Most colleges recognize the SAT exam as the standard when they are sifting through applicants for admissions into their programs. This has created a high level of competition in SAT scores which has, in turn, caused an increase in the use of SAT tutoring and SAT prep courses. Utilizing a test prep course will not only give you the opportunity to practice course material that match your goals, but will also allow you to practice the format of the SAT and its question styles. SAT prep courses can ultimately lead to confidence when entering to sit for the exam.
So, you decide it’s right for you; you’re going to participate in an SAT prep course. But when registering, you find the wide variety of options available online and in person. Online options can be very enticing – study from the comfort of your home. What are the pros and cons to taking this important course online? Is it right for you? Let’s explore.
The time commitment required for an online SAT prep course can vary drastically from an in-person SAT prep course, depending on your location. There is also often a wider variety of time-of-day options for online courses, while in-person courses are often offered during typical tutoring business hours. When registering, consider the time you have available after school and the travel time to your local tutoring company. Do you have a part-time job after school that only leaves you available in the evenings? Online SAT prep course may be a good fit for you. Are you consistently available on the same afternoon each week? In-person SAT prep may be right for you.
One big pro for online SAT prep courses is the ability to work from anywhere. As someone who has taken online courses from a condo balcony with a view of the beachfront, I believe that flexibility can make a difference. If you’re going to be taking an SAT prep course over summer break or when you know you’ll have other commitments that will prevent you from traveling to the tutoring center, online may be the best option for you. The flexibility of online learning is especially beneficial right now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no reason to miss class due to quarantine if you’re able to attend online.
When considering an online SAT prep course, it’s important to take a look at your own personality. If you’re shy and reserved and prefer to focus on the content of the course rather than the relationship with your tutor or peers, the “behind the screen” format of online learning may be a pro for you. If you value relationship building or are easily distracted by the ability to open more internet tabs, then the “behind the screen” format may be a con for you. Relationships with tutors are best built in-person, where the tutor can get to know your strengths and and focus more diligently on your areas of needs.
Most often, online SAT prep courses offer the same course options as in-person SAT prep. However, the accessibility of the content may be different. In-person tutors can offer unique ways of delivering information to students and gauge the effectiveness of their instruction based on student focus and understanding. An online instructor may not have the ability to present the information in multiple ways to develop the best understanding for each individual student. If you require a deep dive into certain areas of topic to gain an understanding of them, an in-person option may be best for you.
One potential con to taking that online SAT prep course is technology and its reliability. You will be required to have access to a computer, a stable internet connection, and the platform that the tutoring company uses to hold classes and present information. If your internet connection has a history of being unstable or you don’t have access to a high-functioning device, it’s likely that you won’t get as much out of a online course as you would in person, without instruction interruptions.
As mentioned previously, relationships with tutors are best built in-person, where the tutor can get to know your strengths and and focus more diligently on your areas of needs. This is particularly true if you experience any learning differences or specific learning disabilities. An online SAT prep instructor may not be able to gain a full understanding of your needs or the best way you learn through online teaching. On the other hand, an in-person tutor would build a relationship with you, get to know you and your areas of need, and be willing to try multiple methods of instruction to find what’s best for you.