Are SAT Test Prep Classes Worth The Money?

Source: Flickr user scubasteveo.

Source: Flickr user scubasteveo.

In recent years, SAT prep classes have become a lucrative business. Companies and corporations such as The Princeton Review, Kaplan Inc., and Sylvan Learning Inc. are growing steadily, providing test services for a larger and larger number of students. In addition to the larger companies, several local, private SAT tutors have popped up in nearly every county in the nation. Parents or students either feel pressured that these classes are the only way to do well on the exam, or that their student can handle the daunting exam on his or her own.

The deciding factor for many is the hefty price tag attached to many of these classes and tutoring services. At first glance, the fees for the tutoring classes turn many off from the potential rewards. However, before making a drastic decision, here are a few points to consider:

Cost Benefits

Is it true that some test prep companies are very expensive? Of course. For example, The Princeton Review, one of the best-known and most widely used prep services, can run up a tab of well over $1,000 for a thirty hour tutoring session.

However, according to statistics provided by The Princeton Review, this money is going to good use. In 2014, the company worked with 3.5 million students through various programs. Of these students, 80% (nearly 2.8 million) got into one of their top choice schools. For these students, this was money well spent.

Now, to play devil’s advocate for a moment, these students who got into one of their top choice schools could, quite possibly, have been the highly motivated, academically successful, affluent students who were already destined to attend these selective schools. We don’t know if their scores improved from a 20 to a 30 or a 33 to 34.

Return on Investment

Expanding on the last point, in the business world, companies often refer to potentially profitable ventures with the acronym ROI, or Return On Investment. If a company or investor makes an initial investment of $5 million and the profits of the venture eventually net them $25 million, the return made the initial investment worth the money.

This same logic can be applied towards SAT classes. Higher scores on the SAT, which are guaranteed by The Princeton Review and other similar services, can earn a student academic scholarships, depending on the school.

Ultimately, for some students, an initial “investment” of around $1,000 for a test prep class could mean they save up to $5,000 a year through scholarships. Obviously, this is not the case for every student, but the potential for a high ROI is one of the top reasons for enrolling in prep classes.

Money Back Guarantee

Although at first glance, it may seem intimidating to fork over a few thousand dollars for a class that might not improve a student’s test score, companies such as Kaplan, Inc and The Princeton Review allow provisions in the case that their services don’t work. Both are so confident in their model of education that they offer full refunds if your score does not improve.

In order to ensure that people don’t take advantage of this program, these companies require students establish a baseline score on a PSAT exam before enrollment. In the case of the Princeton Review, if your overall score on your next exam taken after completing the course, does not improve by at least 100 points, you are given the option of either a full refund or repeating the course for free.

While the price tag attached to SAT classes such as these may seem intimidating at first, after breaking it down, the reward can be much higher than the risk.

One thought on “Are SAT Test Prep Classes Worth The Money?”

  1. Sarah Smith says:

    It’s amazing that of the students who take SAT prep courses, 80% get into their top choice schools. This would be really great for people who would like to get in on scholarships for scoring higher as well. With my son going to college in the next few years, we will start looking into SAT prep services so he can get into an Ivy League school.

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