Alternatives to pricey SAT prep/tutoring programs

Post By: COYD staff

SmartMoney.com, a personal finance and investing magazine, published an article yesterday about the Top 6 Ways to Find Affordable SAT Prep Programs.

Like the article stated, some SAT prep courses can reach $1000 or more.┬áThere’s already research that links high family incomes to higher mean scores on the SAT. Students in family incomes of less than $20,000 a year had a mean score of 1310 while test-takers with family incomes of over $200,000 had a mean score of 1715, a difference of 405 points. This price tag adds to the controversy of the SAT being socioeconomically biased. Now regardless of whether you believe the bias or not, there are many students out there who have a hard time with standardized tests. SAT prep courses and/or private tutoring actually do improve these students test scores because they breakdown the different types of questions and give the students strategies on how to tackle them. In addition, the courses keep the students accountable for taking practice tests and doing practice problems. So there is value in SAT prep courses and SAT tutoring; however, not everybody can afford the hefty price tags that accompany them.

The article discusses a few options for students who need an alternative to these prep courses and we have added a couple of our own.

1. Online tutoring
With online resources, we believe that the resources once provided just for the affluent are now accessible to all students.

Knewton.com uses an adaptive learning engine that dynamically matches lessons, videos and practice problems to an individual’s learning arc. This program is all online and it is around 1/2 the pricetag of most SAT prep programs. They also include a free trial. There is a summer special. Use Promo: SLNK100 for $100 off.

Powerscore also has online classes that are about 1/2 the price of their competitors.

2. Free prep work

Some high schools offer free test prep in the weeks leading up to the SATs. Make sure to check with your guidance counselor to see if your high school has a program that provides this service.

3. College Board’s free tools

Practice makes perfect. The College Board website has sample tests for free. Since the College Board creates the SAT, their practice materials are quite good.

4. Hire a private SAT tutor with 6 of your closest friends.

Be innovative. A lot of times there are SAT tutors out there who are looking for work. Rally a few of your friends and hire a private tutor and split the costs. A lot of tutors prefer finding their own clients instead of working for a big company like Kaplan or Princeton Review which take the majority of the revenue. So do your research and start scouting out tutors early. Don’t be scared to interview several of them before picking the right one for your group.

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