Students have busy lives, so finding the best test prep option is vital. One of the first choices you need to make is whether to prep in person or online.
Your plate is already full, so adding to it will be a delicate balance. A recent survey indicates that students spend, on average, ten hours per week on extra-curricular activities, with some putting in even more time.
Add that to 35 hours per week of school and additional time spent on homework, and it’s clear that teens are “working overtime.”
Let’s explore how each of these options could help you prepare yourself for the challenge of taking the PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT®, and ACT ® tests, which all play a role in your journey to college.
The Pros and Cons of Online Test Prep
Online test prep can take many forms.
You may be required to log in at an assigned time, or you may be left to find windows of time on your own. The latter may seem most appealing at first, but keep in mind that it’s up to you to stay accountable.
Whether you will force yourself to get these tasks completed will come down to personal motivation.
If you’re the type of person who relies on others to help you stay on track, online prep may not be the best option for you.
You won’t have to leave your home, so you may be able to cut down on some time spent on travel to and from a center, and you also won’t have to change out of your pajamas to prep if you don’t want to.
Online prep sometimes occurs in individual sessions or in group classes much like in-person test prep. However, meeting virtually may or may not help you feel connected to your instructor and/or classmates.
While an online test prep experience may offer convenience and flexibility, you’ll miss out on building strong relationships with your classmates and teachers like those you would cultivate if you choose to prep in person at a test prep campus.
The Pros and Cons of In-Person Test Prep
In-person test prep offers many advantages.
Meeting in person provides accountability. It’s a lot easier to say “I’m not feeling like doing test prep today” to a computer than it is to no show a scheduled event with a live instructor.
Having familiar faces around you week after week builds a feeling of camaraderie and shared purpose. You’ll be rooting for each other’s successes on your respective test prep journeys.
This may make the drive to a center and the thought of having to wear something other than your pajamas to test prep more appealing.
There are many benefits to working in a group such as increased productivity, social interaction, and enhanced self-awareness. Rick Reis of Stanford points out in his recent blog on small group learning that “no one can be anonymous in a small group.” You’ll be apt to participate and stay engaged when working in a small group.
In-Person Test Prep at KD College Prep
If you choose an in-person test prep facility like KD College Prep, you will meet in small classes of no more than 15 students.
You will meet with these classmates each week in person at one of our conveniently located campuses to learn the content covered by the PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests. These classes are ability grouped when possible, allowing for an approach customized to meet your needs.
You will find yourself interacting with your peers. Questions from others may prompt you to ask a question you didn’t even realize you had.
This in-person interaction brings with it a whole new level of synergy that you just can’t find among online test prep options.
Your KD teachers will present strategies to help you tackle the unique challenges of the PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests. All teachers at KD College Prep demonstrate their knowledge of these tests before they begin teaching in our classrooms.
Teachers lead our lessons, workshops, and practice test reviews. This allows you plenty of opportunities to ask questions and find the additional help necessary to understand the concepts effectively.
What makes these tests arduous for many students is that they do not align exactly with the type of tests you are used to taking in school.
Not all high schools follow the same curriculum, for one thing, and, for another, these tests have a format that you may not have encountered before.
Questions are written in intentionally complicated ways, which is not typically the case with the teacher-created tests you take during your school career.
Many standardized college admissions test items are not even written as question themselves, but instead give you lengthy stems to complete with even lengthier answer options.
Having specific strategies to help you navigate these confusing items at an efficient pace is critical to your success. At KD College Prep, we specialize in college admissions testing rather than tutoring all types of school content.
Your instructors will explain not only why the correct answers are correct, but also why the incorrect answers options do not work.
They will help you see patterns in your incorrect responses, while a lively in-person discussion with your classmates at one of our campuses will help cement this information in your mind in a way that would be difficult for an online test prep option to rival.
Timed Practice Tests with Instructor-Led Reviews
When testing, you will also be battling the clock.
The SAT test boasts 145 items and only 180 minutes of testing time, so you will be answering them at a rate of approximately one every minute and a quarter.
The ACT test ups the ante even more, requiring you to push through 215 items in only 175 minutes, meaning you’ll need to clock in at just over three quarters of a minute per question pace.
At KD College Prep we offer many practice exams (up to 29 tests your junior year alone).
We conduct in-person, small group reviews of these exams so that you can learn how to course correct for the next time.
We have a proprietary test analysis system, which will allow you to receive feedback on your specific strengths and weaknesses. This system also allows our instructors to target the most cumbersome items.
Working in a small group will expose you to many methods of solving these items and allow you to hear multiple perspectives on approaches.
If you’d like to meet individually in person with an instructor for an even more customized approach, we also offer one-on-one tutoring for the tests.
Which test prep option is best for you?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what your needs are. If you’re interested in online test prep, first take advantage of free practice tests offered by the College Board®.
If you’re interested in our in-person test prep, schedule a tour at a campus near you: Frisco, Plano, Flower Mound, Coppell, or Colleyville.
If you’re still on the fence and unsure of which option to choose, check out our testimonials or ask a parent or friend about which option they think would be most effective. With more than 65,000 students served in Dallas-Fort Worth since 1992, you’re bound to find a classmate who is a KD student.
We hope to see you at one of our five DFW campuses soon. You may not be able to wear your pajamas here, and you will have to get in the car to come see us, but the rewards of achieving your score goals will be worth it.