By Sean Alexander

The ACT is one of the college admission tests that many U.S. universities use during the admissions process. Students work hard to do their best on this test to get a step closer to their academic goals. There are tons of ACT resources, many of them free. As you and your child make a study plan together to help them prepare effectively, here are some ACT study resources you should keep in mind.


Online ACT Study Resources for Students

When you’re compiling prep resources, the easiest place to start is the web. The internet is full of ACT prep materials geared toward various studying and learning styles. Whether your child is looking for self-study materials or personalized, one-on-one attention, it's out there.

    Online Courses

    One route that your student can take is to sign up for online courses that teach test-taking strategy specifically for this exam. Many of these online courses won’t be free, but your child will get valuable insight into taking the ACT exam. What’s great about the variety of courses available is that you can choose from live classes or those that allow students to study at their own pace. Many include practice tests, lessons, and interactive content that explain the reasoning behind the practice questions and test-taking tips.

    As you compare courses, think about your student's schedule and how intensely they want to study each week. Some prep websites offer intensive boot camps that run for a few weeks at a time, while others offer fewer hours each week over a longer period. High schoolers are usually loaded with extracurriculars, so be sure to choose something that’s realistic for your child to manage.

    Prep Books

    ACT prep books are available at many school and public libraries. If you like, you can also order your own copies so you can write in them. These comprehensive guides include an ACT test overview, along with full-length practice tests. Some books, like the official ACT guide, include real questions that might appear on the exam.

    Prep books make for great practice materials, but not all of them are created equal. Those that are more focused on practice questions and the actual exam sometimes skimp on explanations when it comes to strategy and review. If you have access to free ACT prep materials at your local library, pick up a few different books to compare and get the most variety.

    Practice Materials

    The official ACT website has a study guide that students can download for free. Within the guide, you’ll get a good breakdown of the test, as well as all the practical information about the testing procedures. This is a good starting point if your child is just starting to gather their practice materials and become familiar with the test.
    Child Studying
    Many websites, including Kaplan Test Prep, Varsity Tutors, and PrepScholar, have free diagnostic exams and practice tests that help students to identify their strengths and weaknesses as they study. These are great tools, even if other services offered on these sites aren’t free.

    ACT Tutors

    One of the most effective ways to prepare for the ACT is to work with a tutor. Like online courses, there are online tutors who can work around your schedule. One option is to find a tutor through a company. Another is to reach out to someone who is offering test prep services on their own.

    Online tutoring is easy to use if you have a stable internet connection at home and a computer or tablet. Online tutoring gives your student the option to prepare for their test when it’s most convenient for them, even during hours when traditional classes usually aren’t an option.

    Maybe your student needs a little more help studying and focusing. If so, in-person tutoring might be better for them. This method offers your child the chance to work one-on-one or in small groups with a tutor who can monitor their progress and study habits in real time. Organizations that hire ACT tutors recruit top-notch professionals who have the experience and expertise to help improve ACT scores.

    How To Study for the ACT

    When your child begins preparing for the ACT, start by making a study schedule that gives them a reasonable amount of time. Cramming for a few weeks before the exam is not going to work with this kind of exam. Start preparing early by gathering exam materials, like books, practice tests, and online resources, at least three to four months ahead of time, if not earlier.

    Once your student has their materials, create a schedule that works with their learning style. If your student is studying frequently throughout the week, shorter study sessions of about 30 minutes should suit them well. If your child only has a couple of days a week to dedicate to ACT prep, longer study sessions, like two to three hours, will be necessary. During these sessions, your child should study strategy as well as practice questions.

    As the weeks go by and the test draws nearer, make sure that your child is practicing self-care during this stressful time. This means getting enough sleep; eating well; and finding ways to relax, like exercising or doing something creative. ACT prep is vital, but it shouldn’t take over your child’s life.

    Maximize Your Potential With ACT Prep Programs

    Now that you know how your child needs to prepare, give them a leg up by having them work with a tutor from Alexander Tutoring. Our experts offer one-on-one tutoring during 12 one-hour sessions. We’ll assess your student’s skills after they take a diagnostic exam so we can focus on the points they struggle with.

    Over time, you’ll see your child’s practice scores improve as they put their new ACT test-taking skills into use. This personalized attention and practice are sure to give your child the skills and confidence to succeed on test day. Reach out to us now to get your student started on their path to success!


    • Sean Alexander

      COMMAND PILOT, OWNER Sean has been a professional educator for 15 years and has taught math, physics, and astronomy at all levels.  His experience ranges from working at a high school for severe learning differences to teaching advanced physics at Stanford.  After completing his graduate work in theoretical physics Sean founded Alexander Tutoring, with the mission of revealing the deep connections between math and nature to as many students as possible. 

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