Smart Investment In Your Future: High School Test Prep That Won’t Break The Bank

Invest in Yourself by investing in affordable high school test prep for your future.
Concerned about the expenses of the college admissions journey? Explore budget-friendly SAT®, ACT®, and AP® high school test prep solutions.
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Invest in Yourself by investing in affordable high school test prep for your future.
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Preparing for standardized tests in high school can be a challenging journey. While these tests evaluate a wide range of skills, like critical thinking, problem-solving, and knowledge recall – within a single exam, the stress they bring is also a significant hurdle. Also, access to quality test prep resources is a struggle for many students, particularly those from less affluent backgrounds, contributing to achievement gaps. Therefore, we see a rising demand among students for low-cost or free test prep materials.

However, while free resources may be beneficial, investing in affordable, paid options can provide structured content and expert guidance, enhancing your test performance. This investment can pave the way for future success and better opportunities, while also helping reduce college costs. If you’re someone who wants to take standardized tests and prepare for college admissions, this blog will help you explore affordable solutions for cost-effective test prep for the SAT®, ACT®, and the AP®.

The College Cost Conundrum

The Soaring Costs of College from 2014 – 2024
Year Private Out-of-state In-state
2014 $ 33,153 $ 22,199 $ 9,229
2015 $ 34,344 $ 23,172 $ 9,602
2016 $ 35,561 $ 23,937 $ 9,809
2017 $ 36,898 $ 24,874 $ 10,135
2018 $ 38,261 $ 25,453 $ 10,548
2019 $ 39,513 $ 25,752 $ 10,655
2020 $ 41,426 $ 27,120 $ 11,260
2021 $ 42,695 $ 27,492 $ 11.366
2022 $ 44,375 $ 27,492 $ 11,366
2023 $ 44,433 $ 27,841 $ 11,541
2024 $ 46,652 $ 28,217 $ 11,970

    Source: U.S.News & World Report

We know college is expensive, but how expensive is it really? To answer this question, we did some research and the numbers we found are pretty surprising! According to U.S. News, the average college tuition has gone up by a whopping 69%1. That’s like going from $8,082 a year in 2000 to $13,677 in 2021! But wait, there’s more. Tuition at private colleges has increased by almost 41%2 in the last 10 years, and in-state college tuition costs have gone up by nearly 30%.

And that’s not all! According to a survey from Statista3, a year of studying at a private college on campus costs around $58,000 per year. That includes tuition, fees, housing, books, transportation, and other expenses. The cost can vary depending on whether you attend a school in your state or out of state, but no matter what, it’s a big number to think about. Below are the projected costs of studying at colleges on-campus:

Expense type Public, 4-year, in-state,  On campus Public, 4-year, out-of-state, On campus Private, non-profit, 4-year, On campus
Tuition $ 11,260 $ 29,150 $ 41,540
Accommodation $ 12,770 $ 12,770 $ 14,650
Transportation $ 1,290 $ 1,290 $ 1,100
Books & stationery $ 1,250 $ 1,250 $ 1,250
Other Expenses $ 2,270 $ 2,270 $ 1,880
Total $ 28,840 $ 46,730 $ 60,420
Did you know?
Between 2022-23, parents and students had to borrow a massive $98.2 billion4 in loans to pay for postsecondary education.

The average loan amount taken out by bachelor’s degree recipients in the 2021-22 academic year to cover college expenses was $29,400. This figure represents a decrease from $33,200 in 2011-12 and $34,000 in 2016-17, when adjusted for inflation.

As of March 2023, 32% of borrowers had debts totaling less than $10,000, while 21% owed between $10,000 and $20,000 in federal loans. Collectively, these borrowers held 4% and 8% of the total outstanding federal debt, respectively.

Standardized tests like the AP, SAT, or ACT can help students reduce the cost of college because most colleges use these test scores for admissions processes. A good AP score of 4 or 5 can let you skip through introductory college courses or help you earn credit towards your degree. But the question remains, how much money can be saved by scoring well in these tests?

