ACT scores are oftentimes a key part of your college application and can be the tipping point that gets you accepted to your dream school. And while there are a variety of ACT course options on the market, determining the “best” one depends on each test-taker’s academic strengths and weaknesses, timeframe, and budget.
Whether you like to walk yourself through a course or want to have personal assistance; whether you have a year to study or just a month; whether you want to learn through video lessons or just drill practice questions, there is a “best” course for everyone.
We’ve personally researched and reviewed every major ACT prep course on the market and continually update our rankings to reflect each course as they evolve. We hope the comparison chart below helps you make an informed decision and surpass your scoring goals!
Please note that several of the links included below are affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we may earn a referral commission if you use one of the courses below. Only use the links if you have been helped by our review!
Top 6 ACT Prep Courses Compared & Exclusive Discounts
Best Value: Magoosh offers the best combination of features and pricing. For only $129, they provide study schedules, video lessons, mobile accessibility and a 4+ points guarantee.
Customized Practice Sessions: Based on your needs, you can drill yourself on specific subjects and difficulty levels. If you get stuck on anything, there is both a detailed text explanation and a video tutorial to help you.
+4 Points Guarantee: Magoosh, Prep Expert and PrepScholar are the only three on our list who offer a 4+ point guarantee. If your score doesn’t improve by 4 points or more, they’ll give you your money back. This is the best guarantee of any major ACT prep course out there.
Limited Options:Magoosh only offers self-paced online courses. They do not offer live online or in-person courses, and do not offer private tutoring.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a Self-Paced Online program, Magoosh offers one of the best online ACT prep options, with a good combination of features and price.
Score Improvement Guarantee: Prep Expert’s ACT prep score-improvement guarantee is tied with Magoosh and Prep Scholar’s as the highest on this list, promising a 4-point improvement for students’ ACT scores—a substantial difference.
99th Percentile Instructors: Each of the instructors that Prep Expert employs scored within the top 1%—or higher—on the SAT and/or ACT, making Prep Expert’s ACT prep instructors some of the most qualified experts in the test prep industry.
Access to Curriculum Materials: Prep Expert’s founder, Shaan Patel, got a perfect score on the SAT himself, and he collaborated with a perfect ACT-scorer to craft Prep Expert’s ACT prep curriculum. With their Self-Paced Video ACT Prep Course, students can access the curriculum’s lessons and course books for an entire year.
Intense Workload: The amount of work that Prep Expert provides for its students is no joke—students take the equivalent of up to 3 ACTs a week, over 10 hours of work without including their lessons and class sessions. This makes most of Prep Expert’s ACT courses better for students who have a lot of time and energy to dedicate to the course.
Bottom Line: Prep Expert’s ACT prep courses boast expert instructors and a stellar score improvement guarantee that make them a great option for any ACT student looking to drastically improve their score. The $50 Visa gift card they offer with purchase is a nice bonus, too.
4-Point Improvement Guarantee:Out of the top ACT prep courses, PrepScholar is one of three to offer a 4-point score improvement guarantee. Considering that this guarantee comes with even their cheapest course, this is a great offer.
Extended Online Access:Students gain access to PrepScholar’s ACT curriculum for a whole year with their self-paced online package, but can also extend their access by another whole year, which could be a lifesaver for those who may want to retake their ACT.
Personalized Curriculum: Unlike most of the ACT courses on our list, PrepScholar emphasizes the personalization of their course curriculum. Students can see this personalization through their individualized pacing and tailored homework assignments, which are designed to best benefit individual students and test them on specific subjects.
No App: PrepScholar isn’t the most device-friendly prep service on our list. Though their services are all online and can be accessed on mobile devices, they don’t include an app like many other courses in this price range. This probably won’t be a dealbreaker for most students, but it does mean the best way to study with PrepScholar is by sitting at a computer.
Bottom Line: Though they’re a little less mobile-friendly than other services in their price range, PrepScholar provides students with a great ACT score improvement guarantee for their various course packages, which come with personalized schedules and assignments for each student; these features easily put PrepScholar up with the top competitors in the ACT course market.
FREE Self-Paced Online: Testive’s free test prep program has lots of desirable features: practice tests, practice questions, and an adaptive learning algorithm that caters students’ questions to their studying needs. If you’re a self-starter, Testive has lots to offer through this platform, though you aren’t guaranteed a score increase as you would be with a Testive coaching package.
Emphasis on Coaching:Testive’s ACT prep course plans are built around access to their trained staff of coaches (all graduates from top universities such as Yale, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins, and others). Students have access to at least 1 live session/week, in addition to regular feedback and support.
Parent Involvement: As part of its coaching plans, Testive provides parents with weekly coaches’ notes on students’ progress, as well as a parent portal site where they can monitor their student’s work. Testive believes that motivation and cooperation are the keys to ACT success and lives up to this mindset by making parents a key part of the test prep process.
Video Explanations: Practice questions from Testive come with video explanations so you can review a step-by-step explanation of what went wrong when you missed a question. These video explanations are supplemented by written explanations too, so there are different ways for you to understand a problem.
Brief Access Periods: With Testive, you’ll pay the full price of $399 for a month of access, which is a bit steep in comparison to courses that provide longer access periods for less. Still, the quality of Testive’s singular coaching approach can be worth the price for plenty of test-takers—with other courses, coaching like this is much harder to come by for Testive’s price.
Bottom Line:If access to a live coach and constant feedback are your preferred methods of test prep, then Testive just might be the right choice for you! On top of its free Self-Paced ACT platform, Testive provides students with guaranteed access to private coaches with all its prep plans.
