Why Most SAT Prep Doesn’t Work

SAT Prep

In 2009, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling found that the average SAT score improvement from commercial test prep courses was only 30 points. If that’s true, then how do we have an average SAT score improvement of 376 points in our classes at 2400 Expert? It’s simple — I have come up with the most effective preparation class in the world because it comes from my experience of raising my own SAT score from average to perfect. Here are a few reasons most SAT prep companies are not doing you any favors.

Everyday I write a new strategy for the SAT, I think “how can I make today’s strategy the most effective strategy a student has ever seen?” I have spent thousands of hours meticulously thinking about what techniques worked for me in high school and creating simple strategies that are easy-to-learn so that other students can benefit from my methods. Most SAT prep companies simply do not put in the time, energy, and effort to create superb material.

Every high-scoring SAT student knows that the best questions to practice with are ones produced by the College Board — the company that creates the SAT. Creating accurate standardized question is no easy task. No SAT prep company has the budget or resources to create questions that are nearly as accurate as the College Board’s SAT questions. Many College Board SAT questions have been used on past exams and will be similar to what a student will encounter on test day. However, most SAT prep companies still opt to produce their own sub-par questions. At 2400 Expert, we only practice with College Board questions and thoroughly breakdown the exams with our students.

18 hours. This is the average length of most SAT courses. How much can a student learn in 18 hours? Not much. At 2400 Expert, students get 100 hours of prep in 6 weeks: 36 instructional hours, 24 testing hours, and 40 homework hours. SAT score improvements are directly related to the amount of time a student spends studying for the SAT. Although this is a significant time commitment, we expect our students to make SAT prep a priority since it is so important in the college admissions process!

The average SAT prep company hires college students who have done relatively well on the SAT to teach SAT courses. However, at 2400 Expert we make it a point to find the best instructors. Not only have our instructors scored in the 99th percentile themselves on the SAT, but they have previous teaching experience and have personally been trained by me to teach our material. In addition, we pay our instructors more than anyone else in the industry to make sure we get the very best ones who stay with us for years.

Most SAT prep companies do not proctor full-length SAT exams for their students. First, this means the test prep companies cannot track how well their students are doing, especially if they are falling behind. Second, it’s a huge disservice to students because they do not get accustomed to the 4-hour marathon of a test that the SAT is. Students at 2400 Expert have taken at least 6 full-length proctored SAT exams prior to test day; in other words, mental endurance is not an issue for our students.

Finally, most SAT prep companies are faceless. While I initially didn’t like that 2400 Expert was so attached to me, I actually now think it’s a huge benefit. Telling students how a perfect SAT score changed my life is often inspirational. My SAT score was the reason I was admitted into prestigious universities, won a half a million dollar in scholarships, received awards such as USA Today All-USA High School Academic Team Honorable Mention, and even met the President of the United States. In addition, today, I am an MD/MBA student at USC and Yale, a guest blogger for The New York Times, and a #1 bestselling author because of the work ethic I picked up when I was studying for the SAT. This encourages our students to work hard so that they can achieve their dreams. And many of our students have achieved amazing things: admission into Ivy League universities, millions in college scholarships, and some have even gotten perfect SAT scores themselves!

Shaan Patel

Shaan Patel is the founder of Prep Expert Test Preparation (formerly 2400 Expert), a #1 bestselling SAT prep author, an MD/MBA student at Yale and USC, and winner of an investment deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC's Shark Tank. He raised his own SAT score from average to perfect and teaches students his methods in an online SAT prep class.