Know Your Test Prep Sources

With the election only days away and all the talk of fact checking candidate statements, this is a good time to bring up the need to verify information found in college test prep material resources.

As the lead instructor and president of The Right Path, I have read thousands of test questions and countless test prep manuals from many different companies. I have used this information and knowledge gained from discussion with my students and other sources to uncover and utilize the best test prep practices from many sources, but most people cannot do this, so the question is how do you judge quality material versus some of the real junk that is out there if full time test prep is not your idea of fun?

Deciphering good versus bad test prep material can be tricky and requires a lot of work, but the time spent finding quality material is worth it. I have read books, with wrong answers, incorrect or misguided explanations, and very poor advice, advice that is not just bad in my opinion but that goes contrary to every other test prep manual I have ever read. Even the big names can make elementary mistakes. When advice presented is completely opposite of what most other sources say, red flags should be raised.

The best way to verify your sources is to talk to experts. Asking guidance counselors, teachers, college admissions officials, and other students their opinions on books, classes, online resources, and test prep materials is the best way to discover good material. Nothing beats a good recommendation from someone you know and trust to get you started.

After getting a few opinions, your work has just begun. When comparing books for self-preparation take the time to read a few reviews online and then pull the books off the shelf to compare. Compare layout, accuracy of diagrams, and recommended test procedures. Again, each test company will have slightly different approaches, but any that is too far off may be giving bad advice.

When choosing test prep materials, be sure to do your homework ahead of time. Nothing is more disappointing than studying for a test and finding out too late that you learned the wrong approaches, incorrect academic material, or misguided timing procedures, and you certainly do not want this to happen on a test as important as your college entrance exams!