Prepping for the SAT: Some Cost Effective Methods

Posted on 10/06/09 9:59 PM by Amelia

There is little doubt that test preparation can affect your SAT exam scores. Students seeking admission to the most selective universities have been known to pay significant sums of money for personal tutorials to ensure they are well-prepared for these all-important tests.

While it is clear that preparation does matter, those with limited budgets simply cannot afford the costs associated with private tutorial services. But those on a budget should not ignore this important test preparation – they just need to seek out the most cost-effective options.

Options to Consider

Amazon.comFirst, students should gain access to sample tests. These practice exams help students become acquainted with the format of the tests and the styles of questions being asked. Familiarity is a real key to reducing the overall anxiety that comes with taking such important standardized tests.

Students can gain access to one copy of the exam free at the Peterson’s College site. You will need to register and you will be limited to but one sample but it is a great place to start and again the point of emphasis is that the test can be accessed free of charge.

Two of the agencies offering private tutorial options have entered the video game market. Students looking for additional test prep practice options can turn to the Princeton Review for My SAT Coach and to Kaplan Test Prep for the game FutureU.

The games are from two gaming industry giants, Ubisoft and Aspyr. FutureU which is currently available for download to a PC or Mac computer but the My SAT Coach is available only for Ninetendo DS. Both will set the user back about thirty bucks.

A standard, cost-effective option that many students and parents swear by is the College Board’s $19.95 “Official SAT Study Guide.” The reason that most find it the item to purchase is the booklet provides four critical elements.

College Board Booklet
The guide first offers a basic tutorial on the test-taking process. Second, it contains a math review of the key topics that students can expect to see.

Third, it gives students the chance to practice taking timed tests. Finally, it is similar in format to the real process: it is done without a computer using the traditional pencil and paper format that is a hallmark of the SAT.

Other such options do exist. There is the Princeton Review’s Cracking the SAT, Barron’s SAT 2400, Gruber’s Complete SAT Guide, and Kaplan SAT Premier Program. Each works in a similar manner.

Other Important Considerations

If students find that they are weak in the vocabulary areas, they can turn to another tech option, a new site called VerbaLearn. While there is no attempt to tie the building of vocabulary to the actual style of testing one faces on the SAT, access is free and the site is designed to prepare students for any nationally-normed test (SAT, ACT, and/or GRE). The key to making this site effective is to spend time on vocabulary building then return to the actual sample tests to determine if you have indeed built your fundamental vocabulary to a more appropriate level.

Lastly, there is always the issue of self-motivation. Those with a desire to prepare and an ability to structure their own time will find all of these more cost-effective tools great options to consider.

If on the other hand structure isn’t your strongest suit and procrastination an issue, you may well want to consider the test-preparation classes and their related-tutorials. The only issue to remember is that this latter option is the most expensive way to go.

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