ACT Preparation

Our tutors provide thorough, tailored ACT support that helps pave the way for a successful test day.

Interested in learning more? Get in touch

Process

Ready to tackle standardized testing?

The ACT can be a gateway to the college admissions process. Sound daunting? You’ve come to the right place.

1

Assess whether the ACT is part of your college process

Some students opt to take the SAT instead, while others decide to apply only to schools that have dropped SAT and ACT requirements altogether. The right choice about whether or not to take the ACT really depends on the student, and we are happy to help you troubleshoot this question.

ACT vs SAT: which test is right for you?
2

Determine when you need to take the test

The ACT is administered several times annually, and most students take the exam by the spring of their junior year. We advise students to start studying in the summer before junior year and aim for a test date in the fall or winter. 

Request a complementary college coaching consultation
3

Familiarize yourself with the format of the exam

The ACT is administered in-person at official test centers and consists of 4 sections: English, Reading, Math, and Science. The Writing section is optional. Total testing time clocks in at 175 minutes, not including breaks or the 40-minute optional Writing section. 

Check out the official ACT website north_east
4

Establish a baseline on a previously administered test

We highly recommend taking a full-length official practice exam as your diagnostic. ACT Inc. offers several free practice tests. Logging your wrong answers from this diagnostic is helpful in beginning to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

From our blog: how to get the most out of your practice tests
5

Create a preparation plan

The ACT is highly coachable, patterned, and predictable. Familiarity through repetition leads to dramatically superior outcomes on the test. We recommend a minimum of 16 one-on-one tutoring sessions to cover the entirety of the test. Most of our students space these sessions out over the course of two to four months in our Comprehensive Package.

View a sample syllabus
6

Start tutoring and practice testing

You’ll meet with your tutor regularly (ideally, at least once per week), complete homework in between sessions, and take practice tests. Practice tests are the best way to measure how well you’re applying the methods you’re learning and to gauge the progress of your score. 

Tutor spotlight

We are a cooperative of English PhDs, professional writers, and mathematicians who provide exceptional one-on-one tutoring and test prep support to our students.

Meet everyone

We are a cooperative of English PhDs, professional writers, and mathematicians who provide exceptional one-on-one tutoring and test prep support to our students.

Jimmy

Jimmy is a PhD candidate in Sociology & Social Policy at Harvard. He holds a JD (Harvard) and BA in English and Social Studies (Harvard). Currently, he is a Lecturer on Law at UCLA Law and a pro bono attorney.

Darin

Darin earned a BA in Physics and Astronomy and Astrophysics (Harvard), and MSc and PhD in Planetary Science (CalTech). Currently, he is junior faculty at Brigham Young University.

Colleen

Colleen earned a PhD and MA from Harvard University in History, an MA in Modern European History from St Andrews, and a BA in History and Art History from University of Notre Dame. Currently, she is a researcher at Johns Hopkins.

Graham V.

Graham holds an MD (Vanderbilt University Medical School) and MBA (Harvard Business School). He earned his BS from MIT in Materials Science & Engineering. Currently, he is an Emergency Medicine Resident at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Bassel

Bassel received an MS in Civil Engineering from MIT and a BS in Engineering from Harvard. He has taught college courses on topics ranging from probability and statistics to modern history.

Jonathan W.

Jonathan is an MPA student at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He earned his Bachelor's from Tufts University, where he double majored in Politcal Science and Economics.

Elliot

Elliot earned his BS in Biology at MIT, and his MSc by Research in Clinical Medicine on a Rhodes Scholarshop at Oxford University. Currently, he is an MD/PhD student in the the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program.

Grace

Grace is a dental student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She graduated from Duke University with honors and a double major in Biology and Global Health.

Aditya K.

Aditya is a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Illinois. He received his BS in Computer Science and Applied Computational Mathematics from CalTech and MS in Computational Science and Engineering from Harvard.

Mike Mc.

Mike attended Darmouth College, where he won numerous awards for his creative and critical writing. He earned his BA in English, and went on to become a secondary school teacher.

Elizabeth G.

Elizabeth is an MD/PhD student at NYU School of Medicine's Medical Scientist Training Program. She holds a BA in Biology with a minor in English from Hunter College.

