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Find the Right Test Prep for Your Child

Posted by Julia Wasson

Aug 12, 2014 6:00:00 AM

college test prepAs school starts again in the fall, high school students will be gearing up to take college entrance exams. If your child is among them, he or she can choose from a multitude of test prep options. Which college test prep option will benefit your child the most?

The following is a breakdown of various college test prep courses along with different ways of absorbing information and engaging with practice ACT, and PSAT/SAT test prep materials:

Live Strategy Webinars:

In a live, strategy-focused, test prep webinar, your child should learn what to expect on the test, how to manage time for each subtest, how to use even partial knowledge to find the correct answer, and which strategies work best for which types of questions. Your child should also be able to immediately apply these teachings by taking shortened practice tests during the webinar.

Live Webinars work best if your child:

  • tends to be a bit reserved in social situations
  • is able to focus for a 5-hour (or two 2.5-hour) session(s)
  • is comfortable with technology and enjoys using a computer
  • has access to a strong Internet connection at home or school
  • is unable to attend a live seminar at school
  • lives where weather conditions aren’t favorable for traveling to a live seminar
  • likes to ask and answer questions in the relative anonymity of an online chat
  • wants “once-and-done” instruction
  • will practice independently after the class using materials provided

Recorded Strategy Webinar:

The content and strategies in a recorded webinar should provide the same quality instruction as a live webinar or seminar (see below), but with the added convenience of “anytime” test prep.

Recorded Webinars work best if your child:

  • is reserved in social situations
  • has better focus without the distraction of other students
  • prefers to control how much he or she learns at a given time
  • prefers and/or needs to review instruction repeatedly to comprehend it
  • does not feel the need to ask questions of the instructor
  • will practice independently after the class using materials provided

Video Instruction:

The content and strategies in a video should provide the same quality instruction as a live webinar or seminar (see below), but with the added convenience of “anytime” test prep.

Video Instruction works best if your child:

  • is reserved in social situations
  • has better focus when learning alone rather than in a group
  • prefers to control how much he or she learns at a given time
  • needs to review instruction repeatedly to comprehend it
  • does not feel the need to ask questions of the instructor
  • wants a stimulating visual experience similar to a high-quality movie
  • prefers to learn in discrete lessons for easy stopping and starting

Live Strategy Seminar:

Seminars provide the same quality test prep instruction and practice as a live webinar. The advantage here is that a live instructor presents the seminar on campus at your child’s school.

Seminars work best if your child:

  • thrives in a classroom environment
  • likes learning along with other students
  • is able to focus for a 5-hour (or two 2.5-hour) session(s)
  • prefers interacting with a live instructor
  • is not reserved in asking questions when peers are present
  • prefers “once-and-done” instruction
  • will practice independently after the class using materials provided

Live Subject-Intensive Webinar:

Does your child need some extra help in a specific subtest on the ACT or SAT? Subject- webinars are an ideal way to help your student review specific areas where he or she may have a weakness.

Live, subject-intensive webinars work best if your child:

  • has difficulty in a specific subject area and needs additional help (for example, ACT English, Math, Reading, or Science; or SAT Math or Writing)
  • took the test and did not score as well as expected in a given subtest
  • needs to achieve a specific subtest score to gain entrance to a desired college major or scholarship
  • tends to be a bit reserved in social situations, but is a quick learner and likes to ask questions in a setting where he or she can be relatively anonymous
  • wants to be able to ask specific questions of a live instructor

Recorded Subject-Intensive Webinar:

Just like the live subject-intensive webinars, recorded webinars offer the same subject reviews with the added convenience of choosing what time works best for your child to engage with this type of test prep.

Recorded subject-intensive webinars work best if:

  • has difficulty in a specific subject area and needs additional help (for example, ACT English, Math, Reading, or Science; or SAT Math or Writing)
  • took the test and did not score as well as expected in a given subtest
  • needs to achieve a specific subtest score to gain entrance to a desired college major or scholarship
  • would like to review the instruction over and over at her own pace
  • is motivated to study on independently without having a live instructor

Online Test:

An online ACT or SAT test is a full-length test that mirrors the content, format, and timing of one of the college entrance exams. The more your child practices, the better he or she will do.

Online test prep works best if your child would benefit from:

  • taking a full-length practice test at home
  • practicing within the time constraints of the test
  • taking the test untimed to carefully study the answer explanations

Vocabulary Challenge:

A strong vocabulary has a direct connection to success in college and beyond. Vocabulary test prep helps students focus on learning words that are most likely to appear on college admissions exams and in college classes.

The vocabulary challenge works best if your child:

  • enjoys using digital learning games
  • has a basic grasp of vocabulary, but needs review and practice, or …
  • has excellent vocabulary, but enjoys learning more challenging words
  • understands that a sophisticated vocabulary is an important key to lifelong career success

Talk with your child to understand his or her learning style, strengths and weaknesses, and preferences. Then compare them to the various types of available instruction to find the right test prep course or online service that will provide him the best chance to do well on the SAT, PSAT, or ACT test.

Ready to discover the right test prep to help your child achieve the best score possible on his or her college entrance exams? Click here to contact a college test prep expert at Doorway to College or call toll free at 1-877-927-8378.


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