High school students in the United States who are planning on applying to college will need to take one of two standardized tests. These tests are the ACT and the SAT, and colleges accept scores from one or both.
There are various pros and cons to taking one test over the other, and if you ultimately decide that taking the SAT test is the best option for you, then it’s a good idea to prepare as much as you can through an online SAT course.
What is Online SAT Prep?
Online SAT prep is when you take a course online that will help you prepare for the SAT. Typically, there are different modules which correspond with the various sections you will see on the test: English, math, science, language and writing and the optional essay section, according to Prepscholar.
You can take an online SAT prep course in a specific section that you feel you need more help with. The courses are done completely online, and as long as you have an internet connection and a quiet space, you can do your SAT prep anywhere.
SAT Online Courses
SAT online courses are very diverse in terms of what they offer. You can choose a course based on several factors, such as the price, the length of the course, how the course is delivered, what topics are covered as well as whether or not a course “guarantees” an increase in your score.
To choose a an SAT online course that works best for you, look at the reviews, ask around to see what other students at your high school are signing up for, and get in touch with the course provider directly if you have additional questions or concerns.
To begin your search, take a look at several of the most popular SAT prep courses, according to Thebestschools.org:
The Princeton Review: This course runs between $99 and $3,000, and you can choose from a self-paced course, an expert-led program or a personalized private tutoring program.
Kaplan: Kaplan’s courses range from $599 to $5,699, depending on which type of instruction you prefer. They offer an interactive classroom course led by instructors as well as a self-paced option in which you watch videos according to your own schedule. You can also add on private tutoring.
Khan Academy: Khan Academy offers a free online SAT course which was created in collaboration with the test-makers. With it, you can do everything from taking practice tests to watching video lessons and reading tips.
PrepScholar: PrepScholar’s courses range in cost from $600 to $6,995, and will cost more depending on how much face-to-face time you’d like with your instructor. Each course is customized based on your individual learning needs.
CollegeVine: CollegeVine’s online SAT program is designed for high school students that are too busy to dedicate all their time to test preparation. The course ranges from $1,000 to $2,400 and involves giving students a comprehensive diagnostic exam so that instructors can understand the student's strengths and weaknesses. Once they know this, instructors create a course that maximizes study time in the right areas.
What is the Best SAT Prep Course?
With so many online SAT courses to choose from, it’s difficult to know which one is the considered the "best." This is especially true because all students will choose a course based on their individual needs, their financial capabilities and the amount of time they have available to study. Therefore, what's best for them might not be best for someone else.
All that being considered, the best SAT prep courses according to Review.com are:
- Kaplan: It has the most practice tests available.
- The Princeton Review: It has the best one-on-one program.
- Khan Academy: It's free and therefore, the value is unbeatable.
The Pros and Cons of an Online SAT Course
Before signing up for an online SAT course, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of taking a course like this altogether.
Beginning with the downsides, online SAT courses, or SAT courses in general, are very expensive. Even after spending so much money, there aren't necessarily any guarantees in terms of improving your score.
These courses do not do the work for you. You must put in the time in and pay attention in order to really benefit from what’s being offered. Even though many of these online courses happen within an interactive classroom, it’s not the same as a physical setting.
But there are many positive sides. Because these courses are online, you have the option to take a course that revolves around your schedule, not the other way around. Unless you have a private SAT tutor (which is also very expensive), courses that are not offered online require you to report to class each week when you’re tired or there's something else you need to be doing.
With an online SAT course, you can study where you want and when you want, without having to risk missing a an important session.
Hana LaRock is a freelance content writer from New York, currently living in Mexico. She has spent the last 5 years traveling the world and living abroad and has lived in South Korea and Israel. Before becoming a writer, Hana worked as a teacher for several years in the U.S. and around the world. She has her teaching certification in Elementary Education and Special Education, as well as a TESOL certification. Hana spent a semester studying abroad at Tel Aviv University during her undergraduate years at the University of Hartford. She hopes to use her experience to help inform others. Please visit her website, www.hanalarockwriting.com, to learn more.