5 Best ACT Prep Courses for 2021

When you’re looking into college options, you may want to consider taking the ACT examination. The ACT is a standardized test like the SAT that offers insight into a student’s readiness for college based on their general knowledge of subjects they’ve studied in high school. The ACT is accepted as an entrance examination in most colleges and universities and is considered a data point to help colleges identify students who are suitable for the school.

Studying for the ACT yourself can be very intimidating. Fortunately, there are plenty of ACT prep courses available out there to help you through. Whether you prefer to walk yourself at your own pace through a course or need personal assistance; whether you have a year of preparation or just a month to study; whether you prefer learning through video lessons or just need to drill practice questions, these are definitely the best ACT prep courses for everyone.

However, picking the right option for you can be confusing, which is why we’ve researched and reviewed every major ACT prep course to help you figure out which is the best one for you. Below is our review of the best ACT prep courses available.

Best ACT Prep Courses Online

Magoosh ACT

Known for its user-friendly interface and unbeatable pricing, Magoosh is designed for self-motivated and budget-conscious students who prefer a lot of flexibility and unlimited access. Magoosh ACT Prep is an online, self-paced course with one-month, three-month, and twelve-month plans for you to pick from.

Each Magoosh ACT prep offers over 250 lessons and 1350 practice questions, as well as several full-length tests. Each ACT prep course is designed to improve your performance quickly. The ACT prep provider has analyzed thousands of students before you and continually updates their act prep materials to ensure you get high-quality preparation. Each practice test and the problem is accompanied by a video and text explanation. You even get to read the transcript of each video content. And if that’s not enough, Magoosh ACT includes a link related to lessons where you will find videos of the fundamentals of the problem you are working on.

Every topic that ACT covers have an individualized section and Magoosh’s ACT prep breaks them down testing areas to super-specific topic sections. You’ll even notice a complete video on topics like dashes, trap answer choices, and right triangles. There’s even a set of questions specifically related to each topic section on Magoosh that lets you review the individual topic you’re struggling at rather than having to go through an entire broad area just to get to the subject you want to study.

You can create customized practice sessions on Magoosh ACT. Each section can also be filtered by specific topic, length, or difficulty level. You even have the choice of studying in “practice mode” where the explanations are shown after each question or “quiz mode” where they are not. With this customization, you’re able to study exactly what you need to work on successfully and not need to waste time on topics that are already your strength.

Another great thing about Magoosh ACT is that it is completely online and self-paced to work around any busy student’s schedule. They also have targeted study schedules and weekly study planners to help you stay on track. Magoosh site will ask you about your schedule when you sign up for a course and they will send you a reminder text to remind you to study at a predetermined time. The ACT prep course also offers study schedules with a list of recommended materials and task checklists to keep you motivated.

A highlight for Magoosh ACT is its free 4-week option where it gives last-minute studier access to their entire course for free for four weeks. Magoosh is also a good option for those who would like to try out their course for an extended period of time before committing. The only thing that isn’t included in this 4-week plan is a score guarantee. Magoosh ACT prep courses offer a 4-point score improvement guarantee with their 3-month or 12-month premium courses. If you don’t improve, Magoosh ACT will give you a full refund.

Pros

  1. Magoosh offers one of the best combinations in terms of features and pricing. You get study schedules, video lessons, mobile app accessibility, and a 4+ points guarantee for a very reasonable price.
  2. Magoosh offers customized practice sessions that are intended for your needs. You can choose to drill yourself on specific subjects and difficulty levels. If you get stuck on anything, Magoosh even offers a detailed text explanation and video tutorial to help you.
  3. Magoosh offers a 4+ point guarantee where the ACT prep provider will give you back your money if your score doesn’t improve by 4 points or more.

Cons

  1. Magoosh only offers self-paced online lessons and no live online, in-person courses, or private tutoring.

Prep Expert ACT

Prep Expert is a relatively new company and has since already developed quite a name for itself in the test-prep industry. Prep Expert was founded by entrepreneur Shaan Patel who achieved a perfect 2400 score on his SAT examination. Prep Expert was established with an aim to provide the most intensive exam-prep experience possible to guarantee an excellent standardized test score.

