Online ACT Preparation
Online Study Options for the ACT
Effective ACT preparation is widely available via the internet, and test-takers who are attracted to the convenience and comfort of online study have a number of viable options. Test prep companies offer both group courses and one-on-one tutoring plans in online interactive format, and these learning modes give students essentially the same benefits as on-site study. Additionally, online prep is frequently less expensive for the test-taker for reasons such as the lack of travel costs and lower provider overhead. Students are advised to choose educational services companies with established reputations and highly qualified teachers, since these firms have track records of producing successful results. Prospective students should ask questions about the credentials of the teachers with whom they will be studying, and reputable firms will have no problem answering these questions. Students should note that online prep is not necessarily the best option for everyone; some learners perform better if they are forced to conform to a specific schedule of on-site courses.
The ACT Website
The most indispensable online resource for ACT preparation is the organization's website (www.act.org). This website features abundant study materials, such as ACT Academy, which is a "free online learning tool and test practice program designed to help you get the best possible score on the ACT test and well on your way to college and career success." ACT Academy materials include videos, interactive games, full-length practice tests, and individual ACT practice sections. Another internet-based preparation option available through the ACT website is ACT Online Prep ($39.95 for six months of access). The service includes "personalized learning paths, practice tests with real ACT questions, and comprehensive content review." For most students, these preparation materials are best used as a complement to formal ACT study rather than as a substitute for professional instruction. In addition to providing students with helpful study materials, the ACT website is the place to find out about test dates and test locations, register for the exam, and purchase any desired additional services (such as extra score reports for universities).
Researching the ACT Online
General internet research on related ACT issues can be a wise investment of test-taker time. One of the most important of these issues is ACT scoring, and a great deal of data are available online. Most postsecondary institutions publish the middle-50% score ranges for their accepted students and sometimes their median, mean, and sectional scores as well. These statistics can be considered accurate reflections of test score expectations, even at test-optional schools or programs that use holistic admissions. Additionally, national- and state-level scores are easily available online, which can help test-takers gain a more precise understanding of what exactly constitutes "above-average" or "elite" ACT performance. Finally, articles on the ACT are regularly published in traditional media outlets such as magazines and newspapers, which can keep test-takers informed on issues such as recent test content changes, testing philosophy, and testing procedures.
Researching ACT-Based Scholarships
ACT scores are frequently among the most important qualifications for undergraduate scholarships. Some universities automatically consider all accepted students for various merit scholarships, for which test scores are typically a major factor (along with GPA and class rank). Many additional scholarships can be found by conducting basic internet research, from privately funded initiatives to state-sanctioned awards. The financial aid section of a university's website will list scholarships specific to that institution, but we advise all prospective students to cast a much wider net. A number of private and public websites catalog scholarships and allow candidates to conduct searches based on their specific criteria. Researching these opportunities before taking the ACT will help students set target ACT scores and take advantage of available funding.
Choosing the Best ACT Online Prep
ACT online preparation can be just as good as traditional, on-site ACT study, but test-takers should consider their own learning style before deciding which modes of learning to pursue. Online study is best for self-motivated and proactive learners who have no problem summoning the necessary self-discipline. Other types of students may learn more effectively through the accountability inherent to a regularly scheduled, in-person classroom or tutoring environment. Test-takers should do an honest self-assessment and perhaps take a trial class of both types, which should convincingly establish the best course of action.