Princeton Review helps students prepare for standardized tests

The test-prep company boasts an improvement rate for its students in testing.

Jared Roddy

Though the Princeton Review moved its location earlier this fall from Washington Avenue Southeast to the Dinkydome, it is still helping students invest in their educations.

The Princeton Review prepares students for the alphabet soup of standardized tests, and it boasts an improvement rate for its students.

For the graduate school-bound, the company offers preparatory courses for the Medical College Admission Test, Law School Admission Test, Graduate Record Examination and the Graduate Management Admission Test.

The company’s primary competition is Kaplan Inc., said executive director Maria Lefkow. By dumping its revenue back into classes and materials, and committing itself to college campuses, she said, the Princeton Review stays competitive.

Melanie Lamprecht said that she researched alternatives before deciding on the Princeton Review.

“There’s more class time and the cost is the same,” she said. “And Kaplan has one teacher for the whole course; the Princeton Review has experts in each subject.”

The classes start early, said Michelle Morgan, assistant director of outreach, and most students who plan to continue their education start thinking about it in their junior years.

“Let’s say I want to go to grad school in the fall of 2005,” Morgan said. “I would want to have taken my tests this past summer or have them taken by this fall at least.”

Ikram Hassan, a biological sciences junior, said the class kept her motivated. She, like Lamprecht, will take her medical school test in April.

“I don’t want to slack off when there are so many other people in class working,” Hassan said.

The tests are only offered every so often, Lefkow said, so students should plan ahead.

“These tests aren’t like the SAT, where it’s given all year long,” Lefkow said. “You have to work within the time frame that’s given.”

The courses vary in price but hover around $1,000 for the 35-hour graduate record exam and graduate management programs, and closer to $1,500 for the medical school test and law school test, which take up 102 hours. Morgan said many students think it is worth the price.

“My grandma passed away last year and left me $1,000,” Lamprecht said. “I thought this would be a good investment.”

Morgan said many of the students in their classes looked at the cost as an investment.

“They’re already going to go into debt for medical school or law school, and they want to get into the best ones and get the best financial aid packages, and doing well on these tests is a major component,” Morgan said.

However, some students found the workload to be trying on top of regular coursework.

“The chapter readings are really long,” Hassan said. “I spend three to four hours per lecture, and there are three lectures per week.”

Lefkow said students, on average, improve test-taking significantly. On the medical school test, in which 45 points are possible, she said their students average a 10-point improvement from their first practice tests to the actual tests.

“All of our courses are good,” Morgan said. “Our MCAT is phenomenal.”

Marisa Glomski graduated from the University in May. This is her second time with the Princeton Review’s preparatory class. She complimented the program and said her only complaint concerned her summer course, which was much more intensive.