There are so many options for families who need to pursue SAT test prep, and deciding which kind of test prep is right for a student can be a difficult process. There are hundreds of different opinions floating around about private tutors, group classes, doing practice problems individually, taking SAT prep courses online , and going to review sessions at high schools in order to get ready for the SAT, so it’s important to find the right test prep match for each type of student. Online test prep and online tutoring is establishing a foothold around the U.S., so if you’re considering an online tutor for your SAT test prep, you might be wondering about the following questions:
• What are the different options for test prep? • What will test prep tutors cover during online sessions? • How are online test prep tutors and private test prep tutors different? • What special tools do online test prep tutors have? • Who will benefit most from an online test prep tutor? • What are other online test prep resources for kids? • How do you choose an online test prep tutor?
There are plenty of assumptions about the answers to these questions, and some of those assumptions are more correct than others! We wrote this article to help answer these questions so you can make an informed decision about the right type of tutoring for your situation.
SAT Prep Online | What Are Different SAT Test Prep Options?
There are plenty of different options for students to consider when they’re looking for test prep, but sometimes it might feel like there are too many decisions to make. Most high schools will have some type of SAT prep course or review session before the exam, and that can be a convenient choice for teens at those high schools. For people who need more in-depth practice, group test prep classes such as the sessions run by Kaplan or the Princeton review can be a good fit. For teens who are highly motivated and organized, studying individually with a few different SAT books is an easy way to go through plenty of practice problems, but this requires plenty of discipline.
Private tutoring is a good way to blend the same convenience of studying more individually with extra help on tough questions, so exploring different types of private tutoring to find the right fit for a teen can have its benefits. Online SAT test prep tutoring or SAT test prep classes helps combine that same kind of focus on an individual student with a more convenient schedule, because many SAT prep online classes let you watch recorded sessions whenever it fits into your schedule. Each of these options is a better match for some teens than others, but we’ll focus on e SAT prep online in this article.
SAT Prep Online | What Will a Tutor Cover During An Online Session?
Depending on whether you choose to work with a tutor online or take part in an online test prep class, you’ll have different experiences as you prepare for the SAT. An online tutor might work well if you have taken the SAT before and just want to brush up on one type of section, or if you feel extremely confident about one part of the test and just want to focus on math questions or essay writing or another specific subject. On the other hand, first-time SAT takers or people who want to improve across the board may find themselves drawn to explore an online test prep class, which are offered by companies like Knewton, Kaplan, and the Princeton Review.
Since an online tutor and an online test prep class are very different, it makes sense to talk about both of these options separately. An online tutor is probably more familiar to most people, because it’s easy to imagine setting up a time to sit down with someone for tutoring, even if you get in touch with that person over the computer. Aside from the difference of physically not being near your tutor, the sessions will be pretty similar to what you’re used to. The tutor will get an idea of what you’d like to work on, give you practice questions and help you develop ways to solve those problems, and give you homework to do before your next session. Of course, he or she will also be able to answer whatever questions you might have about the SAT, as well as show you different strategies for trying to solve the problems.
Taking an online test prep class is a little bit different, because you have to get used to taking a class entirely on the computer! One of the keys for SAT prep classes online is to try to find a small class to join—newer companies like Knewton offer smaller class sizes, while more established groups like Kaplan and the Princeton Review will usually have larger groups. You’ll probably want a smaller class so you have plenty of opportunities to ask your instructor questions, and that time can get taken up when there are a large number of students. In this kind of setting, you can expect to have an instructor talk to the class via webcam and keep a chat open for students to share answers or ask questions, and there will probably be some in-class quizzes and checks for understanding. With an SAT prep class online, there will be a more structured approach to the studying because the tutor must address the needs of all the students, not just one person. For a first-time SAT taker, this approach may work, but a student who only needs to improve in certain areas and is not interested in a full review might want a private online tutor instead.
SAT Prep Online | How Are Online Tutors and Private Tutors Different?
Aside from the obvious explanation that online tutors meet their students over the internet and private tutors interact with students in person, there are a few other differences between SAT prep online and private test prep. First of all, online tutors and test prep classes tend to be a bit cheaper, which can be good news for anyone who is on a budget. However, it can be more difficult to find quality online tutors, just because anyone with a webcam could set up a tutoring group and decide to offer their services. In order to make sure you’re getting a good online tutor, you might want to ask about previous clients or see if your online tutor is registered in any directories, just like you might ask a personal tutor for parent reviews or references.
