On the hunt for free, official ACT practice tests? Find six full-length practice test PDFs below – including the official 2021 ACT practice test.
Why Should I Take a Practice Test?
Would you run a half-marathon without running at least 10 miles before the race? Probably not! A practice run shows you how prepared you are for the race to come and where you could improve. Similarly, taking a practice ACT test before your real ACT test shows you how prepared you are for the ACT and where you still need practice.
Taking a full-length practice test will help you understand the fast-paced timing of the test, the structure of the sections, and the stamina you need to complete the hours-long exam. You’ve probably never taken a test that requires such precise timing and endurance; don’t let test day be your first encounter.
Links to Free Official ACT Practice Tests
Note: The Writing (Essay) prompt style changed significantly in Fall 2015. You should only practice with writing prompts published after late 2015.
Use the bubble sheet at the end of the PDF to fill in your answers.
How to Take an ACT Practice Test
One of the reasons to take a full-length practice test is to understand how it feels to take a real ACT test. To get the most accurate experience, mimic the ACT’s testing conditions as closely as possible.
How to Mimic ACT Testing Conditions:
Block off three hours in your schedule to work without interruptions.
Print off a full practice test and gather a few pencils and a calculator.
If possible, go to a room by yourself.
Clear the room of any distractions. Turn off your phone.
Use a timer (not on your phone) to time each section of the test.
Take the test!
- Printed practice ACT test
- An ACT-approved calculator (not on your phone)
- 2-3 Number 2 pencils
- Timer (not on your phone)
How to Study for the ACT
Choose a Test Date
First things first: pick a test date! Choosing a test date before you begin studying gives you a goal to work towards and focuses your study timeline.
Find a Study Plan that Works for You
Before getting started, find or create a study plan that works for your timeline and schedule. Creating a study plan before getting started ensures you cover all the material on the test in the amount of time you have available.
Enroll in a Course
An easy way to find a study plan? Enroll in an ACT prep course! There are plenty of online and in-person options for every budget. Olive Book’s ACT course covers everything on the test in a structured, self-paced format. You just log on and start studying! And if you’d like more structure, you can follow one of our four study schedules.
Another option is the ACT’s online academy, which is fairly inexpensive and allows you to choose a structured or adaptive plan. The course is self-paced but does send you reminders and goals.
Or, Create Your Own Schedule
You can also create your own ACT study schedule. Take a practice ACT test to diagnose the content areas you feel confident in and those that need work. Then, build your practice around improving those content areas that you struggle with the most.
Work to Own the Content
Studying for the ACT is not about memorizing formulas or tricks. It’s about learning the content that the ACT tests. If you fully understand the concepts behind the test questions and can apply your knowledge to new situations, you’re on track for a great score.
Pay Attention to the Questions You Miss
The key to improving your ACT score is not how many questions or practice tests you complete; it’s about how much you pay attention to which ones you got right and which ones you got wrong.
When you miss questions, you have to figure out what went wrong. Then figure out how, if you saw a question like this again, would you know what to do next time?
Mentioned in this post:
What to Know About the ACT
What Calculator to Use on the ACT
2022 ACT Test Dates
1, 2, 3, and 4 Month ACT Study Schedules
The Best ACT and SAT Test Prep Companies for Every Budget
How to Stop Missing the Same Questions