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 9 ACT prep courses below:

How We Chose the Best ACT Test Prep

First administered in 1959, the American College Testing (ACT) exam is one of two major standardized college entrance exams in the U.S., alongside the SAT.

High ACT scores are a key part of a strong college admissions application, helping students obtain acceptance and scholarships for their schools of choice. ACT prep courses are a popular way for students to prepare for the test and earn a higher score, but it’s not always easy to know which ones are worth your time and money.

To help you make a more informed decision, we did a deep dive into several ACT prep providers and made our selections for the best ones.

Our initial list included ACT prep courses that are well-established, like Kaplan and The Princeton Review, as well as newer services like Magoosh and Prep Expert. We then evaluated each service and their specific courses based on criteria we developed in conjunction with our test prep expert, college admissions counselor Dana Marvin.

Our evaluation process included:

  • A thorough review of each company’s specific course offerings and materials via website review, sample lessons, and third-party resources
  • Hands-on evaluation through free trials (when available)
  • Interactions with company customer service representatives via chat, email, and social media
  • An analysis of customer reviews and comments on platforms like Trustpilot, Reddit, and Facebook.

Based on these evaluations, we removed two courses, Green Test Prep and Higher Scores Test Prep, from our 2021-2022 list, and added a new one, uWorld College Prep.

To be considered for our list, programs must meet all five of the following criteria.

Personalized instruction

Students get the most out of ACT prep programs that meet them where they are and help them build on existing skills and knowledge. That’s why we sought out programs like Prep Scholar and ClearPath Advantage, which include personalization elements like customized study plans, 1:1 interaction with instructors, or adaptive instruction methods. We also examined each course’s content delivery methods, so our list includes programs that suit a variety of learning and testing styles.

Flexible scheduling and adaptable formats

A worthwhile ACT prep course is flexible enough to fit your busy schedule. That’s why our top picks offer coursework in a variety of different formats, like on-demand lessons, live online or in-person classes, and intensive boot camps. Need the accountability and structure of a scheduled class? Programs like The Princeton Review offer synchronous virtual classes. Want to study on your own time? Try self-guided prep from Magoosh or uWorld.

Course materials

These criteria get to the heart of what specific learning tools and resources your ACT prep program provides. The most valuable ACT prep courses include engaging and interactive lessons, practice exams, question and quiz banks, mobile apps, prep books, and more. The companies on our list include the vital resources students need to be as prepared as possible when sitting for the ACT.

Expert instructors and tutors

When it comes to ACT preparation, who you are learning from will influence what you are learning. Whether you have a live instructor or are watching pre-recorded videos, you want knowledgeable, engaging instructors. That’s why we reviewed sample lessons, watched videos, and reviewed the hiring practices of our top picks, like PrepExpert and Kaplan. We sought companies that employ the best and brightest tutors and instructors to work with students, teach classes, and design course materials.

Pricing and plans

Most ACT prep courses require a financial investment, so it’s important to understand if what you’re getting is worth your money. We reviewed a variety of ACT prep programs to fit all budgets, evaluating their cost in comparison to what they provide, including instruction hours, prep materials, and money-back guarantees. Our list includes high-quality, low-cost options like ACT’s free prep materials and Magoosh, as well as more expensive but worthwhile programs like The Princeton Review and PrepScholar.

The Princeton Review — Best Overall

We named The Princeton Review the Best Overall pick for ACT prep because of the variety of their course offerings, score improvement guarantee, and long track record of helping students achieve high scores on the ACT. The Princeton Review’s ACT courses are accessible from virtually anywhere, with online and in-person classes, an on-demand course, and 1:1 tutoring. The Princeton Review’s a smart place to start for students who aren’t sure what type of ACT prep is right for them.

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One of the reasons we named The Princeton Review our Best Overall pick is the variety of learning options offered, including live in-person and online classes, and on-demand courses.

We also like the frequency with which TPR’s live online classes start and the fact that schedules vary and include weekends and weekdays. 

The first step in TPR’s ACT prep program is creating a personalized study schedule based on how much time you have to prepare before the test.

TPR also includes a practice exam used as a diagnostic to assess a student’s current abilities and score and develop a study plan based on where improvement is needed.

Students can search for lessons by subject matter, difficulty level, or filters that tailor questions to the student’s progress.

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What We Like

The Princeton Review’s biggest strength is that they have something for everyone. Students who need flexibility can choose TPR’s on-demand Self-Paced program (which includes SAT prep materials). For those who learn better in a classroom, there’s the Essentials program, which offers both virtual and in-person classes. There’s the ACT 31+ course for students seeking to be among the ACT’s highest scorers, as well as several 1:1 tutoring packages.

