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May 18

Written by: kmurphy
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 

According to an article released by the Associated Press today, the Princeton Review company no longer claims that their SAT test preparation course can boost SAT scores by 255 points. After an investigation by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the company voluntary discontinued their claims of huge SAT point jumps. According to a spokeswomen for the College Board (parent company of the Princeton Review), students who take the SAT twice on average only increase their score by 30 points.

This announcement backs up a report that was released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NCAC) last year which stated that test prep courses have little impact on SAT score improvements. According to their findings, a student who takes a SAT prep class can expect to see about a 10-20 point jump on their Critical Reading score and only 5-10 point increase on their Math score.

While this is important news, it does not diminish the importance of test preparation. Students shouldn't go into a test unprepared or unfamiliar with a standardized test. Students should take a baseline test online to see where their score falls "cold" and then consider what avenue might best suit them to reach their potential. For some students, using practice test-prep books at home is a fine solution, provided they put effort into regular review. For other students, meeting face to face with a SAT tutor might work better for their learning style. A tutor or a small group test-prep program have their merits – they can work with students to improve upon their weaknesses and do not have to teach to the masses like large tutoring companies do. While students shouldn't expect huge gains in their scores, it is possible to make small improvements. And often a small improvement is all a student needs to push them up to that next tier.
 

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