The University Network

Hey Sophomores, You Just Got Some Free Time To Make Junior Year Easier For You – Study For The SAT Or ACT Now

With schools closing and social distancing in place to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, high school students suddenly find themselves with a lot of free time given that there are no sports, clubs or other extracurricular activities.

If you are a sophomore, you should consider using some of your newly found time to lighten your load for next year, by starting your SAT or ACT test preparation now. 

Junior year in high school is intense. For most students in normal times, junior year is filled with harder classes, challenging extracurriculars, visiting colleges and attending college fairs,  getting to know your high school counselor, thinking about your college essay topics, building bonds with teachers who will write your recommendation letters, fulfilling volunteering commitments, and for many, taking college-level or AP classes. On top of that, your junior year grades are frequently viewed as the most important by college admissions officers, and you are expected to get ready and take the most important test of your life.

Junior year is crazy under normal times, but just imagine how crazy it will be next year as you play catch-up with some of the things you were expected to do this year like extracurriculars and volunteer work. So why not do what you can today to make next year easier by starting to prepare for the college admissions exams now?

So sophomores, now’s not the time for extra Instagram, Snapchat or Fortnite. It’s the time to make your life more livable next year, by getting ready for the college admissions exams. With that in mind, we have put together this article for you to help you through the process.

Should I take the SAT or ACT?

The first thing you need to figure out is whether you should take the SAT or ACT. (While some students may choose to take both, keep in mind that there are no colleges that require both the SAT and the ACT.)

To make your decision, you should ask yourself the following questions and see which test is a better fit for you. 

A. Reading section 

#1: Are you good at locating information from reading passages without line numbers? 

The SAT reading sections have line numbers, which make it easy for you to locate specific information from a passage. The ACT reading sections, however, don’t have line numbers, so it’s not as easy to go back and find specific information from a passage. If you tend to struggle with locating information from passages without line numbers, you might end up wasting a lot of time on simply turning pages back and forth. 

#2: Are you okay with questions in random order? 

Unlike in the ACT reading sections, questions in the SAT reading sections always flow in chronological order, meaning the order of the passage to which they refer. Even if you’re unsure about a question, you can still guess where in the passage the answer for that question might be hiding by looking at where the question is placed. For example, in the SAT reading section, if you’re unsure about a question that comes second to last, you shouldn’t be looking for an answer in the first paragraph. 

B. Writing section

#3: Are you good with punctuation and sentence structure? 

While both the ACT and the SAT test grammar in their writing sections, the ACT tends to have more questions on punctuation and sentence structure and the SAT tends to ask more questions on writing style and word/phrase choices. 

#4: Do you struggle with vocabulary?

In the Writing and Reading sections, the SAT tends to test vocabulary a little more than the ACT. 

C. Math section

#5: Are you good with geometry and trigonometry? 

To start, the ACT math covers a wider range of math concepts, with higher focus on geometry and trigonometry than the SAT math section. While geometry and trigonometry make up 35–45 percent and 7 percent on the ACT, respectively, they make up only 10 percent and 5 percent on the SAT. 

Also, the ACT tests a few concepts that the SAT doesn’t test at all, such as matrices, graphs of trig functions and logarithms. The SAT math section focuses mostly on algebra. 

However, the ACT math section doesn’t give any math formulas, but the SAT math section gives most of the major math formulas. Still, the irony is that all of these math formulas pertain to geometry, which isn’t a big part of the SAT math sections. 

#6: Do you struggle without a calculator? 

While the ACT math section allows you to use a calculator for all questions, the SAT math section doesn’t allow a calculator for 20 out of 58 questions in total. However, note that all questions on both the ACT and SAT math sections can be solved without a calculator. With that said, the SAT’s “No Calculator” questions require more reasoning than arithmetic skills. 

D. Science section

#7: Are you good with science concepts?

To be clear, both the ACT and the SAT test on science concepts. Although the SAT doesn’t have an official section called the science section, other SAT sections still require science concepts, such as skills to read graphs and charts. Plus, the ACT science section doesn’t ask for actual scientific facts, such as freezing points or different names of elements on the periodic table. 

