10 Best ACT Prep Courses: Top-Rated Recommendations

There’s a small cloud of confusion that hangs around students planning to take the ACT exam for the first time- especially regarding good ACT test preparation materials.

That’s guaranteed because, being new, it’s hard to determine the trusted best ACT prep courses in the market.

The truth is, every ACT test prep provider out there wants your bucks. And they will say anything to get your attention. So in this article, we take a dive through ACT prep courses that most of the best-performing ACT students have considered the best. 

Best ACT Prep Courses

Here are noteworthy choices worth spending money on:

1. Kaplan ACT Prep Course Review

Kaplan is one of the biggest ACT prep programs on the market. Even the ACT organization itself uses Kaplan to power some of its courses. This assures you that the company is superb at preparing study materials and utilizes the best tutors.

There are multiple good reasons for going with the Kaplan ACT prep course.

First, they offer both live and self-paced tutoring options. The live option lets you experience the traditional classroom setting with a guide to hold you accountable.

The self-paced choice is for those who want to study at their own pace. The course material is detailed and comes with a bank of practice questions and tests.

Furthermore, the structure fits both first-timers and those retaking the ACT. It’s up to you to decide which units to prioritize based on your areas of strength and weaknesses.

Kaplan has a rating of over 4.5 on Trustpilot alone. They have a free trial that lets you experience their content before committing.

Pricing: Starts from $99

What we like about this course

  • Has many positive reviews on Google, Trustpilot, and other online platforms 
  • You can choose between a self-paced and live classroom setting 
  • They offer a free trial service 
  • The company works directly with the ACT organization, which justifies their credibility 
  • An exhaustive list of practice questions 

What we don’t like about this course

  • Kaplan is a favorite amongst many students. Therefore, it might be hard to get one-on-one tutor assistance 
  • Students don’t have a whole year of access to material

2. Magoosh ACT Prep Review

Magoosh is a force to reckon with. It closely contests Kaplan and The Princeton Review, which are widely known and acclaimed companies. So in case these two choices, for some reason, don’t cut it, you can always settle for Magoosh.

What makes Magoosh so special?

To begin with, like its two main rivals, Magoosh has also been in the college assessment exams for many years now. They understand the syllabus and the entire structure of ACT tests. 

Besides, Magoosh makes its course material fun and bite-sized, so you can get through in as little as 20 minutes. They have an AI algorithm that monitors your studying habits and comes up with a custom study plan.

Magoosh has a mobile app that you can access at any time and from anywhere. So whether you are at work or visiting a friend or family member over the weekend, you can still take your lessons.

Here’s the best part about Magoosh; despite offering solid course material, they grant you access to it for over a year.

Pricing: Starts at $129

What we like about this course

  • Bite-sized lessons that take a short time to get through
  • Offers personalized study schedule
  • A vast library of course material
  • Longer content access period

What we don’t like about this course

  • While the Magoosh ACT prep course has live instruction classes, students who need one-on-one help with tutors will find the platform a bit lacking, especially when compared with Kaplan.

3. The Princeton Review ACT Prep

The Princeton Review is another established ACT prep course you can’t go wrong with. They have a wide array of programs to choose from, including both one-on-one tutoring and the self-paced program.

This company will appeal to you the most if you want a big bank of practice questions for intense training drills. The self-paced model comes with over 200, high-quality videos put together by top tutors.

The course material will be available to you for up to 12 months, making Princeton a great choice for those who want to access learning resources for longer.

The Princeton Review’s dashboard has a color-coded system. It changes color to help you track your progress as well as show you what areas need more effort. For each practice test you take, the dashboard has a detailed scorecard to help you review your performance.

This company offers ACT alongside SAT at a heavily discounted price. This is an amazing deal for students who wish to sit for the SAT as well. Unfortunately, they don’t have a free trial but guarantee a high score if you try them.

The Princeton Review has multiple positive reviews on both Google and Trustpilot. You can take that as assurance that the course will work for you too.

Pricing: Starts at $299

What we like about this course

  • A heavy bank of practice questions
  • Flexible lessons that are accessible for up to one year
  • User-friendly dashboard with useful analytics and score tracking

What we don’t like about this course

  • They don’t offer a free trial

4. PrepScholar ACT Prep Review

Since its establishment in 2013, PrepScholar has grown to become one of the go-to best ACT prep courses platforms. It was launched by Harvard University alumni who have experience with GMAT and ACT prep exams.

Like Magoosh and Kaplan, PrepScholar too comes with a big bank of practice questions. On top of that, you’ll get access to a 90-minute diagnostic test as well as practice exams. The course promises to increase your score by 4 points or more.

PrepScholar’s courses run for as little as 2 weeks, thus making it a better choice for anyone in a hurry. Thanks to tracking and analytics, you get personalized lessons that address your unique needs. The lessons are entirely accessible online for a period of up to 12 months.

