If you’re looking to go to college soon, chances are, you’ve started thinking (or stressing!) about the ACT. This test, required for admission to many colleges and universities, can be both difficult and different from the tests you take at school. ACT prep can help you learn what the test looks like, develop skills, and raise your score. Online ACT test prep can be a great option for preparing for the test in the middle of your already busy schedule.
This article ranks the ten best online ACT prep services, and offers information to help you decide what ACT prep option is right for you. Below is everything you need to know to start shopping for an online ACT prep course, should you decide it is right for you on your college application journey.
What is the ACT?
The ACT (American College Test) is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. College admissions officers look at these scores together with your transcript, essays, extracurricular activities, and other aspects of your application to decide whether or not you’re a good fit and ready to pursue a degree at their school. Scores on the ACT range from zero to thirty-six, and the test is made up of English, math, reading, and science sections, as well as an optional Writing section.
Should I take the ACT or the SAT?
The ACT and SAT are both college admissions tests, and colleges will accept your score from either test. You don’t have to take both, but you can. The ACT has four sections — English, math, reading, and ccience — while the SAT has three sections — reading, writing, and math. The ACT gives you less time per question than the SAT, and it tests you on analyzing experiments and data in the Science section, while not testing you explicitly on vocabulary like the SAT does. Really, whichever test or tests you take should come down to personal preference. Spend some time researching the tests, looking at sample questions, and thinking about your skills and preferences.
What does a higher ACT score mean for me?
Many colleges and universities require meeting a minimum ACT score for admissions. Depending on the schools you want to attend, you likely need to take the ACT to get into college. Your ACT score can also determine which classes you take; a low score might put you in remedial classes, while a high score can earn you credit for certain core college classes, without having to take the class! ACT scores are also a big factor for many merit-based scholarships, and can help you win scholarships from your school and other organizations. Whether it’s gaining admission to your dream school, getting you out of remedial classes, letting you skip a freshman English class during your first year of school, or earning you a substantial scholarship, working toward a higher ACT score can be a good choice, no matter your current score.
Is online ACT prep right for me?
There are countless options for ACT prep — from books to online courses to in-person tutors — the options can be overwhelming. Online prep is probably a good choice for you if you’re used to working or studying independently. You might need to take the initiative on working through your course or logging into an online tutoring session, but this also offers you flexibility. Online prep is great if you want to work on your own schedule, from anywhere.
The following online ACT prep options were ranked based on course quality, price, course duration, and other extras such as personalization, number of practice tests, accessibility, and point increase guarantees. However, it’s important to remember that whichever ACT prep works best for you will rely, in part, on personal preference. Just because a service is ranked higher on this list, doesn’t mean it offers the best course for you, so read through the list with your preferences and needs in mind.
Iowa City, Iowa
ACT is the nonprofit organization that creates and administers the ACT test. It also offers a variety of other tests and test prep services, including an ACT prep course. Since the company’s course was created by the same people who created the official ACT test, you can be confident the content you’re studying is relevant and realistic.
The ACT Online Prep course contains questions from past ACT exams, giving you realistic material to use for practice. The course also includes full-length practice tests. Content is personalized with daily reminders and goals, so you can consistently study the subjects and skills you need to work on the most. The course comes with a mobile app, so you can study from your computer or phone. Though you might think that the actual ACT is boring (you’re not alone!), this prep course includes games and challenges, so it’s easy to stay engaged. You can even challenge friends and compete as you prepare for test day.
Duration: Six months of access to course materials
Recap: Good fit if you enjoy studying on-the-go and learn well through games and a variety of activities. Maybe not the program for you if you want to work directly with a teacher or tutor.
Peterson’s offers a variety of educational resources, including test prep, college admissions coaching, writing help, and scholarship databases. Since the company offers more than test prep, you may be able to use them as more than simply an ACT resource.
Peterson’s ACT Prep Online Course offers ACT help for everyone, anywhere, anytime. Its flexible learning platform allows you to work through content on your own schedule. The course is designed for mobile and desktop platforms, so you can study on your phone, tablet, or computer. You can choose a short, medium, or long path based on when you plan to take the test. Course content includes games, full-length practice tests, quizzes, and interactive lessons.
Duration: Twelve months of access to course materials
Recap: If you want an interactive, fun guided path that leads you right up to test day, but don’t feel the need for a tutor working through the material with you, this may be the course for you.
