Taking practice test is one of the best ways to get ready for the ACT. The ACT has released 5 full practice tests. These tests all feature real questions given to students at previous administrations of the ACT that have now been taking out of circulation.
In this post, we'll tell you where to find the practice tests and give you our recommendation on how to use them to get ready for test day. All of the tests included below have been released publicly by the ACT and have been made available to you with no copyright concerns.
Free Full-Length ACT Practice Tests
These are the 5 completely free practice ACTs available. These tests have been released by the ACT and are the best way to practice and get ready for the ACT.
The ACT has not changed much over the past ten years, so even the older tests are still very useful in getting prepared for the current ACT.
ACT Practice Test - 2016-17
ACT Practice Test - 2014-15
ACT Practice Test - 2011-12
ACT Practice Test - 2008-09
ACT Practice Test - 2005-06
Be smart about when to use these practice ACTs. Working through a few tests does not automatically get your ready for test day. Keep reading below to learn how to effectively use practice ACT to prepare.
Purchase More Practice ACTs
If you need additional practice ACTs, we recommend purchasing a copy of The Real ACT 2016-2017 Edition. This is the ACT Prep book put out by the ACT, so these tests are as close to the real thing as possible. Do not buy the Kaplan or Princeton Review books, as the quality of the materials and the practice tests do not mirror the real ACTs nearly as well as the Real ACT book does.
How to Use Practice ACTs Effectively
Practice ACTs are a critical part of getting prepared to take the SAT, but it is important to know how to use them and when to take them. Using practice ACTs effectively will help you get ready to score well on test day. We recommend that students take 2-3 practice ACTs before taking the real test. Here's 4 strategies we recommend to use practice ACTs effectively;
1) Take your practice ACT in one sitting (whenever possible).
The ACT is a very long and difficult test....it's over 3 and a half hours if you include the essay! That is a very long time to sit and stay focused on a Saturday morning. After taking the test, many of our students have told us how difficult it was to stay focused during the ACT. The only way to build up your testing endurance and be ready for the ACT is to take a practice test like it is just like the real thing!
We recommend taking your practice ACT on a Saturday or Sunday morning in a quiet location at home or to sign up and take a proctored practice ACT. I know that finding time to complete the full test in one sitting may be difficult, but is it the best way to get ready. Even if you cannot take all of your practice ACTs like this, do make sure that you complete at least 1 practice ACT in one sitting before taking the real ACT.
2) Keep strict time when completing your practice ACTs.
Always keep time when working on practice ACTs.
When you do not have time to complete the ACT in one sitting, it is still effective practice to break the test up into two sittings or even individual sections. Whenever you complete any part of a practice ACT, make sure to do so under strict, timed conditions. Managing the time constraints and finding the right pacing that works for you is a huge part of getting prepared for the ACT. Do not give yourself a few extra minute to finish as even these few minutes can let you get to a few more questions and can greatly inflate your score. The practice tests are great for finding your weaknesses, so be honest with yourself, keep strict time, and then work to improve.
3) Never do practice ACTs off the computer.
Print out the practice ACTs! I cannot stress this enough. We have so many students who just pull up the tests on their computers or tablets and work from there. Without the paper copy, students will lose time scrolling back and forth and usually cannot complete the test as quickly. In addition, it does not allow students to build good test-taking strategies, such as annotating in the Reading Test, crossing out incorrect answers in the English Test, and labeling figures in the Math Test. You'll be given a big paper ACT booklet on test day, so print out the practice tests and treat them like the real thing.
4) Review your practice ACTs.
Make sure to set aside time to study your practice ACTs.
Taking practice tests is only useful if you learn from the mistakes that you are making. After taking a practice ACT, you should take time to review every question that you missed AND every question and you got right but were not 100% confident on. If you don't know why you missed a question or exactly why you got it correct, you are not going to improve on subsequent practice ACTs. Once you find your areas of weakness, put in some time studying them before just turning around and taking another practice ACT. If you want to see your scores improve, you need to spend 1-3 hours reviewing your practice ACT.
5) Add in some test prep if your practice test scores are not improving.
Some students can get ready for the ACT on their own using just the practice tests. However, most students will benefit from having some expert instruction on the ACT. The additional help, whether it be in the form of a private tutor or a ACT class, can help students identify their weaknesses and learn the right strategies to maximize their scores. Check out our 4 Ways to Prepare for the ACT to learn what test prep will be best for you.
After you have completed a practice ACT, you will need to know How The ACT is Scored.
Once you know your scores on your practice ACT, you will need to put together a plan to get ready for test day. Learn When You Should Take the ACT and look at the 2017 ACT Test Dates.
If you are still not sure if the SAT or ACT is right for you, learn more about the SAT vs. ACT to find out which test is right for you and the 6 Big Differences Between the SAT and ACT.
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