If you’re looking for ACT prep that provides questions that are just like the real exam, look no further than ACT Academy, a (free!) test prep resource created by the makers of the ACT.
If you’ve heard of ACT Academy but aren’t exactly sure how to use it or who it’s a good fit for, this overview of ACT Academy test prep is for you. In this article, we’ll cover all of the following info about ACT Academy:
- How to use ACT Academy test prep
- Four things that ACT Academy is good for in terms of test prep
- Four things that ACT Academy isn’t good for in terms of test prep
- Five tips for getting the most out of ACT Academy test prep.
What Is ACT Academy Test Prep?
ACT Academy is designed to help students improve their ACT scores and achieve the best score possible on the ACT without breaking the bank.
The program helps students raise their ACT scores in a variety of ways. ACT Academy provides video lessons, interactive practice questions, full-length practice tests, and educational games targeted to a student’s academic needs. These and other materials are integrated into a personalized study plan based on students’ previous ACT, PreACT, and diagnostic quiz scores.
Since ACT Academy is totally online, you’ll need a digital device and web browser to use this test prep resource. But beyond that, ACT Academy is free!
Your journey to ACT greatness...starts with a sign-up page. (Sorry: not all epic quests start with a bang!)
How to Use ACT Academy Test Prep
Since ACT Academy is mostly self-guided, having clear steps for getting started will help you get the most out of this free, online resource.
Keep reading for six easy steps to kicking off your test prep with ACT Academy.
Step 1: Set Up A Student Account
Navigate to ACT Academy’s homepage and select the button that best describes you: “I am a student,” “I am a teacher,” or “I am a parent.”
When you select the type of account you want to create, you’ll be redirected to an account information form. There are two ways you can create your account. If your teacher has given you an ACT Academy class code, you can sign up using a username and password. If you do not have a class code, that’s okay! You’ll just have to create your account using an email address and password instead.
Enter your first and last name.
Find and select your high school by typing in your school name or school address in the box provided, and then click submit.
Your account is now set up and you are enrolled in ACT Academy free test prep! Select “Start Learning” to go to the next step.
Now that your account has been activated, you will need to use your account information to login each time you want to study with ACT Academy.
Step 2: Enter Your ACT Scores
After you select “Start Learning” at the end of your account set up, select the link that says, “Enter your results” at the bottom of the next page. In the boxes provided, you can enter your existing ACT scores if you have already taken the ACT.
Though this step is not required, entering your ACT scores will help ACT Academy create a study plan that focuses on ACT subjects and topics that you struggled with on the ACT. This will ensure that your study time is spent on mastering the content that will make the biggest difference in your overall ACT score.
Step 3: Take Quizzes in Each ACT Subject Area
While entering your existing ACT scores will help personalize your study plan, ACT Academy recommends that you also take their practice quizzes to further hone your individualized study plan. (Taking practice tests and quizzes is a great idea no matter what, so don’t turn down this opportunity! You can learn more about the impact practice tests can have on your exam scores here.)
When you get to the end of the account set up process, you will be able to take practice quizzes in all four ACT subjects: Math, Science, English, and Reading. Each subject area is broken down into several individual quizzes based on topics you will encounter on the ACT. As of now, there’s no practice quiz assessment for the ACT Writing section.
When you finish each quiz, you will be given a score that shows your progress on that topic. Based on your score, ACT Academy will tell you whether you need extra practice in that topic and subject area.
Your quiz completion and scores will be saved to your account, and you’ll be able to review your answers to individual quiz questions to remind yourself which topics you need to practice.
Taking all of the quizzes in each ACT subject area will help ACT Academy give you study resources that target the areas where you need to improve. For quizzes you’ve already taken, you can select a corresponding “Practice” link to work with practice materials that target the topics that you missed on a given quiz. These materials include videos and other learning resources to help you improve!
Channel this explorer Lego guy when you're digging through the ACT Academy Prep materials. It'll make the process more fun.
Step 4: Explore the Practice Materials
Once you’ve created an account and taken the quizzes to determine where you need extra ACT prep, it’s up to you to begin exploring the materials provided by ACT Academy and make choices about how you’ll use them to study.
In other words, ACT Academy will give you resources to help you study...but only you can decide to study them!
The best way to do this through ACT Academy is by taking advantage of their personalized study plan on your Dashboard page.
A student’s individualized study plan provides a daily study schedule as well as the resources you should study that day. For instance, Day One in the study plan might focus on Algebra for ACT Math, and Day Two might focus on Interpretation of Data for ACT Science.
While these resources are free and there are tons of videos, keep in mind that ACT Academy Prep might not give you the kind of study resources that you actually need.
