standardized testing

Which Test-Prep Is Right for My Student?



SAT.  ACT.  These acronyms can strike fear into the heart of any teenager…or parent.

We are just over a week before the first national test date (the first ACT is scheduled for September 12th),  and your junior or senior may already be hitting the books.  Whether you are a seasoned test prep parent veteran or a first-time rookie, it’s natural to wonder if your teen is preparing for the exam in the best possible way.

When it comes to test prep, there are three primary options:

One-on-One Test Prep
Group Test Prep Classes
Personal Test Prep


In order to understand which of these options is best for your teen, you need to understand how your teen functions academically.  This short quiz will help guide you:


When it comes to studying, my teen is self-motivating and can work independently.

Agree                                Neither agree nor disagree                         Disagree


My teen is able to focus and concentrate in a classroom environment.

Agree                                Neither agree nor disagree                         Disagree


Generally speaking, my teen is a strong test taker in school.

Agree                                Neither agree nor disagree                         Disagree


My teen is able to read age-appropriate text and fully understand the story.

Agree                                Neither agree nor disagree                         Disagree


When it comes to homework, my teen rarely asks for help from me or the teacher.

Agree                                Neither agree nor disagree                         Disagree


Generally speaking, my teen understands high school level math.

Agree                                Neither agree nor disagree                         Disagree


If you answered mostly “agree”, your teen is best suited for Personal Test Prep.

Your teen is self-motivating and does not need much assistance to do homework or study for tests.  With those strong work habits, your teen can probably prep for the exams alone without much instruction.  It would still be best to get at least one test prep manual (look on Amazon).  Sit down with your teen and set a schedule, including a few practice exams.  (You can find free ones online.)

For more tips on how to study for the exam, click here to view our blog post on study techniques!



If you answered mostly “neither agree nor disagree”, your teen is best suited for Group Test Prep Classes.

Group test prep classes usually take place in a formal classroom setting and typically include about 15-25 teens.  The instructor provides a wide overview of both test content and strategies, so your student will receive a review of the entire exam.  The classroom environment also helps the student get accustomed to what it will feel like on exam day.  While this method does not pinpoint specific weaknesses, it is more cost-effective and a popular choice for families.

North Coast Education Services provides SAT and ACT Test-Prep Classes at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland.  Click here for more information on registering for an upcoming course!



If you answered mostly “disagree”, your teen is best suited for One-on-One Test Prep.

Struggling students truly benefit from individual instruction.  Private tutoring allows students to work at their own unique pace.  The tutor is able to focus on weaker topics, strengthen stronger subjects, and provide test taking strategies.

Tutors and families create their own schedule so tutoring takes place at the most convenient times, right in the home.  (If students cannot focus at home, tutoring can also occur at a local public location.)  With personalized instruction geared toward strengths and weaknesses, struggling students can get the full support they need for success.

Click here for more information on North Coast Education Services’ private in-home tutoring!



Another option available is Small Group Test-Prep Courses, a popular solution for school districts and local communities.

The tutor meets the students at a local, public location for test prep.  We try to keep our classes small (no more than 10 students) so each student receives personalized assistance from the tutor.  This is a convenient option for communities that are trying to prep multiple students for the same test at one time.

For more information on scheduling a Small Group Test-Prep Course with NCES, please contact our Student Services Department at



With so many options available, every student can succeed on the exams!  So, which option is the best for YOUR student?

Share This

About the Author


Nikki is the Director of Student Services for North Coast Education Services. She coordinates the tutoring for all private students, assists with in-school programs, and is responsible for the NCES blog. Nikki is also the Assistant Camp Director of the Academic Fun & Fitness Camp, a summer program for students with learning disabilities in Kirtland, OH.