Free and affordable test prep options for the SAT and ACT

The new SAT debuted in March 2016 and it was the first makeover the college entrance exam has had in 30 years.

A perfect score is once again 1600 with additional points available for an optional essay.

Experts say the content of the new SAT is similar to what is on the ACT, but the concepts are tested in a different way and students must take different steps to solve problems. Reasoning is a big factor in the new version of the exam and students who can process information quickly will likely have the greatest success.

The ACT also had a some changes in 2015, though mostly from the perspective of how the exam is scored.

For years, the ACT had overtaken the SAT as the test of choice for high school students and with the release of the new SAT, concerns remain among high school students and educators about which exam best measures college performance.

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Test prep courses have long been one way that students have prepared for and tried to improve their performance on college entrance exams. Comprehensive paid test preparation courses once cost hundreds of dollars with options ranging from group and online courses to a specific course from Princeton Review that guaranteed a high score or your money back. But increasingly, there are quite a few ways student can get some help with college entrance exams for free or little money.

Most of the well-known test prep providers offer free practice tests and/or seminars. Check and for listings in the metro area. 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.

The College Board partnership with Khan Academy offers top-of-the-line test prep materials for the new SAT exam and it is free to all students. Visit the website at for more information.

For almost a decade, eKnowledge has offered $350 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. Prices for the programs begin at $14.99. 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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