PrepScholar is a relatively new company, founded in 2013 by Allen Cheng and Fred Zhang. Both men earned perfect scores on the SAT, then moved on to a series of dazzling academic achievements (Harvard PhDs, anyone?) before joining forces to create PrepScholar.
PrepScholar New SAT aims to avoid the weakness of most automated test-prep programs: lack of accountability. They offer the convenience of on-demand study, backed up by tools to keep you motivated and on track.
The core of PrepScholar is their on-demand coaching system: the Automated Online Prep Program (“AOPP”). When you register, you’ll get access to all of its resources for a full year.
You’ll start with a 60-question diagnostic test. Using the results, AOPP will customize a study plan for you. As you move forward, the software continually seeks out the boundaries of your ability and gives you the hardest questions you can handle. When you make a mistake, you’ll be guided toward lessons on the topics that will benefit you most.
PrepScholar’s lessons are text-based. There’s one for every skill tested on the SAT. Many of them include supplemental video instruction to help you learn both academic concepts and test-taking strategies.
The actual study process begins with a Core Lesson on a specific topic. Each lesson has three parts:
If you need more practice, the system returns you to that topic for more instruction. When you’re ready, it graduates you up to the Advanced Lesson, where you’ll learn how to tackle the hardest problems on the SAT.
Any time you feel stuck, you can message PrepScholar with a question. An instructor will get back to you within 24 hours.
After eight lessons, you’ll take a full-length College Board practice test. This is the best possible indicator of how you’re doing so far, plus it helps you build stamina for the marathon that is a complete SAT. There are eight practice tests available. Over the course of the program, you’ll take at least three.
AOPP uses the results of the practice test to design your next eight lessons. Rinse and repeat. If the system schedules you to work on Math but you’re in the mood for Writing & Language, you can easily switch lessons and revise your study plan. That said, one of the strengths of AOPP is the hour-by-hour study guidance it offers to maximize your efficiency.
AOPP is constantly adjusting to match your, the test-taker’s, skill level.
Though PrepScholar creates their own practice questions, they offer you authentic practice tests written by the College Board. There’s no better way to prepare for the questions you’ll see on test day.
PrepScholar understands the importance of having students take practice tests under realistic conditions, with paper and pencil. Enter your answers online and get your scores instantly.
Some online programs leave it up to you to decide when to study. For all but the most disciplined students, that freedom can be problematic. PrepScholar gives you clear guidance on how many hours you should be working, as well as helping to fit them into your schedule.
They also make it easy to keep track of how much you’ve accomplished. There are score charts plus a progress bar that shows you how close you are to mastering each section of the test. Many students report that it’s actually fun to see themselves leveling up. You’ll get a weekly email with detailed feedback on the work you’ve done and how it compares to the goals you set. (PrepScholar also keep your parent or counselor in the loop).
PrepScholar makes it easy to get human help whenever you need it, making a point to respond to any and all questions within 24 hours.
PrepScholar SAT students can submit practice essays for scoring and detailed feedback.
PrepScholar New SAT is one of my favorite on-demand SAT programs. (Incidentally, they also have an excellent blog geared toward test-takers).
For maximum benefit, PrepScholar recommends that you spend at least 40 hours working with AOPP. At the same time, they report that students who devote just ten hours to AOPP improve their composite score by an average of 200 points.
If you don’t raise your SAT score by at least 160 points, PrepScholar will refund your money. To qualify for the guarantee, you need to have worked through the whole program and taken every quiz offered.
If you want, you can add online tutoring and/or group classes to your program. Visit the PrepScholar site for info on their hybrid option offerings.