SAT prep course
SAT prep courses are not the only way to prepare for the test. Source: Shutterstock

Taking the SAT can be stressful, especially for students planning to pursue overseas study.

Although there are other factors that lead to college admission, many students have a burning desire to gain a high score in their SATs so they have a better chance of getting accepted into their dream school.

That’s why many students think they need to take an SAT prep course, which is an intensive course that prepares them for the test.

In these prep courses, students typically learn test-tasking strategies and cover the material they will be tested on in the real thing.

But do you really need to take an SAT prep course? It all depends. Here are some key facts to know about SAT prep courses before you sign up.

They can be expensive

SAT prep courses can cost a lot of money – sometimes thousands of dollars In the US. They are typically attended by the wealthy and those from high-income backgrounds because of the high fees.

As international education can cost a pretty penny, so compare tutors and classes to find courses that suit your family’s budget.

Also, check out virtual prep courses as they’re often cheaper than one-to-one or group SAT prep courses.

There are other alternatives

If you can’t afford an SAT prep course, don’t despair! There are plenty of free resources and online tools to support students, such as the Khan Academy.

According to US News Education, “The College Board, which created and administers the SAT, partnered with Khan Academy, a popular online learning repository, to provide free practice materials to test-takers.”

Jerome White, a College Board spokesperson, said, “Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy is by far the top choice of students preparing for the SAT.

“In a survey of over 65,000 SAT test takers, nearly four times as many students said they practiced with Official SAT Practice instead of paying for commercial test prep.”

There are different types of SAT prep courses

If you plan on signing up for an SAT prep course, note that there are several different types on offer.

As such, it’s best to make sure you set your goals first and identify what you plan to get out of the course.

According to, “You’ll find a variety of SAT-prep courses from which to choose. Some are comprehensive courses offered either entirely online or in-person. Other online prep resources offer test-takers the option to focus on a specific subject area of the test exclusively.”

You also have the option to choose from group classes, online tutorials or one-to-one tutoring. But you don’t need to limit yourself to any one option, as sometimes students choose to mix and match, depending on the way they study, their time and their goals.

Brooke Hanson, CEO and founder of California-based SupertutorTV, told US News Education, “There are definitely personalities in kids who if they don’t feel the heat underneath them, they’re not going to do the work.

“And if they don’t have somebody meeting with them once a week, or they don’t have a deadline, they’re so busy and overwhelmed with school, that (test prep) is never going to happen.”

It’s also good to compare different companies instead of signing up for the first one that pops up on Google Search.

Kelly Fraser, owner and principal consultant at Green Apple College Guidance & Education, told US News Education, “I think, generally, it’s very helpful to talk to a couple of different companies before launching in and to really get a sense of the difference between how they work, what their style is and what would be best for your child. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.”

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