Regardless of which program a student chooses, they can access valuable ACT prep materials, including full-length and single-section practice exams, on-demand video lessons, practice questions, and a user-friendly dashboard to track progress and maintain focus. The programs with a live class component, Essentials and ACT 31+, feature 18 to 36 hours of instruction time. This allows students the flexibility to choose which program suits their schedule and preparation needs better.

The Princeton Review has a deep bench of instructors and tutors with an extensive range of educational experience as well as top ACT scores. Students in all TPR courses can add 1:1 tutoring at a discounted rate if needed.

What We Didn’t Like

The Princeton Review’s biggest downside is its high-quality offerings don’t come cheap. TPR is among the more expensive ACT prep providers on our list, so their programs may not be within reach for all students. They offer discount codes regularly, and students can sign up for a 14-day free trial to test their materials and see if the program is worth the price of admission.

What Test Takers Are Saying

The Princeton Review has a 4.6 / 5-star rating on Trustpilot. Of 1842 reviews, 88% are “excellent” or “good.” Reviewers praise The Princeton Review for interactive classes with attentive faculty. Said one user, “My experience at The Princeton Review was very good. My tutor helped me gain a better understanding of the test and was instrumental in my improvements.”

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
ACT 31+ $2,199
  • 36+ hours of live online or in-person instruction
  • 4 scheduled practice tests
  • 7 full-length and 8 single-section additional practice tests
  • Review and practice books
  • Personalized study plan
  • SAT prep
  • Score-improvement guarantee
  • Discounted tutoring
Essentials $949
  • 18+ hours of live online or in-person instruction
  • 3 scheduled practice tests
  • 8 full-length and 8 single-section additional practice tests
  • 100+ additional video lessons
  • SAT prep
  • Score-improvement guarantee
ACT & SAT Self-Paced $499
  • 280+ video lessons
  • 377 online drills
  • 3200+ practice questions
  • Full-length and single-section practice tests
  • SAT prep
  • Score-improvement guarantee
  • Discounted tutoring

 

PrepScholar – Best On-Demand Program

PrepScholar started as an SAT prep program in 2013. Since then, PrepScholar’s founders, Harvard alum Allen Chang and Fred Zhang, further developed their adaptive algorithms to help students study for the ACT. PrepScholar offers three types of ACT prep — an on-demand course, virtual classes, and 1:1 tutoring. Based on our evaluation, PrepScholar’s Complete ACT Online Prep course is a stand-out for busy students who want an asynchronous, fully online program.

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PrepScholar’s Complete ACT Online Prep program is one of the most robust and affordable self-paced ACT prep programs, with a large assortment of lessons and practice options

PrepScholar’s on-demand video lessons are short, making them easy for students to fit into their busy schedules.

Another element of PrepScholar’s Complete ACT Online Prep program that we like is its adaptability. The program is constantly learning from students’ progress and advancing the difficulty level based on how students improve.

PrepScholar is also flexible, guiding students through a personalized plan of study while giving them the freedom to change lessons as needed.

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What We Like

A common issue with on-demand programs is that they’re typically a one-size-fits-all proposition, in which students complete the same lessons in the same order regardless of their individual strengths and weaknesses.

PrepScholar’s Complete ACT Online Prep avoids this pitfall by using algorithms to analyze students’ progress and customize lessons based on what subjects and skills students need to improve.

The program starts with a diagnostic test that assesses students’ current abilities. From there, students complete eight lessons, which include video lectures, practice quizzes, and answer review sections. Lessons cover key ACT subject areas as well as test-taking strategies. The program recommends subsequent lessons based on the student’s progress.

The Complete ACT Online Prep course has over 60 hours of content, which students have access to for one year. PrepScholar helps students develop a customized study schedule based on their availability and the amount of time they have to prepare before the test. In addition to lessons, the course includes six practice exams and over 4300 practice questions with detailed video or text answer explanations.

What We Didn’t Like

Even the most confident student may need a little extra help sometimes. While some on-demand programs, like The Princeton Review, offer 1:1 tutoring as an add-on, PrepScholar doesn’t. To access individual tutoring, students must choose the Complete + Tutoring package, which is more than double the cost of the Complete ACT Online Prep course. The option to add a few hours of personalized tutoring as needed would enhance this program.

What Test Takers Are Saying

PrepScholar’s rating on Facebook Reviews is 4.6 / 5 stars. The company currently has 571 user reviews on Facebook (compared to just one on Trustpilot). Many users report score improvements after completing a PrepScholar ACT course. Said one parent, “PrepScholar’s ACT program is well structured to build and master the skills. Putting in the recommended hours of practice with focused effort would yield good results.”