The average public, 4-year university charges in-state residents $390 per credit hour. Most college classes are usually worth 3 credit hours, so one class costs around $1,170. Let’s do some math to see how good test scores can help you save on your college expenses.

Postsecondary College Type Avg. cost per credit hour 5 Avg. cost per course (3 credit hours) Cost of an AP exam Amount Saved
Public 4-year $390 (in-state)
$1,126 (out-of-state)
$1,170 (in-state)
$3,378 (out-of-state)
$98 $1,073 (in-state)
$3,281 (out-of-state)
Private 4-year (For Profit) $623 $1,869 $1,772
Private 4-year (Non-profit) $1,492 $4,476 $4,379

Doing well on an AP exam can earn you 3 or more credit hours; that’s basically paying $97 for a 3-credit-course! If you’re taking the SAT or the ACT on top of your good AP scores, you’ll get scholarship opportunities in the form of Bell grants, federal or non-federal grants. That’s how much impact a good AP, SAT, and ACT score can have on your college expenses.

With that said, it is important to know that these tests are no cakewalk! Preparing and scoring well on these tests requires students to plan a dedicated test prep schedule, learn the exam curriculum thoroughly and take repeated practice tests. SAT, AP and ACT test prep options can range from one-on-one private tutoring, textbooks, video or audio tutorials, and online or offline test preps and question banks.

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Now, is there a high school test prep that works best for all students? Not necessarily, because the efficacy of a test prep will depend on the student’s learning aptitude and study habits. While it is not possible to narrow down on a single test prep format that works well universally, a recent survey6 by states that short-term preparation (workbooks or timed-practice tests) can increase a student’s ACT score by 1.5 points, and long-term preparation can increase the score by up to 5.8 points.

Long-term test preparation usually focuses on developing a student’s knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts of a subject. Having a solid foundation can help students learn new concepts easily and retain old knowledge better. Things like in-depth concept explanations and high school coursework are typically more effective than free test prep options.

A Level Playing Field Is an Affordable One

One-on-one tutoring is a great way to get ready for those big standardized tests, but it can be really expensive. We know that one of the main reasons you take these tests is to save money on college, and these tests are supposed to make college accessible to all students, no matter how much money they have.

But, if getting ready for them costs a lot, it kind of defeats the purpose, right?

That’s why it is important to consider the impact of an affordable online test prep that contains premium materials and excellent concept explanations. Test preps like these go easy on your wallet while providing you with all the help you need to ace these exams.

In other words, affordable online test preps level the playing field for all students by making test preparation easier to access.

Test Prep That’s Affordable and Effective

Research7 says that, when test preparation closely resembles in-depth learning experiences, it offers a better chance for short-term gains, such as higher standardized test scores, as well as long-term advantages in mastering the subject and performing well in coursework. Unfortunately, these types of in-depth learning opportunities are usually costly and not as accessible to families with budget constraints.

However, investing in an affordable, high-quality test prep that contains detailed answer explanations and timed practice tests can help students develop both long-term and short-term knowledge gains. These high school satest prep solutions, like UWorld College Prep, can come with timed practice tests with unlimited exam-like questions, and illustrated answer explanations. Timed-practice tests help students develop their time-management and test-taking skills, while answer explanations solidify fundamental concepts and help them understand and retain more of the material. And the best part? They won’t break the bank!

College is expensive, but your test prep doesn’t have to be!

The tutoring myth

While tutoring can be very helpful, the question remains: Is the cost of private tutoring worth it? To get a clearer picture of the cost and efficacy of private tutoring, we did some research and here’s what we found:

One-on-one Tutoring
Cost per subject Avg. Up to $125/hour 8
Time period Min. 4 hrs / week
Total Cost $500/subject per week

Given the longstanding perception of private tutoring as one of the most effective approaches to test preparation, certain families of means are willing to sink money into this substantial expense. One potential explanation for this preference among affluent households is their heightened trust in the personalized support offered by private tutors. These parents may harbor doubts about their children’s self-discipline and believe they require monitoring to ensure consistent effort.

