Are you getting ready to take a college-level exam but worry about the outcome? Students looking to pass CLEP exams, admissions tests, or licensure exams can benefit from taking a test prep course: a class focused on helping you receive the best possible score. Are test prep courses worth it and should you take one? Let’s dive into the details to discover why test preparation is important and what options are available for you.
What is the purpose of test prep?
College-level exams come with inherent pressure. Students are often looking to earn their highest score possible in order to secure admission, credits, scholarships, or licensure within their chosen field.
Adding to this pressure is the cost and timeline associated with these exams. All come with administrative fees, ranging anywhere from $89-$1,450+. Failure to pass or earn a desired score means the student will have to wait until the next available testing period which could be weeks or months away, delaying graduation or job opportunities.
The purpose of test prep courses is to give students the confidence and knowledge needed to perform to the best of their abilities during a test. Test prep courses focus on the specific topics covered on the exam, helping students understand exactly what they need to know in order to pass.
Why is test prep important? It help students:
- Feel less stressed and more confident going into the exam
- Pass exams on the first try
- Receive their best possible score
How do test prep courses work?
Test prep courses are structured specifically around the test itself, touching on all the most vital subject areas. Rather than teach broadly to a wide range of topics, these courses focus on what’s most likely to be on the test.
Lessons may include:
- Topic lectures
- Class discussions
- Practice tests
- Test taking skills
Courses are designed by curriculum experts with a deep understanding of current test standards. They are taught by subject matter experts who are able to answer questions either in person or online (depending on the course’s format).
Test prep courses can run anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on the complexity of the topic. Some are taught synchronously (meaning all students move together through course topics) while others are asynchronous (meaning students can advance at their own pace).
Once the test prep course is complete, students register for and take the exam at a testing center.
What kind of test prep courses are available?
There are many different test prep courses available, allowing students to get into college, pass college courses, or complete professional licensure requirements.College admissions (undergraduate):
- AP exams
Credit by exam tests:
Graduate school admissions:
- General graduate school programs (GRE)
- Business school (GMAT)
- Dental school (DAT)
- Law school (LSAT)
- Medical school (MCAT)
- Optometry school (OAT)
- Pharmacy school (PCAT)
- TEAS (nursing school entrance exams)
Other professional licensing:
- Bar Review (Law)
- IT Certifications
- Real Estate
Do test prep courses work?
Yes. Studies show that test prep results in positive outcomes. Familiarizing yourself with the test process and material helps you get in a solid headspace to pass your exam. Students who invest the time and energy into preparing for an exam are likely to reap the benefits of their hard work.
- Students taking the SAT can expect to raise their scores anywhere from 70-200 points (according to test makers).
- Achieve Test Prep, which helps learners pass CLEP exams, has helped thousands of students pass on the first try.
While test prep courses cannot guarantee a specific score on your exam, the experience gets you in a stronger position than if you had skipped preparation altogether.
Test prep courses work because they:
- Keep exam topics fresh and top of mind
- Show you what to expect so there are little to no surprises
- Build confidence in your test-taking abilities and subject matter expertise
Are test prep courses worth it?
As with most things, what you get out of a test prep course depends on what you put into it. There are different value markers you should consider when deciding whether or not test prep courses are worth it for you.
Test prep courses can help you:
- Save time: While taking a test prep course can take several weeks or months to complete, receiving the exam result you want on the first try can save you time in the long run. Exams often have lengthy retake windows, making students wait months to take the test again if they don’t pass. For example, nursing students have to wait 45 days to retake the NCLEX licensure exam. Waiting to schedule a retest can delay other education plans such as getting into school or advancing your career.
- Save money: Test prep courses cost money but they can still help you save. Investing in test prep helps better your chances of only paying your exam fee once, which can cost hundreds of dollars. The previously mentioned NCLEX exam costs $200. Failure to pass a licensure exam means individuals can’t secure their desired employment, resulting in a potential lack of income.
Overall, test prep courses are worth it for students who are looking to pass exams as efficiently and affordably as possible.
Should I take a test prep course?
Signing up for a test prep course is a personal decision. Everyone approaches learning and test taking differently, influencing whether or not you want additional support.
There are several reasons why you should take a test prep course, especially if you:
- Don’t feel confident in the topic: Going into a task when you aren’t sure of what you’re doing isn’t good for morale. Test prep can help you feel more sure of your abilities.
- Have been out of school for awhile: Students looking to go back to school after being out for some time may need a refresher before taking an entrance exam. A test prep course can help get your head back in the game, not only helping with the test subjects but with test taking skills as well.
- Are a nervous test taker: If exams give you anxiety, taking a prep course can ease your worries by strengthening your test-taking abilities. Having clear expectations of what’s on the test demystifies the process and allows you to go in calm and collected.
- Want to maximize your success rate: If your goal is to hit it out of the park on the first try, a test prep course gives you the right tools. Preparation ensures your time and effort won’t go to waste.
Test prep courses near me
Achieve Test Prep offers a variety of college prep services. Our test prep courses are online and accessible to learners throughout the United States.
- Credit by exam (CLEP exams) test prep: Working adults can pass college courses with less stress thanks to credit by exam, a higher education path that allows students to test out of college courses. Our test prep courses help students pass CLEP exams on the first attempt.
- TEAS test prep course: Students applying to nursing school can benefit from our TEAS test prep course, which prepares learners for the admission exam.
- NCLEX test prep course: Passing the NCLEX nursing licensure exam is the final step in becoming an RN, and our NCLEX test prep course will help boost confidence going into this important evaluation.
Our Achieve Test Prep schedule is designed for working adults who want to pursue their goals without compromising work/life balance. Our courses are 5-10 weeks long and meet only once a week, helping you move forward at a manageable pace.
Contact our team to see how test prep can support your education plans.