While nearly 2.1 million students from the Class of 2016 took the ACT, nearly 1.7 million opted for the SAT, according to The Washington Post and the SAT Suite of Assessments, respectively.
Both of these tests have been a factor in college admission decisions for decades. To strengthen their chances of gaining admittance to their dream schools, many students spend time, money and energy preparing with either prep books, practice tests or prep courses.
According to a survey of 59 seniors from Jan. 19 to Jan. 20, 56 percent of them enrolled in a prep course while preparing for standardized testing.
English teacher Kelly Lang said that prep courses can be beneficial.
“I think it helps because repeatedly taking practice tests over and over will improve your scores so I think that’s a worthwhile idea,” Lang said.
Junior Audrey Mannion of Brielle had a positive experience while enrolled in her prep course.
“We take a practice test every Saturday or Sunday, and it really helps you see your score go up and what you need to work on in each individual category,” Mannion said.
Her scores on the practice tests have increased since starting the course. She took her first official SAT on Jan. 21.
Unlike Mannion, senior John Hennessy of Middletown, who took the old SAT twice and the ACT three times, thought the prep course he took at Cho Educators was a waste of time and money.
“The class didn’t really do much, but after the class I did a lot of preparation on my own and my scores increased dramatically,” Hennessy said.
Junior Cole Raymond of Middletown is enrolled in an SAT prep course as well. Raymond said that if he did not take the course he would put no extra effort into studying for the SAT.
To achieve a score as great as the test’s reputation, students will find the study method that works for them whether it be studying on their own, taking a prep course or any other technique.