Pricing: starts at $397

What we like about this course

  • Lessons can be accessed from anywhere at any time
  • A longer content access period
  • Lessons are personalized to meet each student’s needs
  • A generous number of practice questions
  • A 5-day risk-free trial session

What we don’t like about this course

  • The package that includes live tutoring is quite costly

5. Peterson’s ACT Test Prep Review

Students who are on an extremely tight budget usually gravitate toward this ACT prep course. Despite being incredibly affordable, the course packs quite a lot of content.

For as little as $39, this platform offers you a comprehensive online course and 11 full-length practice tests. They also provide information on college admissions and timelines.

Peterson’s Test Prep has a free trial period of 7 days, which you should take advantage of to test whether their lessons will work for you.

Pricing: Starts at $39/month

What we like about this course

  • Comprehensive, step-by-step video tutorials
  • Expert-produced course material
  • Adequate number of practice tests
  • Has a risk-free trial period

What we don’t like about this course

  • You will be automatically billed if you fail to cancel the free trial on its last day

6. Varsity Tutors ACT Prep Review

Varsity Tutors is also another affordable ACT prep course to consider if you are cash-strapped. They hold boot camps and comprehensive classes that dive deeper into all four subjects.

This company is among the few that will let you study a subject that you are more interested in. Classes are taught by professional tutors, employed after undergoing a rigorous review process.

Varsity Tutors is the place to be if you want personalized help. Their classes have about 6 to 9 students making it easier to receive one-on-one assistance from instructors.

Pricing: Starts at $26 per hour

What we like about this course

  • An affordable ACT prep course
  • You can choose subjects to focus on rather than sitting for all the four 
  • Offers tips and strategies for sitting for the ACT exam
  • Smaller classes that make it possible to receive one-on-one tutor help

What we don’t like about this course

  • Their hourly rate might feel steep for some students and parents 

7. Prep Expert ACT Prep Review

Prep Expert runs a 6-week flagship course intended to prepare you for the ACT exam. The company posits that their classes are taught by tutors who obtained perfect ACT scores and are willing to return your money if you don’t get a satisfactory outcome.

Lessons are provided in self-paced videos, with an option to reach out to a tutor. You will also be taken through multiple exam strategies that effectively prepare you for the ACT test.

Pricing: starts at $199

What we like about this course

  • The company guarantees a score improvement of 4 points and above
  • Equips you with more than a hundred strategies for acing the exam
  • Promises to refund your money if you don’t get good results

What we don’t like about this course

  • Classes can feel too long

8. ePrep ACT Prep Review

ePrep has both single and bundled-up courses that fall under two categories-Test Date and Annual Pass. The Test Date program is for those who are short on time, while The Annual Pass is for those who have plenty of time to prepare.

Their pre-recorded self-paced videos will teach you both coursework and the strategies you need to sit for the exam. Every lesson has practice questions to help you put to test what you just learned.

ePrep comes with a free trial plan that you should make use of before deciding to fully commit.

Pricing: starts at $129

What we like about this course

  • Courses come in single and bundle packages
  • Has a free trial plan
  • Shares tips and strategies on how to pass the ACT exam
  • Has multiple other college preparatory exams

What we don’t like about this course

  • Does not have many practice tests

9. ACT Official Prep Review

ACT organization is the official administrator of the ACT exam. As such, it is paramount to give the site a lookup, not just for the course material, but also for any special ACT events, workshops, and resources.

The organization has multiple practice tests for all four subjects. You can take these tests as many times as you want, with a score report to show what you got right or wrong. 

Pricing: some resources are free

What we like about this course

  • Detailed study guides and resources
  • A scorecard to track your performance
  • Some resources don’t cost a dime
  • Several practice tests

What we don’t like about ACT 

  • ACT Official prep may not offer extensive one-on-one live sessions unlike the paid ACT prep providers

10. uWorld ACT Prep Course Review

We are led to believe that the most expensive courses and tutors are the way to go. Sure, there’s a bit of truth in that, but not always.

Some of the latest, most affordable college readiness courses like uWorld can get you the score you need to join your dream college.

The team behind uWorld has been preparing students for college for over 20 years. This can be seen from how their course material is prepared and structured. It’s designed in a way that lets you focus on what you don’t know, and take timed practice tests that prepare you for the real exam.

uWorld’s course comes with over 2500 practice questions and explanations to answers. You can tackle these questions in either tutor or timed mode. The tutor mode offers an explanation for each answer. However, the timed mode mimics the real exam.

There’s a performance tracker which lets you know why you got a certain question wrong and how to nail it next time. uWorld’s blog is a resourceful engine that shares tips on how to prepare for exams or study various subjects.

So, if you want an ACT platform for intense practice drills without spending hundreds of dollars, check out uWorld.

Pricing: Starts at $69

What we like about this course

  • They offer a free trial session
  • designed to fit your schedule
  • a massive bank of practice quizzes 
  • affordable ACT prep course

What we don’t like about this course

  • It’s only ideal for practice drills. As such, you will need to fetch extensive reading materials from elsewhere

How to improve your ACT Score

You already know by now how important ACT is to your college application efforts. Here are a few tips to help you get the best score. 

1. Start early

You can improve your ACT score if you start preparing early. Like any other exam, ACT needs you to take as many practice questions as possible. This way, you can establish a firm foundation.

