Updated May 8, 2020
Prep Expert has developed quite the name for itself in the test-prep industry, even though the company is only a few years old. This name recognition is no surprise considering that Prep Expert took off thanks to Mark Cuban and the popular t.v. show Shark Tank—how many test-prep courses can say that?! Prep Expert boasts an incredibly talented staff, several prep course formats and schedules, and thorough materials that can not only raise your ACT score, but perfect it.
Prep Expert was started by entrepreneur Shaan Patel, a Las Vegas native who improved his SAT score from average to a perfect 2400. The company was originally called 2400 Expert, but that title changed when the SAT transitioned from a 2400-point scoring system to its current 1600-point system. Though its previous ‘perfect score’ name is no longer in use, it’s still a great signifier of the company’s teaching style and goal: Prep Expert aims to provide the most intensive exam-prep experience possible to guarantee an excellent standardized test score. They aren’t providing a relaxed course that promises a basic score increase—they’re a premium service that gives you an in-depth look into how the ACT works, all at a competitive cost per hour. Out of the Best ACT Prep Courses of 2020, Prep Expert has a higher starting price than average, with their basic Weekend Review course starting at a list price of $499. Yet, if you do the math, you’ll find that Prep Expert’s cost/hour is actually considerably lower than their peers. For that low price, students gain access to Prep Expert’s meticulously-crafted curriculum, either through a class instructor who scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT or through video lessons taught by Shaan Patel himself. The quality of their staff, the depth of their resources, and the score improvements that they guarantee truly make Prep Expert a fantastic option for any student who wants to conquer the ACT.
1. Several Course Packages
Any good test-prep service knows that learning isn’t one-size-fits-all. Prep Expert follows this principle well by offering 3 main ACT prep course packages. Prep Expert’s 6-week ACT Prep Course is the flagship of their course fleet, and includes 23 hours of lessons plus live class sessions with one of Prep Expert’s elite instructors. Their 3-week course includes the same lessons and live class sessions, and is simply a condensed version of the flagship course.
Some students may look at the price and schedule of those 2 course packages and realize that they don’t need that amount of intensive live instruction; there are options for them, too! Prep Expert also offers a Self-Paced Video Course at almost half the price of the 6-week and 3-week courses. This Self-Paced Video Course allows students to view video lessons, complete homework assignments, and take practice tests without weekly deadlines, making this a great option for students who need flexibility in their course schedule.
Lastly, Prep Expert has a basic Weekend Review ACT Prep Course, which provides students with 12 hours of live online instruction the weekend before they take the ACT, split up into a few separate sessions.
With all these different course packages, Prep Expert undoubtedly has something that meets your specific budgetary and scheduling needs.
2. Money-Back Score Improvement Guarantee
For most of its courses, Prep-Expert offers an invaluable Money-Back Score Improvement Guarantee. The company includes different guarantees for each of its courses, as each course gives students a different amount of time to digest information and communicate with instructors.
For their Flagship 6-Week ACT Prep Course, Prep Expert guarantees a 4-point improvement on the student’s ACT score. For their 3-Week Fast Track ACT Prep Course, they offer a 2-point ACT score improvement guarantee. Lastly, on their Self-Paced Video Course, Prep Expert offers a 1-point ACT score improvement guarantee. If a student doesn’t meet these score improvements after their time with Prep Expert, they don’t pay a dime!
Keep in mind, though, that these guarantees require each student to complete the entire course they’ve chosen. This means meeting pretty strict completion requirements, and it also means providing an official ACT score to Prep Expert before the course begins, so just make sure that you’ve looked into Prep Expert’s terms of service to learn about everything students have to do to qualify.
3. Online and In-person
There are plenty of test-prep services out there that offer either exclusively online or in-person test prep courses. Although their in-person options are limited, Prep Expert offers both! If you’re in the Las Vegas, NV area, you can join Prep Expert at its in-person course center.
If not, then you can enjoy all of Prep Expert’s materials from the comfort of your own computer, which is a major plus for students. Your live instruction classes, ACT-prep guidebooks, and video lessons are all accessible through any internet-connected device. The only part of Prep Expert’s curriculum that truly requires paper-and-pencil is their essay practice assignments, which students handwrite and scan as a pdf in order to emulate ACT testing conditions.
4. Expert Instructors
Prep Expert boasts some of the most qualified instructors available. Their team is made up of scholars who scored in at least the 99th percentile of ACT scores, which means that each and every one of them is in the top 1% of test-takers. Some of the instructors even got perfect scores on the ACT and/or the SAT, so you know that this team knows their stuff.
Shaan Patel, Prep Expert’s founder, scored a perfect 2400 on the SAT himself, and he collaborated with a perfect ACT scorer to create Prep Expert’s ACT curriculum. The teachers at Prep Expert are also very personable and articulate, making their lessons not only easy to understand, but fun!
5. Extended Access to Thorough Materials
When you purchase a 6-week or 3-week course through Prep Expert, you gain access not only to their online class sessions, but also to recordings of those class sessions, plus 24/7 access to hours of video lessons recorded by Shaan Patel. On top of that, with most of its course packages, students get access to Prep Expert’s 6 ACT course books, which include guides for each section of the ACT:
- ACT Intro
- ACT English
- ACT Reading
- ACT Writing
- ACT Science
- ACT Math
If you’ve purchased the 6-week or 3-week prep course options, you can access your Prep Expert materials and dashboard for up to 60 days after your last class session. If you’ve used the self-paced course option, you can access your course materials for one whole year after purchase. This is a pretty big advantage for students, as it can give them plenty of time to go back over Prep Expert’s lesson videos, class sessions, and written material even after they’ve received their ACT scores. If you got a lower score than you expected, you can still make the most of your Prep Expert course by using this material to prepare for a second attempt at the test.
