For years, parents and teachers have debated whether SAT prep classes are actually effective enough to justify the price tag. One study last year from the National Association of College Admissions found that, on average, students who took SAT prep classes increased their scores by 30 points. Sure, that could end up being an increase that inches you into an Ivy League school, but that’s probably not the major boost that parents hope for when they open up their wallets for the course.
Still, even if these prep courses don’t exactly help students ace the exam, it’s unlikely that they hurt their scores either. And from a parent’s perspective, it may seem even more dicey not to enroll your child in some kind of course just to ensure that they don’t procrastinate studying until the last minute. On the bright side, many SAT prep classes are starting to take advantage of the Internet to offer cheaper or even complimentary SAT services online. So, with that in mind, here is a breakdown of SAT courses by price so you can get a sense of which ones are the best for the money.
The Princeton Review is the gold standard of SAT prep courses, and it charges a pretty penny for the service. The Ultimate Classroom course can cost as much as $1,199, depending on where you’re taking the course. For that money, you’ll get 30 hours of classroom instruction that includes a thorough dissection of what you’ll see on the test and lots of personalized test taking strategies.
But again, it’s important to remember that there are limits to how much this course will boost your score, even if it’s more than $1,000. Last month, the Better Business Bureau forced the Princeton Review to stop advertising that its courses could lead to a 255-point increase in scores. That said, Princeton Review does offer a free online practice test and provides a search engine to find free SAT study events near you.