Kaplan provides several ACT curriculums courtesy of their partnership with the non-profit org that sets and administers the exam. You have the options of a live online course, self-paced online prep, and ACT tutoring.
But does the partnership with the makers of the test necessarily mean Kaplan ACT curriculums are the finest all-around? Read on to get the full, unbiased Kaplan ACT review from the experts at Prep Test Pros.
The Kaplan Test Prep company was founded back in 1938, and over the past 80 years, it has built a name for providing high-quality, professional prep services. Kaplan professionals offer courses for just about any premium standardized test in existence, from foreign language exams like the TOEFL to business and or grad schools tests like the GMAT and GRE. They boast one of the most comprehensive exam preparation platforms in the industry, and their experience is evident in their ACT preparation courses.
Kaplan ACT Prep Course Overview
Compared with other ACT preparation companies, Kaplan offers a few different courses for the ACT. You can select from self-paced, live online, and online tutoring package varieties, and you will get a robust course plan with top-notch study and practice materials. And what’s more, you won’t have to pay through the nose.
While some companies specialize in affordable test prep services and others focus on helping students attain perfect ACT scores, Kaplan ACT prep packages balance between the two. They are well-rounded, affordable courses to help students reach top marks in the exam.
If you decide to go with the live online and or tutoring options, you will get all that’s in the self-paced course in addition to the features of the respective package you purchase. The self-paced course comprises over 30 on-demand expert-led lessons, over 2000 practice questions, and five official ACT practice tests.
Here’s a detailed look at Kaplan ACT course options and prices:
Kaplan ACT Prep Plans and Pricing
Kaplan provides three different preparation packages, each tailored to a different sort of course structure. The following are your preparation options:
The self-paced course is the company’s most basic package and also the least expensive by far. Just under $100, this package includes everything you need for DIY ACT prep, including 30+ on-demand expert-led video lessons, over 2000 practice questions, and five official ACT practice tests. Students won’t get the same structure and guidance offered by the company’s other high-end courses.
Still, if you are confident enough in your skills, this may be sufficient to prep on your own at your own pace and time. It will suit especially high schoolers with demanding schedules who can’t get the time to log into an online classroom for live lessons or schedule tutoring. Above all, it is at par with the highly acclaimed Magoosh course of the same format and price. If you purchase the course, you will be allowed six months to access the study and practice materials.
Next up is the company’s flagship Live Online class course. Students have all the materials from the Self-Paced course plus live online instructions and a digital book with this course. Top ACT teachers are available to students online, and they incorporate official practice questions in their lessons.
One teacher leads the class while off-camera teachers answer students’ questions in private chats. Live teaching adds a great deal of value. Due to the extra resources, the price is around $400. However, this is much cheaper compared to what other companies charge for their live ACT classes ($700+).
If you have difficulty grasping certain ACT concepts or want top marks to get into the top 25 colleges, Kaplan provides tutoring services. You will get the basic self-paced package plus 10, 20, 30, or 40 hours of one-on-one coaching. The price starts at $1400.
How’s the Kaplan ACT Coursework?
ACT has partnered directly with Kaplan to provide their students an exclusive learning experience through the Kaplan ACT prep course. Students using Kaplan’s course will be able to access real ACT questions and full-length practice tests from the makers of the exam.
This partnership is so tightly woven, the course is essentially from the makers of the exam. In fact, when you go on to the Kaplan website to purchase the course, you’ll see it described as an “ACT prep course powered by Kaplan.”
You won’t find this level of authentic ACT practice from any other company. Even Princeton Review ACT, which boasts over 3200 practice questions, doesn’t use real ACT questions; the company’s in-house team sets them, and in as much as they do a good job to simulate the real exam, the ACT is a complex exam making it impossible to achieve a perfect simulation.
Throughout the prep, you’ll follow the Kaplan learning path as it guides you through the expert-led video lessons, practice questions, and a little reading. That’s if you are on the on-demand course; if you purchase the live classes package, this system works in tandem with your live course.
There are usually 5 study units in the Learning Path, with five practice tests between study units. Generally, practice exams come at the end of the unit so that you can only dive into testing after you’ve understood the material. A study unit typically consists of 16 to 20 activities, which take 2.5 to 4 hours to complete. This means that these 5 study units may take you between 15 and 20 hours to complete.
There are video lessons, practice questions, and sometimes short PDF readings within each of the five study units.
Video lessons are the foundation of the Kaplan ACT instructional material. The video lectures are brief, ranging from 7 to 12 minutes each. Kaplan made a great call with this one because high schoolers’ attention spans aren’t always the longest; a 2-hour lecture would be a snooze fest.
