Timothy Peck 6 min read 11th Grade, 12th Grade, ACT Info and Tips

Your Guide to Online ACT Prep Classes

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Approximately 1.8 million students took the ACT in 2019. With the ACT’s recent announcement that they’ll allow students to retake specific sections of the exam, it’s anticipated that even more students will find themselves sitting for the ACT in 2020. 

 

Even with the ability to retake single sections of the exam, you’ll want to shoot for getting the best score possible on each sitting. One great way to get yourself ready for the ACT is with online ACT prep classes, which offer a convenient way to improve the skills you need to achieve your desired score. 

 

Keep reading to learn more about ACT prep classes—including their pros and cons, how to determine if they’re legitimate or not, and where to find some free ACT resources.  

 

Pros of Online ACT Prep Classes 

 

There are a ton of great reasons to take an online ACT prep class—they’re convenient, you can do them almost anywhere, they fit into almost anyone’s schedule, generally are more cost-effective, and they offer a wider breadth of providers, to name a few.  

 

Convenient: Perhaps the best attribute of online ACT prep classes is their convenience. Whether you’re using a laptop, tablet, or phone, all you need to study is a device and a connection. This is awesome for students looking to sneak study time into tightly packed schedules, allowing them to find free minutes—such as before soccer practice or a meeting of the debate team—in their day to prepare for the ACT. 

 

Study Anywhere: Because of the mobile nature of online ACT prep classes, students can study anywhere—whether it’s at home, in the school library, or at the local coffee shop. Another benefit for time-crunched students is that they can apply the time they would spend traveling to and from a prep class at a physical location toward actually studying for the ACT. 

 

More Affordable: In general, online ACT prep classes are more affordable than in-person classes—after all, the company isn’t paying for space to hold the class or a teacher to conduct individual lessons. Additionally, online ACT classes don’t have the additional costs associated with traveling back and forth to classes held at a designated location. 

 

Better Teachers: Students taking in-person ACT prep classes are limited to programs offered within their geographical area. Online classes open up a wide range of ACT teachers and tutors based all over the country. 

 

Cons of Online ACT Prep Programs

 

Although there are a lot of fantastic aspects of taking online ACT prep classes, they’re not without disadvantages, especially if you’re the type of person who thrives on interpersonal interaction, or requires individualized attention. 

 

Limited Interaction: Most online ACT prep classes either don’t allow for, or allow for very little, interaction with the person leading the course. Even classes with chat boxes for questions are less than ideal, and are cumbersome if you have a follow-up question.

 

Less Personal: Working face-to-face with an ACT teacher or tutor allows that person to gauge your strengths and weaknesses while tailoring lessons to fill your needs. Many online ACT programs are automated—meaning you’ll get the same balance of English, Reading, Math, and Science prep, regardless of whether or not you have one particular section that needs improvement. For example, if your strengths lie in English and Reading, but you’re Algebra adverse, you’re going to get the same Math prep as a student who’s a human calculator. 

 

Accountability: The ability to study for the ACT whenever and wherever you want is an awesome quality of online ACT prep classes—that is if you’re a self-motivated, self-disciplined person. If you’re the type of person who needs someone to hold you accountable and give you a push, in-person prep might serve you better. 

 

Note: The above three disadvantages are only true for online classes, and not online individualized tutoring. In the case of tutoring, there will still be a personal relationship, chance to ask questions, and accountability.

 

Device Dependent: Online ACT prep classes are dependent on you having access to a device and an internet connection. If you share a device with your family (and don’t have consistent/regular access to it), or live somewhere without a reliable internet/mobile connection, an online class can end up becoming more of a hassle than a convenience. 

 

How to Determine if Online ACT Classes are Legitimate

 

The growing number of students anxious to improve their ACT scores has led to the subsequent increase in people looking to take advantage of them. Before signing up for an online ACT class, spend some time and due diligence to ensure that the person/company/organization you’re dealing with is legitimate. 

