ACT released a “revised and updated” version of their Official ACT Prep Guide last week, causing many students to worry that their 2016-2017 editions were lacking vital information. But rest easy, test takers. The two editions are nearly identical.
The three tests in both books are exactly the same. This is a bit of a disappointment, as the ACT used to publish five tests in the official guide, and test prep gurus were thinking there would be a least a couple of additional tests released, especially since the College Board has eight SATs (and more to come) available on their website. Having only three official ACTs in the book (and an additional one on their website) for practice puts students taking the ACT at a disadvantage, and could become an important factor for students in choosing between the ACT and SAT.
So something has to be different to require 22 additional pages, right? It looks like the ACT added some rhetorcial paragraphs here and there to stretch the page count. For example, on page 4 of both editions, under the “English Test” heading, they added the following introductory paragraph above the text explaining the four types of English scores: “You will receive four scores for the ACT English test: a total test score based on all 75 questions and three reporting category scores based on the following:”. Helpful? Maybe a little, depending on how you feel about two colons in one sentence. Important enough to necessitate purchasing the new edition? No. The four scores are completely explained and the new paragraph simply provides a better transition. The test makers also added lined pages for recording each of the three optional writing prompts and spaced out some of the answer explanations following each test. If you feel you must have those lined pages, I’d encourage you to print them from the free test online before spending $20 on a nearly indistinguishable copy of a book you already own. The additions to the new edition are superficial and a clear attempt to sell more books.
In summary, there is no need to update to the newest edition of The Official ACT Prep Guide. The two books contain the same content aside from a few rhetorical paragraphs and lined response pages for the Writing test. Do not conform to the pressure to purchase the “update,” but instead be your rebellious teenage self and rock on with your vintage 2016 prep guide. You aren’t missing a thing.
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