Top 6 Free Online ACT Prep Courses

Preparing for the ACT Exam Doesn't Need to Be Expensive

Top view of man and woman using laptops and taking notes
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There's no need to shell out hundreds of dollars to prepare for the ACT. While some of the sites below offer paid products along with their free services, the free content is substantial and helpful enough to have significant value on its own.

For some students, the structure, deadlines, and teacher interactions that come with an $800 course from Kaplan or Princeton Review will be a worthwhile investment. If, however, you have the focus and motivation to work through many of the materials below independently, you will undoubtedly see a meaningful increase in your ACT scores without spending a penny.

ACT Academy

ACT Logo
ACT Logo.  Wikimedia Commons

ACT Academy is a test prep product created by the makers of the ACT. For that reason, the questions can be counted on to be representative of the real exam. Students take practice questions in all four content areas of the ACT: Math, Science, English, and Reading. Features of ACT Academy include:

  • Dozens of instructional videos for each subject area on the exam.
  • Practice questions for each subject area broken down into subtopics to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Detailed explanations of the answers to each practice question.
  • A full-length practice test.
  • An 18-day practice schedule with informational videos and practice quizzes assigned for each day.

ACT predicts that each of the four practice sections will take about 40 minutes, and the full length practice test will take 160 minutes. Watching all of the videos on the site would take another few hours.

The amount of content at ACT Academy isn't huge, and you'll need to purchase the company's other prep products if you want multiple practice exams and more personalized, detailed study materials. That said, ACT Academy is an excellent product for students seeking just a few hours of additional prep time.

PrepFactory

PrepFactory.com has the most fun, interactive, and engaging user interface of all the sites on this list. It also has a personalized approach, allowing users to hone in on their weaknesses. Specific features include:

  • A pre-quiz to assess your strengths and weaknesses.
  • A personalized study path to work on your areas of weakness.
  • Interactive, game-like questions and a point (xp) system to track your progress as you learn. 
  • Interactive games to play with friends or other students using the site.
  • Tools for teachers to create courses.

While the graphics and functionality at PrepFactory are excellent, you'll find better practice questions on some of the other sites on this list. There is plenty of good content, but some of the questions seemed overly simple, and a few had awkward or slightly unclear wording. You also won't get a full-length practice test to prepare you for the actual testing experience of the ACT. 

NUMBER2

Screenshot from NUMBER2.com
Screenshot from NUMBER2.com.

NUMBER2.com is a rather understated website with simple graphics and a relatively unsophisticated user interface (especially when compared to a site like PrepFactory). That said, the site has solid materials for free ACT preparation. Features include:

  • Overviews of each section of the ACT.
  • Online tutorials for each content area on the ACT
  • Test taking tips.
  • Numerous practice questions for each subject area on the test.
  • Detailed explanations of the answers to each question.
  • Personalized tracking of your progress.
  • A personal percentile ranking for each subject area.

The content does not appear to be actively managed, so some questions seem rather dated, and the questions may not be in step with the most recently tweaks to the ACT. That said, there's a lot of good free content here to help you prep for the ACT.

McGraw-Hill Education Practice Plus

McGraw-Hill Education Practice Plus Screen Grab

McGraw-Hill is primarily a textbook publisher, so it shouldn't be a surprise that their goal is not just to help you do better on the ACT, but also to sell their ACT prep books. However, the tools provided by McGraw-Hill are some of the best ones you'll find online for free. At McGraw-Hill Education Practice Plus, you'll the following tools to help you improve your ACT score:

  • 13 videos to help with ACT questions ranging from quadratic expressions to grammar.
  • 4 ACT practice tests with explanations for every question; students have the option of taking the test timed or untimed.
  • 8 mini quizzes (two for each ACT subject area).

The best way to improve your ACT score is by completing practice questions and reading explanations of the answers. The McGraw-Hill test prep materials aren't game-like and gimmicky like some websites, and your study materials won't be customized to your particular strengths and weaknesses, but it is an excellent resource for getting some quality practice ACT questions.

BWS Education Consulting

BWS Education Consulting Logo
BWS Education Consulting Logo.

BWS Education Consulting offers many paid tutoring and test prep services. However, on their website, you will also find free practice tests in ACT English, Math, Reading, and Science. The tests mirror the sections of the ACT well, and can be printed in order to simulate the test-taking experience. Each test has an answer key, but answer explanations are not provided.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy Logo

Khan Academy does not have an area devoted to the ACT, so it may seem like a strange site to include on this list. However, Khan Academy has some of the best free SAT resources available on the web, and you'll find that many areas of the SAT overlap with content areas on the ACT. Khan Academy should not be your only source for ACT prep, but it can be extremely useful in the following areas:

  • Heart of algebra
  • Passport to advanced mathematics
  • Grammar and effective language use
  • Writing and language
  • Reading
  • Essay (if you plan to take the ACT with the optional essay exam)

The SAT does not have a science section, so you won't find any prep material for the ACT Science section on Khan Academy. However, if you're planning to take both the SAT and the ACT, Khan Academy is an excellent free resource to prepare for both exams.