College Prep: Free/Cheap SAT & ACT test preparation

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Since it is that time of year, when many students are focusing on college admissions, applications, tuition, etc.; Bargain Hunter is offering up some useful tips on the topic this week.

First to get free or cheap test preparation services for the SAT and ACT. 

The College Board announced last week that the SAT is getting a makeover…again. In Spring 2016, the new exam will feature relevant vocabulary, evidence based reading and writing, and the current mandatory essay will become optional. A perfect score returns to 1600 with additional points added for the optional essay.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that in recent years, the ACT has overtaken the SAT as the test of choice for high school students. So naturally critics wonder if the changes are designed more as a strategy to recoup market share than to truly enhance the test taking experience and results. You can read more about the changes on the AJC’s Get Schooled blog with Maureen Downey.

Test prep courses have long been one way that students prepare for and tried to improve their performance on college entrance exams.

But comprehensive paid test preparation courses can hundreds of dollars with options ranging from group and online courses to one course from Princeton Review that guarantees a score of at least 2100 or you get your money back.

Last week, a parent contacted me and said her family was unable to afford the pricey preparation courses. She asked if I knew of any affordable options.

There are quite a few ways student can get some help with college entrance exams for free or for little money.

Most of the well-known test prep providers offer free practice tests and/or seminars. Check PrincetonReview.comand for listings in the metro area. Apparently, March is National Testing Month, so many of these events are happening now. Some of the current listings include practice exams for the SAT and ACT and a workshop on whether students should take the SAT vs. ACT.

In addition, a number of websites offer free practice testing, as well as online coaching and test preparation. Websites such as, and others were developed with the purpose of making quality test prep services available to all students.

Part of the College Board announcement included a partnership with Khan Academy to create top-of-the-line test prep materials for the new 2016 SAT exam (available in 2015) that will be free to all students. But right now, you can access many free materials on the website including practice tests, problem solving videos and more.

For almost a decade, eKnowledge has offered $250 SAT and ACT test prep programs for less than $20 to students nationwide. The SAT and ACT PowerPrep Programs are available online (Cloud version) or on DVD and include more than 11 hours of video instruction and more than 3,000 files of supplemental test prep material. There are thousands of interactive diagnostic tools, sample questions, practice tests and graphic teaching illustrations. Students are able to study at their own pace and tailor the training to their needs.

Students pay only the cost of delivering the program: $17.55 for the DVD program or $19.99 for the Cloud version. Each SAT or ACT PowerPrep Program has a one-year license from the day the product is ordered.

You can request the donated educational programs by visiting or by phone 951-256-4076.

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