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Anika Manzoor

The 16 Best Online Resources for Free ACT Prep 2020

Student researching best free ACT prep online on desktop computer
 

If you’re looking for the best free ACT prep online, you’re in the right place! As with many things in life, the Internet can be a black hole of test prep resources and ACT study sites are no exception. There are some good resources, some not so good, some free and some exorbitantly priced. Lucky for you, we did the hard work of researching for you!

Here are the 16 best free act prep websites, apps, and online resources of 2020.

Free Websites and Apps

1. ACT Academy

If you’re looking for the best free online ACT prep, look no further than ACT Academy, an online portal created by the official makers of the ACT. It has a goldmine of resources in the form of video lessons, educational games, quizzes, test-taking strategy tips, important reminders, and two full-length practice tests. These practice tests are made up of retired ACT questions—meaning that these questions were once on a REAL ACT exam.

What’s cool about ACT Academy is how it personalizes your test prep based on previous scores on either the ACT or the PreACT and your performance on practice problems and practice tests. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is critical to make the most out of your ACT prep, so this feature makes it really easy for you to build on your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

When you create an account, it will ask you for a high school class code from your teacher. If you don’t have one, you just check the option “I’m here to practice for the ACT/PreACT” and then hit the “Go to class” button:

log in pop up for act academy, the best act online prep free

Once you’ve created your account, your dashboard will look something like this:

dashboard for act academy, the best act prep online free

You really can’t go wrong starting your ACT prep journey with ACT Academy. In fact, an analysis of ACT Academy’s effectiveness found that with moderate study (just around 6 hours), students were able to improve their score by 1-2 points. That is pretty impressive!

2. Official ACT Website

The official ACT website, actstudent.org, is not just a place to take care of ACT logistics, such as signing up for the test and getting your scores. There is also a ton of valuable test prep material if you know where to look. This includes sample questions, sample student essays, college admissions planning advice, and, yes, a full-length ACT practice test PDF made up of real ACT questions that are no longer in use.

Navigating the official ACT website is a bit confusing since there are so many resources, so check out our detailed post on which parts of the official ACT website are the most helpful for test-takers.

A note about practice tests and questions

Before you get TOO excited about another free practice test, know that this is one of the practice tests also available on ACT Academy. But having the test in both formats can come to your advantage! Most test-takers take the paper version of the ACT, so printing out the PDF and taking the practice test that way will give you the best sense of how you’ll do on test day. When you’re finished, you can input your answers on ACT Academy, which will automatically score your test and help further personalize your test prep in the portal. But if you’re one of the few students taking the computerized ACT, you can skip the PDF version altogether!

You should get excited about the practice questions on the ACT website because they are different from the ones you’ll find on ACT Academy. It will be useful to study with this material in between practice exams to further understand your strengths and weaknesses and make sure you are maximizing your ACT prep.

3. Old Official ACT Practice Tests

Throughout the years, the ACT has released 5 additional practice tests made up of real ACT questions. While you can’t find archives of previously released tests on the website, lucky for you, we have provided them below!

ACT 2005-2006 Practice Test
ACT 2008-2009 Practice Test
ACT 2011-2012 Practice Test
ACT 2014-2015 Practice Test
ACT 2016-2017 Practice Test (this test is also available in ACT Academy)

Although the tests released between 2005 and 2015 have outdated essays that you shouldn’t practice with (the ACT revamped their essay in 2016), these tests are still pretty valuable because the question types and overall ACT format have not changed much over the years. In fact, the best way to practice for the ACT is to take full-length practice tests, so these tests are really some of the best free ACT prep available online.

4. PrepFactory

PrepFactory’s approach differs quite a bit from that of your traditional test prep company. It doesn’t have full-length practice exams (although supposedly they’re in development) and its practice questions don’t fully reflect the questions that you’d see on the official ACT.

You may be thinking, “It doesn’t have practice questions modeled after the ACT? Then why on earth would I use this?” And you would be right to wonder! But that is what’s innovative about PrepFactory’s approach–it is all about helping you master ACT concepts and strategy first in order to work you up to real practice. PrepFactory can be a great place to start your ACT prep if you are intimidated by the whole test prep process or if traditional standardized test prep is not suited to your learning style.

PrepFactory uses an engaging, “gamified” platform that has several modules corresponding to each concept tested on each section of the ACT. I like to think of PrepFactory questions as bite-sized ACT questions that are designed to make sure you fully understand the concept of a given module.