Prep Expert is a premium service that provides you an in-depth look into how the ACT works. Though they do cost a little more, they do offer a meticulously-crafted curriculum through a class instructor who scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT or through video lessons taught by Shaan Patel himself.

Prep Expert provides 3 main ACT prep course packages but the 6-week ACT Prep is the flagship of their course fleet which includes 23 hours of lessons plus live class sessions with one of Prep Expert’s elite instructors. The 3-week course includes the same lessons and live class sessions, but in a more condensed version of the flagship course.

Prep Expert also offers extended access to thorough materials when you purchase a 6-week or 30week course. Not only do you get access to their online class sessions, but you can also access recordings of class sessions and 24/7 access to hours of video lessons recorded by Shaan Patel. On top of that, students even get access to Prep Expert’s 6 ACT course books which include guides for each section of the ACT:

  • ACT Intro
  • ACT English
  • ACT Reading
  • ACT Writing
  • ACT Science
  • ACT Math

Prep Expert’s ACT books provide a total of about 650 pages of original content about the test. These books provide foundational concepts that you’ll interact with in class. It provides a clear, black-and-white description of each and every concept in the video.

For those who do not need that amount of intensive live instructions, Prep Expert also has a Self-Paced Video Course that is almost half the price of the 6-week and 3-week courses. The Self-Paced Video course lets you view video lessons, complete assignments, and take practice tests without the scary weekly deadlines, giving them the flexibility busy students need.

Prep Expert boasts some of the most qualified instructors available in the test-prep industry. Their team is made up of scholars who scored in at least the 99th percentile of ACT scores, which means that your course is designed by the top 1% of test-takers with some even achieving perfect scores on their ACT and/or SAT. Not only do they know their stuff, but the teachers at Prep Expert are very personable and articulate, making their lessons easy to understand and fun!

Prep Expert’s online class sessions are conducted via Adobe Connect which includes a live feed of a Prep Expert Instructors. Students can interact with their instructor and each other through the chatbox feature and watch as their instructor annotates and explains the test. Prep Expert even incorporates a polling feature during each class where students are required to complete the polls in order to be counted as present for the day – a great way to ensure students engage with the material.

Pros

  1. Prep Expert’s ACT prep score improvement guarantees a 4-point improvement for students’ ACT scores or you get a full refund.
  2. Each of the instructors that Prep Expert employs scored within the top 1% – or higher – on the SAT and/or ACT, making them some of the most qualified experts in the ACT prep industry.
  3. Prep Expert’s founder, Shaan Patel got a perfect score on the SAT himself, and he collaborated with a perfect ACT-score to craft Prep Expert’s ACT prep curriculum. Their self-paced video ACT prep course gives students access to the curriculum’s lessons and course books for an entire year.

Cons

  1. The amount of work in Prep Expert is no joke with students taking the equivalent of up to 3 ACTs a week with over 10 hours of work without including their lessons and class sessions. This is more suitable for students with a lot of time and energy to dedicate to the course.

PrepScholar ACT

PrepScholar is a relatively young company with a fleet of knowledgeable instructors, cutting-edge test prep features, and a wealth of prep material that’s both dependable and state-of-the-art. The ACT prep provider employs all these features in their ACT prep courses, including their ACT online prep to accomplish one goal: to provide a fresh and substantial alternative to other test prep companies and guarantee a fantastic score increase on your examinations.

Despite its lack of some common prep features, PrepScholar is still a great choice for students looking for an effective ACT prep course with a lot of material and proven results. PrepScholar’s online ACT course gives you access to over 2,400 practice questions complete with in-depth explanations. You’re also given access to take up to 5 full-length practice ACT tests, which should be more than enough to familiarize you with the timing and difficulty of the actual examination.

Other than that, PrepScholar places a huge emphasis on personalized content in their educational programs, and the ACT prep course is no exception. PrepScholar utilizes their CustomPrep algorithm which continually adapts to your progress as you make your way through the course. Their ACT prep courses are divided into text lessons, quizzes, review, and practice tests.