One advantage that online SAT test prep tutors can have is the convenience of connecting with someone through a computer, instead of meeting a tutor somewhere or setting up a time for a private tutor to visit a student. There is extra flexibility with online tutors, and there is usually an option to record your sessions or access previous sessions in case you have a question a few days later.
This tool is particularly useful when studying for the SAT, because it can be helpful to review how the tutor does a problem several times in order to fully understand that process. In addition, many tutoring companies also offer SAT prep classes online, which are usually a small group of students who access the course through online software, participate in quizzes and real-time chats with their teacher, and take diagnostic tests along the way. Since these classes usually offer an option to see the recorded classes as many times as you want until the test prep class ends, there are plenty of opportunities to review right before exams.
However, online tutors can’t do everything that personal tutors do, again for obvious reasons. It’s easier to teach someone when you’re right there to write practice problems, check over work, and see if the student is really understanding each concept. That’s a little harder to do with an extra layer of technology in the way, so sometimes online tutors aren’t as quick to realize that a student is falling behind. Lots of checks for understanding are important for teens who work with online tutors.
SAT Prep Online | What Special Tools Do Online Tutors Have?
Even though online tutors and test prep classes don’t offer quite the same benefits of private tutoring, online tutors can offer some unique tools that private tutors may not have. Online tutors frequently have the ability to record their sessions and share them with students for a specified period of time, usually until the test prep course or the allotted number of tutoring sessions comes to an end. This is a great resource in the days leading up to exams when teens might want to review a certain type of question multiples times.
Online tutors also offer added flexibility, because no one needs to go to an office or a tutor’s house in order to start SAT prep online. All you need is a computer and an internet connection, which nearly everyone has. It’s also easier to schedule sessions at odd hours during the day or night, because you can always find a tutor in a different time zone. That can be helpful for kids who are night owls but still want extra practice, or people with tight schedules because of extracurriculars.
SAT Prep Online | Who Will Benefit Most From An Online Tutor?
As you saw above, the flexibility that online tutoring offers can be an added benefit for teens who want to consider all their options for SAT prep online. That makes online tutoring a good choice for people who need to schedule some kind of immediate test prep session, or kids with unusual hours of availability during the week, or people who want access to recorded sessions so they have extra review material during their test prep time. Online tutoring can also be a good choice for teens who live in more rural areas where they’d have a lengthy commute if they planned to visit a tutor, as well as for teens who might move around frequently in the months before they take the SAT.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to do some research before you find the right online tutor. Keep reading for more details, but just stay aware of how there are unqualified online tutors who just want to make some quick cash without delivering significant help to their students.
SAT Prep Online | What Are Other Online Test Prep Resources For Kids?
Other than online tutors, the internet offers plenty of other resources for kids who are trying to study for the SAT or other standardized tests. One of the best ways to make use of the internet is to create flash cards for words or for important concepts that you need to know, on free sites like Quizlet. For teens preparing for the SAT, online flash cards are a great way to beef up on vocab words before test day or remember strategies for solving word problems. Another way to work on improving vocab skills in a more fun setting is to take quizzes on Free Rice, a site that donates rice through the UN for each vocabulary word you define correctly. That’s both a good learning tool and good motivation to learn lots of words!
The College Board website also releases free practice tests on its test prep site, so teens might want to explore those questions for a sense of what needs to be improved most.
SAT Prep Online| How Should You Choose an Online Tutor?
Now that you know what the internet and online tutors can provide in terms of SAT prep online, you might be curious about the best ways to find good online tutors before starting to work with them. First of all, you should feel free to ask about references or reviews from former students that you look at before signing up. If the tutor is unwilling to give you any of this information, it’s not a great sign! Most tutors who work through the major online tutoring companies, such as www.wyzant.com, will have reviews listed on their profiles from previous students, so any tutor you find through a directory or a 'clearing house' tutoring website should have feedback he or she can give you.
Another good question to ask is what that online tutor specializes in. If you’re looking for a math tutor, you won’t want to work with a tutor from a humanities background! Being clear about your goals and what you are looking for is essential in building a good connection between you and any potential online tutor. You’ll want to find a tutor whose skills match your needs, and ideally someone with plenty of test prep experience if you’re preparing for the SAT. Don’t be afraid to talk to multiple tutors before picking one particular person, or looking up reviews to see what people think about your chosen tutor.
Once you’ve found someone you think you’d like to work with, it is usually smart to sign up for one session to start. That way you can see what that tutor’s style is and get a better sense of what your experience will be if you book more sessions. Don’t be afraid to mix different types of test prep: some people try regular private tutoring throughout the year, and then add in some online test prep sessions the month before an exam, or vice versa. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so mix and match until you find the right combination for your lifestyle and your needs.