Studying for the ACT Without Breaking the Bank

Gwen Bowdish

Gwen Bowdish

Rebecca Schumacher, Staff Writer

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Studying for the ACT can be incredibly nervewracking, especially with the pressure of college applications approaching. Scrolling through lists of ACT prep classes and tutors that cost hundreds to thousands of dollars can only add to the stress surrounding the ACT. Fortunately, ACT aspirants can achieve a high score on this intimidating test without wiping out their entire savings account. MHS counselor Todd Poepard encourages students to seek inexpensive options. He says, “If students have the resources to go out and pay money for private tutors and classes, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think there are many ways that all students can get help without spending tons of money.” In order to study for the ACT as cheaply as possible, there are five options that can help raise scores for free or at an affordable price.

  1. Naviance Method Test Prep: Naviance has several extremely helpful features, such as dozens of lessons in math, English, and science, and two full-length ACT practice tests. Any student at MHS can access this feature by opening the Naviance Family Connection application through Single Sign-On. From there, click on “method test prep” in the list of links on the left and sign up for a free account.
  2. Bookstores: It’s easy to find dozens of inexpensive workbooks in bookstores like Barnes and Noble. Annika Larson, ‘19, recommends the Princeton Review Study books, which she purchased for about twenty dollars. According to Larson, it’s particularly helpful to her. “I like to know what to study and how to study before I study,” she says. For even cheaper books, check out Half Priced Books, which carries used books for discounted prices, or check to see if your local library has any options.
  3. ACT practice courses: MHS offers courses to help students prepare for the ACT in the spring. These courses will cover topics like the layout of the ACT, Math, and English. More details will be available in the spring.
  4. ACTstudent.org: Through partners like Kaplan, this website offers a range of prep materials that range in price from free to about $300. Simply go to the website, click the “Test Prep” button at the top of the page and explore a variety of options.
  5. The App Store: By simply opening the app store and searching “ACT practice”, any student with access to an electronic device can find dozens of educational apps tailored toward the ACT. The ACT app, created by the Varsity Tutors company, is particularly helpful, with flashcards, lessons, and literally hundreds of practice tests.
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