Since its start in 2012, John Ebert’s ACT Math Prep course has readied over a thousand West Virginia high school students for the math portion of the college entrance exam. With an estimated 20 students per year earning the PROMISE scholarship that otherwise would not have scored high enough to qualify, the program has proven to be a huge success.

A prominent local businessman, Ebert and his wife own 16 McDonald’s restaurants in the region and employ over 900 people. He recalls his own preparations for college and cites the lack of assistance available at the time as the motivation to provide free classes for area students. Just as his own extensive preparations helped gain him acceptance into the University of Notre Dame, Ebert knows that being properly prepared for the ACT can make a huge difference for students in acheiving their goals. “It’s important to us to be part of the community. This is something I enjoy doing and a fun way to give back.”

The goal of the course is to improve students’ scores by 3 points. By attending the class in its entirety and completing the pre-work, Ebert said “students will not only achieve a boost in their score, but also in their confidence going into the test”. On occasion, students have increased their scores on the math section of the test so drastically that they were flagged for inconsistencies, and Ebert had to write letters confirming their completion of the course to explain the improvement.


Now in its fourth year, the program has expanded. Classes are offered four or five times a year, scheduled around testing dates. Both fundamentals and advanced classes are available. Ebert teaches half of the classes, along with the program’s two other instructors, Charlene Keener and Jeff Ledsome. The majority of the classes are held locally and primarily at either Robert C. Byrd High School or Bridgeport Middle School Learning Center, and about 80 percent of participants are Harrison County students. With the attendance of many classes reaching upwards of 150 students and the growing interest in the program, there are plans to take the classes on the road to Barbour and Braxton counties as well.

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Unlike many other courses of its kind, John Ebert’s Math ACT Prep program is free to register and attend, as well as quick to complete. In just a few hours, students will gain the knowledge and confidence to tackle the test. Classes are scheduled one to two weeks prior to test dates, and students receive pre-work once they are registered. Most classes consist of two, two hour sessions, but they can vary depending on the time of year. A lot of material is covered in the classes, so students are encouraged to complete all of the pre-work in order to make the most of the class. The program recognizes that the material they go over is not easy. “We have had some kids come more than once, because it can take a while to pick up some of the concepts”, said Ebert.
 The program receives a copy of the actual test, allowing participants to walk through the real questions they will confront on the ACT with the help of an instructor. As if the course doesn’t already seem too good to be true, Ebert said, “the classes are also a lot of fun! We learn how to solve things quicker and faster, and we have a good time while we do it.”

With help from John Ebert Math ACT Prep, the PROMISE scholarship is within reach for more WV students. Visit for more information, testimonials, class schedules, and registration deadlines.