Kaplan ACT Prep Review 2021

kaplan act prep reviewLast Updated 7/2/20

RATING:

Out of all the test prep companies out there, Kaplan has always stood out for providing professional, premium-quality preparation services. They offer courses for nearly every standardized test you can think of, from foreign language tests like the TOEFL to business/grad school tests like the GMAT and GRE. They have one of the most extensive test prep platforms in the business, and their expertise certainly carries over to their ACT prep courses.

Kaplan’s ACT courses come in a few different formats, which is more than can be said for some other ACT prep companies. Each of Kaplan’s course packages consists of detailed and engaging content without costing an arm and a leg, which helps Kaplan achieve a specific goal: to provide students with several options for flexible ACT preparation that lives up to the Kaplan name.

To give you some context, some companies emphasize affordability, and others help students perfect their ACT score, but Kaplan’s ACT prep packages fall somewhere in the middle. They give students well-rounded, affordable courses that help students reach high score goals. Here, we break down the details of Kaplan’s ACT prep courses to show you exactly what makes their course unique, but if you want to see a side-by-side comparison of Kaplan’s ACT course with courses from other companies, you should go to our list of All the Best ACT Prep Courses.

Please note Kaplan is one of our affiliate brands, and as such we receive a small commission at no cost to you if you choose to purchase this prep course. Only use our links if you find this review helpful.

Pros:

1. Low Price

As one of the oldest test prep companies out there, Kaplan has developed a reputation for providing premium preparation services, which once had a truly premium pricetag. In recent years, however, they’ve cut their prices down in order to better compete with other budget-friendly options on the market, though we believe their courses have kept their overall quality.Kaplan SAT prep course options

Their cheapest prep option is their Self-Paced option, which is the second-cheapest of the major ACT prep courses we’ve reviewed. Compare this course to other course prices and access periods, and you can see that Kaplan provides a lot of value:kaplan act prep review

 

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2. Qbank

One of Kaplan ACT’s most unique features is its Qbank, a question bank that allows you to create custom quizzes, review specific question types, and see easy-to-understand reports of your overall progress.kaplan ACT Qbank

Using the Qbank is easy and effective—you can quiz yourself not only on broader ACT sections like the Reading and Science sections, but on the subcategories that exist within those sections. Think ‘Punctuation’ and ‘Geometry’; the ACT’s scoring system has similar subcategories for each of its main sections, so the level of detail in Kaplan’s reports gives you great insight into how the test evaluates specific skills.

3. Live Online Plus

Not every company can afford to offer courses in multiple formats. Many smaller or newer companies only offer self-paced online courses, for example. Kaplan instead offers ACT preparation in several formats, so you can study at your own pace, participate in live online class sessions, or have 1-on-1 sessions with an expert ACT tutor. Even though there’s plenty of value in their standard course offerings, they also offer a Live Online Plus ACT course that includes great additional features.

kaplan ACT live online plus reviewWith this ACT online package, you get access to Kaplan’s live class sessions, taught by their expert instructors, plus 3 hours of tutoring, additional math content, and a full suite of Kaplan’s SAT prep material. These features are premium additions, especially when you consider how much ACT tutoring can cost through other companies, and that you’re getting two whole courses (ACT/SAT) for the price of one!

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4. Contact with Expert Instructors

When you take Kaplan’s live online course, you’ll participate in class sessions that are designed to increase students’ interaction with their instructors. At any given time during your session, you’ll have access to no fewer than 3 Kaplan experts: one will teach the class through live video and notations, one will proctor the class’s live chat feature, and one will provide you with 1-on-1 answers for your more complicated ACT questions.kaplan ACT teachersThis amount of student-teacher interaction is hard to come by—many prep courses will give students a live chat customer support feature and a video feed of their instructor and call it a day. If you take the tutoring sessions of their Live Online Plus course into account, it’s clear that Kaplan prioritizes instructor interaction, which adds a lot to the overall studying process.

5. Practice Tests

Kaplan’s course has more ACT practice exams than any other ACT prep course we’ve reviewed. Purchasing their course lets you access 9 whole tests, which gives you plenty of opportunity to familiarize yourself with the feel of the exam, a goal that Kaplan has actually built into their material.

Taking Kaplan’s ACT course doesn’t just involve learning about concepts in math, reading, and science—their course material also instructs you on how to properly take an exam like the ACT using proven test-taking strategies, which involve properly managing your time and managing your test anxiety. Practice problems help you learn concepts, but only full-length practice tests allow you to practice your test-taking skills, so having this number of exams at your disposal can improve your ACT game more than you might think.

6. Utilizes Coursebook

Although plenty of test prep companies are moving further toward online-only services, Kaplan continues to provide students with tangible test prep materials. Each of their ACT prep courses comes with Kaplan’s ACT book, which is one of the top books on the market today. On its own, this test prep book is effective, but even at its best, a prep book can’t compare to actual courses when it comes to testing your aptitude or adapting to your studying needs.

Even so, Kaplan maximizes the book’s potential by incorporating it into the ACT prep course; students can read through chapters that detail test strategies and academic concepts, then review those concepts through video lessons, practice quizzes, and practice tests online. In a digital day and age, it’s rare to find a company that still provides printed resources for their classes, and even rarer to find a course that intentionally incorporates them into their curriculum.

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Cons:

1. Needs Updating

If you take Kaplan’s SAT prep course, you’ll find that its interface is sleek and modern—their ACT course, on the other hand, hasn’t received equivalent updates in recent years. This is far from a grave concern, as it doesn’t really affect the content and its effectiveness. Still, it does show that their online ACT course materials aren’t as up-to-date as they could be from a usability standpoint, including their video lessons. The studying strategies and practice questions they employ are all still top-notch, but if you’re looking for perfectly-produced videos and the easiest-to-navigate user interface, you might be better off going with a course like Magoosh ACT.kaplan ACT dashboard

2. Fewer Course Options

For the most part, Kaplan offers more course options than you’ll find with other test preparation companies. Some ACT prep courses come in only one format, with one schedule, at one price. Although Kaplan offers an above-average number of course options and prices, some of its competitors have significantly more variety.

Take the Princeton Review, for instance, which has been in business for decades and provides well-rounded but premium courses, similar to Kaplan. They offer 5 quality prep packages for the ACT, which come in self-paced, live online, and tutoring formats. Kaplan, in comparison, doesn’t have an in person ACT course. The Princeton Review’s live online classes come with several class schedules, which are as few as 2 days per week as many as 5 days per week, giving you a lot to choose from in order to fit the course into your schedule. Kaplan’s comparable ACT package, at the time of writing, has only 2 course schedules: Monday and Wednesday weekly, or Monday, Wednesday and Friday weekly.

Again, Kaplan has much more variety in their ACT course offerings than you’ll find with smaller, newer companies. But if you’re really looking for as much variety in price and scheduling as possible, we’d recommend looking at ACT courses from The Princeton Review.


Conclusion:

For decades, Kaplan has maintained their reputation as one of the most dependable names in the test prep industry. Their courses use expert-level instruction to teach students about subject-specific concepts and broader test-taking strategies that are guaranteed to give you a higher test score.

There isn’t a whole lot that you can count against Kaplan for its ACT prep courses, and their unique features—the adaptive and customizable Qbank, course book incorporation, and emphasis on student-instructor interaction—make Kaplan ACT a worthwhile option for any student.

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Have you taken Kaplan ACT prep course? Let us know what you think!

If you’re not sure that Kaplan ACT is the optimal choice for you, don’t worry! There are plenty of other great ACT prep courses out there with other features, schedules, and prices that will best fit your needs.

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