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When it comes to helping your child prepare for the SAT or ACT, it can be challenging to navigate all of the resources available. With multiple test prep companies claiming to be ‘the best’, who can you know for sure which program is right for your child? At Sojourning Scholar, we’re trying to make that a little easier for you.
In our previous post, we covered the top ACT courses available in 2022. Now we decided to take it a step further - our test prep specialists took the time to use each prep platform and provide objective feedback based on what works and what doesn’t. This is our authentic review of the PrepScholar ACT prep course.
PrepScholar is a name that will often come up if you search for ACT prep or other college admissions information. In addition to their courses, they have a ton of helpful information available to anyone in the college admissions process.
Is PrepScholar’s ACT Prep Course Right for Your Child?
Who we recommend the course for:
- Students who want to practice with harder questions than the actual test
- Those who are motivated to schedule their weekly study sessions and stick with them
- Students who want to get the most test strategy tips
Who we don't recommend the course for:
- Students who aren’t concerned with test strategies (they just care about core content)
- Those who don’t have a target score in mind, and therefore aren’t prepared to make the PrepScholar program work for their circumstances
PrepScholar ACT Prep Course Overview
PrepScholar Test Prep offers five options for ACT prep courses: Complete ACT online prep, PrepScholar Classes, Complete+Tutoring, Complete Premium, and Dual SAT and ACT.
The courses come at different price points and include different features, which will make a difference depending on a student’s learning style or schedule.
PrepScholar ACT Prep Course Similarities
All of PrepScholar’s ACT prep courses include the following:
- One-year access: Every program includes one-year access to the core online prep platform.
- 60+ hours of content: The core platform includes over 60 hours of content, including videos and text-based lessons.
- 4300+ total practice questions: With over 4,300 practice questions in the quiz band, students have enough questions to study and hone their skills.
- 6 real practice tests: There are six practice tests spaced throughout the learning content.
- Customized diagnostic test: The 60-question diagnostic quiz allows students to get an initial score report of their strengths and weaknesses.
- 5-day Trial: All of the programs include a 5-day risk-free trial, meaning that if you pay for the program and don’t like it after the first class, tutoring session, or lesson, you can get 100% of your money back.
- 4+ Point Guarantee: All of the options include a 4-point score increase guarantee
PrepScholar ACT Prep Course Distinctions
Despite the fact that all of the PrepScholar ACT courses are based on the core platform, there are key differences between the other course options:
- Classes: PrepScholar classes allows students to complete the online program while also attending live classes with other students in the online classroom.
- Tutoring: Students can add on tutoring packages ranging from 4 hours to 54 hours depending on the level of guidance they need.
- Premium Access: The Premium program includes 2 years of access and extra support
- Dual Complete Program: The dual program contains all of the SAT and ACT content
PrepScholar’s self-paced ACT course includes structured lessons that are both text-based and video-based. However, the strategy lessons are only text-based.
The video lessons include a voiceover explaining each concept described on the whiteboard. Video lessons can range from 5 minutes to about 15 minutes. We liked that students had the option to either watch the video or read the full transcript for the core content lessons.
The videos were engaging and the instructors seems to be experts in the field, including a short introduction to the specific instructor for the lesson. In addition, we liked that students are prompted to leave feedback at the end of the lesson. First, they are asked to rate the quality of the lesson and then leave any comments about room for improvement. This allows PrepScholar to keep its quality standards high.
One thing that we didn’t like about the lesson schedule is that students are provided a certain number of lessons each week and they cannot move forward at a faster pace without contacting support. For instance, we wanted to move to week two lessons early but were only allowed to preview the list of lessons, as shown below:
Something that we felt set PrepScholar’s lessons apart from its competitors was the number of test-taking strategy lessons. While these lessons are personalized to a student based on their strengths and weaknesses, the readings themselves allow you to adapt the strategy to best for your needs.