For example, if you struggle with identifying the main idea in a typical ACT reading passage, the relevant module on PrepFactory will give you a sequence of questions meant to help you build the skills for finding the main idea and then will end the module with questions on identifying the main idea in short paragraphs. Here is an example of such a practice question:

 

PrepFactory is accessible, interactive, fun, and FREE, making it one of the best ACT test prep options offered (by the way, be sure to also follow their Twitter account to get ACT tips sent directly to your feed). You may even find it useful to take full advantage of this resource before taking a stab at more realistic ACT practice questions or full-length practice tests. You could focus on the concepts you struggle most with or you can finish all the PrepFactory modules to gain a sense of accomplishment and motivation while also getting some really solid ACT practice in 🙂

 

Liam got a 35 on the ACT. Get a higher ACT score with Magoosh.

What People Say About PrepFactory:

 

5. Magoosh ACT Blog

Disclaimer: We actually happen to think you are already using some of the best ACT prep online! But, yeah, we’re biased.

Our mission with the Magoosh ACT Blog is to bring you high-quality advice on what to study, how to study, and what is going on with the ACT in general. Helping students is something we are truly passionate about and we work hard to make sure we are giving you the best advice.

To make the most of our resources, you would definitely want to check out our ACT study plans, our FREE ACT ebook, and our our FREE full-length practice test.

And then you can use the search box to find what you are looking for in terms of strategy, advice, reviews of ACT prep books, tips for test day, video lessons, and so much more. (If we don’t have what you are looking for, just let us know in the comments and we will get right on it 🙂 ).

 

What People Say About the Magoosh ACT Blog:

 

6. Magoosh ACT Apps

 

Magoosh Apps

A sample question from Magoosh’s ACT prep web app.

Our free ACT apps are super useful study resources for when you are on the bus, in line, or otherwise on the go. Both are available as web apps or mobile apps.

We have our ACT flashcards app, which has over 200 flashcards to give you practice with the most commonly-tested English, Math, and Science concepts. We also have our free ACT prep app, equipped with over 100 video tutorials and practice questions for every ACT exam section. In fact, you can get over 100 ACT lessons and practice questions for free!

 

What People Say About The Magoosh ACT Test Prep Apps:

 

7. Pocket Prep App

The Pocket Prep App is another great app for studying on the go. The free version has a small bank of questions, 14 days worth of Question of the Days, and chat support.

There is nothing like taking paper-based practice tests to make sure you’re the most prepared for test day. But apps are some of the best online ACT prep because they make it so easy to fit practice into the nooks and crannies of your schedule. Sometimes it feels like you’re not even prepping!

 

What People Say About The Pocket Prep App:

 

8. The Magoosh ACT YouTube Channel

If online courses aren’t your thing, the Magoosh YouTube channel has nearly 100 videos (and counting!) on all the ACT tips and strategies you could think of. In the spirit of this post, you might want to check out the following video, which discusses some additional online resources you may want to consider for your ACT prep that aren’t covered in this post:

 

What People Say About the Magoosh ACT YouTube Channel:

 

But enough about us. There are other great ACT prep YouTube channels as well! Read on for two others that we recommend.

9. The SupertutorTV YouTube Channel

 

Like Magoosh, SupertutorTV has a growing and excellent collection of videos detailing various ACT tips and strategies. What differs SupertutorTV from other ACT prep channels is the quality of their video production, which might be useful for highly visual learners. An added bonus of this channel is that it has additional videos about student life, such as stress management, college admissions, and more.

 

What People Say About The SupertutorTV YouTube Channel:

 

10. The Best ACT Prep YouTube Channel

 

Although Best ACT Prep is no longer releasing new videos, its collection of 56 videos is considered the best online ACT prep by many students (at least judging by the comments). Their videos are much shorter than those of the other channels featured here and are packed with information. If you like your videos to be without frills and to be short and to the point, Best ACT Prep might be the channel for you!

 

What People Say About The Best ACT Prep YouTube Channel:

 

11. BWS Education Consulting

BWS Education Consulting is a company founded by the person who wrote ACT and other test prep content for Barron’s. They offer a free full-length ACT practice test along with other resources to help test-takers in their prep experience. Based on what we know about Barron’s ACT content, this test should generally be a good approximation of the ACT, if not slightly easier.