2. Make use of your high school foundation

ACT tests materials that were learned in high school. As such, your high resources can be helpful in preparing you for the real test.

3. Take as many practice tests as possible

Don’t take practice tests for granted. Don’t rush through them, instead, focus on why you got some questions wrong and what needs to be done to get them right. Focusing on the questions you failed helps you know which areas you are weak at.

4. Understand the scoring process

There are four sections; Math, English, Science, and Reading. Each of them is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. You’ll be given an aggregate score, which is an average of the four sections.  There’s a writing section, graded on a scale of 1-12 but is not added to your composite score.

5. Don’t let test anxiety take over you

You have sat for multiple exams by now. ACT is not the first one-and most assuredly, not the last. Even better, it just tests your high school knowledge to judge how well you are equipped for college.

Therefore, you should not let anxiety take over and impair your performance. If your anxiety is on a clinical level, talk to a therapist or your tutor for guidance before sitting for the exam.

Factors to consider when choosing the best ACT prep courses

◈ A wealth of teaching materials

Video tutorials are great, and that’s what many ACT prep companies offer. However, interactive learning demands a plethora of teaching materials-ebooks, hardcopy, flashcards, etc.

This way, you can easily switch from one medium to another or pick the medium that works better for you.

In short, pick a company that offers multiple preparation materials.

◈ Experience and knowledge 

College preparation exams is an industry that has grown so much. Each day, companies are coming up, each hoping to sell to you.

While new companies are likely to be revolutionary, with a better UX/UI and advanced algorithms, it’s often better to stick with well-established brands. 

A company that has been operational for years knows the ins and outs of the ACT exam. They can guide you far better than most new entrants. Plus, established brands might be less likely to cut corners because they have a reputation to protect.

◈ Online reviews

The best way to know if a college prep exam company is worth its salt is by searching for user feedback. Trustpilot, Facebook, Google, and even Reddit are good places to start from.

Different plans and packages

ACT tests four subjects-Math, English, Reading, and Science. Maybe you are good at math and just want to polish up on your science. A good company should have such a package.

A bundle of different classes, like self-paced learning and one-on-one tutoring, can help students learn interactively. In short, the existence of many plans lets you pick a program that meets both your needs and budget.

◈ Money-back guarantee 

A good ACT test company should stand behind its products by offering assurances in the form of free trial periods and money-back guarantees. The complete absence of these two factors is a serious red 🚩flag you should never ignore.

A Wrap-Up: Best ACT Prep Courses

Highly selective universities and colleges demand that students take some standardized tests like ACT before admission. These tests let them know that you are a strong candidate and not someone who will fail along the way.

We have listed for you some of the best ACT prep courses that are sure to get you the best scores. These courses have been designed by top ACT tutors and structured in bite-sized formats to make learning easy.

We hope you find one that meets both your needs and budget.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Do ACT prep courses work & and are they worth it?

Whether your dream college demands an ACT or not, taking it improves your chances of getting admission to your favorite college. Many students use it to rump up their scores and increase their chances of colleges considering them. So if you have time and resources, it is highly advisable to sit for an ACT exam. 

2. Is 2 months enough to study for the ACT?

You need to give yourself sufficient time to study and sit for any board exam, ACT included. But if you are short on time, some ACT crash courses allow you to complete your studies in under two months. However, you will need to spare many hours daily in order to go through the entire course material and understand it better.

3. How many times is it okay to take the ACT?

You can take the ACT test as many times as you want. To many students, a retake gives them a chance to better their scores in preparation for college. However, a majority of learners take it twice or thrice. Taking the test way too many times can paint you in a bad light to the admissions board.

It is advisable to switch ACT prep courses during retakes to increase your chances of a better score. 

4. At what age should you start studying for the ACT

There is no specific age limit for taking the ACT exam. However, ACT’s terms of conditions demand that kids under the age of 12 will have to show some form of identification to sit for the test. Also, ACT tests your high school knowledge, as such, anyone from grade 9 is an ideal candidate.

5. How does ACT affect your chances of college admission?

Many top colleges and universities use exams such as the ACT as one of the criteria for admitting students. Those with better scores stand a higher chance of getting into their dream schools. Therefore, it is best to treat this exam with the seriousness it deserves. 

6. Is the ACT harder than SAT?

ACT and SAT both test the same topics. Colleges and universities find both of them to be equally important. Therefore, based on the subject material, neither is more challenging than the other.

Read: A review of the Best SAT Prep Courses

7. Is The Princeton Review good for ACT?

The Princeton Review is one of the biggest, most trusted players in the college preparatory exams. Google and Trustpilot reviews for this brand are heart-warming. 

The company boasts one of the most extensive and well-detailed curricula, with plentiful practice questions that adequately prepare you for the real test.

However, no matter how good the course material is, only your strategies and dedication can guarantee exceptional performance.

Related Readings:

The Only 5 Best ACT Prep Books Today

Best SAT Prep Courses According to SAT Experts & Students

Best Graphing Calculators for College in 2023/24

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