For instance, when you read the lesson about skipping questions, you will find that there are different suggestions for when to skip and how many questions to skip depending on the student’s target score. In addition, the strategy lessons are broken up into separate levels. There are essential, core, advanced, and special lessons.
In the essential lessons, you will learn about setting a score target depending on the schools you are applying to, tips for scheduling time to study, and suggestions for the day of the test. The core lessons cover things such as skipping questions, endurance, and timing. The advanced lessons cover the essay and extra skills for getting a top score. The special lessons cover applying to colleges, early admissions, and stress management.
The PrepScholar Classes option offers 9 hours of live classroom time. Classes are broken up into weekly 1.5-hour sessions or bi-weekly ones with their "Fast-Track" option.
PrepScholar classes offer a few unique features compared to other prep classes. For example, their classes are capped at nine students and include interactive group work and instructor explanations during classes.
Group classes will also take advantage of the online system, offering personalized homework to complete in between classes. This homework will help your child remember what they've learned in class and use it on test day.
Classes cover all of the ACT sections, including the essay. They also include both subject-specific and general test strategies. Students will take two practice tests as part of the class and have more available through the online program.
If you're on the fence about PrepScholar classes, they offer the unique option to get a refund after the first class if you don't find it helpful. This refund, along with their 5-day risk-free trial on the online course, can help you make your decision.
PrepScholar classes are best for students who benefit from a structured study plan and group interaction. The instructor's guidance and the motivation to work with other people can be beneficial when studying for a test.
The Complete + Tutoring package includes everything from the Complete program plus one-on-one tutoring. PrepScholar offers several differently priced packages with different amounts of tutoring and different focuses for the tutoring time.
The Monitored Prep package offers four hours of tutoring. The tutor will help your child review and provide checkpoints in their test prep in this program.
You can get 12 hours of tutoring in the Tutor-Led Prep package. This package will provide guidance and personalized support as your child completes the online program.
PrepScholar recommends their Full Tutoring Prep package, which provides 20 hours of tutoring for $2995. This program will walk your student through all elements necessary for a comprehensive test prep program.
The most comprehensive option is their Maximum Tutoring Prep package. This package offers 54 hours of tutoring and all the individualized support that your student will need for the most effective possible test prep.
One-on-one tutoring is helpful for students who need the guidance of an instructor but may not benefit from working in a group setting. This can include both students who have already mastered basic content and those who need extra support in certain areas.
If you're still on the fence, they offer one hour of tutoring guaranteed. That means that if you purchase a tutoring package and don't like it after the first hour, you can get a full refund for your program.
The user experience is average for the PrepScholar program. While the dashboard is intuitive in its layout, we found that there were issues with the diagnostic test.
For instance, the questions were random throughout the test. Therefore, you might have one reading question and then a math question and then back to the earlier reading passage, which didn’t seem like a good experience for someone trying to figure out where they stand initially.
While we didn’t appreciate that mixed experience, the rest of the platform was great. You can easily navigate through the top bar and see your progress each time you log into the platform, as shown below.
Review of PrepScholar’s ACT Practice Questions & Tests
Practice questions in lessons and drills
Each lesson that a student completes in the PrepScholar ACT program is followed by a quiz. The length of the quiz varies by topic but typically ranges from 5-20 questions. We did notice that this is a wide variation, which can make it difficult for a student to know how much time to allow for a lesson quiz.
We liked that after completing a quiz, the student is encouraged to review their answers and reread the lesson as needed.
In addition, if a student tries to click through the review sections too quickly, they are prompted with a reminder advising them to spend more time reviewing incorrect answers:
Full-length practice test experience
The six full-length practice tests are scheduled throughout the course based on a student's personalized plan. While this is good for students who want to be guided through the appropriate times to take the tests, it can also make things challenging because a student can’t access the actual test until the week of the lesson.
However, as we note below in the support section, there is a way to request early access to these tests if a student needs to take them sooner.
