Inside Information

Beware of guarantees

Watch for this key phrase or promise:

We will guarantee that your score will improve.

Statistics can be easily manipulated to reflect an intended or advertised outcome. Princeton Review, Kaplan, and the other large commercial companies all guarantee a score increase. They will advertise an average score increase for their students.BUT BEWARE! READ THE VERY SMALL PRINT!

To qualify for their guarantee and to be included in their statistic for the number of kids whose scores went up, there is a condition: every student MUST show up to every class and MUST do every homework assignment.

This means two things:

  • If you have missed just one homework assignment or just one class of the 13-15 classes in their courses, then you no longer qualify for the guarantee. Anyone who knows teenagers knows how much school work they have each week in addition to all the extra activities in their lives. By assigning an inordinate amount of homework between classes, these companies can pretty much insure that they will never have to "pay out" on a cash back guarantee!
  • Missing just one homework assignment or one class also means that they don't have to include you in their statistics. That's right. If you miss one class or forget one assignment, it doesn't mean they can't include you, it just means they don't have to include you.

So what is the result?

If you did score very well and improve on your test, then they will of course include you, even if you rarely showed up to class and never did the homework. You made them look good.

But if you didn't go up a substantial amount they don't have to include you in their statistics because they can claim that you didn't do all the work or did not show up to all the classes. We think this is scandalous.

See how easily statistics can be manipulated?

Trust us, we have had of thousands of students come through our courses, and the majority of them will slip at least once and forget to do a homework assignment or have to miss a class. It comes with the territory of being a teenager. It happens. Don't buy in to guarantees or believe statistics. The fine print will tell you the real story on the guarantee, and some research will tell you the truth behind the statistics.

At PEN, we will only guarantee that a student will receive the best possible academically- sound instruction using ONLY authentic College Board and ETS-published material. There is no 'small print' with our guarantee. Beware of anyone who promises you more.

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