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
Complete ACT Online Prep $397 1 year of access to:

    • 60+ hours of content
    • 4300+ practice questions
  • 70+ skill lessons
  • Detailed answer explanations for all questions
  • Diagnostic quiz
  • 6 practice tests
PrepScholar Classes $895 Everything in the Complete ACT Online Prep course, plus 9 hours of live virtual classroom instruction
Complete + Tutoring $995 and up Everything in the Complete ACT Online Prep course, plus 4-54 hours of 1:1 tutoring

 

Kaplan – Best Live Online Class

Kaplan is another well-established name in standardized test prep, so much so that the organization behind the ACT partners with them to offer free prep resources to students (but more on that in a moment). Kaplan provides a self-paced ACT prep program and 1:1 online tutoring. We chose to highlight their virtual ACT prep classes based on the flexibility, content, and instructor interaction they provide to students enrolled in this course.

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Kaplan’s Live Online class is our pick for the best virtual ACT prep class, but the company also offers an affordable self-paced study course and 1:1 tutoring.

Students can enroll in Live Online classes throughout the academic year, with new sessions starting every 1-2 weeks. They also offer online classes at various paces.

Kaplan’s friendly, personable teachers cover comprehensive ACT content over the course of 16 hours of live virtual instruction.

During virtual lessons, instructors walk students through ACT material, demonstrating the principles and strategies behind correct answers.

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What We Like

A virtual class is only beneficial to students if they can fit it into their busy schedules. Kaplan offers Live Online ACT prep courses on a variety of days and times, including weekends. There are also different pacing options — most courses meet twice weekly for three weeks, while some meet more frequently over a shorter time. New sessions start regularly throughout the academic year as well as the summer. All classes total 16 hours of live instruction time.

Kaplan uses a team approach to teaching their online classes, with one instructor leading the lesson and others available in a live chat to answer questions. This allows students to get extra help without slowing down the rest of the class. Kaplan’s Live Online ACT prep course focuses on reviewing ACT subject content, with instructors integrating test-taking tips and strategies into the lessons. Students can assess their knowledge outside of the virtual classroom with five ACT practice exams and over 2000 practice questions.

Best of all, Kaplan offers a free live online sample class that allows students to test-drive the class before enrolling.

What We Didn’t Like

Compared to its competitors like The Princeton Review and PrepScholar, Kaplan falls a little short because students only have access to course materials for six months after their class, instead of a whole year. While this may be sufficient for students who only plan to take the ACT once after the course, some students may want to opt for a program that gives them extended access in case they wish to retake the exam.

What Test Takers Are Saying

Of 4721 reviews for Kaplan on Trustpilot, 92% are “excellent” or “good.” The company has a 4.6 / 5 stars rating. One student said of the live online class, “Even though the classes were online, it did not create any barriers preventing me from learning. The teachers were very engaging and supportive. Kaplan definitely taught me new tips for my upcoming ACT.”

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
Live Online $549
  • 16 hours of live online instruction
  • 5 full-length practice tests
  • 2000+ practice questions
  • ACT prep e-book
  • 6 months of access
Self-Paced $119
  • 30+ on-demand video lessons
  • 5 full-length practice tests
  • 2000+ practice questions
  • 6 months of access

 

ACT Official Prep — Most Affordable

A non-profit organization administers the ACT, also called ACT. Its mission is to help people achieve education and workplace success. The ACT exam supports that mission by providing students with options for college entrance exam testing. To help all students reach their highest scores, the ACT offers a variety of free preparation resources, some of them in partnership with Kaplan. We’re highlighting ACT’s official prep materials so students know they can study for the ACT on any budget.

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The free prep materials from the ACT organization focus on their study guide, which is available as a downloadable PDF, as well as official ACT practice tests that use questions from the previous year’s tests.

From the ACT website, students can also access free lessons (taught by Kaplan instructors) to review subject-specific content.

As part of ACT’s partnership with Kaplan, students can get a practice question sent to them via email every day, helping them build ACT prep into their daily schedule.

The ACT Study Guide provides a good introduction to the ACT, including its form, content, and rules. 

The practice exam included with the ACT Study Guide mimics the actual test, allowing students to get an honest assessment of their current skill level.