Dan W.

Dan is an MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School. He earned his BA in Cognitive Science at Yale University (Phi Beta Kappa), where his thesis earned the Angier award.

Troy

Troy graduated from Yale with a BA in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. After serving in Teach for America, he attended Harvard Law. Currently, Troy works for an education technology startup focused on preparing students for college.

Mihir

Mihir is an MD student at Harvard Medical School. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Betta Kappa with a Bachelor's in Biochemistry and Master's in Chemistry from UPenn.

Akash

Akash is an MD candidate at Harvard Medical School. He received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and completed a one-year retinal neurophysiology research fellowship at the National Eye Institute.

Alexander V.

Alex earned his Master's in Musicology from Oxford University and his Bachelor's, with a double major in in Mathematics and Music, from Harvard University. He has been tutoring students for over eight years.

Priyanka N.

Priyanka grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota and spent a majority of her time in high school honing her classical Indian dance and debate skills (though never at the same time). She competed extensively and achieved success on a national level. After grad...

Ash N.

Ash received his MA in Economics from Columbia University. He graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Econometrics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (summa cum laude, Tau Beta Pi).

Kate H.

Kate hails from Mariemont, Ohio, a small town most famous for having America's last known town crier. Upon graduating high school, Kate jetted off to California to attend Stanford University and studied public policy with a focus on education policy ...

Brendon F.

Brendon is a Master's student in Public Health at Johns Hopkins. He earned his Bachelor's in Biology and Economics with a minor in Healthy Policy from Cornell University.

Alexandra M.

Ali is an MD/PhD student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. She received her BS from Boston College where she majored in Biology with a minor in Medical Humanities and was a Gabelli Presidential Scholar.

Joy

Joy is an MD/PhD candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She earned a BS (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology) and BA (Anthropology) from Brown, and completed a postbac fellowship at the National Cancer Institute.

Sam M.

Sam graduated with honors from Middlebury with a BA in English and a minor in Spanish. He went on to work in the film and tech industries for over a decade. Sam now specializes in private academic tutoring and exam prep.

Roel

Roel earned his BS in Applied and Computational Mathematics at CalTech, and he is currently an MA candidate in Jazz Composition at Berklee. He has over 1500 hours of tutoring experience.

Natalia Ic.

Natalia received her BA in History from the City College of New York. She went on to earn a Master's of Science in General and Special Childhood Education at the Bank Street College of Education.

Tess D.

Tess earned her BA in Psychology at Harvard College. After a few years working in entertainment, she's now pursuing a Master's in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University's Teachers College.

Tiwadeye

Tiwa graduated from Yale University with a BS in biomedical engineering with a focus on tissue engineering. As an undergraduate, she volunteered at a soup kitchen, performed cardiac tissue engineering research, built a website aimed at reducing healt...

Michaela W.

Michaela is an MD/PhD at Harvard-MIT. She holds a BS in Biochemistry with minors in Philosophy and Biomedical Engineering from the University of Colorado (summa cum laude), where she was an NCAA Division I, All-American track athlete.

Alicia C.

Alicia is a PhD student in Linguistics at NYU. She graduated magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis, with a BA in Linguistics and Data Science and a BA in Spanish with a minor in Music.

Cassandra G.

Cassandra is from Long Island, NY and a long line of pediatricians. She attended the University of Virginia on a four-year, full cost of attendance scholarship with a double major in Human Biology and Spanish. There, she was fortunate enough to explo...

Meet everyone

Testimonials

“Marisa was super understanding and fun! She was very encouraging and kept me on task throughout our sessions. Marisa grouped together types of problems to make them more easily recognizable on the actual test. My score jumped from a 29 to a 34.”

BrookeOfficial score: 34. Improved by 6 points.

“My son received an excellent score of 35 on the ACT, and I give Jimmy all the credit for getting him to study!”

Rebecca, parentOfficial score: 35.

“Lucas was highly knowledgeable and had a very friendly demeanor. My daughter looked forward to every session and was thrilled with her improved scores. ”

Natesh, parentACT

FAQs

  • What is the difference between the ACT and SAT?