Prep Expert’s ACT books provide a total of about 650 pages of original content about the test. Essentially, the lessons you can learn by reading these books are the foundational concepts that you’ll interact with in class. So, if you’re having trouble understanding what your professor is saying, a clear, black-and-white description of each and every concept is included here, at no extra cost.
Prep Expert’s books are also available separately on sites like Amazon, so one of the cheapest ways to gain access to a trove of Prep Expert insight is to buy these books alone (totaling at a mere $60 for the full set).
6. Engaging Class Style
Prep Expert’s online class sessions are conducted through Adobe Connect, and include a live feed of a Prep Expert instructor. Students can interact with their instructor and each other using a chat box feature, and can watch as their instructor annotates and explains the test. In fact, interacting with the instructor is a required element of class participation; instead of just allowing students to view recordings of their sessions, Prep Expert incorporates a polling feature during each class. Students have to complete polls in order to be counted as present for the day—a great way of ensuring that students are engaging with the material, even though it might be tempting to just zone out.
Considering all the quality material and expert instruction that Prep Expert offers, the price point for their courses is among the highest of other top-rated ACT prep courses. Excluding their Weekend Review course, which offers no Score Improvement Guarantee, their cheapest full ACT course has a list price of $699.
Though the list price seems like a lot at first, Prep Expert is actually significantly cheaper than its competitors when it comes to cost per hour. Prep Expert’s 3-week course offers 72 hours of material for $799, at a cost of about $11/hr. Here’s how comparable courses from other prep services stack up:
The material, expertise, and guarantees that Prep Expert provides are being offered for considerably less than you’d find at other sites, so don’t let the list price scare you off.
2. Heavy Workload
When you first use Prep Expert, you immediately become aware of the amount of work that they’ve provided for you. In the case of their 6-week and 3-week ACT prep courses, there’s no getting around it: Prep Expert’s class/work schedule is seriously demanding. Students have to complete 10 full ACT tests throughout the duration of each of Prep Expert’s courses. 4 of those ACTs are broken up into homework assignments, which are due several times per week in the 6-week and 3-week courses, while the remaining 6 tests are taken as full self-proctored exams to replicate the conditions of the ACT.
The ACT lasts over 3.5 hours including the writing section (which Prep Expert requires all its students to practice as part of its coursework). Even in the case of Prep Expert’s 6-week course, that equates to students taking well over 1 ACT per week.
In the case of the 3-week course, that’s roughly equivalent to nearly 3 ACTs per week.
On top of that, students don’t really have any wiggle room when it comes to late assignments. The bottom line: if you can’t keep up with Prep Expert’s schedule, you begin to put your Score Improvement Guarantee at risk.
This should give you an idea of how demanding Prep Expert can be, but the 3-week course we mentioned is the most condensed and intense version of their course offerings, and it’s not like all that work doesn’t have a reward!
Practicing the ACT so thoroughly, and receiving expert guidance along the way, has certainly been worth the effort for countless students.
And if you don’t have the time in your schedule to adhere to Prep Expert’s 6-week or 3-week ACT prep course deadlines, the Self-Paced Video Course will still provide you with excellent prep materials and guidance.
Prep Expert’s workload is intense, but taking the longer or self-paced versions of their ACT prep course can allow you to fit Prep Expert into even the most strict schedule.
3. User Interface
Prep Expert’s student platform is up-to-date and has a somewhat user-friendly design, but there are certain elements of its user interface that could be improved.
For instance, students can access the answer key for their homework (but not their practice tests) before they’ve even submitted the assignment. This means students are held accountable for whether they access the homework answers before completing their homework; if you’d rather not have your hand held, this is great! On the other hand, this also provides students with a temptation to breeze through assignments without a good faith effort.
Lastly, some elements of Prep Expert’s interface, and the requirements of their courses, are a bit unclear. For the Self-Paced Video Course, for instance, students have access to a guide about how to complete the course, but a lot of the material on the guide and on the student dashboard isn’t optimized for that course. Instead, the material is labeled and described in order to help students taking a 6-week or 3-week course.
For example: though there are no class sessions for the self-paced course, homework assignments are still labeled as “due before class ___,” which could throw a student for a loop at first.
At the end of the day, these are really minor inconveniences, and Prep Expert’s site and services are fairly intuitive. Understanding the specific completion requirements and assignment guidelines for each course just might take a little more time and a bit of reading through their terms and instructions.
If you’re a student who wants a guaranteed improvement for your ACT score from passionate, expert instructors who can guide you through absolutely everything there is to know about the ACT, Prep Expert is one of the best options out there.
With extended access to class sessions and prep materials, plus a solid Score Improvement Guarantee, Prep Expert provides a wealth of quality services at a cost/hour that can’t be beat. If you’re prepared to learn, to interact regularly with your instructors online, and to really hone your test-taking skills through extensive practice, Prep Expert will provide you with a potentially life-changing ACT score—or your money back!