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ACT Official Prep’s price point — free — is one of its key selling points, especially while most ACT prep programs can run into hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

By simply signing onto the ACT website, students can access a variety of test prep materials, including an official ACT practice exam and the official ACT Study Guide. Students who take the official practice exam online can see how they did with a score report that breaks down where students need improvement. The downloadable Study Guide includes:

  • An overview of the ACT format and process
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Practice questions for all sections
  • An answer key

Additional prep materials, like quizzes, video lessons, and more practice exams, are provided by Kaplan. ACT and Kaplan also partner to offer free lessons, available on-demand or live online. Kaplan instructors teach the courses, which customers can also access as trial lessons. In addition, there’s a fun “Question of the Day” feature where students get an ACT question delivered daily via email.

What We Didn’t Like

ACT’s Official Prep structure lacks a few things that, were this a paid program, likely would have kept it off our list. The number of practice exams and questions is limited, and they don’t offer a personalized study guide. ACT Official Prep also doesn’t provide any instructor interaction. For self-motivated students who need basic practice, ACT Official Prep will suffice. Those who need more intensive prep may want to supplement with a low-cost program like Magoosh.

What Test Takers Are Saying

There aren’t reviews for the ACT’s prep materials on sites like Trustpilot or Facebook. However, students on Reddit threads related to the ACT regularly recommend using these resources either alone or in addition to other prep courses. Users find these materials helpful because they draw questions from previous official ACT exams and include straightforward answer explanations.

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
ACT Official Prep Free
  • Full-length practice test with answer key and score report
  • ACT Study Guide
  • Sample lessons

 

Testive – Best for 1:1 Tutoring

Testive is a tutoring-based education company that helps students prepare for a variety of standardized tests, including the ACT. Their ACT-specific offerings include a self-paced study program as well as customized 1:1 tutoring packages. We’re highlighting their Guided Study plan, as it combines on-demand, self-paced lessons with personalized attention and 1:1 check-in sessions with a tutor, creating a flexible yet supportive learning environment.

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Testive’s Guided Study plan is a happy medium between a self-paced ACT prep course and a 1:1 tutoring arrangement for students who want both flexibility and accountability.

Testive empowers students to create their own study schedule, including when and how much they study. Students can also set reminders, so they stay on track.

Early in the program, students take a practice ACT to determine their current baseline. Like the actual test, Testive allows students to make accommodations, including extending their time.

Testive gives students regular assignments tailored to their current ability level in the four main subject areas of the ACT.

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What We Like

Just because students might choose an on-demand ACT prep program over a regularly scheduled live class doesn’t mean they won’t need some extra assistance and support. Testive’s Guided Study plan offers students the best of both worlds. They can complete lessons, take practice exams, and drill questions on their own schedule. Four times a month, they’ll check in with their Testive tutor to review progress, ask questions, and get encouragement. The Guided Study plan also includes test review sessions with tutors for a more in-depth look at strengths and weaknesses.

Signing up for Testive starts with a free consultation to determine which program and tutor are right for you. Testive has more than 40 tutors who hail from various backgrounds and have extensive experience in education and test prep, as well as top ACT scores.

Testive also offers flexibility in the length of prep time students get, with monthly packages available for 2-6 months. This allows students to tailor their preparation, both in terms of how much time they have to prepare and how much practice they need before taking the test.

What We Didn’t Like

Individual tutoring typically isn’t cheap, and Testive isn’t an exception. The Guided Study program starts at $998 for two months and can cost up to $3,564. Despite the hefty price tag, Testive doesn’t offer a score improvement guarantee, which means a higher risk is involved with pursuing this option for ACT prep. However, despite this drawback, we chose to include Testive on our list based on positive reviews and unique offerings.

What Test Takers Are Saying

On Trustpilot, Testive has 4.8 / 5 stars. Ninety-three percent of the 67 reviews are “excellent.” Many reviewers note the encouragement they received from Testive’s tutors as crucial to their ACT success. One student said, “Learning concepts with my tutor was easier than it had ever been as he adapted to my learning style. Within the first few sessions, I knew that this was the place for me.”

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
Self-Paced Study $99/month (2-6 months)
  • Thousands of practice questions with text explanations
  • 8 practice tests
  • 1 test review session with a test prep expert
  • Parent dashboard
Guided Study $499/month (2-6 months) Everything in the Self-Paced Study program, plus:

  • 4 monthly check-ins with a test prep expert
  • Up to 8 test review sessions
  • Personalized answer explanations

 

Magoosh — Best for Extended Prep Time

Magoosh’s mission is to make test prep fun, accessible, and sustainable. That’s why they created a self-paced ACT prep program featuring “bite-sized” lessons, a personalized study plan, and a mobile app so students can squeeze in lessons anytime, anywhere. Magoosh gives students access to their vast library of ACT prep resources for a full year, making it an optimal solution for students who prefer to do their ACT prep in smaller increments over a longer period of time.

