ACT Free Practice Test

Practice Tests and ACT Preparation

It is difficult if not impossible to effectively prepare for the ACT without practice testing. The term can refer to any number of pedagogical activities, from taking a specific ACT section with unlimited timing to full-length assessments that imitate the actual circumstances of testing as closely as possible. Practice testing serves several invaluable functions, such as validating skill development, suggesting areas in need of further improvement, and building student self-confidence. Furthermore, students enhance their testing endurance through practice assessments, and this helps ensure that their performance on test day reflects their actual level of ability. Practice testing at regular intervals throughout the preparation period should be regarded as an essential feature of effective ACT study.

Official ACT Practice Tests

ACT practice tests that are developed and written by the ACT organization are referred to as "official." Such tests typically include questions and exercises that have been used on the actual ACT and/or problems that are very similar. The main resources for official ACT practice tests are the ACT website and ACT publications such as the Official ACT Prep Guide. ACT has published Preparing for the ACT, a free PDF that may be downloaded from the ACT website. This document includes a full-length practice test with the Writing section along with an ACT overview and test-taking tips. Also available from the ACT website are sets of free practice questions for each ACT section and a series of free daily practice questions. The ACT Official Guide includes four full-length practice tests, plus answers and answer explanations.

Unofficial ACT Practice Tests

For obvious reasons of test security, ACT cannot publish every test question in current or past use, and this limits the number of available ACT practice exercises. A number of private entities, including test prep companies and publishing firms, have therefore released their own versions of ACT practice tests. These should always be regarded as "unofficial" assessments because they were not created by the ACT organization. If written by competent educators with appropriate credentials, these materials can be quite helpful to the ACT learning process, but there are also a number of extant unofficial ACT materials authored by rank amateurs. Test-takers using unofficial practice tests should be extremely careful. Reputable test prep companies and educational publishers usually produce high-quality assessments, but ACT practice tests released by other entities should probably be avoided.

Why Practice Testing is Helpful

A large body of research into the psychology of education has shown that practice testing under simulated testing conditions (typically referred to with the term "retrieval practice") enhances performance more than passive study alone. This phenomenon is known as the "testing effect," and it is based on the simple principle that practicing any activity facilitates a higher degree of competence in that activity. Because the ability to recall large amounts information on command is a skill that is extremely useful in college courses and in careers, the benefits of practice testing can extend far beyond ACT prep.

How to Use ACT Practice Tests

Feedback is of the utmost importance in practice testing. Maximizing the usefulness of practice assessments is utterly dependent on thorough and careful analysis of results, which will highlight areas in which skills have improved and delineate the student's needs for further study. Emerging patterns guide both students and teachers toward the most effective use of instructional and study time. Frequency of practice testing is another vital issue. The best results are usually obtained through regular practice testing, and we suggest approximately one practice assessment per week. Early in the preparation period, it is advisable to relax testing conditions (e.g. more time), but as the test date gets closer, the student should precisely imitate real testing circumstances as much as possible. Gradual progress and consistent but reasonable effort have been shown to get the best results.

Free Manhattan Review ACT Practice Test

Manhattan Review offers a free ACT practice test on the ACT section of our website. From the "Free Practice" dropdown menu, simply click on "Free Practice Test" and fill out the form (name, country, and email address). You will then receive an access code for your test. Your information will not be given to any third party. The same section of our website also features free ACT practice questions for each portion of the exam, which may be taken fully online.