Wondering if you need to pay for college test prep services? If you scored poorly on his or her first SAT or ACT exam, or if you’re gunning for a high score, you’ll want to look into ways to improve your score. Some high schools provide test prep classes as part of their curriculum, but most do not. That’s why you may have to take this into your own hands.
Do I Need a Test Prep Service?
You can get sample ACT or SAT tests (free of charge) when you sign up for the exams. You can also get these from your school and from a variety of sources online (again, for free.) You can practice taking the tests, check your answers against an answer key, and even find explanations behind answers online.
Why then, would you want to pay for test preparation services?
Test prep services will explain why you got an answer right or wrong, teach you specific test-taking skills that apply to particular types of questions, and provide motivation, structure and incentives so you actually study and practice. Most high school students find it tough to be disciplined about studying for college entrance exams, so a test prep service may give you exactly what you need.
In-Person College Test Prep Services
The most effective (but most expensive) way to prepare is to enroll in an in-person college test prep service. Most of these services will not only prepare you for the test, but they’ll also help you apply for scholarships and colleges. These classes are expensive and time-consuming, but they get results.
Online Test Prep Services
Online test prep services come in all shapes and sizes. Some are reputable and offer prompt, thorough feedback and interactive incentives. Other simply offer the same resources you could get for free, such as Number2, and unreliable feedback and interaction.
Make sure you are responsible enough to log in and spend the necessary time working on your exam preparation before you sign up for one of these services. Check reviews, too, to make sure you are using a reputable service.
Test Prep Software and Books
Each year a new crop of study guides and study software appears on the market. These are effective—if you are disciplined enough to use them. Again you need to check reviews to see if the particular books or software really deliver what you need. You will need to find the motivation and dedication, but the resources can be quite good.
Beware of College Test Prep Scams
Before you sign up for any test preparation service, you’ll want to check their reputation to make sure they are worthwhile. Google the name of the company and look for reviews. Some test prep companies will send you less material than you can find for free online, but will charge you a bundle.
If you’re going to pay for test preparation services, you want to pay a company that is going to give feedback on your answers and will provide you with accountability and incentives to study. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money for resources you could have gotten online or for free.