High schoolers don’t have a lot of flexibility in their schedule due to schoolwork, extracurricular and social activities, and possibly a part-time job. With that in mind, Higher Scores Test Prep was started by private test prep tutor Lauren Gaggioli. The program provides users with various options to prepare for the American College Testing (ACT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
The company offers several options, from the complete package, a 6-12 week course to a 1-week cram course.
Plan prices range from $47 up to $497 and include a money-back guarantee.
Lauren Gaggioli founded the family-owned Higher Scores Test Prep. A former actress and graduate of New York University with a degree in Theater, Ms. Gaggioli began in the test preparation business as a private tutor, teaching students one-on-one to prepare for and improve their SAT and ACT scores.
She hosts a popular podcast, The College Checklist, dedicated to topics related to college admissions.
She often has experts in various disciplines on her show, including professionals in SAT and ACT prep, college scholarships, college admissions, and student career choices.
Many online shows, periodicals, and bloggers frequently interview Ms. Gaggioli, who is considered an expert in test prep field.
The ACT vs. the SAT
Although controversial, and despite attempts to change the admissions criteria systems, most colleges and educational experts recognize the ACT and the SAT as the best educational tests available to measure a student’s ability to perform well at college.
Each test does so in a specific way. Colleges and Universities throughout the United States accept both tests.
American College Testing
You can score a maximum of a 36 on the ACT. The score is determined on how well a student does in four, five including the optional writing, separate subject areas: math, English, reading, and science reasoning.
Due to the emphasis by the ACT on subjects rather than general math and verbal skills, some college programs require either the ACT or the SAT with a subject test.
Eleven state college systems require the ACT.
Scholastic Aptitude Test
The SAT uses a more complicated scoring system than the SAT. Starting in 2017, the SAT gives the test taker a maximum of 800 points per section, or 1600, 2400 if you take the optional essay section. The test has three mandatory sections: Reading, writing and language, and math.
The fourth or essay section, as with the ACT, is not mandatory.
You earn a score of between 200-800 points for the mandatory sections. A score of 1600 or 2400 with the essay section is perfect.
The essay portion grades you in three separate areas, reading, analysis, and writing using a scale of 2-8.
Ten state college systems require the SAT.
The Four Package Options
Higher Score Test Prep offers four different options: ACT Complete Package, ACT Quick Prep, SAT Complete Package, and SAT Quick Prep:
The ACT Complete Package segments the curriculum over 24 days. A “day” is considered 3-hours. The company states the student should take 6-12 weeks to complete it, ideally scheduling the course to end within a week or two of the actual ACT date.
This course is ideal for students who haven’t taken a course yet and are ready to learn from an expert and be thoroughly prepared to take the ACT within the next two months.
The complete package costs $647.
The company offers a money-back guarantee if you request a refund for any reason within 30 days of purchase.
However, they charge a $75 service fee for any returns.
The complete package has four key components:
- Study Guide: A 24-day study guide with on-demand assignments for each day. The guide provides a step-by-step approach to taking the test, along with strategies and academic concepts you need to grasp.
- Video Tutorials: The online, on-demand video tutorials contain over 80 scoring strategies.
- ACT Prep Books: Additional study guides and material to prepare the student for the test
- Two full-length ACT practice tests
Also, the student has unlimited email access to Higher Scores Test Prep tutors.
The company also advertises $500 worth of bonus materials included in the complete package:
- Video Answers: Personalized answers in video form to all your questions. The video tutorials have an area where you can ask questions. The instructor will send a personalized video reply to your questions.
- PSAT Quick Prep Course: The PSAT, offered by all High Schools, is a good indicator of how well a student may do on the SAT. This quick prep course provides strategies and study materials for the test.
- Cash for College: A 1-year subscription to the Cash for College newsletter: This newsletter updates students regularly on various opportunities to earn money or obtain grants for college.
The ACT Quick Prep is a 10-day study course, usually completed within about two weeks. The company designed the curriculum for students who either can’t or don’t want to devote six to twelve weeks studying for the test, who need to brush up on material because they are taking the exam within the next two months, or they’ve already taken a course elsewhere and still want to improve their scores.
The cost is substantially less than the complete course at $187.
There is also a 100% money-back guarantee with this course if you ask for a refund within 14 days of purchase.
There is no service fee if you request a refund.
The ACT Quick Prep has three significant features:
- Video Tutorials: Four hours of strategies and practice questions.
- Study Guide: A 10-day study guide with optional, on-demand, assignments available.
- One ACT Practice Test
The student receives $200 in bonuses with this package:
- Personalized answers in video format to all questions.
- A 1-year subscription to the Cash for College newsletter.
The SAT Complete Package has a similar the same structure as the ACT Complete Package. The price is the same, $647 for the course, as is the money-back guarantee conditions.
The four key components are:
- Study Guide: Like the ACT version, based on 24 days of study, usually completed in 6-12 weeks.
- Video Tutorials: Over 65 different tutorials on SAT-taking strategies.
- SAT Prep Book: SAT study guides and other materials.
- Two SAT Practice Tests
The bonus package is the same as you receive with the ACT Complete Package: Personalized video answers to your questions, the PSAT Prep Course, and a 1-year subscription to the Cash for College newsletter.
The SAT Quick Prep package is identical to the ACT Quick Prep offer except geared toward studying for the SAT.
You get the same number of video tutorials, a 10-day study, 1- SAT practice test, and the same bonuses.
The company has only been in business for about three years. There are not many reviews posted except on the company website.
Reviews are generally positive.
Most reviewers state their son or daughter improved their scores by 100-200 points for the SAT and 2-3 points for the ACT.
Pros and Cons
- Comprehensive Courses: The ACT and SAT Complete Packages contain everything a student needs to study for either exam.
The Quick prep courses also contain a reasonable amount of material for the price.
- Personalized Answers: Most online courses do not offer specific questions and answers in video form.
- ACT and SAT Courses: Many companies only offer SAT prep.
- Practice Tests: Every package comes with at least one practice test.
- Cost: The complete packages are costly, especially for an online course.
- Virtual Learning Only: There are no classroom options.
- Bonuses: The so-called bonuses are something most companies would consider as part of the package.
- No score increase guarantees.
If you are looking for an online course, you are not worried about costs, and your student is self-motivated, then the Higher Scores Test Prep Reviews may be a good option.
If your son or daughter learns better in a classroom environment or needs more teacher-student interaction, then the Higher Scores Test Prep method may not be beneficial.
Test prep is an individual endeavor, and the best approach to studying for the college entrance exams will vary from student to student. Whatever your student’s style of learning, being prepared is the key to success on the test.