PrepFactory offers test preparation courses for a variety of tests — all for free! The company is passionate about closing the opportunity gap in education and want to make high-quality test prep available to all. Its platform can be used by students individually, or by teachers to guide an entire class of students through a test preparation course.
The ACT course offered by PrepFactory is easy to access. There’s no cost, just log in with an email address and password. You can work through strategy and skill lessons, watch videos on specific topics, take practice sets, and play games focused on words, numbers, and grammar. All of your activity on PrepFactory earns you XP points, which makes study time feel a more fun and perhaps even productive. The platform allows you to follow a laid out study path and track your progress as you move through the course.
Recap: If you’re looking for fun, free, comprehensive ACT prep, this is your best bet. However, you may need to supplement your learning with full-length practice tests and you won’t have direct access to a tutor.
Higher Scores Test Prep is a family-owned and operated test prep company, founded by Lauren Gaggioli. Lauren is a private test prep tutor, and she has created an online course based on her experiences teaching students one-on-one. She also has a podcast, The College Checklist, where she interviews experts about topics such as college admissions, financial aid, scholarships, SAT & ACT prep, and career success.
Higher Scores Test Prep offers a variety of ACT prep options to best fit your needs. The Complete Package is designed for students who have at least six to twelve weeks to prepare for the course, and includes weekly personalized video content. The Quick Prep option is intended for students who want to improve their ACT score, but don’t have the time to complete a full program. The ACT Cram Plan is a short, one-week course focused on introducing a few basic test-taking strategies and helping build confidence. Whichever plan you choose, you get a study guide, workbook, videos, and bonus content that will help you prepare for the ACT, no matter your timeframe for taking the test. All courses offer a money-back guarantee.
Duration: One, six, or eighteen months of access to course materials
Cost: $47, $187, or $497, depending on the plan
Recap: If you’re concerned with the amount of time you have until test day, an online course by this experienced ACT tutor might be the perfect fit.
New York, New York
Green Test Prep offers ACT and SAT prep and was founded by record-breaking test prep tutor, Anthony James Green. He has coached many students in one-on-one sessions, and translated this experience into creating test prep courses that offer huge score improvements with complete flexibility.
The Green Test Prep Premium course was created with the real world in mind, so that you can prepare in a way that fits with the rest of your life and schedule. When you purchase this course, you have access to strategies, tactics, and tricks for each section of the ACT. (You also get SAT content bundled with the ACT course, so if you’re studying for both tests, that’s a bonus!) The course is optimized for mobile and desktop, so you can study anywhere you have internet access. The coaching program also includes access to other college resources, including videos, workbooks, and transcripts.
Duration: Access the course until you meet your goal
Recap: If you want coaching from someone who has helped students achieve Ivy League test scores, and SAT prep or extra college resources are appealing to you, Green Test Prep is a great option.
The Princeton Review offers a variety of college admissions services, including test prep, tutoring, admissions help, and book publishing. You may have seen their ACT prep books; it also offers online courses that are more interactive and digestible than their books. If you like what you’ve seen in a Princeton Review book, but want something more concise, check out their ACT Test Prep.
The Princeton Review offers a few options for ACT test prep. You can choose between a completely self-paced course, an expert-led program, or a personalized, private tutoring program. The Self-Paced package includes a comprehensive ACT course that consists of personalized, on-demand lessons (and you also get access to a complete SAT course). The Ultimate Classroom option includes twenty-five hours of instruction from an ACT expert and four proctored practice tests, as well as access to the self-paced ACT and SAT courses. In the Private Tutoring program, you work with a tutor one-on-one for eighteen hours to make a plan, set goals, and prepare for the ACT. With all of The Princeton Review’s ACT Test Prep options, you get plenty of video content, practice tools, and various types of guidance for your study path. The company also offers satisfaction guarantees, so if you aren’t happy with your ACT score after using their prep, you can prep again for free or get your money back.
Duration: Varies by course
Price: $99, $799, or $3,000
Recap: If you want to prep with a company that has been in the ACT business for a long time, but don’t feel like a book is enough, one of The Princeton Review’s self-paced or tutor-led courses might be for you.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Kaplan, another well-known name in test prep, offers a number of educational resources. You may have gone to one of their tutoring centers, or used one of their study books, but you may not know that Kaplan offers a range of online ACT prep courses.