While there are videos on lots of topics, many times the videos are just instructional and not related to the ACT at all. They might teach you how to solve one type of math problem, but they won’t teach you how to tackle those types of problems on the ACT exam. So if you’re looking for ACT test strategies, you won’t find those here, either.
We’ve put together an in-depth review of the ACT Academy Prep service so you’ll know exactly what it’s good (and not so good) for. We’ll walk you through all the pros and cons so you can make an educated decision about how to fit ACT Academy Prep into your study plan.
Step 5: Take the Full-Length ACT Practice Tests
ACT Academy free test prep includes two full-length, free ACT practice tests. The practice tests are located under the “Resources” tab, and they’re divided up by ACT subject area (Math, Science, English, and Reading). You can take both of the practice tests at once, or you take them one by one as you work through study materials.
While it might be tempting to take these practice tests right away, we recommend you wait to take these exams until you’ve spent time studying the problem areas you’ve uncovered. That way, you can use these full practice tests to track your improvement...and to see if there are any other content areas you should start studying!
And of course, if you need even more practice tests to help you on your path to ACT greatness, don’t miss our complete list of free ACT practice tests.
Step 6: Find Additional Supplemental Study Resources
While the ACT Academy might give you the information you need to start studying for the ACT, it’s not going to be a robust enough resource for you to make a great ACT score.
Because the resource is free, that means tons of people use it to prep. It’s designed to be an introductory resource to the ACT, not help you ace the test. (If it were the best study resource out there, then everyone would be getting amazing ACT scores. But the average ACT score for 2020 was only a 21).
So if you’re hoping to get a better-than-average ACT score, you’re going to need to find some more robust study resources to help you get there. One good place to start is by reading through our ACT study guide article, where we walk you through the gold standard ACT study guides and help you choose the one that’s right for you.
And of course, you can also check out our online test prep resources, too. Our all-inclusive approach to ACT test prep can help you take your ACT score to the next level.
4 Pros to ACT Academy Test Prep
Every ACT prep service comes with pros and cons. We’ll cover four perks of using ACT Academy to prep for the college entrance exam next.
Pro 1: You Get an Individualized Study Plan
When you create an account with ACT Academy, enter your ACT scores, and/or take the provided diagnostic quizzes, ACT Academy generates an individualized study plan that you can work through from the Dashboard page of your online account.
The study plan, which is broken down day by day, is modified and updated to track with your improvements as you work through the study materials. This is one of the best aspects of ACT Academy: you know for sure that the study materials you’re using are tailored to your study needs, so there’s a better chance you’ll improve your ACT score.
Pro 2: Tracking Your Progress Is Easy
It can be hard to know how much you’ve studied (and if it’s enough!) using more traditional test prep resources. With ACT Academy, the Progress page of your online account keeps a record of all the quizzes you’ve taken in each ACT subject area and shows your scores on each quiz.
As you master new topics and content, ACT Academy records your mastery and shows how you did on each study session. These records give you an easy way to keep track of how your studying is going and allow you to visualize your progress as you work through the study plan. The records of your quiz scores on the Progress page also make you aware of your weaker areas, so you can continue practicing the topics that you struggle with.
Pro 3: You Prep for all 4 ACT Subject Areas
ACT Academy provides targeted prep in ACT Math, Science, English, and Reading. There are several quizzes provided for each ACT subject area, and each quiz focuses on assessing your mastery of specific topics you’ll need to know for that particular subject test. So for students who want a balanced approach to preparing for the ACT, ACT Academy is a good option.
Pro 4: It’s a Strategic Prep Resource
Your individualized ACT Academy study plan is based on your previous ACT scores and your scores on ACT Academy’s diagnostic quizzes. That way your study plan can target your weakest areas to customize your study plan and goals.
This is a helpful aspect of ACT Academy for students who have already taken the ACT but aren’t happy with their scores and for students who haven’t taken the ACT yet and aren’t sure what to study. Identifying your weak spots and dedicating more study time toward those areas can help you achieve higher scores on college entrance exams.
4 Cons to ACT Academy Test Prep
ACT Academy isn’t for everyone, so we’ll explain four things that may make ACT Academy a better test prep resource for some people than others.
Con 1: You Won’t Build a Competitive Edge
While ACT Academy provides great study resources, it’s also a free test prep resource, so any student can sign up and use it to study for the college entrance exam. And while the learning modules will go over test content, they aren’t going to teach you the strategies and tactics you need to know to master the exam.
In other words: if you’re looking for an ACT prep resource that will give you elite practice, study tips, and test taking strategies that aren’t common knowledge, ACT Academy isn’t a good fit.