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Magoosh has a simple, user-friendly interface, demonstrated by this dashboard, where students can see their study schedule, lessons, and progress.

Students have the option to take practice exams online or by downloading and printing a paper test.

Magoosh provides over 250 video lessons in all ACT content areas, as well as test-taking strategies, the majority of which are under 10 minutes.

Another way Magoosh helps students’ study even if their time is limited is with flashcards so that students can assess their skills in various subjects.

Video lessons include accessibility tools like captions, transcripts, audio, visual demonstrations, and a note-taking feature.

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What We Like

While several ACT preparation programs, such as Kaplan and PrepExpert, are sprint-based and designed to be completed within a few weeks, Magoosh offers a marathon-style experience Students who enroll in their Self-Paced Premium program get a full year of access for just $129, or a little over $10 per month, making Magoosh one of the most affordable options available.

For that price, students get a personalized study schedule that takes into account the overall time a student has to prepare for the ACT, and how much time per week students can dedicate to studying. Throughout their prep time, students watch over 250 video lessons covering all subjects on the ACT, drill over 1300 practice questions and review text or video explanations and take up to four practice exams.

Magoosh also includes a variety of additional resources, including flashcards, a mobile app, and a vocabulary workbook to help students learn in a variety of ways. Students can connect with Magoosh tutors electronically if they have questions or need additional support throughout the program.

What We Didn’t Like

Despite having 1:1 tutor support available, Magoosh is best suited for students who are self-motivated, independent learners. Students can stay on track with built-in tools such as study reminders and schedules. However, if they require external accountability, they may want to opt for Magoosh Premium + Live classes, which include 16 hours of live online instruction, or Kaplan or The Princeton Review virtual classes.

What Test Takers Are Saying

Magoosh is one of the best-reviewed ACT prep services on our list. It has a 4.9 / 5-star rating on Facebook and 4.7 / 5 stars on Trustpilot. According to one reviewer, “I haven’t tried any other platform, but I don’t think it’ll be necessary. [Magoosh’s] lessons and practice tests are excellent. Whenever I had any questions, I could just send an email and get an immediate response.”

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
Self-Paced Premium $129/12 months
  • Over 1300 practice questions with video/text explanations
  • 250+ video lessons
  • 4 practice tests
  • Personalized study schedule
  • Email assistance from tutors
  • 4-point score guarantee
  • Mobile app (iOS and Android)
Self-Paced Premium + Live Classes $399/12 months Everything in the Self-Paced Premium program, plus 16 hours of live virtual instruction

 

PrepExpert — Best for Last-Minute Prep

PrepExpert made a splash when founder Dr. Shaan Patel appeared on the show “Shark Tank” and won the backing of investor Mark Cuban. Since then, PrepExpert has expanded to offer a variety of courses covering the SAT and ACT, including live online classes, a self-guided program, and an intensive weekend review course. For students with a limited amount of preparation time or who want an intensive review before the ACT, we recommend PrepExpert’s Weekend Review course.

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PrepExpert offers multiple types of ACT prep, but they’re the only company offering an intensive weekend prep session led by an expert ACT tutor.

PrepExpert’s classes walk students through a variety of content examples and problem-solving strategies and allow students to interact with the instructor in real-time.

Instructors include top ACT scorers from a variety of educational backgrounds.

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What We Like

PrepExpert’s Weekend Review course is offered every weekend before an official ACT testing date. This makes it an ideal cram session for students who delayed preparation until the last minute or just want a refresher before sitting for the exam.

Over the course of two days, students spend a total of 12 hours in a virtual classroom with one of PrepExpert’s experienced instructors, all of whom scored within the 99th percentile on the ACT. The course covers a wide range of ACT test-taking strategies, many developed by PrepExpert’s founder and a team of education experts, as well as content review in the ACT’s subject areas of English, Reading, Math, Science, and Writing. Classes are interactive, allowing students to ask instructors any last-minute questions they may have about the content and structure of the ACT.

The published cost of the two-day course is $499, although PrepExpert regularly offers discount codes, which can decrease the price significantly.

What We Didn’t Like

Compared to some of PrepExpert’s robust programs, like the Self-Paced Video or 6-Week Flagship course, the Weekend Review is more bare bones. It doesn’t include additional prep materials, practice exams, lessons, or drill questions, so students might need to seek supplementary materials from the ACT organization or another paid program. PrepExpert also doesn’t include a score improvement guarantee with the Weekend Review course (although it does for other classes), which students may want to take into consideration.

