top 7 best act prep courses

All the Best ACT Prep Courses of 2020

top 7 best act prep courses

Updated May 25, 2020

ACT scores are a key part of your college application. They can be the tipping point that gets you accepted to your dream school.

There are LOTS of ACT course options out there. 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 course for everyone.

How do you know which option is right for you? We’ve made it EASY! We’ve personally researched and reviewed every major ACT prep course. The comparison chart below looks all of the top ACT courses to help you figure out which  ACT course is best for you!

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. Please understand that affiliate commissions do not affect the content we produce or the recommendations we make. Only use the links if you have been helped by our review!

ACT Prep Course Reviews & Exclusive Discounts

ACT Prep
Magoosh act prep course review The Princeton Review ACT Discounts Prep Expert ACT logo Testive ACT prep course review Kaplan ACT prep course review act official test prep review prepscholar act prep
RANKINGS #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7
COMPANY Magoosh ACT Princeton Review ACT Prep Expert ACT Testive ACT Kaplan ACT ACT Online Prep PrepScholar ACT


$948 $79
Get Discount
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$699 $499 $399/Month
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$249 $40 $397
PRACTICE QUESTIONS 1,300+ 3,200+ 1,000+ 3,000+ 1,000+ 2,400+ 2,400+
PRACTICE EXAMS 4 3+ 6 8 9 2 5
GUARANTEE +4 point improvement guarantee Higher Score Guarantee 4-point improvement guarantee Higher Score Guarantee Higher Score Guarantee None 4-point improvement guarantee
Self-Paced Online $79 $299 $499 $249 $40 $397
Live Online $599 $799 $399 $599+ $100 $895
In-Person $599 $1099 $599+
Private Tutoring $167/hour $79/hour $2,599+ $995+
Available for Purchase

Downloadable e-books

Available for Purchase
STUDENT SUPPORT Chat & Email Support Personal coach  Chat & email support Personal coach Email, phone, social media, & chat support None Phone & email support
ONLINE ACCESS 1 Year With active subscription 1 year (self-paced) or course + 60 days With active subscription Course + 12 weeks 6 Months 1 Year
MORE DETAILS Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review
GET STARTED Start Now Start Now Start Now Start Now Start Now Start Now Start Now

Quick Links to ACT Prep Courses and Study Materials

ACT Prep Course Rankings

Magoosh ACT (Rank: #1)

Magoosh act prep course review


Best Value: Magoosh offers the best combination of features and pricing. For only $79, 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 and PrepScholar are the only 3 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.


Princeton Review ACT (Rank: #2)The Princeton Review ACT prep course review


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 2 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.


Prep Expert ACT (Rank: #3)prep expert ACT prep course


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 solid options for any ACT student, but a considerable workload makes them best for students with free time who need a drastically better score.


Testive (Rank: #4)

testive act prep review


Practice Tests: Not only does Testive offer 8 Practice Exams, but they also feature a “Testive Grader” Mobile App. This allows for grading exams and accessing reports right on your phone!
Live Coaching: Testive’s ACT Prep courses are built entirely 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 daily feedback and support.
Parent Involvement: Testive Coaches provide weekly meeting notes for parents, as well as a Parent Portal that helps to track progress. Testive believes that motivation and cooperation are the keys to ACT success.
No Self-Paced: Testive does not offer options for Self-Paced ACT prep, instead focusing on providing high-quality programs with top coaches. Your personal learning style will be an important factor when deciding. Technically, you can access their software and move at your own pace – but you’ll still pay have to pay for the coaching plan in order to do so.

Bottom Line: If access to a live coach and constant feedback are your preferred methods of test prep, then Testive might just be the right choice for you! Although they only offer Live Online style course formats, they are less expensive than similar plans from other companies.


Kaplan ACT (Rank: #5)

kaplan act prep course review


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.
The Most Options: Kaplan and The Princeton Review are the only two 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: Kaplan ACT prep is the most expensive option for In-Person courses and private tutoring. They are the second-most expensive for Self-Paced Online and Live Online courses

Bottom Line: In the high-end price range, The Princeton Review and PrepScholar are a bit ahead of Kaplan ACT prep in lesson quality.


ACT Online Prep (Rank: #6) online test prep review


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.

PrepScholar ACT (Rank: #7)

prepscholar act prep course review


4-Point Improvement Guarantee:Out of the top ACT prep courses, PrepScholar is 1 of 3 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.
Cheaper Alternatives: For every package that PrepScholar offers, there is a cheaper, quality alternative from another great ACT prep company.
No App: PrepScholar isn’t the most device-friendly prep service on our list. Though their services are all online, they don’t include an app like most 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: Although PrepScholar offers a great ACT score improvement guarantee, along with several quality course packages that personalize their schedule and assignments around students’ needs, they are more expensive than competitive alternatives from other top ACT prep providers.