However, students who struggle with science in general can still feel intimidated by the ACT’s science section for two reasons. First, having the official section called the science section, the ACT tends to use a lot of scientific language and terms. Second, the science section factors into your total score for the ACT. So, if you’re bad at science but are taking the ACT, you’re very likely going to worry about your low science score affecting your total score as well. 

E. Essay section 

#8: Do you feel more comfortable offering your own opinion than analyzing a passage?

While both the SAT and the ACT have one optional essay, one asks for an analysis of the passage and another asks for an opinion on the issue. 

The SAT essay gives you a passage to read and asks you to analyze the author’s argument using evidence and reasoning. You are asked to point out different rhetorical devices the author used and how they were successful or unsuccessful at persuading potential readers. You are not asked to give your own opinion. On the other hand, the ACT gives you a passage about an issue to read and asks you to analyze different perspectives on this issue. You are asked to give your own opinion on the issue. 

For more questions to ask yourself regarding other aspects of the tests, such as their format, check this ACT vs. SAT article. 

How do I prepare online for the SAT or ACT?

In times like this when social distancing is crucial, online lessons can come in real handy. Compared to personal tutors or conventional college prep centers, online prep courses are usually more accessible, affordable and diverse in forms of teaching. 

We have some recommendations on online prep courses for both the SAT and ACT.

Before diving into the actual list, though, let’s go over how we measured these SAT and ACT prep courses. 

  • Practice tests: With everything in life, the simple truth is that practice makes perfect. Same goes for the SAT and the ACT. The more you practice, the higher your score will be. So, the number of practice tests the prep course provides is important. However, knowing how to take the test is as important as knowing what’s going to be on the test. The depth of contents that follow and support each practice test, such as in-depth answer explanations or company blog articles on strategies and tips, matter as well. 
  • Customization: Yes, practice makes perfect. But, blind repetition is plain laziness. For each of the three sections in both the SAT and the ACT —  reading, writing and math — every student starts out at different levels. Rather than offering the same study plan for all students, a good prep course should be customizable to focus on strengthening each student’s weak areas. Also, a diverse set of prep options allows students to find one that fits their own study type. 
  • Variety of content: Besides practice tests, there are many ways to prepare for the test. A good prep course offers a variety of study tools, such as flashcards, games, live classrooms, quizzes, or 24/7 online study tutor. 
  • Time flexibility: A good prep course should make its content constantly available for students to create their own study schedules. Programs with mobile apps would also be very useful for busy students. 
  • Price: However great the course may be, if it doesn’t fit your budget, it’s probably out. Although many prep courses can be more pricey, there are a lot of affordable, and even free, courses that are still awesome in quality. 

Our choices of SAT prep courses

Here’s our handpicked list of the best SAT prep courses, varying in their strong and weak points. They are NOT listed by price range. 

1. Khan Academy

Partnering with the College Board, Khan Academy provides an official SAT prep course that comes with questions, tips and strategies, and other various contents from the very makers of the SAT. 

  • Practice tests: There are 8 full-length practice tests that come with answer explanations. Along with practice tests, thousands of practice questions for each section are available. 
  • Customization: Khan Academy’s prep course is highly customizable. After a short diagnostic quiz, Khan Academy builds a customized study plan with recommended areas to review. You can even link your past SAT scores to your account to get a more accurate study plan. 

Also, when you take one of the Khan Academy practice tests, you can snap a photo using the College Board’s app, called Daily Practice for the New SAT, and your scores will be uploaded to your Khan Academy dashboard. There, you will get recommendations on new areas to practice. 

  • Variety of content: Khan Academy provides a variety of study tools, such as interactive quizzes, video lessons, and reference articles on topics like studying strategies and time management. Also, the course offers videos of Sal Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, working through problems and explaining his approach to difficult questions. Still, Khan Academy lacks contents like live chat with actual teachers. 
  • Time flexibility: All of Khan Academy’s contents are highly flexible with time because they are all online. So, you can use them whenever and wherever you want. You can also download the Khan Academy app for free to access all of its PC contents on your phone. However, if you are more of an in-person study type or can’t keep up with a study plan by yourself, you may have to find a different course to motivate yourself more directly. 
  • Price: FREE 

2. PrepScholar

With teachers who scored in the 99th percentile or higher on the SAT, PrepScholar offers a wide variety of course options with high customization and expert-taught lessons. 

