The standardized test industry (Princeton Review
, etc) has taken off and the main reason is that courses tend to increase test scores. Do these courses make you smarter? Assuming that test scores are a judge of intelligence, sure. But the courses don't teach you more math
or truly increase your verbal skills. Rather, they teach you how to "crack
" tests. So someone who can afford to pay for a course will likely get a higher score, yet are not "smarter" than someone who did not. It frustrates me as a business school
applicant that I can't afford to spend $1000 on a course, so my GMAT
score will be lower than those who are more "financially privileged", yet with the same "test knowledge".
However, while I think test scores are not a good judge of intelligence, someone who is unintelligent will not get a 1400 on the SAT, no matter how many courses they take.
What does a test score mean anyway? It could help you get scholarships and get into a better school, which would give you an advantage in life. But it doesn't prepare you for life, and doesn't teach you common sense (which in life I find to be more important than intelligence). I went to a high school where the AVERAGE (out of an 800 student graduating class) SAT score was 1300. Yet many of my friends from that school are less successful right now than my friends from a local high school who got 300-400 points lower.
So, in other words, does it really matter?