All of Kaplan’s ACT prep offerings include an interactive classroom led by an expert instructor. The ACT Prep Course is their most popular option and includes six hours of live instruction, practice tests, on-demand lessons, and lots of quizzes and prep resources. ACT Prep Course PLUS includes all of that plus three hours of private coaching. The Unlimited Prep option allows you to take and retake Kaplan’s ACT Prep Course as many times as you want until December of your senior year (and you can also take unlimited PSAT or SAT courses). The Tutoring package allows you to work through an ACT Prep Course with twelve, twenty-four, or thirty-six hours of personalized, one-on-one instruction. Kaplan offers a guarantee that allows you to retake a course or get a refund if you aren’t happy with your test results.
Duration: Varies by course
Price: $899, $1,399, $1,599, or $2,599–$5,699
Recap: If you are looking for a flexible, comprehensive course with resources to use on your own schedule, but you also want expert coaching, one of Kaplan’s several ACT prep options could be a good fit.
Testive is a test prep company that uses technology and human coaches to prepare students to succeed on standardized tests. It offers ACT and SAT courses and have several prep options. The company’ prep is focused on working closely with a coach and getting personalized content that delivers just what you need.
Testive courses focus on preparing you for the ACT, while giving you peace of mind and helping you relax. The Bootcamp course offers a boost as you quickly approach test day. It’s meant to be completed over four to six weeks, and it includes two one-on-one video chats with an instructor. The Coaching option gives you the choice to spread the material over a longer amount of time and do plenty of learning, practicing, and reviewing before test day. This package includes weekly one-on-one lessons with your tutor. Finally, the Coaching Plus package offers the same benefits as the Coaching package, plus an extra one-on-one session each week for students who may be less independent or need more help in a specific subject. All courses come with a two-week free trial and a money-back guarantee. If you just want to use the Testive software, but don’t feel the need for a tutor, you can access their online learning platform and content for free.
Duration: Two to five months
Price: $800, $350/month, or $550/month
Recap: If you want to prep with a coach that’s been tracking your progress and working with you consistently, Testive could be a good option. Other bonuses: Testive has specialized content to accommodate those with learning differences, and you can use their software for free if you feel ready to work without a coach!
PrepScholar is an online test prep company that offers courses for the ACT, SAT, GRE, and GMAT. Its tutors and content creators have scored in the ninety-ninth percentile or higher on the test they teach. They deliver customized courses, so that you focus on your specific needs as you prep for your test.
PrepScholar’s ACT Prep Course give you a personalized study path focused on your unique learning needs. The company offers several tiers of tutoring, each based on the amount of instructor involvement in your ACT prep. The ACT Online Prep option gives you full access to the PrepScholar ACT program, as well as a customized learning path with more than sixty hours of video content and more than 1,200 practice questions. PrepScholar Classes are for those who want more face-to-face time with an instructor; classes include everything in the ACT Online Prep package plus eighteen hours of small group classes based on your pace and level. The Coaching option lets you work through the ACT Online Prep course with individual guidance from a coach for four, twelve, or fifty hours of one-on-one instruction.
Duration: One year of access to course materials
Price: $600, $895, or $995–$6,995
Recap: If you want to work through personalized curricula, have access to plenty of video content and practice questions, and want the option of working with a tutor, PrepScholar could be a great fit.
ClearPath Advantage is dedicated to getting students the test prep they need in a learning environment that works for each individual. It offers small group and one-on-one online courses for both the ACT and SAT. The company’s ninety-ninth-percentile scoring tutors are thoughtfully matched to small groups and individual students so that they’re the right fit to best teach those students.
The ACT Course offered by ClearPath Advantage lasts six weeks, with four hours of class time per week. You can choose between a class with two to three other students with similar needs to your own, or you can choose one-on-one prep. The online class feels like a real-life classroom, complete with a whiteboard, chat box, live video, and microphone. You and your teacher can use these tools to communicate throughout the online class, and you have access to your tutor outside the classroom hours. You get homework to complete between sessions to be sure you master the ACT material. It’s also worth noting that ClearPath Advantage offers a score increase guarantee.
Duration: Six weeks
Price: $1,850 or $2,550
Recap: If you’re looking for the flexibility online learning, but want an ACT prep course that feels like a traditional classroom, ClearPath Advantage might be the prep for you.
Everyone has different learning styles, but these ACT prep services offer a wide variety of courses, tutors, and options to help you master the ACT test. If the SAT test is more your style, we offer a summary of top SAT prep services. And if you’re looking for college options, be sure to check out our 50 Best Online Colleges for 2019.