Instead, Kaplan creates these short, entertaining videos that teach both ACT content and strategies. A camera is focused on a trainer, usually voicing instructions from behind a desk while visuals, graphics, and bullet lists of key points appear around them. Occasionally the camera will shift from the instructor to a digital whiteboard. The whiteboard is where the teacher explains a key ACT concept or works out a practice question. Furthermore, the videos regularly pause to allow you to tackle a practice question, which you then review.
This dynamic approach to teaching is quite engaging; the lecture swings between different elements rapidly, keeping things fun and engaging. You’ll get a spoken lecture one minute, the next minute you are on a practice question, and then an in-depth review.
And it’s all done fast and effectively, but without becoming jittery. It’s a fantastic balance. In addition, the production quality of the videos is out of this world. They often feature excellent digital effects and superb audiovisual presentations.
The video lessons are followed by guided practice followed by independent practice. In the guided practice, you typically complete 3 or 4 quick problems based on what you just learned. Detailed explanations and solutions are provided for these guided practice questions. You take about 10 minutes to do the questions, then watch their video explanations where the instructor explains in detail how you should have approached the question.
After that, you go to the independent part of the practice where you work on a few more problems on the same subject. These problems are from the same grouping as the others but without video solutions. You will get text explanations, though, so that’s cool, and you’ll only have like 10-15 minutes to work them out.
That’s all there is to each study unit. From one video (lesson + practice) to the next, you progress through the unit. It is possible to approach each activity individually using Kaplan’s activities library, which is essentially a collection of all activities in one location. This is not recommended, though. The Kaplan Learning Path is easy to follow, and each lesson can be completed in 2.5 to 4 hours. Everything goes pretty quickly once you get the hang of it. You’ll even find yourself looking for extra practice material.
Practice Questions Bank
In addition to Kaplan’s practice problems, they also offer a question bank with more than 2,000 questions. These are also taken from past official ACT exams, just like the problems encountered in the study units.
Kaplan has a Question Bank feature that you can use to access these practice questions. With this tool, you can custom design practice sets, for example, by using advanced filters to select questions by topic, timing, type, level of difficulty, etc. This enables the creation of targeted practice sets to hit on one’s weak areas and turn them into strengths.
The problem, though, none of the questions in the Qbank feature accompanying video or text solutions explanations. The answers are available, but you won’t get a breakdown of the reasoning behind each question and why a particular answer is right or wrong. This is a letdown because you won’t get to review your work.
That said, the Kaplan ACT prep curriculum is still impressive. Whatever prep option you choose, you will get a solid study plan and high-quality study and practice materials, including expert-led video lessons, short PDFs, practice problems with video and text explanations, and a Qbank.
Kaplan ACT Practice Tests
In addition, to practice questions, you will get opportunities to sit for practice tests under test-like conditions. In total, the company includes five official ACT practice tests with each of its courses. The tests are full-length and delivered through an interface that looks just like the one you’ll encounter in the real exam. This ensures you don’t get surprises during the actual test day.
Kaplan ACT Prep Books
The course you choose determines whether you get the Kaplan ACT prep book and in what format. Users of the Self-Paced course don’t get the book. It’s unfortunate since the company’s book covers content and contains further practice questions, useful insight, and strategies. However, at the $99 price of the self-paced course, it’s only reasonable you purchase the book a la carte.
Users of the Live Online course will get access to a digital copy of the book. But if you don’t enjoy eBooks, you will have to buy a paperback version yourself.
Finally, when you purchase the Online Tutoring package, you will receive a print version of the book. While there is reason to rejoice, considering the price of this bundle, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a hardcopy version of the book is included.
No, Kaplan ACT doesn’t offer supplemental resources. While other courses offer amazing study aids and auxiliary tools like mobile apps, and flashcards Kaplan fails to deliver anything of actual value in this area. There is an e-book included with the Live course package, but it isn’t much else.
Kaplan ACT Prep Live Classes
If you prefer classroom-like learning environments with teachers to hold you accountable and ensure you master the basic concepts of the ACT, Kaplan has a live class ACT package for you.
The course comprises 16 hours of live classroom instructions provided online. The classes run up to a month or so. You’ll meet online at certain times of the week with one instructor teaching the course and a team of instructors to answer your questions behind the camera. The benefit of lessons before questions is to limit interruptions, making the course appealing to students who don’t have questions to raise.
