As of February 2024, the ACT will be available online in certain locations; No changes have been made to the content of the online exam, and paper and pencil testing remains available
Is the Online ACT Better than the Paper One?
In introducing the online ACT option, the test makers themselves are promoting the "seamlessness" of the two experiences, so there aren't many differences to highlight, and preference really does come down to personal opinion about study methods and test day logistics. Of course, the best way to determine which might be better is to visit act.org to take both versions and "test drive" the two experiences. Outside of that effort, the choice is really a matter of instinctive answers to simple questions such as:
- Do you want practice exams to be exactly the same as test day? The practice online ACTs at act.org use the same interface as the official exam.
- Is note taking on the exam booklet a key to success? While scratch paper will be provided for the online ACT, you won't have the same annotation freedom provided by pencil and paper.
- Are you seeking testing accommodations? The main reason the ACT cites for introducing the online option is increasing accessibility by allowing tools such as screen readers and zoom functionality that isn't as easily offered by a physical test booklet.
There is no absolute answer to which format for the ACT is better. It's an equivocal, "it depends". That said, each of our ACT instructors is very experienced tutoring students for both versions of the test and our online tools make prepping for either version (or switching versions) as clean a process as possible.
Of course, the best way to determine which is the best test for you or your student is to contact MyGuru to schedule a free videoconference to discuss your specific needs with one of our test prep experts!
The MyGuru Edge for ACT Prep
No two ACT students are the same, so no two MyGuru one-on-one tutoring sessions are either. Our ACT tutors are equally familiar with each section of the exam (and with digital testing!) so they can build a uniquely targeted study plan with a personalized learning approach to help each student achieve their score goals. Additionally, our instructors are familiar with not only the official practice exams and materials available from act.org but also a lengthy list of third-party resources that they can recommend based on each individual student's learning style and content needs.
Our one-on-one digital ACT tutoring uses dynamic online whiteboarding tools in a virtual meeting environment that requires no equipment other than an internet connected computer with a microphone and camera. This allows MyGuru ACT tutoring to feature simultaneous content review (including real online ACT practice questions using screensharing capability) and live problem demos. Using this parallel track of instruction, our instructors explain how particular ACT strategies and tactics can be used for future problems with similar content.
The instructor's live-produced whiteboard notes are then shared as either a static .pdf (see example) after every session or kept on a private whiteboard for future reference and interaction in between lessons. Over time, these notes become a supplementary "textbook" of tactics and content to review that is unique to each student's lesson plan and learning style that isn't available anywhere else.
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Customized ACT Study Plans
Selecting an ACT tutor is a major commitment, so we always offer a free 15-minute introductory videoconference with any potential instructor to help each student decide which path forward is best for their individual ACT (or SAT) and college application needs. While we can also conduct a phone call, we recommend a videoconference as it allows a greater opportunity to share exactly what separates MyGuru from all other digital SAT prep companies. In that videoconference potential students will be able to:
- Screenshare live with an experienced MyGuru digital ACT coach to learn how our dynamic whiteboarding tool works and to better understand the differences between our standard and premium online tutoring offers
- Discuss a tailored digital ACT study schedule and possible supplementary resources that can help you continue your learning by completing intentionally curated homework assignments between live lessons
- Share your experience with the ACT, or any other standardized tests you may have taken in the past, to give fuller context regarding what you need from a potential tutor and consider whether the ACT is the best test for you
- Conduct a comfortable introductory conversation with your possible tutor to determine whether the personality fit is good and whether that instructor seems well-positioned to guide the next steps of your test prep and college admissions journey
ACT Tutoring Prices & Package Options
At MyGuru, we believe on return on investment and do not require any commitment to start working together beyond purchase of a single hour of instruction. We offer several tiers of instruction and hours to maximize value. At each level, MyGuru students have gained admission (and merit-based aid!) from some of the top universities in the United States.