What Test Takers Are Saying

On Trustpilot, PrepExpert’s rating is 4.6 /5 stars, and their rating on Facebook is 4.1 / 5 stars. Former students have positive things to say about PrepExpert’s content and instructors. “Prep Expert gives you a good summary of what to expect on your tests,” said one user. “Having Prep Expert teachers highlight the different types of questions is very helpful when it comes to taking the test.”

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
Weekend Review $499
  • 12 hours of live instruction covering all ACT subjects, as well as test-taking strategies
8-Week Capstone Cass $1499
  • 18 classes over the course of 8 weeks covering all ACT subjects, as well as test-taking strategies
  • 6 practice exams
  • Homework assignments
  • Access to Weekend Review course
  • 4-point score improvement guarantee
6-Week Flagship Class $999
  • 12 classes over the course of 6 weeks covering all SAT subjects, as well as test-taking strategies
  • 6 practice exams
  • Homework assignments
  • 4-point score improvement guarantee
Self-Paced Video $699/12 months
  • 30 hours of video lessons
  • Score improvement guarantee

 

uWorld – Best for Drilling Questions

uWorld is a new addition to our list after our research found it’s a popular ACT prep option among recent ACT test-takers. Like PrepExpert and PrepScholar, uWorld College Prep was founded by an educator, Dr. Chandra Pemmasani, seeking a better way to prepare for standardized tests. uWorld’s ACT prep focuses on question drills and practice exams to cement content knowledge and helps students feel as prepared as possible for the test.

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uWorld’s easy-to-navigate interface lets students customize their prep sessions in a variety of ways, including subject, difficulty level, and timing.

Students get immediate feedback when answering questions, including a detailed explanation of the correct answer.

One of the things we like about uWorld is that it offers multiple methods for getting a correct answer, so students can choose the way that works best for them.

Although uWorld is a self-guided ACT prep service, it offers multiple study plan options for students to choose from based on their specific needs and the amount of time they have to prep.

We also like uWorld’s notebook feature, which allows students to keep all of their notes and documentation in one easy-to-access place.

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What We Like

For students who learn best by repetition, uWorld’s a good fit. They built their prep around a library of over 2600 practice questions from all ACT content areas. Every question comes with a detailed text and illustration explanation demonstrating the concept behind the correct answer. uWorld also includes practice tests and score reports highlighting areas where students need improvement, helping them focus their time and energy where they need it most.

There are several ways to customize ACT prep with uWorld. Students can take practice quizzes in tutor mode, which includes the explanation after each question, or timed mode, which emulates the actual test experience. There’s also an option to set the difficulty level of questions. Other features include flashcards, a notebook feature, and a performance-tracking dashboard.

uWorld operates on a subscription-based model. Customers can access uWorld’s materials for 30, 90, 180, or 360 days, making it customizable depending on how much time a student has to study. Prices range from $49-$129, also making it a relatively affordable ACT prep option.

What We Didn’t Like

While uWorld’s drill-focused instruction method might work for some, it’s not necessarily a good fit for students who learn better aurally or kinesthetically. Their materials also focus primarily on content, so students seeking information about ACT test-taking strategies may want to supplement uWorld with a strategy-based program like PrepExpert. There’s also no instructor interaction or 1:1 tutoring with uWorld.

What Test Takers Are Saying

uWorld has a loyal following on Reddit, with students calling the prep service “irreplaceable.” Students also like the flexibility and personalization of uWorld, including the ability to set the difficulty level of questions. However, reviews for uWorld’s ACT prep course are limited. Sites like Trustpilot and Facebook do not have reviews of this course.

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
uWorld ACT Prep $49 (30-day subscription)

$69 (90-day subscription)

$99 (180-day subscription)

$129 (360-day subscription)

  • 2600+ practice questions
  • Performance tracking
  • Practice tests
  • Flashcards
  • Electronic notebook

 

ClearPath Advantage – Best for Personalized Attention

ClearPath Advantage is a Chicago-based educational company that approaches test prep with the idea that no two students are alike. Their ACT prep program focuses on small group classes with 3-4 students, and 1:1 tutoring, to ensure that students get the individualized attention they need. While not as well-known as some companies on our list, like Kaplan or Magoosh, ClearPath Advantage landed a spot on our list as a solid option for students needing personalized support.

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ClearPath Advantage’s offerings are simple and straightforward – a small group class of 3-4 students that meets twice weekly for six weeks, as well as 1:1 tutoring.

We like ClearPath Advantage because it focuses on meeting students where they are in terms of learning style and skill level. This is a good option for students who need extra help and encouragement to prepare for the ACT.