Another factor could be the criticism often directed at low-quality online resources or test prep books, which do not all provide in-depth explanations for SAT/ACT concepts and problems, leaving students without a guaranteed understanding of the material.

But there’s always two sides to a coin. According to a recent study9 conducted by, using online test prep or self-guided study can boost a student’s self-confidence about their test readiness. Not only that, such a perception impacts a student’s test performance.

The value of quality online test prep 

So, then, the question that still lingers is whether there are online test preparation options that offer personalized study plans and comprehensive answer explanations to aid in comprehension and retention. The good news is that there are such options available! Premium online question banks like UWorld provide both timed and untimed tests that can be tailored to your specific study needs. This allows you to concentrate on particular sections and enhance your skills. Additionally, our expert answer explanations and quick-knowledge flashcards equip you with a deep understanding of why the correct answer is right and why the other options are incorrect.

Cost per Course: One-on-one tutoring vs 4-year college tuition vs UWorld Test prep

One-on-one Tutoring 10 4-year College 11 UWorld Test Prep
Cost per Course Up to $125/hour Public 4-year:
$1,170 (in-state)
$3,378 (out-of-state)

Private 4-year (For Profit):

Private 4-year (Non-profit):
$ 4,476
$39 – $69
subject for AP

$99 – $249
SAT/DSAT, ACT course
Time period Min. 4 hrs / Week 30 – 360 days
Total Weekly Cost $500
AP subject or college entrance exam

In addition to helping you learn and improve your test-taking skills, our SAT, ACT and AP test preps include comprehensive study materials, and personalized analytics. These tools are added to help you track your progress. That way, you know exactly where you stand compared to other UWorlders who are preparing for the same test.

Now, the only question you need to ask is,

Would you pay a comparatively modest fee for a strong foundation and a foot in the door for college?

College is expensive. Your AP prep shouldn't be.
Achieve top scores without the heavy price tag.
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High-Quality College Entrance Test Prep Tools: Bonus Benefits 

1. Sharp Knowledge and Nerves of Steel

Did you know? An effective test prep not only enhances your subject knowledge but also builds confidence and reduces test day anxiety.

Research12 suggests that an estimated 40-60% of students are negatively affected by test anxiety that interferes with their performance. Investing in a premium test prep that comes with timed practice tests will help improve your time-management and knowledge-recall skills, so that you can perform your best on test day.

2. A Matter of Convenience

Premium online test prep options are tailored keeping you in mind, so you can prepare for tests at your convenience. No more juggling between high school classes, extracurriculars, and offline test prep classes that waste your time in transit. You can prepare on the go from desktop and mobile, even when traveling with your family!

Our digital test prep solutions address time constraints and offer flexibility to suit the hectic lives of high school students.

3. An Investment in your future

Choosing a quality and reliable test prep is a wise investment for your future educational and career prospects. To bring things into perspective, we’ve taken two career choices, their college costs, and the corresponding AP courses that compliment those majors. We’ve also included the cost of UWorld’s high school test prep (SAT, ACT and AP) that’ll help you get into a good college for those majors.

Prospective Major Health Professions And Related Clinical Sciences Legal Studies
Earning Potential in 2023 13 $110,270 – $277,290 / year $74,660 – $218,873 / year
College Course Tuition Cost Avg. $7,258 14 Avg. $146,484 15
Complimenting AP Courses AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP Psychology
AP Statistics
AP World History
AP Language & Composition
AP Environment
AP Government
AP Human Geography
AP United States History
UWorld’s College Test Prep 90 days
(Recommended for learning & retention)
SAT/DSAT: $149
ACT: $ 149
AP: $49/course = $196
SAT/DSAT: $149
ACT: $ 149
AP: $49/course = $294

The numbers above show a huge return on investment of online test prep to college costs.

