Best ACT-SAT Test Prep Courses

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2018​

A good standardized test score can help you get a scholarship and an acceptance letter from your dream school. Our handy guide helps you find the best ACT-SAT test prep course of 2018.

Best ACT-SAT Test Prep Courses 2018

Take one of the top two standardized tests is one of the most important things that you must do before applying to college. You have the choice between taking the ACT or SAT, but you should check with the schools you want to apply to because some colleges will only accept the results from one test. The best ACT-SAT test prep courses can help you get ready for either exam and help you improve your score too. You may even find some tips that can help you answer any tricky questions you come across. The best ACT-SAT test prep courses for 2018 include options for those who want private tutoring also.

With private tutoring, you can work directly with someone who scored highly on the exam. This lets you take practice tests to find your strengths and your weaknesses, which will help the tutor know what type of help you actually need. Most of the top ACT-SAT test prep courses for 2018 include both practice tests and study sessions. Though some high schools now offer practice tests and all students take the PSAT early in their high school careers, you can use a test prep course to get the score that you want.

What is a Standardized Test?

A standardized test is essentially an in-depth exam that tests the knowledge and skills that you have and developed while in high school. During your sophomore year, you’ll have the chance to take the PSAT, which is a version of the SAT. Students who receive the highest scores on this test will receive scholarships and other types of awards. Most students take the ACT or the SAT in their junior years. If you aren’t happy with your score, you can take the test again later in the year or at the beginning of your senior year. You want to take the test early enough that you have time to send your scores to one or more colleges.

Standardized tests typically consist of multiple sections. You’ll receive a score in each section based on how well you did. Both tests have a math section that includes both harder and easier questions. You may come across some questions that use math techniques you haven’t yet learned. The test will also have an English section that asks you to answer verbal reasoning questions. You will also find short stories and paragraphs in this section that you read through and use to answer another set of questions.

What You Need for Online Tutoring

What is a Standardized Test

How We Picked the Best Test Prep Courses

It can easily cost a few hundred dollars or more just to take one of these test prep courses. The cost often depends on how you take those classes. Private lessons that take place online or in the real world between you and a single tutor are more expensive than group classes that let you work with other students getting ready to take the test. Online classes are typically more affordable than offline lessons. We factored in the types of classes and lessons available and their costs when picking the top ACT-SAT test prep courses.

We also looked at how many hours of help you get with each course. You usually want to sign up for a class that includes at least 30 to 40 hours of support. Some of the top courses give you more than 100 hours of help from an exam tutor. We also looked at just how much the course can improve your overall scores. Most of the companies we looked at provide a number or a percentage that shows the average increase in scores among students who completed the program. You may find that you can increase your score by 100 points or more after getting some extra help.

How We Picked the Best Test Prep Courses WITHOUT
  • Number of practice tests available
  • Scores and history of the tutors in the program
  • The total cost of the course
  • Types of lessons available
  • Number of hours or lessons students get

Kaplan Test Prep

Even if you haven’t taken the SAT or ACT or looked at colleges yet, you probably know the name, Kaplan. It operated a chain of college campuses across the country before selling those schools to Purdue University. Kaplan also offers help for students who want to understand what information is on the more popular standardized tests and those who want to get high scores on those exams. Not only can the website help you get a better score on one of the tests you take in high school, but you can also sign up for classes before taking graduate exams in college.

Kaplan Test Prep - WITHOUT TEXT
  • Includes both the ACT and the SAT
  • Provides you with up to 50 hours of help
  • Offers three programs and some add-on features
  • Private lessons are also available

Your Choice of Programs

Kaplan lets you choose the right type of program based on your budget and what you need. You can sign up for an in-person class and meet with a tutor or a teacher in your own area. The site lets you search to find testing centers and locations in your city before you sign up. Many students prefer the live online program, which lets them use a webcam to take a class over the internet. Both of these programs let you work with a tutor/teacher and other students. If you want private help, you can sign up for private tutoring sessions that take place either online or in person.

Unlimited Plan

Each time that you take the ACT or SAT, you must pay a fee. If you need to take one of the tests several times, those costs can really add up. Kaplan offers an unlimited plan that lets you pay one cost at the beginning and take as many test prep courses as you want. As each course gives you access to multiple practice tests, you can check your score and only take the real test when you feel confident that you’re ready. There are plans designed for those planning on taking the ACT or the SAT.

Self-Paced

Are you the type of student who feels more comfortable going at your own pace than trying to keep up with others? Kaplan offers one of the only self-paced programs designed for high school students. Not only can you choose between working with a teacher online or offline, but you can go at your own pace. The tutor can spend hours working on a single section of the test or spend more time going over the areas that worry you. You’ll only move on when you feel ready.

