Test Prep Courses for Graduate and Professional School

Whether or not to take a prep course for a standardized entrance exam is a personal decision.  Despite what some people say, there is no universal recommendation on this question.  One student might praise the usefulness of a particular course, while another might feel the course’s value was limited.  Certainly, some students, after taking a prep course, considered it to be an important part of their test preparation.  Self-directed preparation, however, through study books, online prep materials (at a much lower cost), or peer study groups, can also be effective.  Sometimes, a professional tutor or classmate can help you identify areas in need of practice and deepen your knowledge base.  So investigate all of your options, especially local resources.  Prep courses are one way, but not the only way, to prepare for an exam.

Wesleyan's Career Center does not endorse any particular prep program, nor does it necessarily recommend that people preparing for a standardized test take a prep course.

The issues are essentially ones of time and cost.  When making your decision, consider these pros and cons:

Pros

  • Prep courses can help you become acclimated to the exam.
  • They can provide you structure for study and preparation if you need that extra boost to your self-discipline; in other words, you pay them to keep you on schedule and on task.
  • A course might provide useful tips on testing strategy and time management that you may not gain on your own.
  • It will walk you through the entire process which can help reduce some anxiety about the unknown.
  • You can meet other people taking the same test and benefit from their questions and insights.
  • You can take them in a classroom or online.  The latter are less expensive, and may give you more flexibility in tailoring your preparation to your specific needs.

Cons

  • The cost for these courses is high and can be a burden.
  • There is no way of determining beforehand that the course will be worth the time and cost.

Test Prep Courses

A sample of prep courses taken by Wesleyan students and alumni are listed below.  You may elect to investigate others.

Dr. Flowers MCAT
ExamKrackers
Kaplan
PowerScore
Princeton Review
Testmasters