As a high school student, you’ve most likely been hearing about the SAT and ACT for years. By now, you understand the importance of these standardized tests and how the scores can impact your admission or scholarship chances. Now that the school year is approaching, you might be wondering how to start your preparations for the tests. What’s the best way to prepare? Should you pay for a tutor? Here are three essential things that every student should consider before starting to study for the SAT or ACT.
Discover your learning style
Test taking is a skill and one you can hone and improve with practice if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Before you start looking for a test preparation service, you should assess what your learning style is and what your expectations are. If you don’t know what your learning style is, there are online tests you can easily take to help you find out. Once you know your learning style, you can find a test prep service that fits your needs and style best. For example, if you’re more of a visual learner, you might do well learning from an online program since it’s presentation based. If you’re an auditory learner, you might do better studying with a friend or with a private tutor because you can talk through difficult questions.
Related: 3 Things to Learn Before College for Academic Success
Online or in person
Before deciding what test prep service to choose, you should take a practice testto highlight the areas in which you need the most improvement. Perhaps the test indicates you only need help with the Math section, so you might consider just hiring a math tutor. Or if your analysis shows you need to improve your score all-around, then taking a full course might be better for you. Taking online courses can be beneficial to students who have a busy schedule and want to learn at their own pace. Online courses wouldn’t be a good fit for someone who needs the accountability or individual attention that an in-person class or tutor can provide. Tutors and classes are often local and in person, but you can also find high-quality tutors online too. Regardless of the delivery method, tutoring has an advantage because each class can be customized to your personal needs. You can get specific advice that matches your test-taking skills and spend class time on only the subjects you need help improving.
Related: The Best SAT Prep Sites, Books, and More
Is it worth the money and time?
When you start looking for test prep help, you might initially be shocked by the price tag of some courses. Even though the cost might seem too much, if you can afford it, it’s often worth the price. If you opt for a course in a classroom, it’s generally cheaper because the teacher’s time is split between a group of students, making it less expensive than a private tutor. A private tutor, on the other hand, can cost as little as $20 to hundreds of dollars an hour. The question remains, though: is it worth the cost? Test preparation services are an investment in your future. If a recommended ACT course costs $800, you might think that’s not worth it to raise your score a few points. However, earning two or three points might help you qualify for an increase in renewable merit scholarship awards. That might mean the $800 you initially invested could help you get thousands of extra dollars in scholarship money a year.
Related: Are Standardized Test Prep Courses Worth It?
By investing in a test prep course, you can help yourself by preparing earlier and not waiting until the last minute to begin to study. Creating healthy study habits now is the best way to have success on the ACT or SAT and future tests.
Prepare for standardized tests with our SAT Word Game!