of improvement. Combining multiple resources and practice tests can enhance the effectiveness of ACT preparation. Additionally, seeking guidance from a tutor or test prep expert can provide personalized strategies to address specific weaknesses and improve overall performance on the ACT.

Best ACT Books by Subject

Certainly! Here are some of the best ACT prep books, specifically focused on different subjects, to help students excel in each section of the ACT:

1. Best ACT English Book:

   - "The Complete Guide to ACT English" by Erica L. Meltzer


   Note: This book provides a comprehensive review of ACT English concepts, including grammar rules, punctuation, and sentence structure. It also offers effective strategies for approaching various types of English questions.

2. Best ACT Reading Book:

   - "The Complete Guide to ACT Reading" by Erica L. Meltzer


   Note: This guide focuses on improving reading comprehension skills and provides techniques for handling complex passages and questions in the ACT Reading section.

3. Best ACT Math Book:

   - "The Complete Guide to ACT Math" by Erica L. Meltzer


   Note: This book offers a comprehensive content review and step-by-step approaches for tackling challenging ACT Math problems, covering all math topics tested on the ACT.

4. Best ACT Science Book:

   - "For the Love of ACT Science" by Michael Cerro


   Note: This book is solely dedicated to the ACT Science section, providing targeted strategies, practice passages, and tips for interpreting scientific data effectively.

5. Best ACT Writing Book:

   - "The Complete Guide to ACT Writing" by Erica L. Meltzer


   Note: This guide helps students understand the ACT Writing prompt, develop strong arguments, and craft well-structured essays for the optional ACT Writing section.

6. Best Overall ACT Prep Book:

   - "The Official ACT Prep Guide 2023-2024" by ACT


   Note: As the official guide from ACT, it provides authentic practice tests, detailed explanations, and valuable insights into the test. It covers all sections and is a reliable resource for comprehensive ACT preparation.

Remember that choosing the best ACT prep book depends on individual needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Some students may prefer a specific book for targeted practice in one subject, while others might opt for a comprehensive guide to cover all sections of the ACT. Additionally, combining multiple resources, working with a tutor, and taking official practice tests can maximize preparation and enhance overall performance on the ACT.

The Best ACT Prep Books of 2023

As the ACT continues to be an important standardized test for college admissions, having the right ACT prep book can make a significant difference in your score. In 2023, several ACT prep books have garnered praise for their comprehensive content and effective strategies. Here are some of the best ACT prep books for 2023:

1. The Official ACT Prep Guide 2023:

Published by ACT, Inc., this book is considered the gold standard for ACT preparation. It includes real ACT tests from previous years, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the test format and question types. The book also provides detailed explanations for each question, helping you understand the reasoning behind the correct answers.

2. The Princeton Review ACT Premium Prep, 2023:

Known for its easy-to-follow strategies and helpful tips, this book from The Princeton Review offers comprehensive content reviews, practice tests, and personalized study plans. It covers all sections of the ACT, including English, Math, Reading, Science, and the optional Writing section.

3. Barron's ACT Premium Study Guide, 2023:

Barron's ACT prep book provides extensive content review and practice tests with detailed explanations. It also offers additional online resources, including video tutorials and extra practice questions, making it a valuable tool for students seeking to improve their scores.

4. Kaplan ACT Prep Plus 2023:

Kaplan's ACT prep book features six full-length practice tests, as well as online quizzes and personalized study plans. The book also includes test-taking strategies and tips from expert instructors, helping you build confidence and improve your performance on test day.

5. McGraw-Hill Education ACT 2023:

This book offers a comprehensive review of the ACT's content, along with full-length practice tests and online study resources. The McGraw-Hill ACT prep book is known for its clear explanations and targeted practice, allowing you to focus on areas that need improvement.

6. College Panda's ACT Math Advanced Guide and Workbook, 2023:

For students looking to improve their ACT Math score, this book by College Panda provides in-depth content review and challenging practice problems. It covers advanced math topics, equipping students with the skills needed to tackle the most difficult math questions on the ACT.

