Does Prep Scholar really work?

My SAT scores aren’t where I want them to be, so I started doing Prep Scholar. They have a guaranteed 160 point increase if you finish the course. Does anyone know if this actually works? I’ve already spent 50 hours studying through this program, and I’m very nervous it will be all for nothing.

I think the only way to answer your question is to take a practice test. What have you got to lose? No one sees those scores except you.

Two students could each spend 50 hours and still get different results.

I’ve taken a 3 practice tests and my score I’ve increased my official test score about 90 points. Do practice tests translate to what you will score on a real test?

I think whether or not it works depends on the student. But putting in time and taking lots of practice tests SHOULD help your score increase. I assume they give you some tips for the different sections and general test taking tips as well.

@tc2002 It depends. Over the last couple of years the relative difficulty of the test and the scaling (relationship of # of mistakes to composite score) has varied a lot. So 5 mistakes on one test might be a 1550 and on another test could be a 1490. You should focus on the number of mistakes you make as well as your score to see if you are improving.

For both of my kids, their real scores were consistent with the range they saw on practice tests.

@mamaedefamilia Okay, thank you! That’s really good to know that the practice tests are similar.

Just make sure that you’re scoring consistently on practice tests, otherwise the 1600 that you got on a practice test once may have just been a fluke. I know that when I was studying, once in a blue moon I would score really high and then be incredibly disappointed when I scored as I normally did on the next practice test I took.

It’s critically important to use REAL CB practice tests to get a more accurate idea of your what you can reasonably hope to score. I’m a test prep tutor and I only use real tests with my students. And even some of the real tests currently on the CB website are, IMO not quite as reflective of the most recent tests I’ve seen. I personally feel tests 8-10 are the most accurate at the moment.

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@Lindagaf Yes, I have been taking the official tests. I’ve only done #1-3. So you don’t think I will score similar on the real test as the practice ones? Do you think the practice tests are easier or harder than the real test?

Oh christ, just spend a few weeks grinding on Khan Academy and you’ll be good to go. Services like PrepScholar are, IMO, completely unnecessary for anyone with a scrap of self-motivation.

FWIW, I never got above a 1500 on a practice test and ended up with a 1550+ score the first time I took the SAT (though I strongly suspect 11 hours of sleep the night before played a factor)

PrepScholar was extremely effective for my son, but he’s also a very good test taker in general. Last summer he studied about 25 hours including 1 or 2 practice tests. Before prep he was getting practice SAT scores in the mid-1400s. After PrepScholar he took the August 2019 SAT and scored a 1580. That was a higher score than he made on the practice tests.

We liked that it focused on areas he needed to improve, and did not waste his time on concepts he had already mastered, which were determined by the pretest and progress through the lessons. We never used Khan Academy but it may be very similar. However, you already have PrepScholar. Hopefully you are making progress through the curriculum, passing through the basic sections and then moving into the more advanced topics. Do you feel like you are learning the material? Success on the SAT is partly about knowing the material, but also time management and ability to perform under pressure. PrepScholar has material on these aspects of the test as well.

Summer break is a great time to do your SAT prep. I believe test prep should never interfere with your classes during the school year and your extracurricular interests. We saw students at our high school taking 3 hours classes after school, twice a week, during the Fall semester, taught by one of the big name test prep companies. How they had time for that along with multiple AP classes and other activities, I do not know. My son tells me his classmates thought it was a huge waste of time.

Stick with it and good luck meeting your goals!

Prep Scholar worked well for my kids—but look at your scoreboard. You should be mainly yellow bars if you want to do well (1500 plus)

@skrunch Yes, I’m working on getting all my bars to yellow, and I plan to do so before the real test.

Prepscholar worked really well for me (80ish point gain within the 5 day free trial), but it definitely depends on the person. Prepscholar’s free blog by itself is incredibly good and provides most of the information necessary if you look hard enough.

Practice tests generally do scale well to the real thing, but that depends on your history with testing (do you generally get nervous and underperform, or do you excel under pressure?) It also depends how well you simulate test conditions and hold yourself to them.

You should focus on the score, which takes into account the difficulty of the test.

No school is going to care (or even know) that you only got 6 wrong for your 1400 when another student got 8 wrong and a 1500 on another test date.

It only means your test was a much easier one. The equating process accounts for this and provides a score/percentile that is raw score-independent. “Number wrong” is rather meaningless.

OP, be sure you are using the 10 official College Board tests. (You mention “official”, so it sounds like you are.) Score improvements on those should translate to the capacity for better performance on actual tests.

But actual performance on a single test date has a lot of variance, so it’s no guarantee.

YES!! Prep Scholar really works. It enabled my son to go from 29 Math to 33 and took his 31 ELA to 36. He did it consistently a bit each day over the summer and it made all the difference. Changed his top school acceptance possibilities. It taught the details and showed differences in what he was answering vs the answer. It showed patterns he could apply forward and they worked. It was costly but paid off completely.