ClearPath Advantage’s virtual classroom is an interactive space that allows students to engage with the material and instructor rather than participate passively.

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  • ClearPath Advantage 2
  • ClearPath Advantage 3

What We Like

Several companies on our list offer live virtual classes, but ClearPath Advantage is the only one that caps classes at four students. This ensures that all participants get personalized attention and lots of time with ClearPath Advantage’s expert ACT tutors. ClearPath Advantage also strives to place students at similar skill levels together, so the pace of the class remains consistent.

Classes are highly interactive, with students and instructors communicating via a microphone, chat box, and whiteboard. Instructors are also available outside regularly scheduled class hours to answer questions and provide assistance. At the end of each session, instructors assign homework based on students’ progress. Students also complete 10-15 practice exams throughout the course, helping them familiarize themselves with the content and structure of the ACT.

ClearPath Advantage’s classes include 18 hours of live instruction, with classes meeting twice weekly for 90 minutes over six weeks. This pace allows students to absorb material while easily fitting into a busy schedule.

What We Didn’t Like

The most significant drawback of ClearPath Advantage is the price. Small group classes run from $2550 to $3175, which may be cost-prohibitive for some students. ClearPath Advantage will refund a customer’s tuition if requested within 24 hours of the first class meeting. However, they do not offer a score improvement guarantee, which is standard among similarly-priced programs. Outside of homework assignments and practice tests, ClearPath Advantage does not include additional materials, like question banks or a mobile app.

What Test Takers Are Saying

ClearPath Advantage has a 5-star rating on Google Reviews, with 27 customers rating the service. A number of users say ClearPath Advantage helped them increase their ACT scores. “I’ve taken a few different ACT prep classes, and this one was definitely my favorite,” said one user. “I learned specific strategies relative to the ACT as well as general rules that can be applied for timing.”

Pricing

Program Price What You Get
Small Group Classes $3175
  • 18 hours of live instruction in a small group with 3-4 students
  • 10-15 practice tests
  • Homework assignments
1:1 Class $3775
  • 18 hours of live one-on-one instruction
  • 10-15 practice tests
  • Homework assignments

 

What to Consider Before Signing Up for ACT Test Prep

Calculate prep time

“A lot of students feel pressured to study 5-15 hours a week, but that isn’t necessary,” college admissions consultant Dana Marvin says. As long as students feel comfortable with the academic content on the ACT, Marvin says 1-2 hours of studying per week should be sufficient to get familiar with the ACT’s format and question style. Marvin also warns that studying too much can lead to burnout. Most structured classes, like Kaplan’s Live Online course, offer 2-3 hours of live instruction per week. Students doing self-paced prep via Magoosh or PrepScholar should set aside 1-2 hours per week to study.

Consider your learning style

Marvin encourages students to think about how they learn best, which is a key factor in determining which ACT prep program is a good fit. Auditory and kinesthetic learners may benefit from a virtual classroom setting like ClearPath Advantage’s small group classes. Students who are comfortable learning visually or through reading and writing may find a program like The Princeton Review’s Self-Paced program a good match. “Once you understand what you need, research programs based on testimonials and word-of-mouth,” Marvin says. “If all else fails, reach out to the program by phone or email. Don’t feel bad about contacting multiple organizations to find the right program for you.”

Compare costs

When it comes to ACT prep, “Just because a tutor or program is expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best quality or the right fit for every student,” Marvin says. When you start researching ACT prep programs determine your budget and find a program within that budget that meets your learning style and prep time needs. Students can also mix and match resources to get exactly what they need. For example, students who do a live online class through a program like PrepExpert can still use ACT’s free study guide and practice exam to get extra preparation before taking the exam.

 

ACT Test Prep Frequently Asked Questions

What are the important dates for the ACT?

For the 2022-23 academic year, the ACT testing dates, and deadlines for regular, late, and stand-by registration, are listed below. Prior registration is required to take the ACT. For more information and to register, visit the ACT website. ACT scores are released within 2-8 weeks after the test.

Test Date Regular Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Standby Deadline
Sept. 10, 2022 Aug. 5, 2022 Aug. 19, 2022 Sept. 2, 2022
Oct. 22, 2022 Sept. 16, 2022 Sept. 30, 2022 Oct. 14, 2022
Dec. 10, 2022 Nov. 4, 2022 Nov. 11, 2022 Dec. 2, 2022
Feb. 11, 2023 Jan. 6, 2023 Jan. 20, 2023 Feb. 3, 2023
Apr. 15, 2023 March 10, 2023 March 24, 2023 Apr. 7, 2023
June 10, 2023 May 5, 2023 May 19, 2023 June 2, 2023
July 15, 2023 June 16, 2023 June 23, 2023 July 7, 2023

*Test dates accurate as of 9/7/22

Are there accommodations for disabilities?