  • Practice tests: You will get up to 6 full-length practice tests and over 7,100 practice questions with detailed answer explanations for every question. 
  • Customization: You can choose out of 5 different prep options. 
  • The most basic and popular option — the Complete SAT Online Prep — includes unlimited access to all online study materials and assistance, such as a personalized study plan, customized feedback, and weekly reports that track your progress. 
  • The PrepScholar Classes option includes everything in the previous option plus online, expert-led class experience. 
  • The Complete + Tutoring includes everything in the Complete SAT Online Prep option plus hours of one-on-one tutoring session. 
  • The Complete Premium gives you access to everything in the Complete SAT Online Prep but for three years. 
  • Lastly, the Dual SAT + ACT includes prep tools for both the SAT and ACT. All options last at least a year.

Also, your program is continuously updated to adapt to your current difficulty level. Then, your updated program will pick and send out weekly assignments based on subjects or concepts that need more improvement. 

  • Variety of content: Besides practice tests and questions, you have access to over 210 hours of content, over 700 problem-solving videos, 98 skill lessons with strategy videos, and live online classrooms and in-person tutors. 

Also, you and your parents will receive weekly email reports from real PrepScholar teachers discussing how you are improving and motivating you to reach your set goals. 

  • Time flexibility: Out of 5 different prep options, the Complete SAT Online Prep is the most flexible with time. Although you need to adjust your time to a fixed schedule a little bit more, the PrepScholar Classes option also offers all materials online plus online classes taught by experts. You can receive all the benefits of an expert-led SAT class without having to step out of your own room. 
  • Price: Starting as low as $397 and going as high as $995, PrepScholar prep courses are worth it. 

3. Magoosh

With highly customized study plans and affordable prices, Magoosh is a good option for students who are low on budget, but want more than just practice tests and video lessons. 

  • Practice tests: You will get up to 3 practice tests and over 1,500 practice questions. Each practice question comes with a thorough explanation video that covers concepts and shortcuts. 
  • Customization: There are 3 plans with the same content and features, but with different duration of 1, 3 or 12 months. Every option includes unlimited access to all online study materials and assistance, such as customized study schedules and weekly progress reports from expert tutors. 

You will also get access to a dashboard that suggests video lessons to watch, tracks your progress and compares your results with those of other students. You can also customize practice sessions by choosing your subjects and difficulty level and turning on the optional timed quiz mode to practice time management.

  • Variety of content: Besides practice tests and questions, you can have access to flashcards, over 200 video lessons, personal assistance from expert tutors, detailed performance analysis, and weekly progress reports for parents. 
  • Time flexibility: Since Magoosh provides all of its contents online, its courses are highly flexible with time. They also provide two different mobile apps, one for video lessons and practice questions and another for flashcards with English and math concepts. However, if you are more of an in-person study type or can’t keep up with a study plan by yourself, you may have to find a different course to motivate yourself more directly. 
  • Price: Starting as low as $79 and going up to $129, depending on which test you take and duration of service, Magoosh offers affordable prep courses with a wide variety of content. You can also sign up for a 7-day trial for free and choose to pay later.  Plus, if you are already a Magoosh member and have been impacted by changes in test dates due to the outbreak, let them know and they will pause or extend your plan for free.

4. The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review offers a wide variety of study tools and course options to fit every student’s different situation and study styles. 

