Does it Matter Which Test Prep Company I Use? New data says 'YES'

Does it really matter which test prep company I use?  Aren't they all more or less the same?  And if they're all pretty much the same, why not go with the cheapest option, or the easiest to schedule, or the biggest brand name?

These are fair questions.  But choosing between test prep firms is not like choosing between car dealerships, where two firms are selling the same Lexus and the consumer's only real concern is the price. Choosing a test prep firm is actually much more similar to choosing a lawyer or a doctor as there are often large differences in terms of quality and results from one firm to another.   


Students who work with Test Prep Gurus after previously working with another test prep company still improve their SAT score on average by more than 200 points and their ACT score by 4 points. 

To put that kind of increase in perspective, an additional 4 points on the ACT could push a student's national ranking from the middle of the pack into the top 10% of the country.  That could easily be the difference between receiving or not receiving an additional $20,000 in merit-based scholarships."  


At the highest level, test prep has evolved from teaching students a simple one-size-fits-all bag of tricks into the complicated practice of delivering one-on-one education.  Test prep as practiced by the best in the field involves a deep understanding of each family's goals and how standardized testing fits into their larger aspirations, careful and thorough analysis of each student's strengths and weaknesses, the ability to adjust to various learning differences and learning styles, ongoing professional development to stay abreast of cutting-edge teaching methods, an entire organization that continually studies every last detail of the SAT and ACT as the tests change and evolve, and much more.   

Granted, it's difficult for families or schools to differentiate between test prep firms that truly deliver excellence and the many "pretenders." To help families looking at Test Prep Gurus we recently ran a comprehensive analysis of all of the results of the students who worked with Test Prep Gurus after already completing a full 1-on-1 program with another company. The results were striking. Students who worked with Test Prep Gurus after previously working with another test prep company still improved their SAT scores on average by more than 200 points and their ACT scores by 4 points. 

To put that kind of increase in perspective, an additional 4 points on the ACT could push a student's national ranking from the middle of the pack into the top 10% of the country.  That could easily be the difference between receiving or not receiving an additional $20,000 in merit-based scholarships.

In effect, by choosing a larger brand, or a lower price, or a cram-school model, these students had nearly left significant points on the table.  If they had submitted applications accompanied by scores that were 15% or more below their potential, they would have significantly decreased their chances for admission at top colleges and severely decreased the amount of merit-based aid they would have otherwise been eligible to receive.

Don't waste your time with firms peddling gimmicks. Start with the best and put your student in the best possible position to achieve their goals for the future. 

 

Update: Test Prep Gurus was recently ranked #1 in a statewide study comparing all of the major test prep firms in California for effectiveness in raising ACT and SAT scores. 

 

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