Have you ever wondered how you can level up your SAT or ACT prep? If so, in this blog, we’re going to talk about overlooked but awesome free prep resources for the SAT, ACT, and test prep in general.
Khan Academy, which has a partnership with the College Board, is widely known for free SAT prep, but what if you want something more than just the practice tests and tips from the test maker? Where can you get insider tips and more personalized feedback?
Free Private (and Group) Tutoring
One overlooked but free way to prep for the SAT and the ACT is to get free private (or group) tutoring. We know some of you are probably thinking that private tutoring is expensive, and yes, it can be. But, some free tutoring resources exist.
First, Sal Khan’s Khan Academy spinoff, Schoolhouse.world offers free tutoring: https://schoolhouse.world/
Some public libraries offer free tutoring and other test prep resources. Libraries will often not only host SAT workshops or free practice test days, but will often also have a free hour or two of drop in general tutoring after school or on weekends or even run free test prep classes. Particularly for lower scoring students, drop in free tutoring programs can be a great resource to increase your understanding in math, grammar and reading skills or reviewing questions from your practice tests. If you don’t have these resources at your public library, you can also let your local public library know that you would be interested to see if they might be able to begin offering test prep opportunities. The state of California also recently announced free on demand tutoring through public libraries– this may be school subject related tutoring, but students with content questions on the SAT/ACT should be able to seek help here as well.
Here are some examples of local library SAT/ACT programming at local libraries:
Los Angeles Public Library https://www.lapl.org/teens/college-career/get-ready-for-college
Other places to seek free tutoring options include your local school district or public school. True, group classes and workshops are more common than private instruction to this end. Brooke has done a crash course for an entire state’s Department of Education, for example, where students could come in and learn for two hours for free. Some public high schools offer free test prep classes. But other organizations may have free peer tutoring, school library academic support, or know of free private tutoring options as well. Ask your high school counselor if he or she knows of any such resources.
Here’s an example of a local Alabama high school’s successful, free ACT prep class.
Another tip on getting free tutoring is student-run tutoring programs. One of the most frequent activities of students that are trying to get into elite college is creating peer tutoring organizations. And many of the overachieving students have near-perfect scores on the SAT and the ACT. With these students, you would be getting a great bargain as well as really good information on the tests.
Here are some examples of student run free tutoring sites.
Tutor Together (California) www.tutor-together.com
Peer 2 Peer Tutoring (Arizona) www.p2ptutoring.org
Also, ask your school counselor if she or he knows of any resources for the SAT or the ACT that might be available to school or district students. Many high school counselors keep a list of tutors. But they know that if they have a low-income student, some of those tutors may offer pro-bono spots through those counselors.
As a member of the National Test Prep Association I’ve learned that one of the number one ways excellent local tutors and test prep companies mete out pro-bono work, whether that’s free spots in group classes or private one-on-one tutoring, is through school counselors. To find “free” or scholarship tutoring spots, you often must go through your school counselor.
There are tons of videos all over YouTube, not just SupertutorTV, but many other tutors are giving away content for free. So, whether you want to know how to self-study or have tips or tricks for a specific section, you can find it all on YouTube.
But you can also find people that know how to do things that you’re tested on. For example, if you don’t know how to use semicolons, there’s probably some video somewhere where someone will get into how to use a semicolon. If you are looking for something video-wise that is a little bit more comprehensive, SupertutorTV does have paid courses on our website (supertutortv.com) for both SAT and ACT with a five-day free trial.
There are a couple of communities on Reddit for both the SAT and the ACT. Reddit’s really cool for two reasons: one, it has “megathreads” of all of the official tests for both the SAT and the ACT. These communities have shared a boatload of real test material that has been distributed throughout the world, and that is the most accurate kind of material that a student could work from to better learn and understand the test. The second aspect of Reddit that is quite valuable is its Q&A community: if you can’t find a free private tutor and your parents aren’t going to shell out for one, there’s this community where people answer each other’s questions. If you’re going over your test, you can look up the exact question to find relevant discussions.
It’s not the same as having a private tutor, and we can’t vouch for the fact that everyone on Reddit knows what they’re talking about (some of them probably don’t), but there’s a lot of voices on there and there are some smart people who can be a really great resource if you’re studying for the SAT or the ACT. Please note I also have haters on Reddit. Feel free to prove them otherwise.
Free Resources for Low-Income Students
Several nonprofits target low-income students needing test prep or academic support for US students.
If you have a fee waiver for the ACT, you also qualify for free access to ACT online prep, which is a cool resource to get more online practice, especially if you happen to be taking the ACT on a computer.
Different groups and organizations specifically offer test prep for low-income students, and you can look up the name of your city and “low-income SAT prep” or “ACT prep” to see if you can find some of these organizations in your community. Some may also offer free tutoring which may or may not be specific to test prep, but could still help students who struggle with underlying subject matter on these exams.
Examples of Local Organizations offering tutoring and /or test prep:
(Please know we do NOT know these organizations personally and you should carefully vet any tutoring options before using them to ensure safety, etc. Likewise, some offer tutoring in multiple subjects–you’ll need to specifically inquire if they will cover SAT/ACT, though for lower scoring students, support in underlying subject matter, such as Algebra or Geometry, may offer the support you need to improve.)
https://ptps.berkeley.edu/ (Berkeley / east bay CA)
Kara Tutoring offers free online SAT/ACT prep to disadvantaged students https://karatutoring.com
Step Up Tutoring: https://www.stepuptutoring.org
Though not specific to test prep, Learn to Be offers free 1-on-1 tutoring to low income students: https://www.learntobe.org
The Evergreen Initiative pairs low income students with volunteer tutors in subjects like competition math, that can also help with SAT/ACT: https://evergreeninitiative.weebly.com/tutoring.html
We like to liken test prep to the beach. The beach is free, and the ocean belongs to all of us. But that doesn’t mean that the Four Seasons and other five-star luxury resorts don’t make a killing on providing luxury easy access to that shoreline. Still, if you love the beach—if the SAT and the ACT are calling you and you have it in your heart that you want to achieve—there is access that you can get for test prep to take you wherever you want to go.