The SAT is one of the most important factors on a students’ college acceptance journey, but the road to achieving your target SAT score isn’t always easy. There are a variety of methods that can be used to prepare for the SAT, but self-teaching from a test prep book or private tutoring are the ones most commonly used.
This begs the question: which method is more beneficial to a student? There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these solutions and we have uncovered them for you.
The pros and cons of self-teaching:
Ordering and using an SAT preparation book is typically the cheapest way to study for the SAT. However, this method requires a student to make a detailed study plan as well as have an abundance of self-motivation and adequate time management skills. This is quite a bit to ask of a high school-aged student who is trying to balance schoolwork, SAT preparation, and possibly clubs or sports.
Firstly, you need to find an SAT preparation book that has valuable and applicable test preparation material. The fact of the matter is that some companies are just looking to take your money without actually providing helpful material, so make sure to thoroughly research before buying a certain book. Next, you’ll need to create a study schedule that is specific to your own strengths and weaknesses that includes what you’ll study each day and for how long. Now you will be responsible for sticking with your schedule and frequently assessing your progress using available SAT exams in the book.
While this is the lowest-cost way to prepare for the SAT, preparing for the test via a book has its disadvantages. These SAT books typically contain very dry information that can become boring easily and studiers can become disengaged rather quickly. Additionally, many books don’t provide students with scoring information on the test as a whole or a description of how to do a problem, leaving you clueless as to what you did wrong. This means that if you see a similar problem, you still lack the know-how to complete the problem and get the correct answer.
The majority of these books also fail to provide instructional material that is section specific. For example, if a student struggles on the geometry-related topics in the math sections, the books don’t provide content lessons on certain subjects rendering you unable to improve without content-specific assistance (usually a tutor is needed for this). Preparing for a life-altering exam such as the SAT using a book, although cheap, may not be the best choice for anyone.
The pros and cons of private tutoring:
Many students seek SAT tutoring for a one-on one, personalized preparation experience as opposed to self-preparation. It can be overwhelming for a student to be responsible for every aspect of their preparation but when you hire a private tutor, some of those stresses are alleviated. For example, our SAT tutors at Miles Smart Tutoring get an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and create a customized plan to maximize your improvement level. Our tutors provide an enriching and engaging learning experience in which they provide insight into how the SAT works, assist with time management skills, and explain test-taking strategies that can make a students life much easier. Miles Smart tutors have actually taken the SAT exam firsthand and therefore know exactly what is required to get a high score. We are flexible with your schedule and create a comfortable, judgement-free learning atmosphere
So how exactly does private SAT tutoring work? Tutors at Miles Smart Tutoring feel the best way to prepare for what is going to be on the SAT is to review SAT exams that have been given in past years. Most of our tutors will assign a test, or a portion of the test, for you to complete before the tutoring session and then during the session, they will review any questions you struggled on so that you get answers in real-time. Along the way, they will provide tips and tricks that will save you time and help you to answer more questions correctly.
In the end, the decision to study from a book or hire a tutor is completely yours. Everyone’s level of ability is different so you’ll need to select the option that will work best for you or your child.