Updated: April 16, 2021

The ACT is one of two main tests that many colleges require for admissions. How well you score can have an impact on what colleges you’re eligible to attend and what degree programs you qualify for. Almost 50% of test takers decide to retest on the ACT because they aren’t happy with their initial scores, but using an ACT prep course is one way to increase your chance of a better score right out the gate. To help you score well for the best colleges in the U.S., we’ve put together our top 10 ACT prep courses below:

Best ACT prep courses

Our Ranking Criteria

While researching ACT prep courses for this list, we made sure to provide a variety of courses that would be suitable for students of all backgrounds, needs, and schedules. To do so, we focused on prep courses that offered flexible delivery formats and personalized instruction.

Flexible scheduling and adaptable formats

When you’re studying for the ACT, you also likely still have to keep up with your regular classes, social demands, and extracurriculars. It’s important to choose an ACT prep course that offers courses and study materials in a variety of formats, from in-person to on-demand online instruction.

Personalized instruction

The best ACT prep courses can be personalized. They have tutors who can answer your specific questions or help you prep for a specific subject. They also offer some type of customization, whether that’s specific offerings by learning style, different options for those with learning disabilities, or a way to focus on your weak areas.

The Best ACT Prep Courses

Princeton Review — Top Pick

Princeton Review Logo

The Princeton Review ACT prep course gets the top spot on our list because it offers instructions in multiple formats, including in-person classes and one-on-one tutoring. It also has a money-back guarantee and options for those with learning disabilities. It has been helping students prepare for the ACT for 35 years and tailors its instruction to subject material knowledge as well as test prep tips like how to strategically answer questions and make the most of your time. The 31+ course guarantees that you get an ACT composite of at least 31 or your money back and includes a full 36 hours of live instruction, four proctored tests, and a year of access to online materials.

Princeton Review Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $39.99-$1,299
  • In-person, online, live online options
  • 14-day free trial
What we like What we don’t like
  • Variety of delivery methods.
  • Score guarantee for some courses.
  • More expensive than other courses.

Learn more


Kaplan — Best Self-Paced Course

Kaplan Logo

Kaplan is a trusted name in all things test prep, and this is true for its ACT course as well. It offers three distinct delivery options: live online group classes, self-paced study, and one-on-one ACT tutoring sessions. Its practice tests include real ACT questions and full-length exams so you can get a very accurate idea of what to expect on the actual test day. There are on-demand video lessons to help those who are more visual or auditory learners, and those who choose to use the tutoring service can expect to be given homework assignments customized to help develop their weak areas. Kaplan Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $99-$699
  • Online and live online options
  • Money-back guarantee
What we like What we don’t like
  • Self-paced option is relatively affordable.
  • Money-back guarantee.
  • Options for those with learning disabilities.
  • No in-person classes.
  • Money-back guarantee.

Learn more


ACT — Most Affordable

ACT Logo

Designed by the makers of the test, ACT has several test prep options that are entirely free. This includes a free practice test and study guide that has a full-length practice test including the writing prompt. After taking the free test, students get a score report so they know what they missed and what they still need to work on. The site also gives students access to free online test prep events and a free sample ACT prep course.

ACT Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • Free
  • Online and live online options
  • Options for those with learning disabilities
What we like What we don’t like
  • Some free prep options.
  • Live support.
  • No tutoring available.

Learn more


Testive — Best Free Trial

Testive Logo

For those who want to try an ACT test prep company before fully committing, Testive is a great option because it has a full 14-day free trial. It also offers free practice tests online that include score analysis so you can see what areas you still need to work on. Testive’s unique offerings include an intense bootcamp class designed for those who are preparing for the test less than 6 weeks before the testing date as well as its Coaching Plus option, which combines personal coaching, twice weekly one-on-one sessions, and content mastery help over the course of 4-5 months.

Testive Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $399-$799
  • Online and live online options
  • 14-day free trial
What we like What we don’t like
  • Free digitally proctored practice tests.
  • Personalized tutoring available.
  • No in-person offerings.

Learn more


Magoosh — Best Product Offerings

Magoosh Logo

When it comes to getting the most for your money, Magoosh’s offerings go a long way. It offers varying subscription-based models, so you can maximize your budget if you’re only planning on doing short-term prep, but its 12-month subscription is one of the more affordable at just $129 per month. Magoosh also often runs sales and offers discount codes to make it even more cost-effective. Busy students can study in as little as 20 minutes a day, and the flexible course offerings let you fit in ACT prep whenever it fits in your schedule. The company also works on helping you develop better study habits and offers video explanations for all practice questions.