  • Practice tests: The number of practice tests varies by course options, from as low as 15 to as high as 24 full-length practice tests. Besides full-length practice tests, thousands of practice questions, hundreds of video contents, and 24/7 support from online tutors are available. So, basically, you’ll never run out of practice questions or resources explaining them. 
  • Customization: The Princeton Review offers 4 different options.
    • The Self-Paced option, which lasts a year, offers a comprehensive SAT study plan for busy, self-studiers whose schedules are different all the time. 
    • Lasting a year as well, the Ultimate Classroom option offers everything in the Self-Paced option plus 18 hours of class time from an SAT expert and three proctored practice tests. 
    • The SAT 1400+ option, which also lasts a year, includes everything in the Self-Paced option plus class time with 1 expert tutor and 4 proctored practice tests. 
    • Lastly, the Private Tutoring option offers everything in Self-Paced option plus one-on-one sessions with expert tutors. 

Also, with every course option, you get personalized lesson plans based on your practice tests and drills to avoid wasting time on things that you already know and to focus on things that you keep getting wrong. 

  • Variety of content: The Princeton Review offers a wide variety of different content, from over 280 online video lessons to 377 online drills to multiple hours of chat time with experts. You and your parents can track progress and set study goals to avoid any cramming or panic attacks the night before the test date. Also, with every course option, students can use a set of 500 flashcards with English and math concepts. The flashcards are available in print and online. 
  • Time flexibility: Out of 4 different course options, the Self-Paced option allows the most flexibility with time. Students can access on-demand lessons online whenever they want.
  • Price: Varying by course options, the price can be as low as $274 or as high as $2,300. 

5. Kaplan

With expert teachers who scored at 90 percent or above on the SAT, Kaplan provides customizable and expert-led course options. 

  • Practice tests: All course options include at least 8 full-length practice tests online and Kaplan’s Big Book of SAT practice tests. Besides practice tests, thousands of practice questions and both recorded and live lessons online are available to help you know not only what’s on the test, but also how to tackle them.
  • Customization: There are 8 different course options. 
    • The Self-Paced option lasts for 6 months and includes unlimited access to all online study materials and assistance, such as a personalized study plan, expert instruction and QBank, which builds personalized quizzes. 
    • With varying duration by schedules, the Live Online includes everything in the Self-Paced option plus 18 hours of live online instruction and 30 hours of live instruction on The SAT Channel, which is Kaplan’s own channel for online, expert-led sessions. 
    • The In-Person option gives everything the Live Online option gives, but in person. 
    • The Tutoring option gives you access to all online materials with one-on-one assistance from an expert tutor. 
    • Lasting through December of the senior year, the Unlimited Prep option gives you all online study tools, such as Kaplan classes, the SAT and ACT Channels, proctored practice tests and QBank for all three tests, the SAT, ACT and PSAT. 
    • The Math Foundations option focuses on improving your math score for all three tests.
    • The Rapid Review Live option gives you last-minute review for Math, Verbal or both sections in the SAT. 
    • Lastly, the Qbank option gives you access to Qbank only. 

All of Kaplan’s prep courses are highly customizable. All options provide online resources as well as customized study plans based on your practice tests. You also receive progress reports to help track your performance. 

  • Variety of content: Besides practice tests and practice questions, updated online quizzes and Qbank, a set of 600 flashcards, up to 40 hours of video lessons, 24/7 access to live instructions, and hours of private coaching are available for students. 
  • Time flexibility: Out of many course options, the Self-Paced option is the most flexible in time. The option gives you access to not only the online practice questions and online QBank, but also 40 hours of self-scheduled video lessons on terms and topics tested in the SAT. 
  • Price: Varying by course option, the price can be as low as $30 or as high as $4,599. The Self-Paced option starts at $299. 

6. CrackSAT.net

With its very simple website, CrackSAT.net is literally an online directory of SAT practice tests. However, there’s nothing much more than that. No video contents, custom-built study plans, or answer explanations. 

  • Practice tests: There are a lot. Really, a lot. You can take both new and old SAT practice tests either online or in print. You can also take smaller sets of problems from all three sections, reading, math and writing. For example, if you need to improve in paired passages from the reading section, you can click on “SAT Reading” and choose from a list of paired passages. 
  • Customization: CrackSAT.net does not give a custom-built study plan or recommendations for each student. It doesn’t even have a membership system. 
  • Variety of content: CrackSAT.net keeps its content very simple and direct. Definitely not colorful. Practice tests, SAT subject tests, and college essay samples and tips. And that’s it. 
  • Time flexibility: Since you can find all of its contents online, CrackSAT.net is highly flexible with time. However, just like Khan Academy, this prep course may be too online for those who work better with an in-person tutor or a set study schedule. CrackSAT.net does not have a mobile app. 
  • Price: FREE 

Our choices of ACT prep courses

Like the SAT courses above, our handpicked list of the best ACT prep courses vary in their strong and weak points, and are NOT listed by price range. 

