Test Preparation (or test prep in short) is defined as the use of courses, tools or services which result in the increase of performance on standardized tests*. The theory behind test prep is to familiarize individuals with test subjects in order to ensure that the proper amount of effort would be applied when evaluating and resolving similar test situations.
Services are often defined as the action or activity of helping or doing work for someone**. From our team’s perspective, Test Prep Services is about utilizing the resources available to increase other’s performance during testing situations.
When decisions are being made to be prepared for future opportunities, many factors will influence that process. Factors such location, financial posture, personal learning styles, aptitude, even the number of service providers to name a few, can greatly influence individual decisions. Whether there is a clear view of future goals or things are being figured out along the way, preparation for future evaluations or tests could make a difference on when and how much success is achieved. Let’s explore four aspects of preparation services and why these services must be considered:
- The importance of Test prep services
- Types of Test Prep Services
- Selecting the right service for you
- Preparation – Key ingredient for success
The Importance of Test Prep Services in Today’s Competitive Environment
There is competition in every aspect of life. That means that at some point in our journey, some if not all aspects of our lives will be evaluated and/or tested. Through these evaluations or tests, human beings try to predict different levels of performance under specified conditions. Whether it is knowledge, skills, abilities or aptitude (to mention just a few areas) there are standardized tests that measure the resulting performance from those being evaluated. And that performance data could help to launch us further into our dream lives.
In order to successfully help individuals prepare for these evaluations, test preparation services were and continue to be created. These services are designed to continuously capture information as it is created on a daily basis. New concepts are then developed, which individuals can study and become familiar with. As a result, we get exposure to new information and at that point we have the opportunity to increase our performance.
Types of Test Prep Services
Let’s take a look at some of the most common services available today. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but only a sample of services within three different categories of test prep services: Foundation Education, Higher Education and Professional Licensure education. It is important to note that some products, programs and services may only be available in specific locations or regions. We will discuss Trades education on a different post.
- Foundation Education Services provide customers with products related to early stages of education and development addressing the needs of younger to early adolescence individuals. Some of the products available include gifted and talented, school entrance and assessment prep tests. Services may also address the needs of those reengaged in accessing and completing their basic levels of education.
- Higher Education Services could be bucketed in three groups. These services provide test prep products and programs which aid customers with admission into educational institutions and/or placement to specific level courses:
- Admission products geared towards those seeking to obtain undergraduate degrees.
- Placement products designed for customers wanting to place into higher level courses.
- Specialized Admission products targeted for individual who are postgraduate candidates.
- Professional Licensure Education strive to successfully prepare individuals for careers in business, medical care, law and financial services among others.
Selecting The Right Service for You
In order to select the best type of test prep services, potential customers should carefully consider their individual needs as captured on the previous section. Once the specific service need has been identified, the following criteria can help in evaluating available options during the decision process: Individual’s learning style, accessibility to products or programs and costs.
Much information has been published regarding learning styles theories. But in summary, different models have been established in order to explain human tendencies and inclinations towards learning. In other words, the more aware we are of our learning style, the more emphasis we can put on finding the best ways to enable our learning process. Although there are several models and theories, let’s look at David Kolb’s learning theories (Kolb 1984). This learning theory states that individuals learn in four distinct ways:
- by listening and using what others have done and completing tasks hands-on (Accommodating);
- by experimenting with new things and ideas and solving problems on their own (Converging);
- by working in groups and through situations that allows ideas-generation (Diverging);
- by reading extensively, participating in lectures, experiencing and analyzing models and logically processing and thinking through different situations (Assimilating).
Selecting the right test prep service, would be a matter of selecting products or programs that fit the closest to our prefer learning style (as shown in the four bullets above). Now, the next task would be to research which services are available.
Access to test prep services could be obtained via online, instructor-led or book-based programs. Much caution should be taken on deciding the appropriate access channel. For example, pay close attention to the feedback other customers have provided on the products and/or programs they have purchased. Some research up front can provide much guidance on the final purchase decision.
Once the options have been narrow down to the “chosen few”, cost should be considered. Lower cost options may be economically convenient, but as it is often stated, “you get what you pay for”. On the other hand, the more expensive services, products or programs are not always the best solutions. By considering personal goals, economic status and the above criteria, a balanced decision can be reached.
Preparation – A Key Ingredient for Success
The more you prepare, the likelihood of success increases. Test prep services provide a great foundation on which individuals can build their skills and knowledge. It offers unique opportunities to those looking for every possible advantage available to make their goals a reality.
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