SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Complete Official ACT Practice Tests, Free Links

Posted by Allen Cheng | Dec 14, 2014 11:50:00 PM

ACT General Info

 

feature_authenticNo matter how you prep for the ACT - whether you have a tutor, take a class, or study by yourself - you must get access to official ACT tests. These tests are released by the ACT and contain real questions given to real students at previous test dates. These questions have been removed from circulation (so you won't ever see the questions on a real test), but their quality is second to none when it comes to ACT realism.

In this post, I'll tell you how to find all the official ACT practice tests available. Most of them are free and a good way to get your feet wet with ACT prep. We'll also discuss how to best use these tests to improve your ACT score.

Quick Intro

The ACT format hasn't changed much for over a decade (except for the essay), so tests released in 2005 are almost as good as tests released in 2015. Get the tests in the following links, then learn about how to best make use of them at the end of this article. 

You should beware that Practice Tests are not a cure-all for all your ACT problems.  Definitely learn what practice tests do and don't do.  Also know the dangers of abusing practice tests.  Make sure you take them at the optimal frequency (read our guide on how often to do practice tests), and don't take full practice tests too too close to the test date.

You should beware that Practice Tests are not a cure-all for all your ACT problems.  Definitely learn what practice tests do and don't do.  Also know the dangers of abusing practice tests.  Make sure you take them at the optimal frequency (read our guide on how often to do practice tests), and don't take full practice tests too too close to the test date.

Free Full-Length ACT Practice Tests

These tests are totally free. We've gathered together all of them in one place for your convenience.

 

There are five PDF tests that you can print out and take on paper:

ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72CPRE)

ACT Practice Test 2014-15 (Form 67C)

ACT Practice Test 2011-12 (Form 64E)

ACT Practice Test 2008-09 (Form 61C)

ACT Practice Test 2005-06 (Form 59F)

Notice a few years missing? That's because the ACT duplicates the same test in different years. For example, the 2013-14 test is identical to the 2014-15 test. We've included the Form ID with each test so that you can confirm it for yourself (you can see this in the bottom left of each page on the test).

 

There is also one ACT free online sample test. This test format can be a little clunky to use, but it's convenient and online. Scroll down and then click through each section on the orange banner. You will answer questions in short batches and then the site will score them before you move on to the next set. Unfortunately, this makes it impossible to take the test under realistic timing conditions, but it still provides helpful extra practice.

 

 

Purchase ACT Practice Tests

The Real ACT 2016-2017 Edition

Costing about $25, this book is the best book for realistic practice tests. Don't even look at Kaplan or Princeton Review for practice tests - their quality is far inferior to the tests put out by the ACT. However, do keep in mind that the tests in this book have some overlap with the PDFs.  Check out our full review of the book for more info, or consider buying a copy of the 3rd edition instead.

 

ACT Online Program

Costing $40, this online program includes one extra full-length practice test and practice questions that are up-to-date with the most recent changes to the ACT. The online prep material is no good - just buy this for the tests, if you need it.

 

4 Strategies to Use Official ACT Tests Effectively

Because each practice test takes four hours, it's important that you get the most out of each test. Here are important tips to keep in mind when you're taking the tests.  

Before you read our tips, it's worth reiterating: you should beware that Practice Tests are not a cure-all for all your ACT problems.  Definitely learn what practice tests do and don't do.  Also know the dangers of abusing practice tests.  Make sure you take them at the optimal frequency (read our guide on how often to do practice tests), and don't take full practice tests too too close to the test date.

Before you read our tips, it's worth reiterating: you should beware that Practice Tests are not a cure-all for all your ACT problems.  Definitely learn what practice tests do and don't do.  Also know the dangers of abusing practice tests.  Make sure you take them at the optimal frequency (read our guide on how often to do practice tests), and don't take full practice tests too too close to the test date.

1) Take the test all at once if possible. The ACT is a marathon, forcing you to sit and concentrate for 4 hours on an early Saturday morning. You need to build up endurance so you don't make careless mistakes at the end of the test. By taking the practice test in one sitting, you build up important endurance for the real test. If you don't have time in your schedule for a 4-hour session, then splitting it up over multiple days is OK. Just make sure you follow the next rule.

2) Keep strict timing on each section with a clock. It is ESSENTIAL that you get used to the timing pressures on the ACT. Each section essentially asks you to answer one or more questions in one minute, and most students end up with less time than they need, especially on the math section. Don't give yourself even two extra minutes - this can allow you to do three more questions and improve your score substantially. We want to use these practice tests as reliable indicators of your real score.

 

3) Review your answersAt the end of every test, make sure you review every mistake you made, and every question you got correct. If you bypass this step, you're not going to learn from your mistakes, and you'll continue making them over and over again. A rule of thumb is to spend at least 2 hours reviewing every full practice test. This takes a lot of time, but emphasize quality of learning over quantity of learning. I'd rather see you take 3 tests with detailed review than 6 tests with no review.

4) Supplement your practice tests with a prep program if you don't see improvementWhile some students can learn from their mistakes, others need guidance to point out where their weaknesses are and need assignments to improve on their weak points. A good prep program will supercharge your prep time so that you're always focusing on the best material at any time.

 

What's Next?

If you've taken the ACT before, figure out whether you should retake the ACT.

Get a complete study plan for the ACT to know when you should take the tests and when to study.

 

Check out our industry leading ACT prep program. We have a 4 point improvement guarantee - improve your ACT composite score by 4 points, or get every dollar of your money back. We're that confident in our program.

Get 4 More Points on Your ACT, GUARANTEED

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Allen Cheng
About the Author

As co-founder and head of product design at PrepScholar, Allen has guided thousands of students to success in SAT/ACT prep and college admissions. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT.



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