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Image from Pexels

You may or may not have heard of friends, or classmates needing to spend the summer at a learning center to improve their test scores.  A lot of the times, you hear of horror stories. I mean, spending several hours a day stuck in a building doing practice problems and writing essays just gives me the shivers. Haven’t heard of these places? Well, it’s basically a place where professional tutors teach you ways to ace standardized tests (SAT, SAT II, ACT, AP, IB). Some places also provide counselors outside of your school to help you find a good college fit or to edit and help you with your college essays.  Some say it is worth giving up their summer and weekends to go to these learning centers, while others say that it isn’t. I have personally been to one of these centers for help. I liked it. However, I have had friends who did the same thing and hated it. Thinking about getting standardized test prep or college counseling? Here is a list of pros and cons. 


It Helps Improve Test Scores

Yes, the most important thing. The purpose of the place is to help to master the exam by providing good testing tips, such as reading the questions before reading the passage to know what you need to look for . You may or may not find it helpful, but I would say it does certainly help a little bit. For me personally, after going to the learning center for SAT help, my scores improved by about 500 points. Of course, these learning centers aren’t going to magically help you get a good score. It takes a lot of self discipline and hard work to do the required practice problems and to check over the mistakes you made so that you wouldn’t make them again. 

It Gets You Working

Some people may find it hard to find motivation to study without someone making you. The good thing about going to these tutoring places is the fact that all you will be doing there is basically studying. If you tell your teachers that you have a hard time concentrating, they will probably be able to give you advice to help you conquer procrastination.

Teach You Good Studying Skills

Along the way, your teachers will teach you how to improve your studying skills. If they don’t. Ask them for advice. Their advice could be extremely valuable in the future as well because you are taking these tests to get into college where you will definitely need good studying habits. 



I have heard of a lot of people that get really bored in class. All the teachers do is talk and talk and talk. If you get so bored that you can’t even pay attention in class, what is the point of going, right? However, some people like their experiences at their learning centers. I liked mine. Then again, you aren’t there to have fun. 

It’s Usually Expensive 

The probability that going to one of these places will be expensive is quite high. So you and your family should discuss about whether or not it is worth the price tag. See how well you can study alone and complete the practice problems by yourself. After you have exhaust all possibilities (asking friends for help, looking up for good internet resources) and do not see an improvement, then you should think about finding a learning centers. Most of the time the tutor sessions are taught as a class. However, the learning centers probability offer one on one tutor sessions that could tailor to your needs better.

In the end, it all comes down to how hard you are willing to work for what you want, with or without extra help. Some people find their experience extremely helpful while others don’t. However, if you do decide to go to a learning center for standardized test prep, make sure you do some research first. Look up the reviews online and find a few friends or classmates that have been to those places before. Did they find the help useful? Was it worth spending the extra money?

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the author

Chloe is currently a student studying at a international school in Hong Kong. Her favorite subjects are biology and chemistry. When she is not cramming for her tests or rushing to finish her homework, she enjoys scrolling through Tumblr, checking Instagram, and watching TV shows (Castle fan over here!) religiously. Her obsessions include Grumpy Cat and K-pop.

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