Rapid Review

Though this feature is only available for SAT takers, it is quite helpful. With the rapid review program, you can do a quick review of either the math or the verbal sections of that test. Your tutor will show you some possible questions and let you see whether you feel confident and ready to tackle that section on your own. You can also do a rapid review that focuses on one subject area and then transitions into the second subject area. This is the cheapest plan available from Kaplan and designed for those who already completed a full test prep course.

Kaplan Costs

  • In-person classes: $899
  • Online classes: $899
  • Private tutoring: $2,599+
  • Unlimited prep: $1,799
  • Self-Paced program: $299+
  • Rapid Review: $30+

The official website for the ACT offers tutoring and test prep for students. There are four different options available that include the most basic choice. You can order a test prep book from the company and download an e-book version of it or have a physical copy shipped to you. This book goes over each section of the ACT and shows you some of the information that you need to know. It also includes multiple practice tests that you can take at home to see how well you might do on the real test. The site includes some free resources for test takers too.

ACT Test Prep Costs - WITHOUT TEXT
  • Four different bundles and programs are available
  • Provides registered members with some free resources
  • Includes more than 110 hours of prep time
  • Designed specifically for those taking the ACT
  • Uses real questions from the test

Free Resources

One reason many students like using this site when prepping for the ACT is because of the free resources that are available. Though you do need to sign up for an account, you can then view more than 1,000 questions that actually came from previous editions of the test. When you sign up for its email, you’ll get tips from former test takers sent right to your inbox every week. The site also has free practice tests available that also include actual questions from the exam. You can take multiple tests for free through the site.

Study Guide

Another helpful feature of this site is the free study guide that it offers in both English and Spanish. You can download a PDF of the guide right to your computer. The guide includes the same instructions that you must follow when taking the real test and includes details on each area of the exam. You can go over some of that info to review your skills before going through some of the practice questions. The guide not only gives you the answers to each question but explains why that response is right and why all the other choices are wrong.

ACT Basics

The best place to find information on the ACT is on this official site. Not only can you sign up and register to take the test via this site, but you can also view testing centers close to you before you register. Once you receive your scores, you can go online and get some help understanding those scores. The ACT site lets you see how you compare to other students who took the test and whether you should take the test again and strive for better scores.

Lots of Options

With four options to choose from, the official ACT website makes it easy to get the type of test prep help that you need. In addition to the book, it offers an online test prep plan that includes six months of support. The Official ACT Test Prep Pack is a bundle package that includes a copy of the book and the six-month test prep course. Those who sign up for this plan receive more than 400 flashcards that they can use at home and access to five different practice tests that cover each section on the test. The largest package includes all those features as well as live online test prep.

ACT Test Prep Costs

  • ACT Prep Guide/Book: $32.95
  • Online Prep: $39.99
  • Online Prep Bundle Package: $99.99

The Princeton Review

Whether you want to find out which schools have the best cafeteria food or which schools are the most green, you’ll probably use The Princeton Review. It is one of the top websites in the world for students who want to learn more about colleges before they apply. You can search for schools in your state or any other region and view information such as its acceptance rate and the average grades and test scores that students had when they applied. The Princeton Review also offers a great test prep program for students who do well in a one on one setting.

The Princeton Review Basics WITHOUT
  • Offers extensive courses and short reviews for students
  • Designed for those who want to take the SAT
  • Includes tips students can follow in the days/weeks leading up to the test
  • Programs feature up to 80 hours of test prep time
  • Available both online and offline

Test Prep

The Princeton Review has more than three decades of experience helping students prepare for the SAT, which gave its teachers a unique perspective on why students don’t do as well as they hoped. These teachers do not simply focus on what the test covers, but they also teach students how to actually get ready for the test and what to do when taking it. Students learn how to manage their time and read through each question before analyzing the answers to find the right one. They also learn how to eliminate some of the possible answers to each question.

Meet Teachers in Advance

This is one of the only sites we found that lets students meet their teachers in advance. Do you do best with younger teachers who are close to your own age or older tutors who have more experience? You can view all the teachers available and ready to work with you online or offline in your own city. The Princeton Review lets you pick which specific teacher you want to work with as you prepare for the SAT. It offers detailed backgrounds and histories of each of its test prep teachers.

Guaranteed Results

Would you love sitting down to take the SAT and knowing that you would get a specific score? The Princeton Review offers a program with guaranteed results. It promises that you will score at least 1,400 on the SAT when you take it. If you do not score in this range, you can go through the program multiple times until you get the score that you want. The Princeton Review also offers a money back guarantee and will refund the cost of your program if you score below 1,400.