 

What People Say About BWS Education Consulting:

 

12. McGraw-Hill ACT Center

The McGraw-Hill ACT Center is an online portal similar to ACT Academy that contains video lessons, quizzes, and four full-length practice tests. The one thing to know about McGraw Hill is that their ACT-like content varies widely. While their science section is pretty close to the real thing, the questions on their other sections range from being too easy to too difficult (you can read more about our take on McGraw-Hill resources in our review of the best ACT prep books).

While the McGraw-Hill ACT Center is a great resource for free ACT prep, we recommend using practice tests from places like McGraw Hill and BWS Education Consulting after you’ve exhausted other options.

13. Khan Academy

You might be thinking, isn’t Khan Academy for the SAT? Well, true, they’ve partnered with the College Board for SAT prep, so using Khan Academy for ACT prep might not seem intuitive. BUT its math review lessons can be really helpful if it has been a while since you have studied a particular topic in school or if you never really understood it when you learned it in your math class.

You can use this list of ACT math topics to figure out what topics are tested on the ACT, and then search Khan Academy for lessons on the ones you need to brush up on. A lot of our students also report that Khan is a good place to start out and then take a deeper dive with Magoosh ACT prep.

 

What People Say About Khan Academy:

 

14. Online Timed Reading Practice

Arguably the most important skill you can develop for the ACT reading section is skimming passages, since it’s recommended that you don’t spend more than 3 minutes reading and marking passages.

For that reason, we dug up the following online resources to bring your skimming skills up to speed (pun absolutely intended):

15. GrammarBytes

Just as Khan Academy is a great resource for math review, GrammarBytes is a great resource for grammar review for the ACT English test. It offers several resources, like videos, practice questions, and daily Twitter tips, to help you review the topics you might be rusty on and does so in a pretty fun and interactive way. For a list of topics covered on the ACT English test, check out our ACT English Study Guide.

 

What People Say About GrammarBytes:

 

16. English Grammar

This site may be less entertaining than GrammarBytes, but if you are just looking for the cut and dry facts, English Grammar has you covered. English Grammar also offers an extensive collection of online exercises and tools, which will surely help your grammar skills be in top shape for the ACT!

 

What People Say About English Grammar:

 

Paid Websites and Apps

Above I mentioned the free versions of the Pocket Prep and Magoosh ACT Prep apps. But both these apps also have paid versions in case you want more of the courses offered!

Pocket Prep Premium

The premium version, which costs $4.99, has about 500 practice questions, a Question of the Day feature, study reminders, in-app support, and the ability to create your own tests, which could help you if you don’t have much time to take a full practice test but would like to emulate real test-like settings as much as possible.

 

What People Say About The Premium Pocket Prep App:

 

Magoosh ACT Prep Premium

The premium version of the Magoosh ACT prep app is—not to brag—one of the best online ACT prep courses out there. The course includes over 250 video tutorials, 1,500 questions, the added bonus of full-length practice exams, and live online tutoring support. It also has a 4-point increase score guarantee. Since you can upgrade anytime, go ahead and try out the free version of the app and upgrade if you find that you would like additional support.

 

What People Say About The Premium Magoosh ACT Test Prep App:

 

Final Words

Well, there you have it—some of the best online act test prep money can buy (and in most cases, there’s not even money involved)! Why spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on in-person test prep courses or private tutoring when some of the best act prep courses offered are online?

Of course, depending on your learning style and timeline, you might be better off with an in-person ACT course or tutoring. But if you have a fairly long timeline to prep, you might as well go through this list and see what works for you. And if you’re planning on taking both the ACT and SAT, many of these sites and apps provide similar SAT support as well. Just make sure you actually put in the time to take advantage of these ACT prep resources and you’ll see an increase in your ACT scores in no time!

 
Editor’s note: Kristin Fracchia contributed significantly to this post.

About Anika Manzoor

Anika is one of Magoosh’s Blog Editors. She makes sure the content across our blogs is error-free, easy to read, pleasing to the eye, and Google-friendly. Anika has ten years of experience in teaching and facilitating. She has taught English to language learners of all ages in places like Ecuador and Malaysia, has tutored high schoolers in SAT prep, and has led several youth empowerment programs. Anika earned her B.A. in Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies from Grinnell College and her Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University. When she’s not scouring the web for the perfect gif for the blog or strategizing for educational equity, Anika can be found bingeing Netflix, searching Spotify for gems for her workout playlist, or obsessively reading the news. LinkedIn


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