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Test Prep Classes Improve Performance

Results from a nationwide study showed that students who took private SAT prep classes averaged scores 60 points higher on their SAT tests compared to those who didn’t take those classes. As a result, they were more likely to get into college, and into more selective colleges.

“SAT prep tools have become a tool of advantaged families to ensure that their children stay ahead in the competition for college admissions,” said Claudia Buchmann, co-author of the study and associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

Most colleges and universities use the SAT, a standardized test, as one of the primary factors in the selection process for students. Because of the importance of the test for college admission, a wide variety of test preparation services are offered to high school students. This study examined which students were most likely to use four types of these services: private classes, such as those offered for a fee by Princeton Review and Kaplan; special high school classes; private tutors; and test books, software programs or videos.

  • Slightly more than half of the students in this study reported using test prep books. But books were also the least effective method of preparing for the test, and had no significant beneficial effects on SAT scores, Buchmann said.
  • About 18 percent took a high school class on SAT prep, 11 percent took a private class, and 7 percent had a private tutor.
  • Private classes were the most effective form of test preparation, and students who took them had an average increase in SAT score of 60 points.

Results from the study also showed that higher SAT scores were linked to higher rates of college enrollment, and particularly higher levels of enrollment in the more highly selective colleges.

credit: researchnews

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