It wasn't long ago that students wishing to prepare for the SAT or ACT exam had to reserve their seat in a prep class weeks ahead of time and then rearrange their schedule of extracurricular activities to make time for a multi-week class.
But times have changed, and high school students have more options than ever to help them prepare for one of the most important exams of their academic career.
While most students still take an in-person course at their high school or at a test prep center, a growing number of students are taking a course online. Online prep courses, while not right for every student, can offer some advantages not possible if taking a traditional in-person prep class. These advantages can include the integration of technology assessments, class discussion playback, flexible class schedules and the ability to attend the class from home.
Because a high score on the SAT is only one of the factors that will help a student achieve acceptance to their choice of colleges, today's high school students are busy bolstering their resumes with extracurricular activities, sports and after-school jobs. So it can be stressful when students realize that preparing for these exams can mean committing to weeks of test prep courses.
Beginning this fall, TutaPoint, in cooperation with a group of professional and accomplished SAT instructors will begin offering an online SAT course with flexible class dates. The live SAT course offers two opportunities each week to take each section - this means two chances to take the math section and two opportunities to take the verbal section each week.
Online courses often offer additional features such as integrating diagnostic assessments with course instruction and private tutoring, efficient pricing, convenience, and online results tracking.
When choosing an online course or tutor here are a few things to consider:
What is the provider's track record? Do they have the online and offline experience to deliver the results you desire? Ask for references and testimonials.
Where are the instructors based? Some online programs use instructors based in other countries, so if working with an instructor from the United States is important to you, ask.
Are the courses live or pre-recorded? Not all online programs deliver their SAT and ACT prep classes the same way. If you are looking for a synchronous, live, interactive course where the instructor interacts with the students, be sure to sign up for a course that is not pre-recorded or offered as a tutorial. Only live courses offer a student / instructor interactive component.
Are extras like books, materials, diagnostic reports, private tutoring, etc included in the price? Each course is different; many courses include extra services as part of their program, but some charge extra. Be sure you know what you are getting for the cost of the class.
Check time zones for live classes. Since live online prep courses are taught for students in multiple time zones across the United States, be sure to ensure that the time the course is offered at works for your local time.
Online test prep offers students new options and flexibility, but be sure to do your homework before deciding on the test prep option that is right for you.
Ryan Duques is the founder of TutaPoint Education, based in New York City. TutaPoint provides online tutoring and test prep. SAT and ACT prep courses the company offers include: Five-week online SAT Course, One-day SAT Course, and SAT and ACT Prep for Students with Learning Disabilities.