Magoosh Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $100-$399
  • Online and live online options
  • 7-day free trial
What we like What we don’t like
  • Money-back guarantee.
  • Tutoring available.
  • One-month subscription is only $100.
  • No in-person classes.
  • No options for learning disabilities.

Learn more


Higher Scores Test Prep — Best Instructors

Higher Scores Logo

Higher Scores Test Prep offers several prep options, including its basic ACT Quick Prep, which is designed to be completed in as little as 4 hours, and the ACT Complete Package, which includes video lessons, practice tests and questions, and test prep books that are designed to be completed over 8-12 weeks. A unique feature for this prep course is that there is an in-course Q&A feature that lets students put in questions and receive an ACT expert reply for no extra fee.

Higher Scores Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $187-647
  • Online course
  • Money-back guarantee
What we like What we don’t like
  • Flexible online classes.
  • Money-back guarantee.
  • No free trial.

Learn more


Prep Expert — Best Online Course

Prep Expert Logo

Prep Expert has extensive online course offerings, including those that can be tailored to better assist those with tight schedules. There is a weekend review course for those who want to prep quickly as well as a full 6-week class. The instructors at Prep Expert have all either achieved a perfect score on the ACT or scored within the top 1%. Prep Expert also has a 4-point score increase guarantee.

Prep Expert Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $299-$799
  • Online and live online options
  • Money-back guarantee
What we like What we don’t like
  • Live support options
  • No in-person classes.

Learn more


PrepScholar — Best for Students with Learning Disabilities

PrepScholar Logo

PrepScholar ACT is a prep course that has a wide variety of product offerings. It has five pricing tiers, so you can just go from ACT online prep or live classes to an all-in-one package or combined SAT and ACT prep. The company also offers a guarantee that test-takers will see at least a 4-point improvement in their scores or their money back. PrepScholar offers a free consultation with a dedicated academic advisor if you have questions about the ACT prep process, and it has more than 3,900 practice questions and more than 100 hours of prep material. Students of this program also get access to five real ACT tests that were used in the past to practice on, and material is customizable for those with learning disabilities.

PrepScholar Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $397-$995
  • Online and live online options
  • 5-day free trial
What we like What we don’t like
  • 5 practice tests.
  • Accessible for those with learning disabilities.
  • Tutoring available.
  • No in-person classes.

Learn more


ClearPath Advantage — Biggest Practice Exam Library

ClearPath Advantage Logo

ClearPath Advantage sets itself apart with a huge library of ACT practice tests that allows students to get an authentic ACT experience. It also has both small group classes as well as a full one-on-one online test prep course. The ACT test prep course has 24 hours of instruction that takes place over 6 weeks, and it includes personalized learning and live interactive lessons with teachers who scored in the 99th percentile themselves on the ACT. Students take an initial assessment test and are placed in groups with those with similar strengths and weaknesses. Teachers monitor progress through ongoing assessments and tailor the course to each student.

ClearPath Advantage Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $1,950-$2,575
  • Online and live online options
  • Money-back guarantee
What we like What we don’t like
  • Up to 15 practice tests.
  • Money-back guarantee.
  • No in-person classes.

Learn more


Green Test Prep — Best for Busy Schedules

Green Test Prep Logo

Green Test Prep is a live online tutoring service for those studying for the ACT. The service bills hourly, so you can use it as little or as much as you need and your budget allows. This also lets those who may have extremely busy schedules be able to integrate ACT prep as they have free time. Tutors are hand-picked for their expertise and experience and are able to tailor ACT prep and instruction to each student’s needs.

Green Test Prep Homepage

Need-to-knows:

  • $145-$224/hour
  • Live online tutoring
  • Tutoring available
What we like What we don’t like
  • Flexible class offerings.
  • No money-back guarantee.

Learn more

Choose the Right ACT Prep Course for You

Every test taker is different, and the ACT prep course that worked for your best friend may not work as well for you. It’s important to take the following steps to evaluate each prep course:

Calculate prep time

How long it takes to prepare for the ACT is a common question, but it doesn’t have a simple answer. Every person is unique in how much time they will need to spend preparing. If you’re taking the test for the first time, you’ll probably want to spend significantly more time preparing than if it’s your second or third time and you just need to work on weaker areas.

Consider your learning style

As more research has been done on learning styles and how they affect information retention, many ACT prep companies have started to offer different formats of instruction by learning style. Look for one that has materials and delivery methods that match your learning style. If you aren’t sure which one fits you best, the University of Kansas offers an in-depth explanation of learning styles.

Compare costs

While there are some free ACT prep options, the best and most thorough courses run from around $100 all the way up to almost $2,000. Some prep courses are based off of monthly or hourly charges while others charge one fee for unlimited access to the materials. You’ll want to take into consideration how long you intend to study before taking the ACT when figuring out which one is the best value for your budget.

