Who created the ACT test

How to Learn for Free for the ACT Online

Taking the ACT is hands down one of the most feared parts of the college application process. And this year, given the added stress, anxiety, and financial complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACT is probably the last thing to think about right now.

Let's calm your thoughts down for a moment.

The ACT isn't as important to college admissions officers as you might think. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities stopped the requirement to submit test results.

And amid the COVID-19 pandemic, that number has grown rapidly. There are currently more than 1,000 colleges and universities, including the University of California system, with test-optional guidelines. And apparently a new institution steps forward every day to announce that applicants no longer need to submit an ACT or SAT score if they are unable or unwilling to do so.

So you don't have to cause stress. However, it would still be beneficial if you did the ACT and devoted as much time as possible to preparing for the test.

"I advise (my students) to try one or two times before applications become due," said Joe Korfmacher, college advisor at Collegewise. Korfmacher says he gives this advice to his students so that they can keep their options open.

And while it can be a burden, preparing for ACT is a must. You can't expect to do well without practice, or at least some knowledge of how the test is formatted.

But we understand. Money is tight at the moment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half of households have lost work income. And the last thing families want to spend money on right now is an expensive ACT tutor or prep course.

That's why we at the University Network (TUN) have compiled a list of free online resources and how you can use them to effectively prepare for the ACT without spending a dime.

Here are a selection of the best free online resources for ACT preparation and tips on how to use them:


Not every test prep resource offered by the creators of ACT is free. However, the company gives you some great ways to prepare for the test without spending any money.

ACT offers free access to ACT Academy, which offers test participants quiz questions, two extensive practice tests, Educational games, video courses, important memories and more. And since the practice questions are created by the test makers, you can be sure that you will see similar questions when you sit down to take the actual test.

What is special about the ACT Academy is that it can create a personalized study plan based on your previous results obtained on the ACT, PreACT and Practice Tests. That way, you can focus on improving in areas where you need the most work and not waste time going beyond what you already know.

  • Tips for using the ACT Academy effectively to prepare for the ACT

The ACT Academy is easy to navigate. All you need to create a free account is a username and password. Teachers and parents can also create an account for their students.

When you log in, you will be immediately redirected to your "Dashboard". Before you get there, head over to the Tips and Strategies page for a quick assessment to determine your learning style and the best ways to prepare for your test day. On this page you will also find a long list of tips for performing each test section.

When you have completed the assessment and read some tips from the ACT Academy, go back to your “Dashboard” and “explore” the topic you want to practice. You will see a popup where you can either dive straight into a quiz or access some learning resources, including videos and interactive games.

The advantage of off-the-shelf quizzes, however, is that ACT Academy can evaluate your results to identify the areas where you need help most. This allows ACT Academy to suggest instructional videos and other resources tailored to your needs. If you have already participated in ACT or preACT, you can of course personalize your schedule by entering your results in your "dashboard".

If you scroll down on your "Dashboard" you will find your 17-day timetable, which comes with daily video resources and a rating. You will be pleased to find that the scope of the daily work is far from overwhelming.

The ACT Academy also has a Resources tab that gives you access to all kinds of helpful videos covering the key concepts that you will be tested for when you sit down to take the ACT. You also have the option to take a full-length ACT test, which will give you a taste of the actual test and identify areas to work on.

Finally, the ACT Academy has a "Progress" page that has an extensive list of tests that cover just about every ACT topic imaginable. You can also view the date you last took each quiz, the score you earned, and your “Mastery Level,” which is rated on a three-star scale. You also have a chance to review your answers which you can use as a study tool as each wrong answer comes with an attached video explaining how to answer it correctly.

  • Additional free resources at ACT.org

In addition to the ACT Academy, the test makers have other free resources available, including a free study guide that gives you access to a PDF of a full ACT test with practice questions and answers. That way, you can print out the test and get used to filling in your answers with a pencil on paper like you normally would on a real test.

Note: If you can, do as many full practice tests as you can so that you can work on your timing as well. You can get four more full practice tests through McGraw Hill below.

Magoosh's YouTube channel

Test prep company Magoosh has a free YouTube channel with 100+ videos to help you stand out on the ACT. The videos, which are typically no longer than 10 minutes, offer all kinds of tips, strategies, and last-minute advice to help you prepare and get a great score.

  • Tips on using Magoosh's YouTube Channel effectively in preparation for the ACT

The best thing to do is to take a minute to scroll through Magoosh's YouTube channel and watch all the videos that you can access. You will quickly find that there are all kinds of videos out there covering everything from “5 Tips to Crush the ACT Math Section” to “What's a Good Score for the ACT?”.

In preparation for this year's ACT, Magoosh recently released many videos explaining how COVID-19 will affect the test. These videos are usually much longer than the videos they usually post. Within the past month, Magoosh posted a one-hour Q&A session addressing many of the students' biggest concerns about the upcoming ACTs and the college admissions process in general. Hear directly from a college admissions expert in a separate video. Of course, these videos can be very helpful in calming your nerves if you are concerned about your upcoming test, and can serve as a good starting point.

Some of Magoosh's videos address basic questions associated with the ACT, including "Should I do the ACT writing section?" and "When should you take the ACT?" Of course, these questions apply regardless of what stage of the ACT preparation process you are in.

However, a large number of Magoosh videos provide answers for solving certain ACT questions. So Magoosh's YouTube channel is only a good place to start ACT prep if you already understand your strengths and weaknesses.

You may also find that many of Magoosh's videos were released years ago. But don't worry, the questions included in the ACT haven't changed too much. The vast majority of Magoosh videos, even if they were posted four years ago, still apply to today's ACT test.

If you find Magoosh's videos helpful, you can also subscribe to the YouTube channel. That way, you will receive notifications every time a new video is posted.

McGraw Hill Education Practice Plus

McGraw Hill, the textbook company, also provides free ACT preparation resources, including video courses, mini-quizzes, and in-depth practice tests with explanations for each question. Although the questions aren't straight from previous ACTs, they are similar to what you might see in the real test.

As you might expect from a school book company, McGraw Hill's website isn't overly inviting or colorful. There are no fun games or playful exercises. However, this can be good for those who just want access to simple, easy-to-navigate ACT questions and answers.

  • Tips on Using McGraw Hill Education Practice Plus effectively to prepare for the ACT

All of McGraw Hill's ACT prep resources are listed on one page for easy navigation. Practice questions are the best place to start. The link “begin practical tests” takes you to a separate page that you can access four full practice tests and eight mini quizzes.

If you're just starting out, it may be best to delve into the ACT prep process by starting with a short quiz rather than completing a full test. McGraw Hill offers two tests per topic.

When you have developed an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, watch some of McGraw Hill's "Problem Solving Videos". The videos cover many of the key concepts you are likely to test on, including English: Grammar and Usage, Math: Functional Problems, and many more.

The videos are a little dry too, so they may not be the best for those of you who enjoy brightening up the testing process with games and gimmicks. On the flip side, the videos are very informative and get right to the point, which can be perfect for those who can't put up with the nonsense.


Preparing for and completing the ACT can undoubtedly be a stressful process. We hope that by accessing these free resources you can relieve some of that stress. Those of you who have questions about the logistics of the test, such as: For example, how it is rated or how often you should take it off, you can read our article. “Everything You Need to Know About ACT Scores. "And if you have a few dollars to spare and need further instruction, check out our article" The Best ACT Prep Courses in 2021 "