Princeton Review vs. Kaplan ACT Prep

When you look into the top prep courses for almost any standardized test, these 2 names are bound to come up. The Princeton Review and Kaplan are some of the most well-established brands in the test prep industry, and the variety of their offerings means that both will have an ACT prep course to suit just about any student. Although these prep services are both dependable and somewhat similar, there are subtle differences to their course packages that will probably make one or the other a slightly better ACT course option for you.

Course Options and Price

As 2 of the largest and oldest test prep companies on this list, both The Princeton Review and Kaplan ACT prep services come in all 4 course formats: in-person, live online, online self-paced and private tutoring. For the self-paced and live online courses, Kaplan’s ACT prep courses are cheaper than The Princeton Review’s. For students looking for a private tutor, they would likely get a better deal through The Princeton Review’s private ACT tutor service. Although The Princeton Review’s ACT courses are slightly more expensive, they do offer both ACT and SAT prep materials with their self-paced course, all at the same price. This is a great deal for students who plan on taking both tests or for those who haven’t decided which to take yet. Lastly, although both companies have live online ACT courses with a higher score guarantee, The Princeton Review’s score guarantees are generally more robust than Kaplan’s. For  instance, they offer a more expensive live online course called the ACT 31+, which  guarantees that students will score a 31 or higher on the test, putting them in the top 4% of all ACT test-takers. On top of that, students who aren’t satisfied with their test score after taking a Princeton Review course can retake their course absolutely free, even if the score they received was higher than an earlier test.


Although these companies are pretty similar, The Princeton Review’s ACT prep courses are a bit more diverse and inclusive than Kaplan’s, but they do come at a slightly higher price. For students looking for a better score guarantee or an ACT and SAT course package, go with The Princeton Review’s ACT prep. For those who’d like a slightly cheaper, but still high-quality prep experience, choosing Kaplan’s ACT prep courses is a good way to go.


Magoosh vs. PrepScholar ACT Prep

These 2 courses both advertise their highly-personalized materials, which students can access at their own pace. However, it’s clear that Magoosh ACT prep services and PrepScholar ACT prep courses are provided at vastly different prices and with different teaching styles.

Course Options and Price

Magoosh is one of the few top ACT prep courses that only offers self-paced online, and when compared to PrepScholar’s expansive ACT prep course offerings, it’s clear that PrepScholar has more variety for students that need specific teaching styles for their ACT prep. PrepScholar also has more customizable ACT prep materials and scheduling than most prep courses, but they don’t hold a candle to Magoosh when it comes to true customizability and accessibility. Magoosh ACT prep comes in the form of an app that is highly-optimized for web and mobile use, and which students can navigate and practice on at whatever pace they please. Lastly, Magoosh’s ACT prep is way cheaper than PrepScholar’s ACT prep, even though both come with the same 4-point score improvement guarantee.


PrepScholar provides a more standard ACT prep experience, but Magoosh ACT prep’s cheap price, user-friendly experience, and high score improvement guarantee make it the top option for anyone willing to do their ACT prep in a self-paced online format.


Best ACT Prep App

#1 Magoosh ACT Practice Apps

This ACT Prep app is the leader of the pack for good reason. Created by ACT experts, students can choose between the Magoosh ACT Flashcard app and the Magoosh ACT Test Prep app. Each one gives great resources but with different focuses. The Test Prep app comes complete with over 80 lessons and loads of strategies and tips for tackling the ACT, while the flashcard app zeroes in on core concepts for math, science, and English. Magoosh has made its name on mobile test prep, so if you are looking for the best ACT mobile app then look no further.


#2 Kaplan ACT Study App

Kaplan once again found a way to cram their full prep course into a tiny ACT mobile app, giving students access to all of the lessons, practice questions, and test-taking strategies that they are getting with their full prep course package. Plus, there is always the Kaplan Qbank App, which is the perfect ACT prep app for helping students maximize their time and minimize their effort by organizing customizable quiz packages based on difficulty, subject matter, or frequency.


Best ACT Flashcards

#1 Princeton Review ACT Flashcards

The Princeton Review ACT Flashcards give students the best quick-study resource for the ACT on our list. They include 500 cards that cover all 5 test sections (reading, writing, math, science, English) as well as 50 bonus cards for general tips and strategies. These cards also come paired with an option to review them online, combining 2 of the most effective study methods—online and in-hand. With such comprehensive coverage and a reasonable price of $13, The Princeton Review provides students with the best option for ACT prep flashcards.


