top 7 best college admissions consultants

All the Best ACT Prep Courses of 2021

top 7 best act prep courses compared

Updated September 28, 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. Only use the links if you have been helped by our review!


Top ACT Prep Courses Compared & Exclusive Discounts

ACT Prep
Courses
Magoosh act prep course review prep expert ACT logo prepscholar act prep The Princeton Review ACT Discounts Olive Book ACT Prep Review Testive ACT prep course review Kaplan ACT prep course review
RANKINGS #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7
COMPANY Magoosh ACT Prep Expert ACT PrepScholar ACT Princeton Review ACT Olive Book ACT Testive ACT Kaplan ACT
STARTING PRICE $948 $79
Get Discount
$699 $499
$397 $299
Get Discount
$390
Get Discount
$399/Month
$299
PRACTICE QUESTIONS 1,300+ 1,000+ 2,400+ 3,200+ ~1,000 3,000+ 1,000+
PRACTICE EXAMS 4 6 5 3+ 1 8 9
GUARANTEE +4 point improvement guarantee 4-point improvement guarantee 4-point improvement guarantee Higher Score Guarantee Higher Score Guarantee Higher Score Guarantee Higher Score Guarantee
FORMATS
Self-Paced Online $79 $499 $397 $299 $390 $249
Live Online $799 $895 $599 $399 $599+
In-Person $1099 $599 $599+
Private Tutoring $79/hour $995+ $167/hour $2,599+
PRINTED BOOKS
Available for Purchase

Downloadable e-books
Included Included
VIDEO INSTRUCTION
PROGRESS TRACKING
STUDY PLAN
FLASHCARDS
MOBILE APP
STUDENT SUPPORT Chat & Email Support Chat & email support Phone & email support Personal coach Email Support Personal coach Email, phone, social media, & chat support
ONLINE ACCESS 1 Year 1 year (self-paced) or course + 60 days 1 Year With active subscription 6 Months With active subscription Course + 12 weeks
MORE DETAILS Read Full Review Read Full Review Read Full Review 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

OVERALL RATING:

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, 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.

TAKE ME TO MAGOOSH ACT

Prep Expert ACT (Rank: #2)prep expert ACT prep course

OVERALL RATING:

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.
$50 Visa Gift Card with Purchase: Every student who purchases a Prep Expert ACT course through Crush the GRE gets a $50 Visa gift card, on top of any discounts that Prep Expert is offering. All added up, it makes Prep Expert a good value among the premium ACT courses.
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.

TAKE ME TO PREP EXPERT ACT

PrepScholar ACT (Rank: #3)

prepscholar act prep course review

OVERALL RATING:

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.

TAKE ME TO PREPSCHOLAR ACT

Princeton Review ACT (Rank: #4)The Princeton Review ACT prep course review

OVERALL RATING:

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.

TAKE ME TO PRINCETON REVIEW ACT

Olive Book ACT (Rank: #5)

Olive Book ACT Prep Review

OVERALL RATING:

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.

TAKE ME TO THE OLIVE BOOK ACT

Testive ACT (Rank: #6)

testive act prep review

OVERALL RATING:

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.

TAKE ME TO TESTIVE ACT

Kaplan ACT (Rank: #7)

kaplan act prep course review

OVERALL RATING:

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.

TAKE ME TO KAPLAN ACT

ACT Online Prep (Rank: #8)

act.org online test prep review

OVERALL RATING:

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.

Princeton Review vs. Kaplan ACT Prep

When you look into the top prep courses for almost any standardized test, these two 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

The Princeton Review and Kaplan are the two largest and oldest test prep companies on our list, and they both offer their ACT prep courses in more formats than any other company. For the self-paced and live online courses, Kaplan’s ACT prep courses are generally a little cheaper than The Princeton Review’s, especially when taking their discounts into account, but the course prices are still very similar. 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.

Overall

Although these companies are a lot alike, The Princeton Review’s ACT prep courses are a bit more varied and include more features than Kaplan’s, though they 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.

TAKE ME TO THE PRINCETON REVIEW   TAKE ME TO KAPLAN ACT

Magoosh vs. PrepScholar ACT Prep

These two 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.

Overall

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.

TAKE ME TO MAGOOSH ACT

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.

TAKE ME TO MAGOOSH

#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.

TAKE ME TO KAPLAN

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 two 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.

TAKE ME TO PRINCETON REVIEW

#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.

TAKE ME TO MAGOOSH

FAQs

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 Courseis 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 two 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.

 

TAKE ME TO PRINCETON REVIEW     TAKE ME TO PREP EXPERT ACT

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.

TAKE ME TO MAGOOSH

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, there are a number of different options if you’re looking for good written material. The Princeton Review’s ACT prep includes their course books, which draw upon their years of experience as one of the biggest names in the industry. 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 as well as 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; as we see it, each of these three companies’ books will serve you well as you prepare for the exam.

Because most ACT prep books are designed to accompany ACT prep 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 enough reading material for you.

Top 10 Best ACT Prep Courses f0r 2021

ACT Courses Best For… Course Price
Magoosh ACT Best Value $79
Prep Expert ACT Top Instructors $499
The Princeton Review ACT Premium Features $299
PrepScholar ACT Prep Extended Access $397
The Olive Book ACT Visual Learning $390
Testive ACT Live Coaching $399
Kaplan ACT Printed Materials $299
ACT Online Prep Cheapest $40
Barron’s ACT Prep Practice Questions $99
Kranse Institute ACT Video Lessons $599

 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *