The 8 Best ACT Prep Courses to Take in 2021

Take the time you need to prepare for this important exam

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Want to get into college? You’ll need to stand out by acing the ACT. If you’re not quite there yet, an ACT test prep course can get you ready to "wow" admissions officials with your high score. So whether you're looking for online video tutorials or the top practice questions, our guide to the best ACT test prep courses will help you choose the right one for your unique strengths and weaknesses, as well as your budget and timeline.

Best Overall: Sylvan Learning

Sylvan Learning
Courtesy of Sylvan Learning

Sylvan Learning ACT test prep courses are comprehensive, offering both in-person and online opportunities for learning. They’re also available throughout the year across the U.S., with weekend, afternoon and evening options. So no matter your schedule or how long you plan to study for the ACT, you’ll find a Sylvan ACT test prep course that works for you or your child. And while hourly prices at Sylvan Learning Centers vary, the average Sylvan tutor’s rates range from $46 per hour.

Each student is paired with a Sylvan ACT tutor, who uses initial diagnostic testing to craft a study plan for every client. One of Sylvan’s claims to fame is skill-building rather than “teaching to the test,” so students will hone in on the ACT-specific skills they’ll need to gain in order to feel completely comfortable on exam day. Each student will have access to their specific online learning plan (with additional quizzes and practice materials), as well as the full range of Sylvan Prep Online resources. These resources include video lessons, tutorials, practice tests and drills.

Best Combo Packages: Princeton Review

The Princeton Review
Courtesy of The Princeton Review

Princeton Review offers some of the most creative options in terms of ACT test prep courses, allowing you to pick and choose bundles and packages based on your particular needs and budget.

A self-paced Princeton Review course (entirely online) that includes both SAT and ACT prep costs only $199 and includes 140 video tutorials, eight ACT Subject Tests, 24 full-length SATs and ACTs, 377 online drills and over 3,000 practice questions. A live ACT test prep course includes the self-paced Princeton Review ACT/SAT prep course, along with 25 hours of in-person instruction and several live proctored practice tests.

Individual ACT test prep courses start at $167 per hour and pair you with a private tutor for one-on-one attention. This course, in particular, features multimodal learning across various technologies, including apps and live online homework help. It also includes the self-paced course and additional practice tests and Princeton Review ACT prep books. Every Princeton Review package has a money-back guarantee if your score doesn’t improve or if you’re not satisfied with the materials or instruction. Discounts are available several times a year; just check the website regularly for updates.

Best Video Tutorials: Kaplan

Kaplan Test Prep
Courtesy of Kaplan Test Prep

Many students benefit greatly from video tutorials as part of their ACT prep; video offers the best of both worlds, letting you learn visually and auditorily at the same time while being available anytime, anywhere and on any device. Kaplan’s video tutorials, led by their instructors, are some of the best.

Kaplan packages vary in length and cost, but they all include a wealth of video tutorials. Both in-person and online Kaplan ACT test prep courses cost $899. PLUS packages are available for an additional $400; these include three extra hours of private coaching, as well as additional Kaplan practice materials and online ACT math lessons. Each package includes 18 hours of in-person instruction, 30 hours of additional online instruction (accessible by tablet, laptop, or mobile device), Kaplan ACT prep materials, 40 hours of online lessons and a variety of online quizzes and the Kaplan Quiz Bank.

Alternatively, you can work with a Kaplan tutor to craft a full-length ACT test prep course either online or in person for $2,599. If you buy this package, you’ll also get a free live or online Kaplan test prep course of your choice.

Best Practice Questions: PrepScholar

Courtesy of PrepScholar

PrepScholar’s ACT practice questions are written by some of the best instructors in the field, all of whom have degrees from top colleges and undergo an intensive training process. The practice questions you complete as part of their flexible, fully online ACT test prep course are highly similar to what you’ll see on exam day in terms of tone, length, content and difficulty.

PrepScholar ACT test prep courses start with a 60-minute diagnostic test that assess your strengths and weaknesses. Next, the adaptive software will guide you through a comprehensive online program that includes over 100 hours of instruction, five practice tests, over 70 lessons and over 1,200 practice questions. You’ll start each study session by learning an ACT-specific skill, drilling it and practicing it with quizzes and homework. You’ll also get a detailed update on your progress emailed to you every week.

The comprehensive online ACT prep program at PrepScholar costs $397, while a package with private tutoring starts at $995. You’ll get a refund if you don’t improve your ACT score by four points or more.

Best on a Budget: ACT Online Prep

ACT Logo
Courtesy of ACT Inc.

