Too much prep, too soon?

Outside of a  session at the National Association for College Admission Counseling annual meeting in Maryland, I spent a good deal of time talking with other tutoring operators at the conference. Numerous operators are pushing prep at a very early age and encouraging students to make enormous investments of time and energy towards their score goals. One company in Pennsylvania, catering primarily to Asian-American students, is pushing parents to begin SAT prep in the 7th grade and continue through senior year. Another company advocated 2-hour prep sessions, twice a week, throughout the entirety of junior year, in addition to bi-monthly mock tests: an investment of over 200+ hours. Another operator encouraged his students to cancel the score of their first actual SAT or ACT, simply to give them a feel for the testing process. These recommendations troubled me. I believe in economy of prep and finding the minimum amount of tutoring needed to gain the maximum result. Preparing for the SAT or ACT should not be a full-time job for students, nor should it span 5 years! Students have enough on their plates as it is, and we need to get the SAT or ACT over and done with as efficiently as possible to allow students to return to their busy lives.

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