For example, let’s consider a major in Legal Studies:

A 6-month test prep for AP would cost you: $354

An SAT or ACT test prep would cost you: $149

AP exams for complimenting AP Courses would cost you: $588

Good AP scores would grant an average of 3 credit hours. That would save you a minimum of : $1,170 per course.

Credit or placement for 6 AP subjects would save you: $7020 on your college tuition.

Food for thought:
A good ACT or SAT score can qualify you for scholarships. Keeping that aside, you’re saving a minimum of $5065 for college tuition if you opt for an online test prep.

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Study on your schedule, at your pace, and at an affordable price.
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Affordable Test Prep: Your Path to Financial Freedom

In a world where college expenses are soaring, finding a cost-effective path to success is paramount. Standardized tests play a pivotal role in reducing the financial burden of college education, making it more accessible. The journey from high school to college readiness can be a challenging one, especially when it comes to test preparation. As the cost of education continues to rise, families face an increasingly tough decision: invest in expensive private tutoring or explore affordable, high-quality test prep options that empower students to succeed and level the playing field.

You’ve learned how costly college tuition can be, and the significant financial strain it places on students and parents. A strategic investment in a test prep solution like UWorld can not only save you money but also equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel on your standardized tests, making your dream of an affordable college education a reality.

With the rising costs of education and a fiercely competitive academic landscape, making the right choice in test prep is more important than ever.

Don’t let financial constraints hold you back from realizing your educational aspirations!
Choose an affordable test prep solution that is both effective and empowering, setting you on a path toward academic and financial success.


  1. Kerr, E., & Wood, S. (2023, September 22). A Look at 20 Years of Tuition Costs at National Universities. US News & World Report.
  2.  Kerr, E., & Wood, S. (2023, September 22). A Look at 20 Years of Tuition Costs at National Universities. US News & World Report.
  3. Average undergraduate budgets U.S. 2023/24, by expense and institution type. (2023, November 14). Statista.
  4. Trends in Student Aid Highlights – College Board Research. (n.d.).
  5. Hanson, M. (2023, January 30). Average Cost per Credit Hour & College Class: 2023 Data. Education Data Initiative.
  6. Sanchez, Moore, & San Pedro. (2018). Investigating Test Prep Impact On Score Gains Using quasi-Experimental Propensity Score Matching. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from
  7. Sanchez, & Moore. (2020, November). /content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/R1756-preparing-for-college-admissions-tests-2020-11.pdf. Retrieved October 20, 2023, from
  8. Jovana Smoljanovic Tucakov (2023, March 21). Flat fee. How Much to Charge for Online Tutoring: A Complete Guide. Trafft.,up%20to%20%24125%20per%20hour.
    Fabian-Weber, N., & Fabian-Weber, N. (2023, March 2). How much does a tutor cost? Resources.
  9. Sanchez, Moore, & San Pedro. (2018). Investigating Test Prep Impact On Score Gains Using quasi-Experimental Propensity Score Matching. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from
  10. Lehane, A. (2021, August 31). I'm a Yale grad who charges students up to $85,000 a year for college prep — here's what it takes. Command Education.
    Fabian-Weber, N., & Fabian-Weber, N. (2023, March 2). How much does a tutor cost? Resources.
  11. Kerr, E., & Wood, S. (2023, September 22). A Look at 20 Years of Tuition Costs at National Universities. US News & World Report.
  12. Phan. (n.d.). A Student’s Perspective on Test Anxiety. Retrieved October 24, 2023, from
  13. Home :    Occupational Outlook Handbook: :    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, September 6).
  14. Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences (other) Career Tuition. (n.d.). College Tuition Compare.
  15. Hanson, M. (2023, September 13). Average Cost of Law School [2023]: Tuition + Expenses. Education Data Initiative.

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