ACT Online Prep Review


ACT Online Prep is an automated test-prep program created by the company that produces the real ACT.

All of the content in the program is authentic, retired from previously administered ACT exams. This is in contrast to most prep programs, which write their own practice questions, and may not do a very good job of matching the style and content of the actual test.

When you register with ACT Online Prep, you get access to all of their tools and resources for six months.

What’s Included:

  • A diagnostic test
  • Lessons covering every topic tested on the ACT  
  • 450 customizable flashcards
  • Tools to track your progress
  • 4 full-length practice tests
  • 2 practice Writing prompts
  • A mobile app
  • A discussion area where you can chat with other students
  • A game center

How It Works

You start by taking a quick diagnostic to measure your current skill-level in each of the four areas of the ACT.

At this point, you have a choice. You can either work through all of the course materials in order, or you can set the software to adapt to your input and guide you to the lessons that will benefit you most. It’s easy to switch back and forth between these modes at any time.

Either way, you’ll get a dashboard with progress bars that show clearly where you are, what you’ve achieved, and what your current weak spots are in test-taking. Tell the program how much time you have before your ACT, and it will help you create an optimum study schedule.

ACT Online Prep lessons are text-based and focus mainly on academic content. Because the company doesn’t want to teach students to avoid its sneaky traps, there isn’t much emphasis on test-taking strategies.

As you build your skills, use the 450 e-flashcards to review and drill basic concepts in math, language, and science.

Four authentic practice tests are available to take at intervals during your prep. Like the rest of this program, they’re genuine ACT material retired from actual tests. There’s no better way to get familiar with the kinds of questions you’ll encounter on test day.

Unfortunately, the system requires you to take the practice tests on screen. To boost your benefit, get a copy of The Official ACT Prep Guide 2020 and challenge yourself to take at least a couple of full-length tests under realistic conditions (first thing in the morning, under time pressure, and using pencil and paper). The experience will make a significant difference to your readiness for the real ACT.

Another option is to buy the ACT Online Prep Pack, which includes the book, the automated tools, and 2,400 extra online practice questions.  

Unlike some other online courses, ACT Online Prep doesn’t offer an option for adding tutoring to your program. It’s strictly an automated course.

What People Like About ACT Online Prep


The best thing about this course is its realism. No other company offers online test-prep using only genuine practice questions. After working with ACT Online Prep, you won’t be ambushed by lurking surprises on test day.

The Discussion Area

As far as I know, ACT Online Prep is the only online test-prep program that lets you connect with other students. You can hang out, help each other, share insights, and compare results.

The Games

There are two schools of thought on ACT games. Some students find them a fun change of pace and a good way to review. Others say they’re so simple–and so transparently educational–that they’re really just practice questions in a slightly different form. It really depends on everyone’s own personal, objective experience.

The Price

ACT Online Prep is significantly more affordable than most comprehensive online test-prep programs.

Try ACT Online Prep If . . .

  • You’re looking for a basic, inexpensive automated program that covers all the test content without a lot of extra features
  • You learn a great deal from reading, but want more guidance than you’d get from books alone
  • You’re motivated by competition and enjoy challenging other students enrolled in the course
  • You haven’t yet worked with The Official ACT Prep Guide and want to get familiar with realistic ACT practice questions.
  • You’re self-motivated and don’t need the support of a tutor

One Final Note

ACT has partnered with Kaplan to create ACT/Kaplan Online Prep Live: a free (or low-cost) test-prep option designed to be accessible to everyone. It includes all the tools and materials you get with ACT Online Prep, plus video tutorials and homework help from Kaplan instructors.

For more on ACT/Kaplan Online Prep Live, swing by here.