Are you ready for college? With your high school career almost behind you, there are still a few steps you must take before entering college. Along with applications, open house tours and interviews to help you decide which college program is right for you, admissions directors need to know who is right for them. Tests like the ACT can help paint a clear picture for colleges and universities.

What Is the ACT Test?

The ACT test is a curriculum-based test administered several times during the school year to give students a better idea of their best college options as they consider their future. The ACT can also help students to qualify for more scholarships.

While the ACT is widely accepted much like the SAT, the ACT is more comprehensive in its testing. The SAT differs, as the questions are based more on reasoning and verbal abilities, whereas the ACT is more like a question/answer test that you would take in the classroom.

How Much Is the ACT?

Taking the ACT will cost you $50.50, and if you elect to take the ACT with the writing test, then the price is $67.00. Students can also expect to incur additional costs should they decide to reschedule their ACT or if they register too late.

For students for whom these costs may prevent them from taking the ACT, fee waivers are available. Students should simply visit their high school guidance office to see if they qualify. To qualify, students must currently be enrolled in high school and must meet one of the economic needs factors, such as qualifying for the free lunch program or receiving federal aid for housing and food allowances.

How to Prepare for the ACT

In order to do your best, it doesn’t hurt to practice. There are many opportunities to prepare for the exam, including ACT prep classes, online ACT prep courses and ACT tutoring online. These are just a few of the study options students have when preparing for the ACT. It simply depends on the student to determine what ACT prep is best for him.

Is ACT Online Prep for You?

If you prefer to study entirely online, then online ACT prep courses would be perfect for you. With the online ACT prep courses, you can study whenever you like and however you like. The only requirement would be a computer with an internet connection or the use of a smartphone. An online ACT prep course will contain questions from previous ACT tests in the format you will encounter on the test.

Better yet, as you take the online ACT prep course, you will be able to see how you score, and it will provide a better idea of how you might score on the actual test. This will help you understand how ready you are to take the ACT test. A subscription through the ACT will cost you $39, and you will have access for six months.

You don’t have to purchase the ACT prep course through the ACT if you don’t want to, as there are other options available. Companies such as Kaplan and the Princeton Review also offer online ACT prep courses at various prices. All prep courses by the different companies offer questions that could be found on previous ACTs. It is simply a matter of choice as to which company's test prep you prefer.

Are There Free ACT Test Prep Resources?

Preparing for and taking the ACT can be cost prohibitive to some, and the ACT is fully aware of the cost. If you are unable to purchase an online ACT prep course, you can find help online. The official ACT website hosts ACT Academy, which includes practice tests, video lessons and educational games to help you prepare.

The ACT Academy will even provide you with a personalized study plan to help you better understand on what you need to focus when studying to help you score your best. This is available absolutely free to all students when they create an ACT account to register for the ACT.

Other free ACT test prep resources can be found by visiting the Kaplan and Princeton Review websites, as they provide free ACT test questions and tips to help students.

Should I Take an ACT Prep Class?

ACT prep classes are designed to help you do your best on the exam. So yes, if you can take a class online or in person, you should definitely do so. ACT prep classes will give you the ins and outs of the test. They will prepare you for what to expect and how to experience the least amount of stress possible.

ACT prep classes have allowed many students to improve their scores tremendously and have given them the confidence they need when preparing for other entrance exams as well. In-person ACT prep classes are provided during several different times of the day and year to make sure that every student, regardless of her schedule, can participate.

Students may also find in-person, free ACT prep classes that are sponsored at teen community centers. These sponsored ACT prep classes are just as helpful and are led by instructors who really know the test and who want to provide students with the tools they need to succeed.

What Is the Best Test Prep for the ACT?

Deciding which is the best test prep for the ACT can only be decided by you. While there are many options for test prep that include online prep, in-person classes, textbooks and even tutoring, you must decide what is best for you.

If you’re the type of learner who believes that you're prepared and confident, then participating in online test prep could be best for you. You can access the materials that include video and tests on your computer or electronic device whenever it’s convenient for you. You may also find that working from an ACT prep book is right for you, as you’re able to read the material and highlight things you find helpful.

For students who prefer a more interactive experience, a weekly ACT course in person could be considered very helpful. Not only will you be surrounded by students who feel similarly, but you will be in an environment where each week you could see and feel if you're on task and prepared to the take the ACT.

Considering More Personalized Instruction?

If you’re still worried about the best way to prepare for the ACT, you may consider tutoring. Students can access ACT tutoring online and in person. ACT tutoring online and in person can be scheduled when it’s most convenient for you. It’s important to remember that such specialized tutoring, while very helpful, can be a huge financial commitment.

Online tutoring through an ACT prep company like Kaplan starts at just under $2,000 for 10 hours of tutoring support. In-person support through a reputable company would cost just as much or considerably more.

When preparing to take the ACT, it’s always important to remember that colleges and admissions directors aren’t deciding a student’s entire future from the outcome of an exam. Admissions directors are interested in the entire student, so as long as you do your best, you can be admitted into the college that is right for you.

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