How Fresh Is Your Test Prep Offering?

Rotten Apple

New Year = New Opportunity.

A new year is a perfect opportunity to take a step back and assess your test prep business. Just as gym-goers are packing their local fitness centers chasing resolutions for healthier bodies, test prep companies should be looking for ways to trim the fat in their SAT and ACT test prep courses.

Allocating resources like staff, space, and materials should be based upon what both produces results for your students and what is producing results for your business. Failing to do so can limit the potential for growth and expansion moving forward.

Identify low-performing programs

Self-evaluation isn’t always a flattering affair. While your test prep company likely had its fair share of successes last year, there’s a good chance that there were some efforts that missed the mark.

Use metrics like enrollment, score improvement, and attendance to look for any glaring weaknesses in your test prep curriculum. Compare these figures to the investments made in both the time and resources required to run these programs. If there are courses where the investment is high and the returns are low, you have found a program ripe to be revamped or cut altogether.

There are other, subtler indicators of an unsuccessful test prep program. For instance, a lack of measurable student engagement can be a strong tell that something is amiss with a tutoring program your company is offering.

With the Clear Choice Prep software, it is possible to track telling metrics like student login timestamps and total session duration. Additional data like the percentage of purchased hours that have been utilized as well as the percentage of time elapsed from a course’s start date to its projected finish date can also be surfaced easily.

Furthermore, there tends to be a high correlation between watching video solutions and increases in student scores. There are similar improvement trends when students take three or more practice tests and are routinely completing one or more practice quiz a week.

When this information is monitored during a course, it can help ensure students are actually doing the work required to achieve success. After the fact, this data can be a helpful postmortem on the effectiveness of the course itself in both engaging students and holding them accountable.

If your test prep curriculum lacks these features, sign up for a free demo to see how Clear Choice Prep's 100% custom-branded curriculum can be used to improve your course offerings and ensure students remain engaged from start through test day. 

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Revisit staff and client feedback

What have your clients been telling you (directly or indirectly) about the services your company provides?

Make it a point to revisit all the feedback you have received over the past year. This audit should include things like direct responses to your targeted follow-up efforts with clients, reviews posted on marketplace sites like Yelp or Google Places, information gleaned from conversations with staff, as well as any unsolicited reactions posted on social media.

If it turns out you are lacking in actionable feedback to review, it’s never a bad idea to go out and get some.

  • Create and distribute a survey to your clients asking for suggestions about areas for improvement in the New Year.
  • Reach out to former clients for their opinions on the quality of your company’s services. Be sure to ask questions relating to any trends you noticed in your self-evaluation efforts that need clarification.
  • Offer staff members an opportunity to complete program evaluations. Consider making the process anonymous to encourage honest, in-house perspectives.
  • Once the comments have been amassed, look for patterns that emerge across multiple stakeholder groups and multiple platforms. Odds are, if your staff and clients are on the same page with a particular point of pride or poignant critique of a program or course, there’s something there.

Maintain, overhaul or eliminate?

So you have looked at student data, reviewed all of your feedback. Now what?

It’s time to make some decisions. For each course you offer, you should be actively choosing to keep it as it is, improve it in some way, or scrap it in an effort to better allocate your resources.

Ask yourself some key questions:

  • Is the course’s test prep curriculum both current and aligned to the test(s) students are preparing to take?
  • Is the course matched appropriately in both tone and content to its audience?
  • Are your test prep materials demonstrably effective at promoting student engagement?
  • Would the course benefit from being longer or shorter?
  • Would the course benefit from more or fewer available seats?
  • Have you placed individual staff members in the best possible positions to promote student success?
  • Are there digital tools or structures you could add that would increase access, transparency, student engagement, and/or parental involvement?

The good news is that these are all factors within your control. Negatives you identify in response to these questions can be addressed by modifying course materials, repositioning staff members, adding new test prep tools into the mix, or restructuring a course entirely.

Get Started Today!

Sign up for a brief, free consultation to see how the custom-branded test prep solutions from Clear Choice Prep can transform your low-performing courses into more effective and efficient vehicles for student score improvement.


As you start your new year of test prep, what are you doing to get your business into tip-top shape? What advice do you have for test prep companies and tutors looking for a fresh approach in the New Year? Share your comments and suggestions in the comments below and be sure to follow Clear Choice Prep on Twitter for the latest tips for optimizing your test prep business!

Matt McCorkle