In the classes, you will cover the same material found in the self-paced videos. For this reason, if you miss a lesson, you can catch up on the pre-recorded videos. Still, they don’t exactly line up. In the live classes, students cover more topics. Also, even though the topics overlap quite a bit, the in-class sessions are definitely less structured and free-flowing.
Nonetheless, the videos are still useful for effective, quick learning, whereas live classes provide more material and deeper comprehension. The teachers are never boring. They communicate points really well and deliver content in an engaging manner.
Four block options are available for private tutoring: 5, 10, 20, 30, or 40 hours. You will work directly with an ACT expert to help craft a study plan that hammers more on the weak areas while leveraging your strength. The tutors are available at the student’s convenience. This prep option is the best if you have problems understanding certain concepts or are looking for top marks. However, these bundles roughly cost $140/hr. However, considering other companies charge $154-167 per hour for their ACT tutoring, Kaplan rates are cheaper.
Oh, and just because they charge lower rates doesn’t mean the tutors are the crème de la crème. Kaplan ACT tutors have an intimate knowledge of the syllabuses they teach. They are incredibly smart, approachable and leave no stone unturned in their concept explanations. However, just make sure you want to tutor before you sign up because it can send your prep costs through the roof.
How Long Is the Content Access Period?
Regardless of which Kaplan course you choose, you will have access to the prep materials for six months. This may seem short, but even if you only study 30 minutes each day, you can cover all the material in 6 months. In case you plan to sit for the exam 2-3 times, this should be enough time for you to prep, too, by simply increasing the number of daily study hours
Does the Kaplan ACT prep Course Include a Mobile App?
Many high schoolers use their mobile phones to accomplish a lot of tasks. Most test prep courses aimed for this cohort include mobile apps so they can study on the move. Unfortunately, Kaplan doesn’t provide a mobile app. You can still access the course contents on your mobile via browser apps, but it won’t.
Does Kaplan ACT Include a Higher Score Guarantee?
Yes, Kaplan has a money-back higher score guarantee in place. Unfortunately, they only say you will get a higher score than previously; no specific points increase. So technically, you could improve on your previous score by only one point and not be eligible for a refund.
Does Kaplan Have a Refund Policy?
Apart from the higher score or money-back guarantee, there’s the 3-day risk-free trial. That means if you find the course not suitable, you can ask for a full refund within three days of the purchase. They claim to refund your money 100%.
User Experience and Interface
Kaplan’s user interface is top-notch. You will surely like how sleek and modern the digital platform looks and how easy it is to use. all study resources are accessed through three tabs, which makes things very simple. Even within the Learning Path – the largest section – you can easily drill down to your tasks. As such, this portal is incredibly easy to use.
It also looks and feels great. Everything runs smoothly and seamlessly with Kaplan, the test prep behemoth. There were no lag times or load speeds issues on the platform.
Verdict on the Kaplan ACT Prep Course
The Kaplan ACT prep is one of the closest things to a perfect test-prep program. Highlighted by a partnership between the company and the makers of the exam, this program is not lacking in anything except for a mobile app.
You will get expert-led video instructions, thousands of real ACT practice questions with text and answer explanations, and five full-length official ACT practice tests. There’s also the option of live classroom instructions and or private one-on-one coaching. Here is a summary of the pros and cons of Kaplan ACT Prep:
Pros of Kaplan ACT Prep Course 👍
- Low priced self-paced course package -$100
- Low-priced live online course -$400
- Low tuition rates -$140/hr while others charge above $155
- Short and engaging on demand video lessons
- Teachers both concepts and strategies
- Official ACT practice questions and tests
- A question bank of over 2000 practice questions
- Text and video explanations for the in-unit practice work
- A tool to create custom practice sets by selecting questions based on type, topic, timing, etc.
- A coursebook is available for users of the live online and private tutoring packages
Cons of Kaplan ACT Prep Course 👎
- No ACT flashcards
- No mobile app
- Users of the self-paced course don’t get the book
Who Should Use Kaplan ACT Prep?
The Kaplan ACT Prep is for all students. It incorporates various teaching methods and is available in multiple formats. Here’s the breakdown of who is suitable for what:
- Self-driven students: If you prefer DIY prep, the self-paced course combines video lessons, practice questions, and tests available on demand
- Students who prefer an unstructured free-flowing course comprising live instructions with teachers to hold them accountable, and live support, should choose the live course package.
- Students who want private one-on-one instructions can choose the tutoring option.
- Visual learners will enjoy the course, too, because it incorporates a lot of video instructions.
- Students who love thumbing through book pages will benefit from the eBooks and print books included in the Live Course and tutoring packages.