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Khan Academy invades SAT test-prep bastions

The business of preparing students to take the SAT exam was a $310 million-a-year industry in 2005, according to the Washington Post. Today it has been ballooned “anywhere between $1 billion and $4 billion,” said Forbes. Fox Business asks, “Is SAT Tutoring Worth the Cost?”

Private SAT tutoring can easily cost $125 a session in major cities like New York—often even more. One upscale Manhattan tutoring company offers private tutoring starting at $195 per 50 minutes. Presumably, if you want to see serious score improvements, you’ll schedule tutoring for your child at least once a week for at least a few months. With hardly a blink, you could drop $3,000 or more trying to raise your teenager’s test scores.

Certainly, there are more budget-friendly options like Kaplan, which starts at about $300 for a self-directed online course, and ranges up to about $600 for an 18-hour class led by “top-scoring teachers.” But the real question remains: Will my kid’s scores even go up?

Now, Khan Academy has decided to offer free online test preparation following a recent major revamp of the SAT college entrance exam. It’s a bad news for the multibillion dollars tutoring businesses, such as Kaplan. Salman Khan, the Bangladeshi-American founder of Khan Academy, told Time Magazine:

“If you’re going to charge someone for something, you have to show them value for it,” Salman Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, said in an interview. “If the test-prep companies think they can add value, I’m sure they’ll try. But from my point of view, this is the College Board making sure it’s not about money.”

It’s not only a great news for the American students and their parents. Millions of youths from the developing world aspire to study in the United States. And they have to sit for SAT college entrance test. The free online tutorials of Khan Academy will significantly help them to prepare for SAT. All the best to all the kids!

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