#2 Magoosh ACT Flashcards

Magoosh offers students 300 online and mobile ACT flashcards that can be accessed completely FREE. The cards cover all ACT topics, from reading to math to science. The fact that they come free and are so easily accessible puts them near the top of the list, despite 300 feeling like a pretty low number of cards. It would also be nice to have physical cards available, since a lot of students find that cards in-hand help them learn.



How much do ACT prep courses cost?

ACT prep courses, like most things, have a range of prices. Nowadays, most ACT test prep services offer both budget-friendly and more expensive options, so you may be able to find an ACT course in your price range through any of these top ACT prep companies.

A low-price ACT prep course can range from as low as $100 to as high as $400. These lower-price ACT courses are often self-paced, rather than taught in-person or through live class sessions. To see an example of what these courses look like, check out Magoosh’s 1-month ACT prep package. Although they don’t usually include live instruction, courses like these come with plenty of material and instructive lessons that can seriously improve your ACT scores.

On the higher-end side of the spectrum, expensive ACT prep services have list prices between $1,000 and $2,000+. Prep Expert’s In-Person Flagship 6-week ACT Prep Course is a great example of this type of course, which often includes more intensive personal instruction.

Mid-range ACT prep courses can cost anywhere between the $400 mark and the $1,000 mark, and plenty of these are offered by the top courses we’ve listed here. Finding out which ACT prep course meets your needs without breaking the bank just takes a little bit of research. To see the specifics of what good ACT course packages include, check out our full reviews—such as our review of The Princeton Review’s ACT Prep Courses. That will give you a good idea of what various ACT prep courses from top companies cost, and what they offer in return. 

What ACT prep courses are near me?

Although online learning has become much more popular in recent years, there are still countless students out there that prefer in-person learning over sitting at a screen. Luckily, plenty of the best ACT prep companies offer in-person ACT prep courses around the country.

Out of all the top test prep companies on our list, The Princeton Review’s ACT prep and Kaplan’s ACT prep are the most likely to be hosted near you. These companies hold in-person courses around the country, which are taught by their instructors and hosted at local institutions. These 2 companies are some of the most well-established brands in the industry, so you know that they’re a great option if you want to opt for something a little less virtual.



What is the top ACT prep course?

Each ACT prep course offers something different, and with vastly different prices, teaching strategies, and philosophies, every one of the top ACT courses on our list has something to offer everyone. Even with all of this variety, one course stands out to us as providing the most content for the best value: Magoosh ACT prep

With Magoosh’s cheapest ACT prep course package, students receive access to tested study schedules, hundreds of video lessons, and thousands of practice ACT questions and study materials—along with a fantastic 4-point score improvement guarantee—all for $100. 

An ACT score improvement guarantee of 4 points is the best you’ll find among Magoosh’s competitors, and for such a low price, it’s hard to go wrong when you pick Magoosh ACT prep. 


What is the best ACT prep book?

There are plenty of ACT prep books out there, many of which have been around for a long time. Some of the best books you’ll find, however, aren’t the standalone products you’ll find on Amazon—instead, the most helpful ACT book experience you can have usually happens thanks to books provided as part of an already-helpful ACT prep course.

Out of the top ACT prep courses on our list, The Princeton Review’s ACT prep has some of the best books. Prep Expert’s ACT courses also include a thorough 6 book series with each of their ACT prep courses; these books go over the test in general and each of the ACT’s individual sections. Lastly, Kaplan’s in-person, live online, and self-paced online ACT courses all include their most up-to-date ACT prep books.

Most ACT prep books are truly designed to accompany an ACT prep course. Because they accompany these courses, you probably won’t get the most out of them by just reading them on their own. Instead, if you know that reading is one of the methods that helps you learn best, check out some of the top ACT prep courses that we’ve mentioned here, and find out which ones offer the best reading material.

Top 9 Best ACT Prep Courses of 2020

ACT Courses Best For… Course Price
Magoosh ACT Best Value $79
The Princeton Review ACT Premium Features $299
Prep Expert ACT Top Instructors $499
Testive ACT Live Coaching $399
Kaplan ACT Printed Materials $249
ACT Online Prep Cheapest $40
PrepScholar ACT Prep Extended Access $397
Barron’s ACT Prep Practice Questions $99
Kranse Institute ACT Video Lessons $599


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