When students gain access to the practice test, they will find that they are simply supposed to take the test found in the Official ACT Prep Guide. After completing the test, there is an option to add on a tutoring package to review the test, but other than that, there isn’t a review method through the PrepScholar platform.
We think that this makes the practice test experience less useful because someone could just purchase the prep guide and hire a tutor to make just as much progress, potentially on a smaller budget.
Quality of answer explanations
The answer explanations are thorough for the PrepScholar lessons and question banks. However, these explanations are primarily text-based, which can be hard for some students to stay focused on. It might be beneficial for the company to include some video explanations for students who aren’t adding on the live class or tutoring options.
There are sections in the help section for frequently asked questions about the PrepScholar ACT program. One question that came up was how to access a practice test early. The practice tests are scheduled throughout the program in a structured way so that students can only access them at certain times. However, we followed the directions to submit a support ticket to request early access to a full-length practice test.
The request we filled out included our question and contact information, and we also checked a box that said this was urgent. The response time was about 24 hours and the explanation was very clear. The support staff explained how to use the diagnostic test information and the practice test information.
Another aspect that we liked about the support was the ‘Enhanced Monitoring’. This includes a weekly email that summarizes a student’s progress related to lessons, quizzes, and skill mastery. It even points out your areas of weakness based on your performance and encourages students to spend more time reviewing specific subjects.
PrepScholar ACT Prep Pricing
Complete ACT Online Prep is PrepScholar's most popular course offering. The program is entirely online and offers access for one year. It costs $397 with payment plans available.
The PrepScholar Classes option adds online group classes to their standard online prep program. It costs $895 and does not offer a payment plan.
The Complete Premium package is less of a separate program and more of an add-on to the Complete package. For $577, it offers two years of access along with expedited support. It also offers payment plans and a 5-day risk-free trial.
When it comes to the add-on tutoring packages, PrepScholar’s programs are pricey. For example, a 4-hour tutoring package in addition to the self-paced program is $995. A 12-hour package is $1,995 , a 20-hour package is $2,995, and a 54-hour package is $6,995.
Other Features and Resources
PrepScholar also includes a quiz generator and an incorrect answer section. The quiz generator allows students to pick topics to include in a 5 or 10-question quiz, which is set up very similarly to the lesson drills.
The incorrect answer tracker might be helpful to some, but unfortunately, it doesn’t allow a student to review the current week’s lessons' incorrect answers. Therefore, this tracker won’t populate until after a student completes a full week of lessons.
Trial, Score Improvement, and Money Back Policies
Availability of free trial
While PrepScholar offers a 5-day free trial, you must submit your payment information in order to start the trial. The trial begins after the student finishes the diagnostic test. The payment method is not billed unless you continue studying longer than the 5-day trial period.
Score increase Guarantee
PrepScholar offers a 4+ point score increase guarantee. Of course, there are several stipulations actually to cash in on this guarantee. First, the 4-point guarantee only applies up to a 34 score on the ACT. Meaning if a student is starting at a 31, the guarantee is only up to 34.
Students must also take and pass every single lesson in their course, which means that a student must master the content or take the lesson over enough times that it is no longer assigned.
If you follow all of the requirements for submitting your before and after ACT scores, PrepScholar does reimburse 100% of the cost of the complete program.
Money back policy
PrepScholar offers 5-day money back guarantee on all of their ACT packages. This means that if your child uses the online platform for 5 days, you can get 100% of your money back if you deem this isn’t right for them. In addition, you can get your money back after attending one class or one tutoring session if the quality does not meet your expectations.
Which PrepScholar ACT Prep Course Should You Get?
After reviewing all of the PrepScholar ACT options, we recommend the Complete Online Course. This is the standard package with all of the self-paced content, but you can still add on tutoring or classes if you start to prepare and decide that there isn’t enough support.