The CustomPrep algorithm will measure which questions you got wrong and which you got right during your online quizzes and provides new assessments that adapt to the difficulty level you need. With this technology, the online prep service makes sure that their ACT students never go through content they’re already comfortable with, nor get thrown straight into the deep end with concepts they struggle on.

Out of all the ACT prep courses we’ve reviewed, we find that PrepScholar’s platform is simply one of the best when it comes to providing its users with essential info. Their web dashboard is constantly communicating with students about where they’re at now and where they need to go.

Beyond that, PrepScholar also does a great job of updating students’ parents as well. PrepScholar drops both students and their parents an email update about the student’s progress, including which lessons the student completed, which skill has been improving and the exact amount of time that the student has spent on PrepScholar that week.

PrepScholar understands that different students have varying studying techniques that work best for them, which is why they offer 5 unique ACT prep courses to suit your studying habit. Independent students who want to study on their own can use the Complete ACT Online Prep Course, which allows you the most schedule customization of any option. It uses the CustomPrep algorithm to determine which lessons you should take on as you progress.

Those who prefer a classroom experience can opt for the PrepScholar Classes package which includes 9 hours of time with an expert instructor and a small group of 9 students. Those who need more individual guidance and attention and consider the Complete + Tutoring package, which includes up to 50 hours of tutoring plus all the material from their self-paced ACT course.

PrepScholar even goes a step further by offering 2 more course packages: a self-paced plan with 2 whole years of access and an SAT and ACT package that lets you study for both tests at the same time. This amount of variety isn’t common among ACT prep courses, so we’re very happy to see that PrepScholar has enough courses to suit every learning style.

Pros

  1. Out of the top ACT prep courses, PrepScholar offers a 4-point score improvement guarantee, even with their cheapest ACT prep course.
  2. Students gain access to PrepScholar’s ACT curriculum for an entire year with their self-paced online package, but they can also choose to extend their access by another year. This could be a lifesaver for those who want to retake their ACT.
  3. Unlike most of the ACT prep courses on our list, PrepScholar emphasizes the personalization of their course curriculum through individualized pacing and tailored homework assignments designed to best benefit individual students and test them on specific subjects.

Cons

  1. PrepScholar isn’t the most device-friendly prep service on our list. Though their services are online and can be accessed on mobile devices, they do not have a specific app like what other ACT prep courses have in this price range.

Princeton Review ACT

Princeton Review has over 35 years of test prep instruction and they truly understand the ACT, students prepping for it, as well as the common mistakes and struggles students have. Princeton Review is one of the most established test prep course providers with a stellar reputation for providing high-quality materials, personalized courses, a high-score guarantee, and a price tag to match.

Not only are the instructors ACT experts, but they are also engaging and funny, making Princeton Review ACT prep courses anything but boring. The instructors are known for their years of experience combined with extensive training that Princeton Review requires of them. The instructors are invested in seeing students excel and have decades of experience to show their dedication.

Aside from excellent instructors, Princeton Review’s courses even offer world-class study materials including over 140 expert-created video lessons on every ACT topic, over 1200 practice questions, and 137 drills. Each ACT prep course is personalized to your abilities, goal, and timeline. On top of their online materials, each Princeton Review course with a Course Workbook for the ACT and their Practice Questions for the ACT workbook.

After decades of being in the industry, Princeton Review has put together an extensive data system that is able to personalize your practice drills to only what you need. Via AI drives personalization aids, Princeton Review is able to present you with the right problems at the right level to ensure you’re using your study time the most efficiently. Their artificial intelligence is even able to personalize a study plan based on your starting score, goals, and how much time you have left to prep for the examination.

With each of the ACT live prep courses, there’s a tutor-on-demand service that lets students get in touch with a tutor-on-demand to clear up any issue with a practice problem or an ACT concept. This is a very helpful feature that could potentially save you from hours of struggling with a problem or concept on your own. The best part about it is that the tutors are available 24/7.