If you don’t have a big budget for ACT prep, ACT Online Prep is an extremely affordable (and effective) option. Created by the official test makers, ACT Online Prep includes only questions that have appeared on previous ACTs. A six-month subscription to ACT Online Prep materials costs $39.95 and includes practice questions, a mobile app for on-the-go ACT prep, games to hone in on particular relevant skills, as well as flashcards to help with vocabulary and math skills.

The ACT Online Prep Pack offers additional resources such as a full-length ACT prep book and 2,400 online practice questions. It also includes more personalized practice materials such as targeted study goals and timelines, as well as updates on your progress as you complete quizzes and practice tests. The Prep Pack ranges from $41 to $47.

If you a little more guidance, ACT/Kaplan Online Prep Live is your best choice. A six-week subscription costs $99.95 and includes all the practice materials you get with the basic ACT Online Prep bundle, plus video tutorials, interactive online lessons and homework help from expert Kaplan instructors.

Best Flexibility: Testmasters

Courtesy of Testmasters

Testmasters has a variety of ACT prep options available for every budget, learning style, score goal and schedule. Live classroom ACT test prep courses are offered throughout the country, starting at $749, while private one-on-one courses start at $2,499. Hefty group discounts are available (up to $200 per student for large groups), so if you’re looking to take a class with siblings, friends, a study group or classmates, Testmasters is the best option.

Every Testmasters ACT test prep course includes 12 classes, over 1,200 pages of course materials created by Testmasters instructors, and a copy of the Official ACT Study Guide. Every course also offers a money-back guarantee if your score doesn’t improve. Other perks include free ACT homework help and Exam Club, a free service offered for “alums” of Testmasters who want additional practice or brush-ups before the exam.

Best Intensives: PrepExpert

Courtesy of PREPEXPERT

PrepExpert offers the best variety on the market in terms of intensives and short-term, in-depth ACT prep. If you don’t have a long time to study or if you thrive in high-pressure, “boot camp” environments, PrepExpert is the best option for your ACT test prep course.

PrepExpert six-week intensives ($799 to $1199, which can be paid all at once or in monthly installments) are offered in-person in Las Vegas, NV, and online, both in live virtual classrooms and in self-paced formats. Six-week courses are the “flagship” ACT intensives offered by PrepExpert and include 100 key strategies from a perfect ACT scorer and 60 hours of instruction. Three-week intensives, called “Fast Track” courses, are also regularly offered in online classrooms for $799. Self-paced ACT video courses, which include video tutorials, practice quizzes and full-length practice exams, cost $599.

The Weekend Review courses at PrepExpert are unlike anything offered by any other test prep company. In a six-hour Saturday session and six-hour Sunday session, you’ll go over tips, tricks and strategies to help you ace the ACT. Weekend Review intensives cost $299 and are designed to be completed a week before the test, so you’re feeling as confident as possible on your big day.

PrepExpert courses also come with a score improvement guarantee (or your money back).

Best Fully Online Option: ePrep

Courtesy of EPrep

Prefer to study online? Have a hectic schedule that doesn’t have room for in-person instruction? Live in a remote area? ePrep’s ACT test prep courses are entirely online, allowing you to study anytime, anywhere and at your own pace. You can study from a mobile device, laptop or tablet.

Every ePrep course includes access to the WordSmith vocabulary builder, which will quiz you regularly on ACT-specific vocabulary words and hundreds of video lessons. The video lessons include skill-building tutorials on ACT-specific skills and “answer explanation” videos, which work through ACT practice questions to help you understand how to approach them yourself.

Most ePrep ACT test prep courses are “test date” classes, meaning they’re targeted to be completed before a certain ACT exam date. An Express course costs $129 for two months of access, while a Standard package costs $249 for four months. A Premium package will allow you to study for six months for $299. The pricier packages include six full-length practice ACTs and more video lessons, while the less expensive ePrep bundles have fewer video lessons and four practice exams each.

Standard+ and Premium+ packages from ePrep cost $399 and $599, respectively, each for 12 months of access. These are annual passes and self-paced courses, not organized around any particular test date. If you’re studying for both the SAT and the ACT, you can also purchase a Bundled course that offers a discount for prep for both exams. Each course bundle has a different score point improvement guarantee based on the length and cost.

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Your Citation
Dorwart, Laura. "The 8 Best ACT Prep Courses to Take in 2021." ThoughtCo, Jan. 4, 2021, Dorwart, Laura. (2021, January 4). The 8 Best ACT Prep Courses to Take in 2021. Retrieved from Dorwart, Laura. "The 8 Best ACT Prep Courses to Take in 2021." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 8, 2021).