    Although the SAT and ACT are very similar, there are some significant differences. The biggest difference is that the ACT has a separate science section, which focuses on your ability to interpret scientific data, not memorize it.  The ACT's writing section is optional, while the SAT has no optional sections. On the ACT, math accounts for one-fourth of your total score, whereas on the SAT, math comprises half your total score. And, while the SAT focuses more on applying acquired knowledge to unknown situations and problems (aptitude), the ACT is more focused on testing the knowledge a student has acquired over the course of their schooling (ability). The best way to decide which test is right for your child is to have them sit for a diagnostic of both exams. If one test feels far more intuitive, or the end score is far higher, that is the one the student should study for and ultimately, take. Most colleges will accept the SAT or ACT interchangeably.

  • Are ACT scores that important?

    The ACT is just one part of your child's entire college application. It’s considered alongside their GPA, academic transcript, personal essays, letters of recommendation, and interview. That said, the way schools weigh ACT scores varies. Be sure to check each school’s website to see details about how they consider the ACT. 

  • What does it mean when a school is "test optional"?

    "Test optional" schools do not require the ACT or the SAT for admission. Many schools have gone test-optional temporarily or permanently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if your child submits their scores to a test-optional school, the institution will consider them as part of the whole application. Some schools also require the ACT or the SAT for certain programs and merit-based scholarships. Be sure to check each school's website for more details.
  • When should my child start prepping for the ACT?

    Students will typically take the ACT in the fall or spring of their junior year, with another sitting in the fall of their senior year if needed. While prep can begin as early as possible, starting in the summer before 11th grade is ideal for most students, so they have ample time to achieve score goals without the distractions of exams, extracurriculars, and applying to colleges.

  • How does ACT scoring work?

    Each of the four components (English, Reading, Math, and Science) is scored on a point system from 1-36, and the composite score is the average of these sections. If your child sits for the test multiple times, colleges might look at the most recent composite score, their single highest score, or a "superscore"--that is, the average of their highest English, Reading, Math, and Science scores, regardless of the test dates. Be sure to check each college's website to find out what version of the ACT score is considered. 

  • How long is the ACT?

    The test clocks in at 2 hours and 55 minutes; if you choose to complete the optional 40–minute writing test, the total testing time is 3 hours, 35 minutes.

  • How has COVID-19 impacted the ACT?

    For COVID updates and the ACT, follow this link.

Plans

We’ve created a structured yet flexible pricing plan that offers everything you need to succeed on test day.

Choose a Tutor Tier

Hourly Rate

1 Hour

All of our tutoring is available on an hourly basis. If you're not sure how much tutoring you'll need or when you plan to test, you can enroll in our "pay as you go" option.

$ 120

$ 160

$ 240

$ 290

First Time Package

4.5 Hours

The three session package is a good way to get a student's feet wet, evaluate the amount of tutoring they’ll ultimately need, and see if they feel comfortable with a tutor. Most students use this package to gauge their preliminary strengths and weaknesses so that the tutor can chart a longer term plan.

$ 540

$ 720

$ 1080

$ 1305

Comprehensive Package

24 Hours 5% OFF

Our preferred approach to the ACT provides complete coverage of the exam in detail. Along with learning test strategy and practicing time management, students complete a thorough and customized syllabus of practice exams, drills, and homework assignments.

$ 2736 You save $144

$ 3648 You save $192

$ 5472 You save $288

$ 6612 You save $348

Planning Ahead Package

30 Hours 10% OFF

Because the ACT heavily rewards repetition and coverage, we offer this package to students who would prefer to space their preparation out over a longer duration. Some students find this package useful if they need to spend more time preparing for particular sections of the test or getting acclimated to the pressures of standardized testing.

$ 3240 You save $360

$ 4320 You save $480

$ 6480 You save $720

$ 7830 You save $870

Tutor Tiers

We have 4 tiers of coaches. The coach’s tier is based on the experience level of the coach with our team. All coaches begin working with Cambridge Coaching at the Standard tier.

  • Standard

    0-150 hours
    $120/hour

  • Senior

    150-200 hours
    $160/hour

  • Guru

    250-300 hours
    $240/hour

  • Master

    350+- hours
    $290/hour

Ready to tackle standardized testing?

Learn More