Practice Questions: The Princeton Review’s ACT course provides more practice questions than any other company on our list—3,200! While that does seem a little excessive, it ensures that if you’re struggling in an area, you’ll pretty much always have more questions to practice with.
Video Lessons: With over 280 video lessons in the Self-Paced Online course, The Princeton Review offers more videos than any other company on our list. They’re great quality and easy to follow along.
The Most Options: The Princeton Review and Kaplan ACT prep are the only two ACT course providers on our list that offer courses in every format—self-paced online, live online, in-person, and private tutoring. If you start with a self-paced program and realize you would also like tutoring, you can get it from the same source rather than needing to go to an entirely different company.
Pricey:The Princeton Review commands the third-highest price for its self-paced online course (behind PrepScholar and Prep Expert), the second-highest price for its in-person course (behind Kaplan), and the highest price for its live online course.
Bottom Line: The Princeton Review offers one of the best act prep courses, with top-quality instruction and premium features, but at a steeper price.
Free Consulting Features: Veritas Prep offers loads of free admissions consulting material on their website, but they also offer formal admissions guidance with each of their ACT prep course options—not only can you crush the ACT with this course, but you can figure out what steps to take after getting that score.
Number of Course Packages: In addition to the standard Live Online, On Demand, and Private Tutoring course formats, Veritas Prep offers On Demand add-on packages or ACT Subject Test Tutoring that can tailor your prep experience to your needs.
99th Percentile Instructors:With Veritas Prep, you’ll always know that the instructors and course designers for your ACT prep are top-notch; Veritas only hires instructors who scored in the top 1% of ACT test-takers.
Limited Guarantee:Veritas Prep only offers a score improvement guarantee with one of their course options, the Live Class ACT prep course. That package is your best bet if you’re looking for assurance, but since it only promises a 3-point improvement, it isn’t the most robust on our list.
Bottom Line: When it comes to high-quality prep features like expert instructors and multiple course options, Veritas Prep has all the bases covered. What sets them apart, though, is the free material and add-on options they have available—they’ve got something for everyone, including tons of material for anyone hoping to just try them out.
Visual Teaching Style: The Olive Book team believes every learner is a visual learner, so they’ve emphasized a visual teaching style by using high-quality animated explanations for their questions. These are particularly effective for teaching math-related concepts.
Deal for Educators: Schools looking for a good ACT curriculum can look to The Olive Book for a deal—teachers can purchase their ACT prep course for their entire class for a low $48.75 per student, a great value!
FREE for Students in Need: The Olive Book recognizes that students not all those who want good standardized test scores can afford great preparation materials, so they offer their ACT prep course absolutely FREE for students in financial need, which educators and students can demonstrate in a number of ways; check out their website to learn more.
Less Practice Material: Compared to other courses on our list, The Olive Book has a relatively low amount of practice questions and only 1 full practice ACT, though they do have section-specific practice tests throughout their course.
Bottom Line: Rather than focusing on maximizing the volume of practice materials, Olive Book instead doubled down on affordability and home-run ACT video explanations. These items make Olive Book SAT a good option for visual learners, educators, or students with financial need.
Practice Exams: With nine practice exams, Kaplan ACT prep offers more than any other company on our list. One of their practice exams comes from the makers of the ACT.
Printed Books: Kaplan is the only company on our list that includes a printed book with their Self-Paced Online course. The Princeton Review includes one with their Live Online and In-Person courses. Magoosh and ACT Online Prep offer books at an additional cost.
Course Options: Kaplan currently offers their ACT prep courses in every format except for in person: self-paced online, live online, and through private tutoring. . If you start with a self-paced program and realize you would also like tutoring, you can get it from the same source rather than needing to go to an entirely different company.
Needs Updating: Kaplan’s self-paced ACT course uses slightly dated interfaces and video lessons. Their overall content will still serve you well as you prepare for the ACT, but if you’re looking for a seamless online experience, there are other courses for you.
Bottom Line: In the high-end price range, The Princeton Review and PrepScholar are a bit ahead of Kaplan ACT prep in lesson quality.
Straight from the Source: ACT Online Prep is the only prep solution directly from the makers of the ACT. This means that all practice questions come from previous ACT tests. With over 2,400 practice questions, this is a massive resource that is sure to help you with those tricky subjects.
Affordable: At only $39.95 for six months of access, ACT Online Prep is the most affordable option on our list.
Live Online Deal: Through a partnership with Kaplan, ACT Online Prep provides Live Online classes at a reduced rate of $99.95 for six weeks, $179.95 for three months, or $249.95 for six months.
Lack of Lessons: ACT Online Prep provides ample practice questions and games to reinforce concepts, but they do not offer the dynamic lessons and video content that other companies do.
No Score Guarantee: This course is the only one on our list that includes no score improvement guarantee of any kind for its students—if you go through the course and find your test scores worse than they were before, there’s no surefire way to get your money back.
Bottom Line: ACT Online Prep is an affordable way to access thousands of previous ACT practice questions, making it one of the best online ACT prep options, but it doesn’t provide in-depth instruction. If you’re interested in a live online course, ACT Online Prep’s partnership with Kaplan is a decent deal.
2022 Best ACT Prep Courses Ranked
Prep Expert ACT
PrepScholar ACT Prep
The Princeton Review ACT
Veritas Prep ACT
Free Admissions Consulting
The Olive Book ACT
ACT Online Prep
Barron’s ACT Prep
Kranse Institute ACT
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