If you’re preparing for college applications, you are likely also preparing for the ACT and/or the SAT–two standardized tests that can make your application really shine or even help you become eligible to apply for your dream school in the first place.
Many students elect to seek extra help preparing for these tests, often because they can be difficult to study for on your own. Having instructors walk you through the preparation process can be a game changer.
Of course, if you already know you can study on your own, feel free to do that. But, if you do decide you’d like to take a prep course of sorts, during these different times especially, the next question becomes: should you take a physical course or opt for ACT/SAT test prep online?
Online Learning Trend
Even once the Covid-19 pandemic hopefully comes to an end or becomes more manageable, online learning trends will likely continue.
Online learning allows students and teachers to engage in the educational process more safely and conveniently. During the pandemic, online education has helped save lives and keep students and teachers from spreading the virus further.
However, online learning, whether for regular schoolwork or special courses like an ACT/SAT prep program, is not for everyone.
Questions to Ask Yourself
To find out if ACT/SAT prep online in right for you, consider asking yourself the following questions:
Do I usually respond well to online learning?
Before you consider an online ACT/SAT test prep course or app, think about your tendencies as a student. When you’ve taken online courses, do you find that you’re able to keep up with the workload? Are you self-motivated?
If you usually enjoy learning online and find it helpful, you will likely do well with an online ACT/SAT prep course as well.
However, if you find it difficult to pay attention in online learning situations and generally do not motivate yourself well, an online course might not be for you, and you might opt for an in-person class (when it’s safe) instead.
Do I already have a good grasp of what to expect from the SAT or ACT?
You should also consider how well you’ve prepared for the SAT or ACT up to this moment. If you’ve already taken some sort of prep class or have taken practice tests and done well, you might not need to take a course at all.
Or, an online class or app might be enough to help you brush up on the SAT and ACT structures and material.
If you feel like these standardized tests are completely new for you, or if you haven’t done well on practice tests, you might need more one-on-one attention from a tutor or instructor.
Or, you might opt for a more extensive online course.
How much do I want to spend on an ACT/SAT prep course?
Cost is another consideration. Online ACT/SAT prep courses do tend to be less expensive than in-person courses, since students and teachers do not need to travel or pay for educational space when the course is online.
However, even online courses can vary in price from about $100 to $1400 per course, depending on the instructor and structure of the course.
You can now find ACT/SAT prep applications that might be much less expensive than a full online course as well, though you should consider that apps might not allow you to get one-on-one clarification if you need help understanding any of the test concepts.
Do I want to work with a specific instructor?
One of the major pros of online learning is that you can take class from virtually any instructor who is holding a course online.
Since neither you nor your instructor have to travel to a single location, you could take class from someone across the country or even the world online.
So, if you’ve heard of a really effective instructor for ACT/SAT prep, find out if that instructor is offering an online version of their course.
Conversely, if you know a certain instructor only offers in-person classes, you might find that you want to study with that person specifically and are willing to attend in-person to study with that specific instructor.
How much one-on-one help would I like to have?
Finally, think about how much one-on-one help you think you’ll need or would like to have during your ACT/SAT prep course. If you are a student who craves personal help from your instructor, an online course might not allow for that kind of attention.
Online courses often allow for instructors to teach multiple students at once, so you might not have as many opportunities to ask specific questions of the instructor or get one-on-one instruction.
If you think you’ll do well without as much one-on-one attention, an online prep course will likely work fine for you. Or, you can always opt for one-on-one ACT/SAT tutoring.
Pros of Online ACT/SAT Test Prep
The benefits of preparing for the ACT and SAT online include lower costs, no commute, more convenience for the student and instructor, and more access to various instructors.
Cons of Online ACT/SAT Test Prep
The downsides of preparing for the ACT and SAT online include fewer opportunities for one-on-one instruction, possible issues with attention span and self-motivation, and limited accessibility for students without reliable internet.
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and weighed the pros and cons based on your educational style and needs, you should have a better idea of whether or not ACT/SAT prep online is right for you!
However you prep for the ACT and SAT, just make sure you’re using a method that will best help you feel confident about taking the exams. Best of luck!