Program Options

You will find a number of different test prep courses available from The Princeton Review. Its self-paced program lets you go at your own speed and work with a tutor/teacher when you need help. Those who prefer working with a tutor online can sign up for private tutoring sessions, which are also available offline. The Princeton Review also offers in-person group sessions and live online test prep courses. You can sign up for a guaranteed program that promises you can get a 1,240 to a 1,400 or more on the SAT. Some students will want to sign up for a cram session the week before the exam too.

The Princeton Review Costs

  • Self-Paced: $299
  • Live Online: $899
  • In-Person: $899
  • Private tutoring: $167+/hour
  • Guaranteed programs: $1,399-$1,599
  • Cram courses: $399

PrepScholar operates in a different way than some of the other sites that offer test prep courses do. It believes that students learn best when they build on any of the fundamentals that they already know. That is why its teachers will work with students to determine where their strengths lie and then help them understand how they can use their strengths on any section of the test. PrepScholar offers programs for both the ACT and the SAT. It is also one of the only sites with a PSAT course that helps students prepare for that lower level test.

PrepScholar - WITHOUT TEXT
  • Features one basic package with a variety of add-on options
  • Includes 15 hours of test prep help with the option to add more
  • Customizes programs and plans based on your needs
  • Allows you to study with others and on your own
  • Gives you six practice tests

Types of Lessons

When you sign up for test prep through this site, you can choose the type(s) of lessons that you want to take. Its core lessons start out at the very beginning. You’ll take exams that test your knowledge and skills in different areas. A teacher will then work with you to help you become more skilled before moving you into a master lesson. Master lessons are more detailed and cover some of the hardest questions on these tests. You can also sign up for premium lessons that give you some of the top tips for taking the SAT or ACT.

Custom Features

A great option of PrepScholar is that it offers custom features based on how you learn and where you need help. The difficulty of each lesson you take will slowly increase as you become more adept at answering questions. Your teacher will provide you with practice tests that you can take and will go over those tests with you to help you understand why you answered some questions incorrectly. The site also motivates you in different ways. You’ll receive reports each week that go over your progress and emails from your teacher to discuss where you did the best.

Detailed Study Plan

PrepScholar offers a 15-hour program that will fully prepare you to take one of these tests. The first hour includes the time it takes to sign up and the time allotted for the practice test. This is the test that your teacher uses to decide where you need the most help. You’ll take up to 10 hours of lessons before sitting down to take your practice test, which features real SAT questions. Depending on how well you score, your teacher may decide that you need more help. You can sign up for more than 15 hours of lessons as needed.

Basic Prep and More

With PrepScholar, you only pay what you can afford based on what you need. It offers a basic prep package that gives you full access to the site for one year. You can take up to six practice tests and look over more than 200 hours of content. Its PrepScholar classes allow you to work and study in a virtual classroom with other students preparing for the test. The site also lets you add private tutoring to your plan for an extra fee. You can work one on one with a tutor to improve your score.

PrepScholar Costs

  • Online Prep: $600
  • PrepScholar Classes: $695
  • Tutoring: $995+

Tips for Taking the ACT or SAT

  • Work on some portion of the test at least a few times a week in the weeks leading up to your testing date
  • Give yourself time to relax and have fun the night before the test instead of trying to cram even more information into your brain
  • Consider signing up for a review session the week before to go over the test and your materials one last time
  • Take multiple practice tests to see where you do well and where you still need more help
  • Eat a light breakfast before the test to calm your nerves and fill your stomach

Frequently Asked Questions

A: A perfect test score on either test means that you answered every question correctly. As of 2018, this is 36 on the ACT and 1600 on the SAT. To receive a perfect SAT score, you must earn 800 points on both the reading and writing component and 800 on the math section.

A: Before taking one of these tests, you must sign up and pay the attached fee. Both exams are usually available on college campuses and at local high schools. You can sign up to take either test up to a month in advance or longer.

A: Testing locations typically ban you from bringing certain items inside. You usually need a calculator, two number two pencils and a photo ID. The ID shows that you are the person who signed up for the test, while the other items are necessary for taking the test.

 

Related Reviews

We have access to thousands of products, and have meticulously and personally hand selected the very best for you to check out.

Your reliable and trusted

Resource of Honest Product Reviews

Let Honest Product Reviews be the place where you can scan through the
best products tips, comparisons and reviews.

The team that worked on this review

Our team of experts are here to provide honest
reviews for best products.
Kush

Kush

Editor &
Content Writer

Johanna

Johanna

Chief Designer &
Program Manager

France

France

Front-end
Developer

Marija

Marija

Business Analyst &
Admin Assistant

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.