Best Test Prep Near McLean, Virginia

Best Test Prep Near McLean, Virginia

Many high schoolers across Virginia opt to take an ACT or SAT exam. College entrance exams have been a standard throughout the country and are considered difficult by many. So, why take either of these tests?

The big reason is that it helps students get into college. Ultimately, obtaining a good score on a college entrance exam has proven to increase the chances of admission to a University or college.

Today we will be looking into the benefits of the SAT & ACT, and why you should aim for a high score.

College Entrance Exams Predicate Success

Time and time again, studies have backed the idea that the ACT and SAT predict a student’s success in both college and in their careers afterwards. Students with the highest test scores are consistently performing the best throughout college with the lowest drop-out rates. These same students also end up in the highest paying positions post-graduation.

The Problem With Holistic College Admissions

In recent years, there has been a shift toward using a more holistic view of a student’s readiness for college. The idea is that if college admissions looks at a student’s entire being, they can get more relevant information than if they over emphasize a number from a test.

The common benchmarks used in these assessments include GPA, class rank, extra curricular school activities, and community service. On the surface, these look like beneficial ways of leveling the playing field, but they can actually have the opposite effect.

Students who come from a background of poverty have less time to and money to spend on after school activities and community service. These students might not have reliable transportation to get them to and from their activities.

GPA might seem more fair, since students can get good grades without spending a ton of money. The problem is that GPA is seen differently at different schools. 

Students who have a 4.0 at an impoverished school are viewed in a lower light than those who achieve it at a prestigious private school. The justification given from college admissions offices is that obtaining a 4.0 is not standardized, and some schools have more difficult programs than others.

This is where standardized tests come in. The test is just that, it’s standardized. Colleges have been proven to forgo bias when using an SAT or ACT, as they know the test will be exactly the same no matter where it was given.

The Problem With Test Optional Policies

For those who don’t know, a “test-optional” policy allows students to submit their test score if they want to, but it is not required by the admissions office of a college. This policy has become quite common in recent years.

Now that we know college entrance exams predicate success and promote diversity, why are schools still using a test-optional submission policy?

The first reason is because of the global 2020 pandemic. Students were being quarantined during this time and since there was no online test, having to travel to an in-person testing center would have created a lot of difficulty and risk. Many schools opted for test-optional policies and have kept them in place.

The other big reason is that people don’t like taking these standardized tests. Despite all the fairness they bring over alternative options, the tests themselves are hard and require some effort to do well on. There is a lot of public support for test-optional policies.

The big problem with test-optional admissions is that it has greatly reduced diverse admissions from poor backgrounds and minorities. 

A clear pattern has emerged with the rise of test-optional policies. Students from a wealthy background will opt into the test while those from lower-income backgrounds will opt out.

A recent study based on public admissions information has demonstrated that students who submit their test score are more likely to be admitted to the same school than those who do not submit a score. This hurts diversity because students who are least able to afford test preparation (or the test itself) are the least likely to submit their score.

The Best Test Prep Near 22101

Now that we know a good ACT or SAT score will help you get admitted into college, you’re probably wondering how to obtain a good score.

The simple answer is that you get what you put into the test. The more you put into studying, the better you will do on the test.

But there is more to studying than just reading information and hoping it sticks.

So, what makes for effective test prep? What makes the service more efficient and helpful? While there is some subjectivity in the matter, there are conventions that make for better teachers and more effective classes.

One important factor is student engagement. A recent study on the impact of student engagement demonstrated how vital a student’s attention is. Even if a student struggles to understand all of the details, they will learn more than any student who is not engaged with the class.

As such, effective test prep includes active attention from the students involved. The best teachers are able to make a connection with students so that they feel comfortable asking questions and are able to listen effectively.

Another study on effective teaching talks about the importance of “meaning making”. This practice involves explaining the application of the skills and techniques taught. If a student does not understand how to apply a theory, it is not as easy to understand or retain.

Lastly, effective test preparation includes relevant information. This might seem obvious, but even the best teachers will have trouble if they're not able to give information on the test.

While those with a love for learning will appreciate new information for information’s sake, effective test preparation involves info students will be tested on.

The College Review Test Prep

The College Review is a test prep company that prioritizes the most important elements of test prep during their classes and private tutoring.

Students will appreciate the small classes focused on a hands-on, engaging approach. The company offers 2-hour classes that give lots of information for such a small investment of time.

Concluding Thoughts

While the ACT and SAT are not a perfect metric for success, a good score will increase your chance of admission to your school of choice. Putting some time into test preparation can ensure the best results possible.

A study on the effectiveness of test prep has shown that test preparation has tangible benefits. As you probably expect, those who spend time studying academic information and testing practices score the best of their standardized tests.

For more information on studying and the steps to get into college, check out our college admission timeline

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