1. ACT.org

ACT.org not only makes the test, but also offers a comprehensive ACT prep course for free. Although the ACT prep course doesn’t have in-person tutors, its online services are good enough for most students. 

  • Practice tests: Every option varies in the number of full-length practice tests. Besides the tests, the ACT prep course includes thousands of practice questions followed by explanations and tips to help you solve each question. 
  • Customization: The ACT Academy is a free online tool that includes a personalized study plan based on your previous scores, practice tests and a wide variety of online resources, such as practice questions, video lessons and educational games. If you’re willing to pay a little, there are 3 types of ACT Rapid Review and 2 other prep options that are affordable, yet awesome in quality. 
  • Lasting 3 month, the ACT Rapid Review Live includes a virtual classroom with instruction from experts and real time Q & A.   
  • Lasting 6 months, the ACT Rapid Review On Demand includes a comprehensive directory of video lessons from experts and real time Q & A. 
  • Also lasting 6 months, the ACT Rapid Review All Access includes everything from the other two options above. Note that this option is free for students eligible for fee waivers. 
  • Lasting for 6 months, the ACT Online Prep includes practice tests, a personalized study plan, online tools to track your progress and set daily goals, customized flashcards, and online resources, such as games and a mobile app. 
  • Lasting for 6 months, the official ACT Prep Pack includes everything in the ACT OnlinePrep plus a physical ACT prep book.   
  • Variety of content: There are a lot of variety even with the free content, such as games where you and your friends can compete, and daily reminders and goals to keep you on the right track and video lessons. 
  • Time flexibility: All of ACT’s contents are highly flexible with time because they are all online. So, you can use them whenever and wherever you want. You can also download the ACT app for free to access all of its PC contents on your phone. However, if you are more of an in-person study type or can’t keep up with a study plan by yourself, you may have to find a different course to motivate yourself more directly. 
  • Price: FREE. For the five types of paid prep options, the price ranges from as low as $39.95 to as high as $99. 

2. PrepScholar

With teachers who scored in the 99th percentile or higher on the ACT, PrepScholar offers a wide variety of course options with high customization and expert-taught lessons. 

  • Practice tests: You will get up to 4 full-length practice tests and over 1,800 practice questions with detailed answer explanations for every question. 
  • Customization: You can choose out of 5 different prep options. All options last at least a year.
    • The most basic and popular option — the Complete ACT Online Prep — includes one year access to all online study materials and assistance, such as a personalized study plan, customized feedback, and weekly reports that track your progress. 
    • The PrepScholar Classes option includes everything in the previous option plus online, expert-led class experience. 
    • The Complete + Tutoring includes everything in the Complete ACT Online Prep option plus hours of one-on-one tutoring session. 
    • The Complete Premium gives you access to everything in the Complete ACT Online Prep, but for three years. 
    • Lastly, the Dual SAT + ACT includes prep tools for both the SAT and ACT. 

Also, your program is continuously updated to adapt to your current difficulty level. Then, your updated program will pick and send out weekly assignments based on subjects or concepts that need more improvement. 

  • Variety of content: Besides practice tests and questions, you have access to over 60 hours of content, 70 skill lessons with strategy videos, and live online classrooms and in-person tutors. Also, you and your parents will receive weekly email reports from real PrepScholar teachers discussing how you are improving and motivating you to reach your set goals. 
  • Time flexibility: Out of 5 different prep options, the Complete ACT Online Prep is the most flexible with time. Although you need to adjust your time to a fixed schedule a little bit more, the PrepScholar Classes option also offers all materials online plus online classes taught by experts. You can receive all the benefits of an expert-led ACT class without having to step out of your own room. 
  • Price: Starting as low as $397 and going as high as $995, PrepScholar prep courses are worth it. 