7. ACT Prep Black Book, 2023 Edition:

Written by Mike Barrett, an ACT tutor with years of experience, this book offers a unique approach to ACT preparation. It focuses on understanding the test makers' mindset and provides strategies for outsmarting the exam. The ACT Prep Black Book is an excellent resource for students seeking unconventional but effective test-taking techniques.

8. ACT Reading & English Prep, 2023 Edition:

This book by the Critical Reader is specifically designed to target the Reading and English sections of the ACT. It provides in-depth strategies and practice exercises to enhance reading comprehension and grammar skills, making it a valuable resource for students aiming to excel in these sections.

9. ACT Science Prep, 2023 Edition:

The ACT Science section can be challenging, but this book by the Critical Reader simplifies the process. It offers techniques to approach scientific passages and data analysis questions effectively. With targeted practice, students can build the skills needed to tackle the ACT Science section with confidence.

10. For the Love of ACT Science:

This book by Michael Cerro is highly recommended for students struggling with the ACT Science section. It breaks down the complex scientific concepts into manageable parts, making it easier for students to interpret data and answer questions accurately.

When choosing an ACT prep book, consider your individual needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Each book offers different approaches and features, so find the one that aligns best with your learning style and goals. Combine your chosen ACT prep book with consistent practice, dedication, and discipline to maximize your score and achieve success on test day.

Is Using ACT Prep Books the Best Option for You?

Using ACT prep books can be an excellent option for many students, but whether it's the best option for you depends on your individual learning style, goals, and resources. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if using ACT prep books is the right choice for you:

1. Self-Paced Learning: ACT prep books offer self-paced learning, allowing you to study at your own speed and convenience. If you prefer setting your study schedule and learning independently, prep books can be a suitable option.

2. Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to other ACT prep options like tutoring or online courses, prep books are generally more affordable. If you're on a budget or looking for a cost-effective option, prep books can be a practical choice.

3. Comprehensive Content: Many ACT prep books provide comprehensive content review for all sections of the exam, including practice questions and full-length practice tests. They cover the essential concepts and strategies you need to excel in the ACT.

4. Flexibility: Prep books allow you to focus on specific areas that need improvement. You can skip sections you're already confident in and dedicate more time to challenging subjects.

5. Individualized Practice: With ACT prep books, you can track your progress and pinpoint areas where you need more practice. This personalized approach helps tailor your preparation to your unique needs.

6. Limited Interaction: If you thrive in a classroom or group setting and benefit from teacher guidance and peer interactions, ACT prep books might not provide the same level of engagement.

7. Motivation and Accountability: Some students may struggle to stay motivated or accountable while studying independently with prep books. If you need external motivation or support, consider supplementing your study with other resources like classes or study groups.

8. Real-Time Feedback: Prep books lack real-time feedback on your performance. While they offer answer explanations, having immediate feedback from a teacher or tutor can be beneficial for understanding your mistakes and making necessary adjustments.

9. Learning Style: Consider your preferred learning style. If you learn best through visual aids, interactive exercises, or hands-on learning, you may want to explore other options that cater to your learning preferences.

Ultimately, the best approach may involve a combination of resources. Many students find success by using ACT prep books as a foundation for content review and practice while complementing their preparation with online resources, practice tests, tutoring, or ACT prep courses.

Before making a decision, assess your strengths, weaknesses, time availability, and preferred learning methods. Research and read reviews on various ACT prep books to find the one that aligns with your needs. Additionally, taking a free or official ACT practice test can help you evaluate your starting point and decide if you need additional support beyond prep books.


In conclusion, using ACT prep books can be a valuable and effective option for preparing for the ACT exam. They offer flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and comprehensive content review, allowing students to study at their own pace and target specific areas of improvement. However, it's essential to consider individual learning styles, preferences, and the need for real-time feedback when deciding if prep books are the best option. Combining prep books with other resources and personalized support can create a well-rounded and successful ACT preparation strategy. Remember, the key is to find a study approach that fits your unique needs and helps you achieve your ACT score goals.