It’s the new year, and if you’re a junior, you’re probably thinking about college entrance tests already. Now the question is: which review center do I go to? Or rather, do review centers even guarantee that I pass? Loads of students go to review centers every year. So we’re here to figure out if review centers really work and if you need to enroll in one or not.
Also in the spirit of good research, we looked up reputable review centers and added that in the mix, too.
So, do college review centers really work? Short answer: Yes and no.
We asked people who went to review centers and people who didn’t Some of them passed their dream schools, others didn’t. So we took down notes on what they gained from their experience.
College review centers worked for some because it simulates what might happen in an entrance test. Meanwhile, for others, it didn’t work because some of the information wasn’t entirely helpful.
Bamboozled? Let’s unpack these further.
Long answer: It depends on what kind of learner you are and how you use the tools you’re given.
If you’re the kind of learner that grows with practice and supervision, or if you’re motivated by the sheer horror of failure, then college review centers will work for you. However, if you’re more into individual studying, find it hard to absorb loads of information in one go, or are confident in your own abilities, then this might not be for you.
Why review centers work
You’re put in a class setting and made to take sample college entrance tests. It will be hard and exhausting at first. There’ll be a lot of information. And we mean a lot. Think, your entire, comprehensive high school curriculum. But you build up stamina.
It works to get you in the mindset of an entrance exam. Plus, you learn techniques when it comes to test-taking and educated guessing. They don’t teach you that in school, or in books!
Your instructors may also give you tips on how to pass specific notoriously difficult college entrance tests. They’ll debunk myths and make you feel more confident about taking the UPCAT, ACET, DLSUCET, and USTET.
Review classes work because they help you figure out your weak areas and blind spots. You go over a pretty comprehensive curriculum, so you end up discovering topics your high school might not even have taught you! By knowing your blind spots, you can target specific subtopics under science, math, or English that you’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.
You also learn new ways of answering and asking questions. It helps to read on your own. Review classes don’t stop after you leave the center for good. You still need to keep studying until those college tests come ‘round.
Why review centers won’t work
Some people can top the class in their review centers but still won’t make it into the top schools. Others say the information review centers gave weren’t entirely useful or accurate.
A college entrance exam tests your general and stock knowledge. Except, of course, it’s on logical and info-heavy subjects like math, science, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. You should ideally have gotten all that from your past years in high school. And if your high school didn’t prepare you enough, there are loads of resources readily available both online and at local bookstores to get you in shape.
What review centers don’t focus on is training you on logic, reasoning, and strategies. These are the more important skills that help you through the entrance exams. Beyond just knowing the coverage and formulas, strategizing and managing your time is half the battle. There isn’t much training, either, when it comes to English vocabulary. You rely on context clues here unless you’ve memorized the dictionary like a beast.
Another reason why review centers don’t work is the time frame. You’re essentially cramming 4 years’ worth of knowledge in 4 months or even less. That’s a bit too much for your brain to handle. So often you go home feeling burnt out and panicked. If it were more spaced out, it might work better. Best to start reviewing early.
At the end of the day, you end up relying on your long-term memory during the exams as well as the habit and discipline you’ve built—ideally during your high school days—and that’s what gets you through a test.
So what should I do?
There’s a tendency to think that, in college entrance tests, it’s either you know it or you don’t. They say, “Bahala na sa stock knowledge.” That’s not entirely true. You can build up on your long-term memory.
Study, review, and practice. Keep practicing. Wherever and however you choose to review.
Review centers work. And review books also work. If you’re a class-setting learner, go for the center. If you’re disciplined and can set aside study time, go for the review books and cross-reference that with all your high school materials.
Again, it all depends on what you need and how you study best. Knowing yourself and knowing the enemy—er, what you need to tackle—is half the battle.