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From: Sharon (
Subject:         practice tests
Date: August 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm PST

In Reply to: What do you recommend for study/preparation for the ACT? posted by Tricia on August 25, 2008 at 7:37 pm:

A prep book with practice tests worked best for us. We tried some CD based prep and tests but they did not work as well. The ACT, like the SAT, is a pencil-and-paper test, so we felt the more we prepared by practicing actual test skills, the better. Your student will not be able to click on an answer on test day, so he might as well get used to filling in all the bubbles and learning to be careful not to skip a line.

Some prep books have diagnostic tests or little section tests you can use to zero in one areas where your student needs more work/practice.

The main thing was to go over the incorrect answers on the practice tests afterwards and find out what was the correct answer and why. I think one year one of my kids learned geometry that way!

We have used all the different test prep books -- Princeton Review, Kaplan, Peterson's, Barron's, the College Board's, Arco, etc. Basically, if your student has not read through the sections on how to take the test, those can be valuable (learn to use time wisely, skip problems -- come back later if you have time -- if you can't get the answer right away. Otherwise, they are pretty much the same, although I feel Barron's test prep materials are more difficult than the actual tests.

Once you know all that stuff, then buy extra books so your student can do a lot of practice tests if you have time.

Sometimes the local library will have prep books you can use, so you might not have to buy a bunch of prep books. (Ours does.) Just make your own answer sheet.

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