- Standard Online | $100 per hour | $450 for 5 hours | $1,050 for 12 hours | $2,050 for 24 hours
Our most affordable option, and significantly lower cost than our most well-known individual tutoring competitors (and the official ACT tutoring!), MyGuru Standard Online ACT tutoring is uniquely tailored to each student's needs by an instructor with thousands of hours of tutoring experience and provides a .pdf of each lesson's whiteboard notes by email within 24 hours of each session.
- Premium Online | $150 per hour | $700 for 5 hours | $1,550 for 12 hours | $3,000 for 24 hours
Our best value, MyGuru Premium Online ACT tutoring provides full recording of every session to watch back for up to three months after the final lesson and a private read/write whiteboard where students can demonstrate tactics live in lesson and post questions or comments in between lessons to maintain contact with their instructor (and still at a lower cost than the official ACT tutoring!). Instructors will check the board at least once a day to respond as warranted.
- Expert Edge Online | $200 per hour | $900 for 5 hours | $2,100 for 12 hours | $4,000 for 24 hours
Seeking large score improvements or top decile results? Consider premium online tutoring with MyGuru's Director of Instruction, Stefan Maisnier, who has 20 years of tutoring experience helping students get admitted to top schools such as University of Chicago, Dartmouth, Harvard, Northwestern, Penn, and Stanford, UCLA, and USC among others.
Our packages are designed with flexibility in mind to facilitate regular lessons of 60, 90 (most common), or 120 minutes depending on student availability and preference. Once a package of time is purchased, the cost for any additional time will remain at the prorated hourly package rate. We also refund unused hours minus a 5% processing fee and consider time unused provided at least 24-hour notice is given prior to a lesson for any reschedule or cancellation request.
Although it isn't recommended for the potentially now computer-administrated ACT exam and lacks the dynamic features of our online tutoring, in-person instruction is available in many major US cities upon request, at the same prices as our Premium Online instruction, pending tutor availability.
Your ACT Tutoring Guru
The MyGuru undergraduate test prep tutoring team is led by our Director of Instruction, Stefan Maisnier. Unlike most test prep experts, Stefan has an academic background more aligned with the reading and English sections of the ACT, possessing a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Southern California and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Because he hasn't taken a traditional math course in nearly two decades, Stefan steadfastly believes that the math skills needed to succeed on this test can be learned (or relearned!) by just about any high school junior or senior, since they have already probably taken a more advanced math course than the ACT requires. In fact, he is fond of pointing out quick and efficient logical solutions to problem solving questions that he calls "engineer breakers" because the technical solution is so complex that attempting it is a trap.
While he has been a full-time test prep professional for almost ten years, and a part-time one for nearly 20 years, he also spent the decade after obtaining his bachelor's degree working in sports television production at ESPN and Fox Sports, so he is more adept than the average tutor at keeping the attention of students who might otherwise find ACT study less than engaging. He can also speak positively of his college experience working as a student video manager for Pete Carroll's national championship winning coaching staff at USC and knowingly about dozens of campuses across the United States from his time traveling to more than 45 state working his primary sports assignments of college football and college basketball at ESPN.
For Stefan, interviewing Mike Tyson and producing graphics for the World Cup on live television cannot compare with the thrill of reading a note from a past student letting him know that they reached a 30+ score on their ACT. He looks forward to getting many more of those messages in 2024 and beyond!
ACT vs Digital SAT
No Change to the ACT
Both the pencil-and-paper and the new online version of the ACT retain the same format that the test has used for years.
The exam begins with a 75-question English section of five passages and questions to complete in 45 minutes, which is followed by a multiple-choice-only Math section with 60 questions to complete in 60 minutes.
Then come the 40-question, 35-minute Reading and Science sections, which are comprised of long form passages and associated questions. The final, optional section of the exam is the Writing section comprised of a single 40-minute essay.
Digital SAT Format
The SAT is now an adaptive by section computer-administered exam, wherein student performance on the first section of a type dictates the difficulty of the second section of that same type. This makes performance on the first section very important, since getting into the higher difficulty second section is imperative for students seeking to obtain a top score.
The two Reading and Writing sections allow 32 minutes to complete 27 individual prompt questions. Each of the two Math sections allow a calculator and provide 35 minutes for 22 questions in either multiple-choice or numeric entry format.