Much like some of the other ACT prep courses reviewed above, the Princeton Review offers a score guarantee in two different courses, the ACT 31+ and ACT 26+. In both ACT prep courses, Princeton Review guarantees that you will score 31 points or 26 points, or more, or they will give you a refund. This is interesting as none of the other ACT prep courses have a score guarantee built into their courses and none of the other courses are even geared to different levels of scoring.

Another advantage with the Princeton Review is that you get access to all of their online sessions, 20 additional full-length practice test opportunities, SAT self-paced prep, and online resources when you enroll in the Ultimate, ACT 26+ or ACT 31+ course. On top of that, you even have up to 365 days of pre-course self-paced studying available to you to get ahead.

Pros

  1. The Princeton Review ACT prep course provides more practice questions than any other company on our list with 3,200 practice questions. While it may seem excessive, it also means that you’ll pretty much always have more questions to practice with if you’re struggling in an area.
  2. The ACT prep course provider offers over 280 video lessons in the Self-Paced Online course that is of great quality and easy to follow along.
  3. Princeton Review and Kaplan ACT prep are the only two ACT course providers that offer courses in every format.

Cons

  1. The Princeton Review commands the third-highest price for its self-paced online course, the second-highest price for its in-person course, and the highest price for its live online course.

Olive Book ACT

Olive Book is one of the smallest and youngest ACT test-prep services. Instead of offering a standard test prep experience, the founder Michael Ermann taps into an unseen teaching opportunity by using technology to give users visual content that goes above and beyond today’s education norms. The Olive Book ACT prep course provides a unique but effective ACT prep experience through top-of-the-line visual instruction and efficient practice material.

As mentioned above, the Olive Book is built on a visual foundation. All of their ACT prep courses include professional, engaging, and information-packed animations for their lessons and explanations. As you progress through your ACT program curriculum, you’ll see videos that unpack geometry and flesh out the nuances of language. Each practice question also comes with a thorough text explanation, so if you don’t find their videos helpful for whatever reason, there’s still plenty of information you can dive into.

The Olive Book only offers a self-paced course but it comes with several syllabi that can help you tailor your ACT prep experience to a specific schedule. Their ACT prep comes with 1-month, 2-month, 3-month, and 4-month study schedules. This means that you still have the opportunity to take on whatever topics you want, whenever you want. The Olive Book’s self-paced course plan provides students with enough flexibility to take on the topics at their own pace, but with more structure that can help you effectively take on their content with a specific deadline in mind.

For their ACT online prep, the Olive Book organizes their ACT prep content in a unique way. Instead of tackling the subject section-by-section, starting with easier concepts and moving to more difficult ones, the Olive Book focuses purely on the subject matter and difficulty level, prioritizing best-yield content in their ACT prep courses.

As you take their ACT prep curriculum, you’ll start by working on concepts that have a specific balance: easy to learn but also translates to highest score increases at that difficulty level. With the way Olive Book puts it, even if you don’t have time to complete 100% of the course’s practice material, you still would have learned the most impactful content the course has to offer to ensure a higher score.

Despite being a relatively new ACT prep provider, the Olive Book believes in their product enough to provide a higher score guarantee. If you do not score higher on a second attempt after completing The Olive Book’s course, the company will give you all your money back. Though this score guarantee is offered by many companies, the Olive Book takes things a step further by offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you finish your ACT course and feel that it didn’t provide you with what you needed, you can request a full refund, no questions asked.

Pros

  1. The Olive Book believes that every learner is a visual learner, so they’ve emphasized a visual teaching style by using high-quality animated explanations for their questions.
  2. Olive Book offers a great ACT curriculum for educators where they can purchase the ACT prep course for the entire class for as low as $48.75 per student.
  3. Olive Book offers their ACT course for absolutely free for students and educators that can demonstrate financial need.

Cons

  1. Compared to the other ACT prep courses on our list, the Olive Book has a relatively low amount of practice questions and only 1 full practice test.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of ACT Prep Courses available online, there are also great options for those on a budget. Before making any final decision on which are the best ACT prep courses for you, do remember to take some time to note down exactly what you want from an ACT prep curriculum and see which ones match your list. We hope today’s review has given you enough information and knowledge to make an informed decision.

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