Prep Sessions: Are They Worth It?

“Is it worth going to?” 

Prep101, LAMP Prep, Western SOS… those are just a few of the places that offer prep sessions for midterms and finals. All throughout high school, I was a firm believer that I didn’t need to go to prep sessions because I knew I could study on my own. My first semester of university came along and again, I didn’t feel like I needed to go a prep session (though looking back, I probably should’ve).

Recently, however, I decided to give them a try because my friend wanted to go. We decided to take the 7 hour (!!!!) Math 1228 prep offered by Prep101 for Test 2 with Tina Chapman two Sundays ago.

In all, I paid $70 for a 7-hour lecture, 2 practice exams not found on OWL, and a course pack that covered everything that was needed for Test 2 along with practices throughout the package. That’s $10/hour, which, if you think about it; really isn’t that bad. Tina is an absolutely amazing lecturer who made the material crystal clear and simple to understand. She really genuinely wanted everyone in the session to do well; and it definitely reflected in the quality of her lecture.

Some pros included:

  • Covers everything you need to know for the midterm/exam. Literally.
  • Tons and tons of practice. There were so many practice questions and examples that I don’t think I got through them all by myself when studying for the midterm.
  • Chance to have your questions answered immediately.
  • Forced to do review and practice questions.

However, some cons were:

  • Expensive. I know that it averages to about $10/h, but as a student I felt like my wallet really took a dent.
  • Could be slow at times if you’re comfortable with all but some of the material. Since the session covers everything in the course, I felt myself drifting off during the times that Tina was going over things I was already familiar with.
  • It’s 7 hours of class. On a Saturday/Sunday. In a stuffy room.

So, was it worth it?

In all honesty, I’m still on the fence for this. On one hand, it was really great to review in a lecture-based style of learning (which is what I really love; I can’t seem to be able to learn by just reading the textbook). On the other hand, it was expensive and boring and I sometimes felt like I could’ve spent those 7 hours being more productive. It was really helpful to hear Tina explain concepts that I had missed when I slept in and skilled class (learn from my mistakes and never skip class). However, since it was only those concepts I didn’t understand, I felt that a good half of the session wasn’t time well spent at all. The review booklet and practice exams were a blessing; there was so many practice questions that I didn’t manage to go through them all before my exam.

The bottom line?

I found the prep session to be a good supplement to studying for exams; I still needed to do my own work and practice, but it really was helpful in explaining concepts and formulas. I learned when and where to use each formula to solve problems which made the exam all that much easier.

Evaluate what your own strengths and weaknesses are in the course before signing up. Do you not understand the entire chapter, or just 1-2 paragraphs? I don’t think I’ll be going to prep sessions for all of my exams, but I definitely do see them in a different light now.

2 thoughts on “Prep Sessions: Are They Worth It?

Add yours

  1. Thank you for this! You kept it balanced and really laid out the facts. I’ll definitely go to this post whenever someone asks me about prep sessions.

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