Yes, students can request accommodations if they have disabilities or need English learner (EL) support. Students must request accommodations in advance, by the late registration deadline for their scheduled test date. Students will need documentation from a school official to complete the accommodations request. Accommodation request decisions are usually processed within 10-14 days of request submission.

How is the ACT different from the SAT?

The SAT and ACT are both designed to test students for college readiness. The majority of colleges accept scores from either test from applicants. You should confirm testing requirements with the colleges to which you are applying. The SAT lasts three hours, and the ACT is two hours and 55 minutes, although the ACT has an optional Writing section that lasts an additional 40 minutes. The SAT has 154 questions in three sections – Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The ACT has 215 questions across four areas — Reading, English, Math, and Science. The maximum SAT score is 1600, while the maximum ACT score is 36.

When should I take the ACT?

Based on the ACT’s content, students should wait until their junior year of high school to take the ACT for the first time. At this point in their education, most students will have covered the necessary skills and concepts in math, English, science, language, and writing included on the ACT. This will also allow students to retake the test (and complete a prep course, if necessary) during the summer or fall of senior year if they need to improve their scores before applying to college.

How many times should I take the ACT?

There’s no limit on how many times students can take the ACT. The majority of students need to test two or three times to achieve their desired score. We recommend taking the ACT for the first time in mid- or late junior year. This will give you a baseline score while there’s still time to study and retake the test. Students who complete at least three hours of prep between their first and second tests tend to increase their scores. High school seniors applying to college for the following fall should plan to take their ACT for the final time no later than December of senior year.

Where can I find ACT practice tests?

ACT practice tests can help students familiarize themselves with the format, content, and time limitations of the actual ACT test. Many ACT prep courses include practice exams. However, all students can access free subject-specific practice tests on the ACT website. Students receive instant feedback on these practice questions, including explanations for incorrect answers. The ACT also offers a free test prep guide with a full-length practice exam.

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

This answer varies from student to student. We recommend taking at least one practice test to get exposure to the ACT’s format, questions, and time limitations, and set a baseline for the type of score you can expect to achieve with your current level of preparation. Completing one or two additional practice tests can help you nail your pacing, track your progress, and build up your stamina for the actual test.

How early should I prepare?

The length of time you spend preparing for the ACT depends on a few factors. These include when you plan to take the ACT, how much time you can commit to preparing before that test date, which areas you need to focus on, and your desired score. Generally, preparing for two to three months before the test is sufficient for most students if they can commit to a few hours of prep per week. However, students who need additional time to process information or struggle with focus may want to start prepping earlier. Those with less than two months can still prepare with an intensive program like Prep Expert’s Weekend Review.

How long are ACT prep courses?

That depends on the specific course. Self-paced programs tend to give students a year of access, while some courses are offered as quick one- or two-day workshops. Virtual classes tend to run for 4-8 weeks, depending on how many times per week the class meets. Some live online courses give students continued access to self-paced prep materials for six months or a year after the class ends.

Is ACT prep worth it?

In most cases, yes, as long as students commit to putting in the time and effort to study. Signing up for an ACT prep course is only beneficial if students are willing to attend classes, complete lessons and practice exams, review answers and feedback, and build up their mental and physical stamina for the test. Studies have shown 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?

The cost of ACT prep courses can range from free to several thousand dollars. How much an ACT prep course costs depends on factors including the course provider, delivery method, materials included, length of access, and availability of 1:1 tutoring. The amount you pay will also depend on what you need. Students seeking a simple refresher on ACT subjects may find that a free or low-cost program is sufficient. Those who need more support or want a significant score increase may find it helpful to invest in a robust course with a lot of perks. Many providers offer discounts or sales on their products, which can help subsidize the cost. For specific program pricing, please refer to the individual program descriptions above.

author-name
Dana Marvin College Counselor

Throughout her six years of experience, Dana Marvin has helped hundreds of students nationwide navigate through the college and career planning process. Her speciality is financial aid, tuition negotiation, scholarships, and financial planning for college costs. Dana’s expertise has led her to help students earn over $10 million in scholarship offers from colleges in the 2021-2022 education cycle alone. Her students have earned acceptances to top colleges such as University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Penn State University, SUNY Binghamton, Bates College, Tufts University, UConn, and many more. She has a Master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership and Administration from Purdue University and a graduate certificate in College Counseling from UCLA. She currently resides in New York City, but helps students nationwide and internationally through the college admissions process.

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