Does Online Test Prep Actually Work?
Like many parents who took the SAT in the pre-Internet age, you might be asking yourself “does online test prep work?” Is your son or daughter really going to get the same experience and value online that he or she would one-on-one, in person, with a tutor, or in a test prep class?
The short and sweet answer is: yes! We have seen consistently excellent results with online test prep, and it’s our preferred method of teaching the SAT and ACT.
Online Works. Period.
Between digital books, tests, and homework in a personalized dashboard, as well as one-on-one online-based interaction with instructors and tutors available 24/7, we’ve seen equal, if not slightly improved, overall score improvement online vs. in-person interaction.
Prep Expert’s SAT and ACT courses offer a comprehensive set of resources to help maximize a student’s test prep experience. Day or night, you can be sure your child will have access to every material available to them, as long as there’s an Internet connection.
There’s also the online classroom, which comes equipped with everything you’d find in a real classroom, and more. With the audio/video link, students are able to see or hear their instructor, just like in person. For tutoring, the instructor can see and hear your student, as well.
For classes, where a number of students will be present, individual students are able to communicate their questions to the instructor through a real-time chat box, at the bottom left of their screen. In addition to the audio/video features, the online classroom has a whiteboard.
The whiteboard function lets the instructor show students how to solve math problems step-by-step. We also have a slideshow feature, so prepared lessons can be presented to students in a PowerPoint-like format. Finally, our dashboard allows students to upload practice tests, show videos, or navigate websites.
In many cases, this is better than in-person instruction, as many physical locations don’t have the advanced tech features that our online classroom has already. Plus, your student won’t have to worry about getting a bad seat—the view will be great right from their desk chair.
Depending on my needs for a class, I can pull up an SAT practice test for students to see, and use my highlighter to point out parts of a passage, or elements of a question, that I want them to look at. If a student has a question about how to use a semicolon, I can pull up my slideshow presentation on grammar.
If there’s a question about linear geometry or trigonometry, I can use the whiteboard to puzzle out a problem in real-time. (The whiteboard even has a feature that turns my scribblings into neater text, and the sloppy lines my hands draw into true-blue 180-degree, flat lines!)
And, if there’s a website I find useful, like a primer on transition words from a teacher out in Wisconsin, or a YouTube video explaining conjunctions, I can pull that right up, too.
My capabilities in a brick-and-mortar classroom are much more limited. Many times in a real classroom, there’s no projector, and I can’t even find a whiteboard marker that isn’t out of ink. So, the online classroom is a great resource to have.
There Are Perks for Parents, Too
Missing classes, extracurricular activities, weather problems, and more are things of the past with online test prep.
With online test prep, you’ll never have to worry about your student missing classes.
We know how busy high school students are, with extracurricular activities, sports, afterschool jobs, and many other things filling up their schedules. Often, all these obligations overlap and interfere with test prep. Well, if this is the case, or if your student is sick or has a big chemistry test the day after a test prep class, there’s no problem.
All of Prep Expert’s online classes are recorded, so your student can watch them on-demand, whenever he or she wants. This is useful even if your student didn’t miss class—if there’s a lesson he or she wants to take another look at, it’s always there.
Of course, it’s always better to attend a class live, so that the student can ask the instructor their questions. But watching a class recording is still better than the alternative with in-person classes, where the best the student would be able to do is get notes from a classmate, or ask the instructor for an overview of what was taught.
This advantage applies to one-on-one tutoring online, as well. Your tutor’s availability is bound to be better when there’s no commute to worry about. Moreover, with little time to study and fit everything else in already, it’s a huge relief for your student to not worry about meeting their tutor at a library or fighting traffic to make it to a test prep location on time.
Online, test prep can be done wherever there’s an Internet connection. (Still, your student should try to work somewhere quiet and free of distractions.) All that commuting time can now be put back into test prep—or used to give your student more time to do schoolwork, make soccer practice, or take a well-deserved breather once in a while.
This feature of online test prep is one that I consistently get praise about from parents. When you factor in that the results we see from online vs. in-person courses being nearly identical with a slight nod to online, it starts to become a no-brainer.
Wherever Thou Go, We Go
There’s always a tutor or test prep class available.
Many of our test prep students come from rural areas, where it might be difficult to find a test prep class that’s close by and fits their schedule. They also have trouble locating an affordable tutor who can make it to their house for study time.
This problem is eliminated with our online test prep classes. No matter where you are, you’ll have some of the best instructors and tutors in the country ready to stream right to your home through your computer screen.
In my time as a Prep Expert instructor, I’ve worked with students from across the country, from towns big and small, and even from places as far away as Kazakhstan. As long as they keep track of their respective time zones, your student and his or her tutor will be able to get together no matter where they are.
The online class schedule is also loaded with offerings during all times of the year. There are classes scheduled for school breaks—for example, our Winter Break SAT and ACT classes—so your student can fit in an intensive period of studying if the rest of the year is simply too busy.
Classes are scheduled for nights and weekends, as well—but again, remember, the beautiful thing is, with on-demand, your student can sit for lessons whenever it’s convenient.
Questions and Concerns
We have answers to many of the common questions we receive from interested parents and students.
I don’t have a state-of-the-art computer. Will that be a problem?
So long as your computer has an Internet connection, a microphone, camera, and an updated Internet browser, which most computers released in the past 10 years will have, you shouldn’t have any problems at all. Unlike video games and advanced video projects, the demands our online classes will place on your hard drive are very minimal.
Plus, your student doesn’t need to be a computer whiz either. Our online offerings are intuitive enough that if your son or daughter can check their email, they can navigate Prep Expert’s online courses with ease, too.
But if my son/daughter is on their computer to study, isn’t that bound to offer plenty of distractions?
It’s true that many things that your student can access online—social media, games, blogs—can be a distraction from studying. But the fact of the matter is, computers are tied into all aspects of our lives these days.
Most students we see in in-person classes not only have their computer and cell phone with them, but the additional distraction of classmates to giggle with and pass notes to usually. Online classes eliminate this last problem.
For one-on-one tutoring, the tutor can keep a close eye on the student through the video feature. This monitoring ensures that the student is engaged in test prep and not glued to their phone.
I just don’t feel as though my son/daughter will respond as well to online test prep as he/she would to in-person instruction.
This might be true, although, as mentioned before, we have found time and again that the aversion to online test prep usually comes from the parents. Why? Because they didn’t grow up with the Internet, unlike the students.
Students today are used to computers and the Internet being tied into all parts of their lives, including classroom instruction in their high school classes. So, for them, studying online won’t be awkward, or something that he or she has to get used to.
Regardless, the good news is, Prep Expert offers both online and in-person instruction.
If you’re still not convinced, fear not: Prep Expert also offers in-person test prep classes and one-on-one tutoring in cities across the country. With a consistent schedule of classes and a dedicated set of talented tutors ready to hop in their cars and head to your home, we can help you out, even if you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way.
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