SAT or ACT preparation can increase test scores and lead to early admission to the college of your choice. Many colleges today have a limited amount of spots open to new students. Early admission can secure one of those spots for your child.
Students are encouraged to prepare for the SAT or ACT before they take the exam for the first time. With this early preparation, your child may achieve the necessary score earlier in the process to allow for early admission. Without preparation, test taking is a waste of time and no student achieves their best results the first time. Low scores on the first test may have a negative confidence impact on students. This can be very difficult for them to overcome. Students that do not start formal preparation early do not achieve their fullest potential on tests.
Strategy and Skills — It is the combination of both of these elements that allows students to achieve their fullest potential.
The quality of strategy preparation widely varies in the test prep industry from no preparation at all to preparation customized to the individuals test-taking abilities. The best test preparation services require the students to take an actual and recent SAT/ACT test. They follow the test with an in-depth analysis of the how the student answers test questions. This analysis includes difficulty of questions and quality of guessing. Based on all of this data, an individualized strategy is developed that is customized to the students’ abilities.
The quality of skill building also widely varies. Some services do not offer skill-building strategies. Others identify specific skills that are lacking for the students and have extensive and proven curriculum and methods to rapidly build those skills.
Which test preparation service should you choose?
There are different types of test preparation services from which to choose from. Options are Large Classroom-Based Test Prep Services, Private Test Prep, or the Individualized Approach.
The large classroom-based test prep service works on high-level skills and do not customize strategies based on the individual needs of the student. The focus is on generalized strategies and practice tests. The student may be taught skills that they already have, which is a waste of precious time and money.
While private test prep is able to focus on the individual student, they often do not have the capability to quickly identify the student’s skills and testing abilities. They do not have the curriculum or methods that have proven effective results.
The individualized approach will utilize actual tests to understand the student’s test-taking abilities as it relates to the specific test. They identify the weakest skills that require attention and enhance them for that test. These companies will develop a customized plan based on current skills, testing abilities, and requirements for the colleges of choice.
Cost is always a concern.
The larger services will always appear to be less costly at first glance. However, when you compare quality, opportunity, and time lost by poor preparation, the cost of using these services can be significantly higher than those of a quality individualized program service.
Parents should consider the future of a student with great grades and high SAT/ACT scores when making a test preparation decision. Some important elements to consider are: acceptance to the school of choice, obtaining the best education possible, scholarship money, and the documented fact that the right education can lead to a very stable and rewarding career.