Look for must-have features

Try to find an ACT prep course that offers as many of the following features as possible:

  • A variety of delivery methods, including in-person, live online, and on-demand online
  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Money-back score guarantee
  • Options and accommodations for those with learning disabilities

ACT Prep Frequently Asked Questions

What are the important dates for taking the ACT?

The ACT is usually offered seven times a year, and registration opens about five to six weeks before the scheduled test date. Late registration is available if there is room, and it closes approximately three weeks before the test date. You can find more information on upcoming test dates and registration requirements on the ACT website.

Test Date Registration | Late Online Registration Deadlines
April 17, 2021 March 12, 2021 | March 26, 2021
June 12, 2021 May 7, 2021 | May 21, 2021
July 17, 2021 June 18, 2021 | June 25, 2021
September 11, 2021 August 6, 2021 | August 20, 2021
October 23, 2021 September 17, 2021 | October 1, 2021
December 11, 2021 November 5, 2021 | November 19, 2021
February 12, 2022 January 7, 2022 | January 21, 2022
April 2, 2022 February 25, 2022 | March 11, 2022
June 11, 2022 May 6, 2022 | May 20, 2022
July 16, 2022 June 17, 2022 | June 24, 2022

*Test dates accurate as of 4/6/2021

Are there accommodations for disabilities?

The ACT does offer accommodations for disabilities. To request accommodations, you must put in a formal request to the Test Accessibility and Accommodations System (TAA) by the late registration deadline for your test date. Locations that can offer accommodations may be limited.

Where can I find practice tests?

The ACT website has subject-specific practice tests online. You can also request its free test prep guide.

How early should I prep?

In general, the earlier you start prepping for the ACT the better off you’ll be. It’s a good idea to take the preACT test your sophomore year of high school to start to get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses. For those who are retesting, the highest increase in scores is associated with more than 20 hours of practice.

How many practice tests should I take before the actual exam?

It’s a good idea to plan on taking at least three full ACT practice exams so you can get an idea of pacing, your subject knowledge, and how well your test-taking strategies are working.

How long are most ACT prep courses?

The fastest ACT prep courses, such as those that only have one or two practice tests and just a few hours of instruction and tips, may take as little as a day or two to get through. On the longer side, the more extensive courses can take several weeks to a few months to get through.

Is ACT prep worth it?

When you’re looking at your ACT composite score, even a point or two can make a difference when it comes to getting accepted into prestigious programs or qualifying for merit-based scholarships. The more time you spend preparing and the more in-depth that preparation is, the higher your score is likely to be. One study found that short-term prep, such as going through a self-paced workbook, increased scores by 1.2 to 1.5 points while more in-depth preparation methods raised scores by up to 5.8 points on average.

How much does ACT prep cost?

ACT prep courses vary greatly when it comes to cost and how that cost is broken down. Some offer flat fees for the entire course while others have multiple subscription tiers or by-the-hour pricing. Check out the table below to get more specifics on how much ACT prep can cost:

Company Cost
Princeton Review
  • Essentials: $699 ACT 31+: $1,299
  • ACT 34+ Tutoring: $233/hour
  • Summer Camp: $1,199
  • Private Tutoring: $150/hour
  • SAT & ACT Self-Paced: $299
  • On-Demand Tutoring: $39.99/hour
  • On-Demand College Essay Review: $59
Kaplan
  • Live Online: $399
  • Self Paced: $99
  • Online Tutoring: $699
ACT
  • Free
Testive
  • Bootcamp: $799
  • Coaching: $399/month
  • Coaching Plus: $699/month
Magoosh
  • Magoosh ACT Prep
    • 1 Month: $100
    • 3 Months: $119
    • 12 Months: $129
  • Magoosh ACT Prep + Live Classes: $399
Higher Scores Test Prep
  • ACT Quick Prep: $187
  • ACT Complete Package: $647 or 2 monthly payments of $327
Prep Expert
  • 6-Week Flagship: $799
  • Self-Paced Video: $499
  • Weekend Review: $299
PrepScholar
  • Complete ACT Online Prep: $397
  • PrepScholar Classes: $895
  • Complete + Tutoring: $995+
  • Complete Premium: $577
  • Dual SAT+ACT: $597
ClearPath Advantage
  • Small Group Course: $1,950
  • One-On-One Online Test Prep Course: $2,575
Green Test Prep
  • $145-$225/hour

Additional Resources

The Best SAT Prep Courses

The Best GMAT Prep Courses

The Best GED Prep Courses