 

Better Business Bureau: The Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website is a reliable source of information about a business—including reviews, as well as resolved and unresolved claims against them. They also provide a general rating (A+ best / F worst) for how likely a company is to interact with their customers. 

 

Contact Information: A reputable business’s website will have information about the people at the company such as an “about us” page, list key executives, and offer multiple ways to connect, such as an email address and phone number. Many businesses will even have a chat option that will put you in direct contact with the company.

 

Social Media: Another way to judge the validity of an online ACT prep class is to look the provider up on social media. If you can’t connect with the company through their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or other pages, there is reason for suspicion. Similarly, look up the company’s executives on LinkedIn to verify their reputability. 

 

Online Resource: There are numerous websites—for example, Yelp and TrustPilot—dedicated to reviewing businesses. Before signing up for online ACT prep classes, see what the provider’s previous customers have to say about them. 

 

Press: College preparation is a big business with real press coverage. Look up the ACT prep classes online and see if they’ve been featured in any recognizable and reputable publications like the New York Times, Forbes, Business Insider, or the Wall Street Journal.

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Online ACT Prep Classes & Resources Worth Checking Out

 

The ACT – Free

 

It should come as no surprise that the people who are responsible for administering the ACT are an excellent resource for students preparing for the exam. The ACT offers a guide detailing test-taking strategies, section-specific tips, and insight into the test’s contents. The ACT also makes sample tests available, allowing students to get firsthand experience with an actual exam before taking the real thing. 

 

Princeton Review – Free and Paid Options

 

The Princeton Review is one of the most recognized test prep companies, especially when it comes to study books. They also offer free paper & pencil ACT practice tests, proctored by Princeton Review teachers at their testing and classroom centers. You can also find free online strategy sessions, or pay to take an ACT class. 

 

Kaplan – Free and Paid Options

 

Kaplan is another major player in test prep. They also offer free ACT practice and free online bootcamps, along with paid options.

 

PrepFactory – Free

 

The gamifying of standard test prep makes PrepFactory one of the most innovative, engaging, and fun approaches you can find for preparing for the ACT. Through various modules on PrepFactory’s platform, students will improve their comprehension of key concepts tested on the ACT. 

 

Pocket Prep ACT – Free/$4.99

 

The Pocket Prep ACT Exam Prep is an awesome option for students studying on the go. Download the free version—for access to 30 practice questions, 30 questions through social media, and 14 questions of the day—all accessible everywhere from a laptop, tablet, or phone. Alternatively, you can pay a one-time price of $4.99 for the premium version, which gains you access to over 500 practice questions and email support. 

 

Varsity Tutors – Free and Paid Options

 

Varsity Tutors hosts a vast collection of free ACT prep materials, plus a variety of paid online ACT prep classes and tutoring. In addition to tips for taking the test, you’ll find tools to help you discover which academic concepts you understand and which ones require attention, along with a handful of practice tests, all for free. 

 

Magoosh – Free and Paid Options

 

This online test prep company offers students a spectrum of ACT prep services, many of which are free. Magoosh’s free eBook is a comprehensive guide to ACT. In addition to their eBook, Magoosh provides students with a free practice test (with answers and explanations), a YouTube channel with over 100 ACT-related videos, and two apps for studying on the go all for no cost.  

 

CollegeVine and the ACT

 

CollegeVine is also home to a substantial amount of free ACT resources. For example, our YouTube channel has a variety of videos about preparing for, and succeeding on, standardized tests. ACT prep is also a frequent topic on our blog, here are just a few of our amazing articles on the ACT worth investigating:

 

A Guide to the Math Section of the ACT

A Guide to the Science Section of the ACT

A Guide to the Reading Section of the ACT

A Guide to the English Section of the ACT

Links to all the Official ACT Practice Tests + Other Resources

Top 10 ACT Tips for Acing the Exam

 

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.