Your Test Prep Options
If you are preparing to take a college or grad school admissions test, you have four basic options:
■Do nothing, take the test ‘cold’ and hope for the best.
■Study on your own or with friends, using available books and software.
■Study on your own and hire a tutor to help you improve in selected areas.
■Enroll in a test preparation course.
An Honest Look at the First Two Options
Based on 15 years of experience in preparing students for standardized tests, we wouldn’t recommend the first option to anyone who is serious about maximizing the value of their education. Some people can achieve their goals by studying on their own or with friends, particularly if they are already scoring at – or close to – the level they require for admission to the college of their choice. This option may also appeal to the kind of person who is highly-disciplined and self-motivated, and who is capable of taking instructions mainly from books and software but does not require personal interaction with a teacher in order to better understand their subject.
However, many test takers find it useful to work with a teacher or tutor, someone who can recognize your individual learning style and present the material in a way that increases your confidence in your test-taking abilities, thereby increasing your score. In this case, you should consider taking a course or arranging some private tutoring sessions.