3. Magoosh

With highly customized study plans and affordable prices, Magoosh is a good option for busy students who are low on budget, but want more than just practice tests and video lessons. 

  • Practice tests: You will get up to 4 practice tests, over 250 video lessons and 1,500 practice questions. Each practice question comes with a thorough explanation video that covers concepts and shortcuts. 
  • Customization: There are 3 plans with the same content and features, but with different duration of 1, 3 or 12 months. Every option includes unlimited access to all online study materials and assistance, such as customized study schedules and weekly progress reports from expert tutors. 

You will also get access to a dashboard that estimates your score, suggests video lessons to watch, tracks your progress, and compares your results with those of other students. Also, Magoosh offers a smart review system that allows you to review your performance based on time, difficulty, subject or according to your own bookmarks. 

You’ll receive targeted study schedules and weekly study planners that are customized based on your performance. You can also create customized practice sessions on specific subjects and set difficulty levels. 

  • Variety of content: Besides practice tests and online instructional materials, you can have access to personal assistance from expert tutors, detailed performance analysis, and weekly progress reports for parents. 
  • Time flexibility: Since Magoosh provides all of its contents online, its courses are highly flexible with time. They also provide two different mobile apps, one for video lessons and practice questions and another for 216 flashcards with English, Science and Math concepts. However, if you are more of an in-person study type or can’t keep up with a study plan by yourself, you may have to find a different course to motivate yourself more directly. 
  • Price: Starting as low as $79 and going up to $129, depending on which test you take and duration of service, Magoosh offers affordable prep courses with a wide variety of content. You can also sign up for a 7-day trial for free and choose to pay later. Plus, if you are already a Magoosh member and have been impacted by changes in test dates due to the outbreak, let them know and they will pause or extend your plan for free.

4. The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review offers a wide variety of study tools and course options to fit every student’s different situation and study styles. Its options offer the most practice tests out of our 6 handpicked prep courses. 

  • Practice tests: The number of practice tests varies by course options, from as low as 2 to as high as more than 30 full-length practice tests. Besides full-length practice tests, thousands of practice questions, hundreds of video contents, and 24/7 support from online tutors are available. So, basically, you’ll never run out of practice questions or resources explaining them. 
  • Customization: The Princeton Review offers 6 different options.
    • The ACT Self-Paced option includes a year’s access to all online materials, such as videos and personalized online tools, and 8 ACT practice tests. 
    • The SAT & ACT Self-Paced Prep includes everything in the ACT Self-Paced Prep plus 15 SAT practice tests, 8 PSAT practice tests, and online video lessons for AP tests. 
    • Lasting a year as well, the Ultimate option includes everything in the ACT & SAT Self-Paced Prep plus 18 hours of in-person focused class time, 6 extra practice tests, and 3 scheduled, proctored practice tests. 
    • The ACT 31+ includes everything in the ACT & SAT Self-Paced Prep plus ACT Advantage LiveOnline Sessions, 20 extra full-length practice tests, 8 single-section practice tests, 1 expert tutor, 4 proctored practice tests, and 24/7 On-Demand Tutoring. 
    • As the most personalized option, the Private Tutoring option includes access to all the online materials, custom-built apps for managing progress, communication with a tutor and scheduling, and SAT and PSAT prep. 
    • The ACT Cram Course option includes 6 hours of live online classroom instruction, 2 full-length practice tests, 8 section-specific practice tests, and access to online materials. 

Also, with every course option, you get personalized lesson plans based on your practice tests and drills to avoid wasting time on things that you already know and to focus on things that you keep getting wrong. 

  • Variety of content: The Princeton Review offers a wide variety of different content, from over 280 online video lessons to 377 online drills to multiple hours of chat time with experts. You and your parents can track progress and set study goals to avoid any cramming or panic attacks the night before the test date. 
  • Time flexibility: Out of six different course options, the Self-Paced option allows the most flexibility with time. Students can access on-demand lessons online whenever they want.
  • Price: The price varies a lot by options. For example, the ACT Cram Course costs $399, the ACT 31+ costs $1,349, and the ACT Self-Paced costs $150. 

