• We are often asked what is the “best” prep course to take to improve SAT and/or ACT scores. This is a question with more than one answer! First of all, the tests are not the same. Students aren’t the same, either. Some students do better by focusing on the skills and information covered by each test. Others need more guidance for general test-taking strategies. In general, the best way to prepare for both tests is to take the most rigorous, challenging courses you can successfully manage in high school. Pushing yourself daily in the classroom can make each test less intimidating!

    For SAT, here’s a deal that can’t be beat: The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to offer FREE test prep. You can also download a free smartphone app for daily practice. If you’ve taken the PSAT (a kind of practice SAT given to 9th, 10th, and 11th graders), your College Board account gives you individualized help based on your areas of strength and weakness. Start exploring the options at http://sat.collegeboard.org; click on “Practice.”

    For ACT, there is a new ACT Online Prep program available to purchase for about $40. This interactive program even includes a gaming component to make test prep more fun. The website will also be offering some free streaming events online starting in fall 2016. Go to www.actstudent.org and find the “Test Prep” section.

    There’s free test prep online for both SAT and ACT at www.number2.com. If you prefer to pay for more help, two highly reputable test prep companies are Kaplan (www.kaptest.com) and The Princeton Review (www.princetonreview.com). Newer to the game and rising in prominence are companies such as TestMasters (www.testmasters.com) and Revolution Prep (www.revolutionprep.com). These companies offer an assortment of online and in-person, group and individual sessions, for a wide range of prices.

    If you’re on a limited budget, you can also find excellent test prep books in the $20-25 range, but be picky. Check reviews of the various books out there before you shell out too much cash. Also, make sure any SAT-related books you buy are geared toward the “New” SAT which premiered in March 2016. You don’t want to prep for the 2015 test that's now just a memory!