Louise Losos has worked to educate children for the past 20 years. A former high school principal, Louise Losos currently serves as the director of curriculum at Confluence Charter Schools in St. Louis, Missouri. As of 2013, Missouri ranked as the state with the fourth highest average SAT scores according to College Board, the organization that processes SAT results.

It is a common expectation that students seeking high scores on the AP, SAT, and ACT exams will sign up for additional tutoring outside of school time. Kaplan Test Prep, StudyPoint, Veritas Prep, and HSA Tutoring all offer tutoring programs dedicated to raising students’ exam scores, but their services come at a hefty price. Some families spend nearly $200 per session, while others pay $3,000 for weeks of tutoring in the months leading up to the tests.

After spending large amounts of money, some students receive test scores that are not impressive, even after multiple attempts. This begs the question, is the extra test preparation and expense worth it? According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Association of College Admission Counseling, SAT preparation courses raised reading scores by about 10 points and increased math scores by around 20 points. An extra 30 points on an exam with a 2400 high score may seem trivial, but it could make the difference between a good result and one that qualifies a student for an elite college. Test tutoring and prep may not work for all students, but it could prove to be a worthwhile investment for many students.