Con 2: It’s Not Good for an Unmotivated Learner
ACT Academy is a self-guided study resource. Once you set up your account and take the diagnostic quizzes, working through the study plan is totally up to you. It will be your job to watch the tutorial videos, read through problem explanations, and review your quizzes. There’s no teacher or coach that will be checking in on you to make sure you’re doing your work.
This means that ACT Academy is not a great choice for students who aren’t self-motivated. In order to get the most out of ACT Academy, you’re going to have to be pretty disciplined. Additionally, ACT Academy doesn’t provide much guidance on how to work through the study plan, so it can be hard to know if the study plan is actually working for you.
Con 3: It’s Better for Students Who Have Taken the ACT
ACT Academy bases its personalized study plans on where students need to improve most. While you can take diagnostic quizzes provided by ACT Academy to determine your weaker areas, your existing ACT scores may be a more effective assessment of your areas of mastery and areas for improvement.
While the ACT Academy assessment tests are helpful and you should definitely take them, they’re also short. Your ACT score is the most accurate reflection of your current knowledge base, and having your scores will help ACT Academy generate a better study plan for you.
Con 4: The Free Component Is Short
ACT Academy generates a day-by-day study plan for each individual student. While the daily study materials are thorough, the free study plan itself doesn’t cover more than a few weeks. While you can work through the study plan multiple times, it’s not going to introduce new concepts or materials...and it might not raise your score as much as you’d like. This means that students who are looking for a test prep resource that they can use for several months may want to look for other resources to supplement their ACT Academy materials.
These five tips will help you get the most out of your ACT Academy test prep experience.
5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of ACT Academy Test Prep
If you decide you want to give ACT Academy a try, it’s important to have a plan for maximizing this study resources. Here are five tips for getting the most out of ACT Academy test prep.
Tip 1: Enter Your ACT Scores
One of the advantages of ACT Academy is that it generates a personalized study plan to meet your test prep needs. However, if you want a study plan that is truly curated to help you improve in your weak spots, you need to enter your existing ACT scores when you create an ACT Academy account.
Entering this information is technically optional, but if you’ve taken the ACT, don’t skip this part. It’s key to getting the most accurate study plan possible.
Tip 2: Take the Diagnostic Quizzes
Even if you have existing ACT scores, it’s important to take the quizzes provided by ACT Academy when you sign up for an account as well. Most of them are only three to six questions long, so completing this step won’t take up too much time.
Your performance on these quizzes gives ACT Academy the full picture of your strengths and weaknesses in each of the ACT subject areas. Understanding your mastery of each individual topic that appears on the ACT will help ACT Academy generate the best individualized study plan for your ACT test prep needs.
Tip 3: Use It Daily
ACT Academy recommends working with your individualized study plan two to three times a week for at least 30 minutes a day. However, to truly maximize this study resource, it’s best to dedicate time to the study plan every day for several consecutive weeks.
Each day in the study plan includes a lot of tutorial videos. For instance, a single day’s worth of materials in the study plan can include anywhere from 10 to 20 tutorial videos (or even more than that, depending on the day). These videos might range from a couple of minutes to over ten minutes. While the study materials are framed as “daily,” you might be able to divide up the study materials from a single day in the plan over several days to make the time commitment more reasonable.
The big takeaway is this: to get the most out of ACT Academy, you need to use it every day.
Tip 4: Follow the Study Plan
The study plan that ACT Academy provides is personalized for you. Following the plan will ensure that you’re practicing the skills you need to improve on.
However, keep in mind that it’s okay to pause in the middle of a day’s worth of study materials and pick back up where you left off the next day. Since there is so much video content included in each day of the study plan, it’s important to use your best judgement about how much time to spend in the study plan on a daily basis, even if that means you need to pause in the middle of a day’s worth of materials and pick back up where you left off the next day.
You may even find that it’s helpful to take the ACT Academy study plan and use it to make your own study plan that better fits your schedule. For information on how to do that, check out this article.
Tip 5: Take Initiative
While ACT Academy does generate a study guide for you, it’s important to remember that there are also other study resources available to you as well. Explore the ACT Academy site, but don’t be afraid to turn to books, online practice tests, and online prep experts to get more ACT prep information.
Are you aiming for a perfect 36 on your ACT? Learn how from a perfect scorer.
Looking for more resources to help you with your ACT prep? Then this 10-step ACT prep guide is for you!
If you want insider tips to help you ace the ACT, don’t miss this expert rundown of the strategies you need to know.
Want to improve your ACT score by 4 points?
Check out our best-in-class online ACT prep program. We guarantee your money back if you don't improve your ACT score by 4 points or more.
Our program is entirely online, and it customizes your prep program to your strengths and weaknesses. We also have expert instructors who can grade every one of your practice ACT essays, giving feedback on how to improve your score.
Check out our 5-day free trial:
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.