There aren’t many high school students or parents complaining about the lack of ACT test preparation out there. If anything, you are wondering how to choose a program when there are so many! No matter which ACT tutoring course you pick, you will have to invest both time and money.
It is important to have a thorough understanding of the different test prep companies and what they offer. This article will provide you with everything you need to know about PrepScholar so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not they are the ACT tutoring company for you.
PrepScholar was created by Allen Cheng and Fred Zhang, two Harvard graduates and perfect SAT scorers. They wanted to create a diverse test prep program. In their experience, too many tutoring companies offer a one-size-fits-all program that doesn’t benefit most students. After diving into what PrepScholar has to offer, I feel confident that they have succeeded in their goal. PrepScholar offers a wide range of prep packages and was specifically designed to adapt to students’ needs.
PrepScholar is an online, self-paced ACT program (they do offer other options that I will cover later on). The program is flexible, allowing you to complete your ACT prep when it works best with your schedule. PrepScholar points out that the time it takes students to drive to a tutoring lesson is precious time that could be spent studying. Furthermore, the program is all-inclusive: All five sections of the ACT (English, Math, Reading, Science, and Essay Writing) are covered throughout the course.
The online ACT program is made up of Premium, Core, and Master Lessons. These lessons teach strategies and fundamental concepts for the various types of ACT questions either through a reading or video tutorial. The lessons also incorporate practice problems that guide you through what you’re learning. The lessons and videos are easy to follow and engaging.
Between lessons, there are practice problems and quizzes to complete. Overall, PrepScholar has a data bank with over 2,400 realistic ACT questions (“realistic” meaning they weren’t written by the ACT board). To ensure students are exposed to official ACT material, the PrepScholar program incorporates three exams written by the ACT board.
PrepScholar prides itself on the adaptive algorithm built into the online ACT program. At the initial time of enrollment, students take a 60-question diagnostic test that is meant to take between 60-80 minutes. This diagnostic ACT exam tests students on 30 ACT skills to figure out their strengths and weaknesses. Then, a customized ACT prep plan is auto-generated.
As you complete lessons, practice problems, and quizzes, the algorithm constantly updates the type of questions and level of difficulty you encounter. Once you have mastered a skill, the program will focus on other areas of weakness. This customization allows students to study efficiently, optimizing their ACT point increase.
Once you complete the diagnostic exam and your tailored ACT prep is generated, you will officially know what to do. So often, students want to study for the ACT but feel overwhelmed with where to start, what to focus on, etc. This will not be the case with PrepScholar.
When you log into your account, the Dashboard provides the tasks you should complete for that week. There will be 10-15 assignments made up of lessons, quizzes, and practice tests. All assignments are chosen based on your demonstrated strengths and weaknesses.
You still have some wiggle room in deciding what to work on. For example, you can choose to do the math lesson if you aren’t feeling like reading that day. Overall, the dashboard is meant to put you on a set ACT study path—much like a tutor would.
Seeing as this is an online program, it is important that the interface is engaging and helpful. I definitely found it to be. You can set a study schedule that will display in your account, along with a running tally of the total time spent studying that week and how much longer it will take to meet your goal.
There is also a progress tracker that updates as you complete lessons, and is broken down by subject. It essentially tracks all progress of passed work, providing the encouragement every student needs on their ACT prep journey.
Furthermore, the practice questions have detailed answers and explanations to review. Touching on logistics, the video lessons are well made with good audio (which is not the case with many companies), and the instructors focus on both ACT strategy and content.
Not only do the time and progress trackers provide a level of accountability for the student, but weekly emails are sent out to both students and parents. These weekly reports show how many lessons have been completed and the number of hours spent studying. If the student is on track, they will be complimented for the work well done. If the student has been slacking off, the parent is notified.
Personally, this feature was a huge highlight for me. It is hard to stay on top of your student’s progress if you can’t ask a tutor, “how is my child doing?” Through these weekly reports, parents can stay in the loop, even if their child is completing a self-paced program. Also, an email can be sent to one of the instructors at any point. Although, it could take one business day to get a response.
All of the material is completed online. However, the actual ACT is a paper-delivered test. There are some strategies that could be challenging to practice without using a pencil and paper (such as crossing out non-essential clauses in the English section). There are three official ACT exams incorporated into the program, but they are not mailed out to students. You have to complete them online as well.
Also, if you have a hard time staying focused in general, an online program might not be the best option. Many of the lessons come in the form of written text. The video lessons are engaging, but you don’t actually see an instructor. You only hear the teacher’s voice. While the instructor writes on the powerpoint to work out problems, you can just see the written text. For those who find it hard to stay tuned in during class, not seeing an actual person might make it even more challenging to focus.
Once again, because this program is online, make sure you have a reliable internet connection and a good device. If your computer screen resembles a spider web or you constantly find yourself frustrated with how long it takes your internet to load, an online program might not be your best option.
Some students might have already mastered parts of the ACT exam and only want to focus on one or two sections. The PrepScholar program is meant to prepare students for the entire test. For example, there is no option for you to purchase just math prep. This program is best for those who are just starting out on their ACT tutoring journey.
PrepScholar offers a wide range of ACT courses that go beyond just the online self-paced program. Some students might need a little more guidance in their ACT prep that calls for a classroom setting or one-on-one instruction. If this is the case, PrepScholar is here to assist. In addition to the below options, PrepScholar also offers a dual SAT and ACT prep package for students preparing for both exams. All packages come with a five day risk-free trial.
For a veteran test prep instructor with high expectations for online tutoring programs, I feel confident in my recommendation of PrepScholar. They have created an engaging ACT course that focuses on ACT strategy and content, takes the burden of knowing what and how to study off students, keeps parents in the loop with weekly progress reports, and provides an abundant amount of practice questions and progress tracking.
Much of what is incorporated into the PrepScholar program can be hard to find in self-paced courses. PrepScholar is a wonderful option for students who are just starting to prepare for the ACT and need a flexible tutoring course.