Why should I take Test Prep?


Karen Berlin Ishii, One-to-One Test Prep for the ACT and SAT in New York and via Skype

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As Robyn and the anonymous University Tutor have noted, test prep differs from academic learning. Stanley Kaplan, founder of the first SAT prep method way back in the 1930's, understood that doing well on tests is something that can be taught, too. Previously, test makers claimed that tests such as the SAT or ACT measured aptitude – like an IQ test – and were thus impervious to the effects of study. Well, even IQ tests yield higher scores to those who prepare for them!

Since preparation has been proven to raise scores and these tests are all about competition, in order to be competitive you must prepare. Normally, in school, teachers rejoice when all their students score 100%. It means they've all mastered the lesson and the teacher has done a good job. In competitive admissions tests, however, there can never be a full class of 100% scores; there must a curve in order to rank the results.

Standardized tests, by their very format and competitive purpose, entail a very different experience than straight-forward tests of curricular achievement. Furthermore, the material tested differs greatly from what is taught in school – despite whatever the test makers may claim about aligning their content to the Common Core, etc. Test Prep has indeed become another required subject – whether at school or after – that students must master in order to rise to the next steps in their educations.

University Tutor, World's largest global marketplace for independent tutors.

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Very few students earn perfect scores on standardized tests like the ACT, GRE, MCAT, and SAT. No matter your grades in school, it is important to realize that while entrance and placement exams relate to the content of your classes, they assess it in different ways. The SAT, for example, heavily emphasizes analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving across all of its sections.

Test prep - whether in the form of a high school class, group course, or one-on-one tutor - can help you perfect your timing, develop strategies for overcoming issues like exam anxiety, and recognize the unique ways in which these tests measure ability and knowledge.

Robyn Scott, Educational Consultant, TutorNerds LLC

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Test Prep is essentially a separate topic from other academics. Standardized Test Math is not the same as classroom math and so forth. Although standardized tests continue to change and update, they are still multiple choice exams. It's important for students to know math and English for both the classroom and life but how they demonstrate their knowledge on an exam is an entirelly different skill set. By taking Test Prep as if if were a seperate subject (either in a class or with a tutor) students learn how to 'beat' the test and get the scores they need to get closer to their goals.

In addition to college prep level test prep, students can learn how to be skilled test-takers in general, which can help them preform well in college and throughout life. Although most students find it to be a dry topic, it's one that can be very beneficial in the long run.

I hope this helps!

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