5. Kaplan

With expert teachers who scored at 90 percent or above on the ACT, Kaplan provides customizable and expert-led course options. 

  • Practice tests: All course options include up to 9 full-length practice tests. Besides practice tests, thousands of practice questions and both recorded and live lessons online are available to help you know not only what’s on the test, but also how to tackle them. 
  • Customization: There are 5 different course options. 
    • The Self-Paced option lasts for 6 months and includes ACT prep books and unlimited access to all online study materials and assistance, such as a personalized study plan, expert instruction and QBank, which builds personalized quizzes. 
    • With varying duration by schedules, the Live Online includes everything in the Self-Paced option plus 32 hours of live online instruction and over 25 hours of on-demand lessons. 
    • The College Prep Pass includes everything in the Self-Paced option plus essay feedback within 72 hours, double the amount of hours of video lessons, live classes for not only the ACT, but also the SAT, PSAT and AP tests and a college checklist to help you keep track of important deadlines. 
    • The Tutoring option includes 10, 20 or 40 hours of in-person tutoring and access to all online materials and live online courses. 
    • Lasting through December of the senior year, the Unlimited Prep option gives you access to all online study tools, such as Kaplan classes, The SAT and ACT Channels, proctored practice tests and QBank for all three tests, the SAT, ACT and PSAT. 

All of Kaplan’s prep courses are highly customizable. All options provide online resources as well as customized study plans based on your practice tests. You also receive progress reports to help track your performance. 

  • Variety of content: Besides practice tests and practice questions, there are updated online quizzes and Qbank, a set of 500 flashcards, up to 50 hours of video lessons, 24/7 access to live review sessions, online classrooms, private Q & A, progress reports, and hours of private coaching available for students. 
  • Time flexibility: Out of many course options, the Self-Paced option is the most flexible in time. The option gives you access to not only the online practice questions and online QBank, but also 25 hours of self-scheduled video lessons on terms and topics tested in the ACT. 
  • Price: Varying by course option, the price can be as low as $299 or as high as $1,999. The Self-Paced option starts at $299. 

6. Testive

Testive is a very parent-friendly prep course. All of its options not only start with a free consultation between an expert and your family, but also leave a lot of space for both parents and students to work together in setting study plans and communicating with expert tutors. 

  • Practice tests: The number of practice tests varies by course options. Besides full-length practice tests, each student gets a focused practice set that lasts about 20 to 30 minutes daily and an instant answer explanation for questions you get wrong. 
  • Customization: Testive offers three different prep options. 
  • Lasting at least a month, the Coaching option includes live 1-on-1 online coaching sessions, unlimited access to online study materials, personalized study plans and weekly assignments, and learning software adapted to your performance.
  • Lasting from 4 to 6 weeks, the Bootcamp option includes everything in the Coaching option plus 1-on-1 sessions twice a week. 
  • Lasting at least a month, the Coaching Plus includes everything in the Coaching option plus even more thorough monitoring of a student’s progress and 1-on-1 sessions twice a week.
  • Variety of content: Besides online materials, such as video lessons and study plans, Testive’s options are very good at communicating feedback and advice from tutors to students and their families. All options provide text message reminders, weekly meeting notes for parents and students, parent portal to track progress, and email and phone support.  
  • Time flexibility: Since all of its materials are online, all three options are flexible with time. However, since the Bootcamp option is for students who need to get done with the ACT in a few weeks, you need to see if your schedule leaves enough room to focus just on the ACT for a short period of time. 
  • Price: The Coaching option costs $399 per month, the Coaching Plus option costs $599 per month, and the Bootcamp option costs $799. To start, you can take one full-length practice test for free. 

Conclusion

With more time in hand, it’s easy to binge on YouTube or Netflix. However, if you put it to a good use, this time can save a lot of time and money in the long run. Moreover, if you are willing to invest some money, you can also help keep track of your progress with customized study plans and learning tools from online prep courses. If not, there are still many free resources available online.