Both the individual section scores and the overall composite ACT are scored on a single point scale from 1-36. The composite score is an average of the four section scores, so each section counts for 25% of the composite result.
The SAT individual section scores are on a scale of 200-800 in ten-point increments and their sum comprises the overall score on a scale of 400-1600. Because math is 50% of the overall SAT score compared to 25% of the composite ACT score, students who excel in that subject might prefer the SAT while those who are better at language arts might do better on the ACT.
Proven ACT Study Strategies
Preparing for a standardized test such as the ACT is more similar to preparing for a marathon than cramming for a final exam, so the first step is to commit to 1-2 hours of daily dedicated practice for 2-4 months. The best resources for that practice can be found directly from the ACT test makers. It is always best to take a free diagnostic exam at the beginning of your preparation journey to determine your baseline score and learn how far you have to go to achieve your goal as well as what topics should be prioritized for study.
Your tutor will always provide clear homework assignments after every lesson, and each practice drill should be fully self-reviewed to ensure that you are getting the most out of every exercise. Make sure to take a break between doing and self-reviewing your practice to avoid simply accepting an answer explanation rather than challenging yourself to determine why your answer was incorrect, while the correct answer was right instead.
Real ACT Parent and Student Feedback
- Wesley C. After some hesitation and fear I finally opened my scores after they came in this morning. I was very pleased to see that I got a 32! I found our sessions to be extremely helpful and I saw lots of progress as a result of them.
- Joanne H. My son was a junior last year and really got off track with his AP Bio class at ETHS. MyGuru found a wonderful tutor for us and they worked together throughout the year on both Bio and on preparing for the ACT. My son's tutor was extremely capable and was very invested in how to be most helpful to my son. His grades in Bio steadily improved, as did his ACT test scores. Further the tutor will continue to help us out this year as he has to write his essays and he has become quite the role model for our son. We couldn't be more pleased.
- Alexandra G. Amazing people all around, from the manager, Morgan, to the tutor, Adam!! Prompt, professional communication and top quality tutoring. My son found the ACT prep very valuable and improved his composite score by 6 points. Highly recommend!
- Barb S. My daughter recently used My Guru for ACT tutoring. The tutor, Chris, was excellent! In addition to knowing the material very well, Chris was patient, encouraging and brought out her confidence. Always on time and professional. We are pleased to say her ACT composite score increased by 5. We highly recommend this company. If you think your student may benefit from 1:1 instruction, do not hesitate to give tutoring a try! This company is reasonable priced and worth every penny.
- Martin R. "We worked with MyGuru and tutor named Michael (who had a PhD from Northwestern University in Computer Science, by the way) to help my son prepare for the ACT. He had taken four practice exams (2 Kaplan, 1 Princeton and 1 school) and seemed to have plateaued with a composite score that was good, but not great. Our goal was to boost his math, science and composite to a more competitive level to target some "highly selective" universities in the college admissions process. Our tutor helped our son develop a customized study plan that focused on addressing his weaker areas, but also helped him improve upon his already strong performance in Reading and English. We invested in 10 hours of tutoring, and saw results that we were extremely happy with. Our son's score in Science, his weakest area, jumped from below the 50th percentile to near the 90th. Ultimately, he reached his target composite score and we are grateful to the excellent job that Michael from MyGuru did. In addition to being an extremely competent tutor and generally impressive individual, Michael was punctual, organized, and communicated very well. I highly recommend Michael and MyGuru, and from what I can tell, the prices we paid were, while not low, very affordable relative to what some of the large tutoring companies will charge you for 1-1 instruction."
- Maureen D. Money well spent!!! I contacted MyGuru for some in-home ACT tutoring. Mark did a great job of answering my questions and matching student to tutor. We ended up with Jordan, who was knowledgeable, professional and thorough. She did such a great job of explaining things that my son's scores not only went up, but his reading score went up 10 points!!! I plan on using MyGuru for my other kids and would definitely recommend them to anybody looking for an ACT tutor.
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