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Published in Print: June 21, 2000, as New Enterprise To Offer Students SAT Preparation for Free Via the Web

New Enterprise To Offer Students SAT Preparation for Free Via the Web

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A New York City company is entering the market for online test-preparation programs, but unlike its competitors, the new enterprise will offer its SAT program for free.

TestU announced plans last week to launch its SAT-preparation program Aug. 1 for students who enroll on its World Wide Web site.

The service will provide individual tutorials tailored to the academic needs of the registrants, the company said in a press release and a full-page advertisement that appeared in the The New York Times June 14.

"Our business is based on the idea of the democratizing of test preparation," Rick Bolton, the privately held company's president, said last week. "We think it's the right thing to do."

TestU joins a crowded field of SAT preparation that includes Kaplan Inc. and Princeton Review Inc. Both are offering electronic versions of the services they have provided for several years in the forms of workbooks and seminars. In addition, the online venture of the College Board, which sponsors the SAT program, is scheduled to start in the fall. ("Collegeboard.com Prepares To Launch," May 17, 2000.)

Easy Access

TestU will make the SAT-preparation course free of charge for the foreseeable future, Mr. Bolton said, but will charge fees for its other offerings.

By the end of the year, the 1-year-old company will have programs for the ACT, the PSAT, the mathematics portion of the New York regents' exams, and several other state exit exams.

While TestU will charge for those services, its fees will be "roughly the price of a book" that competitors sell, Mr. Bolton said.

Just last month, TestU launched a program that prepared New York students for the state's English regents' exams. About 1,500 students used the free service to study for the exam, Mr. Bolton said.

One of TestU's partners is Barron's Educational Series, a publisher of test-preparation manuals that competes with Kaplan and Princeton Review.

Its board of directors includes Rudolph F. Crew, the former chancellor of the New York City schools, who is now the executive director of the Institute of K-12 Leadership at the University of Washington in Seattle. His name appeared on the newspaper ad that ran last week.

Vol. 19, Issue 41, Page 9

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