The one-year access to the self-paced course is more than enough time to study for the ACT, so the extra cost for the premium edition is only beneficial if someone has a lot of questions and needs to get their support questions answered quickly (expedited support).The tutoring packages, though potentially beneficial, are very pricey. Students will need at least 12 hours of tutoring to see a benefit, and the lowest price is $1,995. However, if your child starts going through the self-paced course and wants to add on a tutoring package or a live class package, the price is just as good if you wait. If anything, you might get a better offer to upgrade after starting the self-paced course, which is more of a reason to start with just the self-paced course.
How Do PrepScholar’s ACT Courses Compare to Other Courses?
We’ve gone over a lot of information about the objective pros and cons of PrepScholar’s ACT course, but now it’s time to look more relatively. The section below compares PrepScholar’s ACT course to its competitors’ offerings:
PrepScholar ACT prep vs Magoosh ACT prep
- PrepScholar’s one-year access program is $397, whereas Magoosh’s one-year program is $129
- PrepScholar doesn’t offer a mobile app for their study platform, but Magoosh does
- PrepScholar and Magoosh both offer a 4+ point score guarantee
- PrepScholar includes over 40 hours of instruction in their main course, but Magoosh’s paid platform includes over 250 videos and the free app also has 34+ hours of instruction
- PrepScholar contains more test-taking strategies compared to the Magoosh program
- PrepScholar practice questions are harder than those on the Magoosh plan
For more information, check out our full Magoosh ACT prep review.
PrepScholar ACT prep vs Kaplan ACT prep
- Kaplan offers a six-month access period for the self-paced course for $119 and PrepScholar’s one-year self-paced is $397
- PrepScholar’s add-on programs are more expensive than Kaplan’s (i.e. private tutoring, live classes)
- PrepScholar videos are typically voice overs with text on the screen, but Kaplan videos contain videos of the instructors too
- PrepScholar includes more effective test-taking strategies in the core content, whereas Kaplan doesn’t focus as heavily on test-taking strategies
- PrepScholar offers a 4+ point score increase guarantee, but Kaplan does not have an official score guarantee in place for its ACT program
For more information, read our full Kaplan ACT prep review.
PrepScholar ACT prep vs. The Princeton Review ACT prep
- PrepScholar includes up to 6 practice tests, while The Princeton Review includes 11
- PrepScholar has a 4+ point score guarantee, but The Princeton Review offers a ‘better score guarantee’
- PrepScholar’s one-year program is $397 and The Princeton Review costs $299 for the one-year self-paced course
- PrepScholar and The Princeton Review both allow you to add on tutoring packages and live classes
- PrepScholar has over 40 hours of lessons. The Princeton Review doesn’t list the total time but includes over 280 videos.
- PrepScholar includes a 5-day free trial but requires payment information. The Princeton Review does not offer a free trial.
PrepScholar ACT Prep FAQs
Before we close out our review of the PrepScholar ACT program, we wanted to cover some of the most frequently asked questions. Check out the questions and answers below to determine if we can help you make a better decision about your child’s ACT prep options.
How much is ACT PrepScholar?
PrepScholar's most affordable ACT course costs $397, or $36 per month. Their most expensive option is the Maximum Tutoring Prep with a price tag of $6,995. But there are several options in between based on which features you choose to buy.
Is PrepScholar ACT free?
PrepScholar's ACT courses are not free. They offer risk-free trials, but their cheapest course is $397. If you're looking for free ACT prep material, your best option is to go to the official ACT website or watch content from helpful ACT YouTube channels. The Official ACT offers previous ACTs as free practice tests, some free trial classes, and free online test prep practice.
What is the PrepScholar ACT prep money-back guarantee?
PrepScholar offers a 4+ Point Money Back Guarantee on all of their courses. This guarantees a refund if your score doesn't improve by 4 points (up to a 34 score) after you take the course. This guarantee does have some requirements, such as having tested before and completing their course in full.
Is PrepScholar ACT worth it?
PrepScholar may have high prices, but their courses are worth it. They offer a comprehensive, personalized prep program that you can do on your schedule. With more expensive packages, you'll pay for small group instruction or tutoring by experts.