Testive ACT Prep Review


Testive was founded back in 2011 by two MIT grads who wanted to fix the most common weakness among automated test-prep courses: lack of community and accountability.

The Testive system has two parts:

  • Highly adaptive test-prep software
  • Coaching from a dedicated mentor who monitors your online practice from start to finish

The two parts are designed to work together. Though Testive’s software is available for free, they don’t recommend using it alone. In addition, they don’t offer traditional tutoring without the online lesson and practice materials.

The Programs

Here are Testive’s three options for ACT prep:

  1. Coaching
  2. Coaching Plus
  3. Bootcamp

1. Coaching

Coaching is Testive’s most popular plan. It includes:

  • A diagnostic test
  • A personalized lesson plan and study schedule
  • Access to adaptive Testive software, including lessons and practice problems covering every topic that the ACT tests.
  • One 30-minute meeting with your coach each week
  • Customized weekly assignments
  • Multiple practice tests
  • Optional text messages reminding you to study
  • A weekly email update for parents
  • A score improvement guarantee
  • A two-week free trial

2. Coaching Plus

Coaching Plus offers the same resources as Coaching, but you get two weekly meetings with your coach.

3. Bootcamp

Bootcamp is just like Coaching Plus, but you’ll be covering academic concepts and test strategy at an accelerated rate. It’s intended for students who have less than six weeks to prepare for the ACT.

How It Works

First you’ll have a phone consultation with an advisor at Testive. Together, you’ll figure out your score goals and a plan for reaching them. You’ll commit to completing at least 100 practice questions each week, spread over at least 3 days of study.

Next, Testive pairs you with a coach who’s a good match for your personality and interests. You’ll take the diagnostic test and get your first weekly assignment.

From that point on, you’ll use the automated program to work on all four multiple-choice sections of the ACT. Your coach will be able to see every problem you tackle, so they’ll know immediately when you need extra help. Each week they’ll email you a progress report that lets you know how you’re doing overall. If you want, they’ll also update your family.

In addition, you and your coach will schedule either one or two 30-minute meetings each week (depending on which program you’ve chosen). They’ll answer questions, clarify hard topics, and make sure you’re following through on your commitments. Most of your learning will happen in your independent practice sessions, so chats with your coach can be relatively brief.

At least once each month, your coach will assign you a full-length practice ACT. Testive offers authentic practice tests written by the company that creates the real ACT. For maximum benefit, you’ll want to take them under realistic conditions with pencil and paper (though you can also opt to take them online). Upload your answers to the site for instant scoring and feedback.

The free Testive software trains students for both the ACT and the SAT. It’s easy to switch back and forth between the tests at any time.

Why People Like Testive

Coaching and Practice On Demand

Testive is the only test-prep company that combines software and human support in this unique style. It’s great for students who like working with automated materials, but also appreciate having someone there to keep them moving forward.

Testive makes an effort to match you with a coach whom you’ll connect with personally. They’re all people who’ve scored in the top 1% on the ACT, so they’re experts on test content and strategy. If you decide you want to try a different coach, you can do that at any time.

Easy Communication

Testive students can contact their coach at any time with questions or concerns. There’s no limit on how often you can reach out.

The Student Practice Page

The Student Practice Page is your Testive home page, where you can see your progress, schedule calls with your coach, and check your assignments. It’s clear and easy to navigate.


My favorite part of the Testive system is the way it handles mistakes (I’m a tutor, and I get excited about these things).

Deep-diving into your weak spots is the single most powerful step you can take to raise your ACT scores. But it’s not easy to do on your own. Often, students working without an instructor will toss their mistakes aside and jump straight into more practice problems, hoping to do better next time.

When you choose a wrong answer on a Testive problem, you get an instant explanation of the question and a video showing you the steps for answering correctly. The great part is, you’re invited to think about why you got the question wrong. Was there an academic concept that you didn’t know yet? Or maybe the question itself was confusing? Once you’ve classified the problem, you’re given space to jot down personal notes on exactly what you’ll do differently next time you encounter a similar question, such as something like, “Read the whole problem carefully and make sure I’m solving for the correct value.”

All your notes appear together on your Review page, where you (and your coach) can use them to plan next steps.

The Testive software leads you through the process of analyzing mistakes as if you had a tutor by your side. And if you’re not doing it, or not doing it effectively, your coach will be able to step in and help.

My Concern

I sampled Testive’s ACT instruction by watching a couple of video lessons on the English section. Some of the information offered was right on target, but some was either misleading or flat-out incorrect. I also noticed an on-screen typo.

How big of a problem is this?

Testive software is intended to be used under the guidance of a coach who could potentially clarify any confusing misinformation in the videos. A student working with the web materials alone might be left with some incorrect ideas that could cost them points.

Is Testive Right For Me?

Testive may be a good choice for you if . . .

  • You enjoy working with automated study materials, but you also like the idea of connecting with a human mentor.
  • You need help pinpointing your weak spots
  • You’re prepping for both the ACT and the SAT
  • You need help changing a bad habit (not reading the whole question, guessing randomly, etc.)
  • You want consistent help with staying on schedule (more than you could get from a classroom instructor).