To Self Review or To Enroll in a Review Center?

Do you think you can review by yourself when preparing for an entrance or a licensure board examination? But then, you have that friend or relative who advises you to go and enroll in a review center..

Let me help you make your choice as I’ve gathered from teachers who let me be part of their successful licensure examination for teachers (LET) journeys over the past 10 years.

Here are some pros and cons of doing self review or enrolling in a full face-to-face intensive LET review (*or with the advent of the pandemic, in a blended LET review and coaching). But before I proceed, let me first differentiate the two options:

Defining “Self Review” and “Joining a Review Center”

All review entails “self review” at some step of your preparation whether you decide to join a review center or not.

Self review” in this context means preparing for the LET or any exam by self-studying anytime, anywhere, in any way not prescribed by a review center. You do the choosing and finding of your review materials, scheduling, and testing all on your own.

In contrast, enrolling in a review center entails paying for a fixed tuition fee to receive workbooks, attend coaches’ lectures, participate in class discussions, mingle with reviewees, and take a series of assessment tests. Through a center, you will follow a preset way of exam preparation within a timetable and a defined physical venue or virtual chat classroom. All that’s left to do is to follow their lead with your due diligence.

Going “Solo” — The Self Review

The self review option may be good for someone who has:

  • high self discipline and motivation (this is a must)
  • budget constraints
  • limited free time due to work or life responsibilities
  • physically not able to attend (ie, no classes are offered in your city or country)


You choose on your own study place, based on your study style, budget, familiarity: the coffee shop, the library, your office, or even your bedroom.

Who doesn’t like cuddling with pets while studying?

Control your time and study pace. This gives you more freedom and flexibility to work around your work-study-family schedule.

Studying on your own makes you tailor-fit your learning strategies with the available review resources that you have gathered.

If you are an introvert or one who is intra-personally inclined, self-review lessens the distractions of having seatmates and minimizes adjustments that you have to face when studying in a group review.

Save on tuition fees and review-related expenses. If you are from the province, the savings from self-studying increases since you do not have to budget money for transportation, lodging, food, and other daily expenses to go to the best review center in the city.


These include most of what you’ll miss out had you joined a review center instead:

Reviewing in a Learning Center

If you or your parents have funds available to send you to a review center and you can set aside time for review as well, here are things to consider:


Review centers’ edge — Centers with long-term experience and credible performance in licensure exams can make your preparation doable, efficient, effective and successful. They know the best practices in exam preparations already, can guide you through your journey, give you tips based on past exam trends, and even coach and inspire you to reach your potential beyond the LET or other exams. With the help of a review center, you get a more authentic picture of what to expect in your exams (a view not often found in published review books).

Coaches’ insights Coaches oftentimes have taken the exam you are preparing for in the past and have excelled in them. As such, they are not only equipped with knowledge but are also able to give you indications as to which topics are likely to be tested. They can share actual items and test strategies used during their exams. Coaches can also boost your morale to pass and top through their inspiring personal stories.

One of our coaches, Roby, then as a student in 2016, and a LET topnotcher and RevYOU Hub coach in 2020.

Follow a well-guided program — Review centers give you their latest materials, set your schedule, structure your review routines and provide a venue conducive to studying. Hence, they help organize your LET review journey sequentially and lay down pathways to establish the needed personal discipline that you may find a challenge to impose on yourself. Studying on your own may make the task of reviewing everything for the LET an enormous feat.

Comprehensive, updated materials — Accessibility to a package of updated, well-crafted, and relevant workbooks and practice tests gives enrollees a headstart over those who self-study. Published and commercially-available reviewer books may not be updated.

A peek into part of our Blended LET Coaching program kit

While free review materials are abound in social media groups online, going through those materials may confuse and rob you of time better spent instead in mastering topics, or doing practice test items curated from more credible sources. Some of those “free” materials provide wrong answers to test items, and researching them individually can eat up a lot of time and effort.. which you could be spending more wisely on quality materials instead.

Meet a support team to back you up — Preparing for the LET or any board exam with a competent coach, a study buddy, or a peer group helps promote a cooperative atmosphere. It also encourages active participation, deeper discussions, generate positive energy, wards off procrastination (since someone is checking on your progress) and most of all, the will to succeed.

We’ve had alumni meet for the first time in our program, then ending up becoming close friends or school-workmate comrades (..or more! Watch out for an article on that later).

Relevant assessment and feedback — Most review centers conduct simulation or “mock tests” in their programs. This practice helps in memory retention and recall and prevents costly mistakes from happening. Centers also organize LET-exam dry runs to let the reviewee have a semblance of the actual exam; hence, lessening test anxieties and undue stresses.


Inefficient spending — If you have not judiciously researched on the inclusions of review center fees, you may end up spending more cash. Some centers may charge extra fees for books, classes on special topics, diagnostic or mock tests. Make sure to compare provisions of review centers before enrolling.

Lack of self discipline —If you rely too much on your coaches to prepare you, i.e. passively listening to your coaches’ lectures without working on the practice test sets, you will not succeed in your exams. Review centers and their coaches do not hold your destiny in their hands. Constant practice is your key.

Dependence on review program — If you assume that all test items used for practice in your review center will come out in the actual exam, you will be frustrated because items don’t appear verbatim.

Your learning style doesn’t match with your review center —If the coaching style of your review center does not match your learning style, you may face learning and motivation issues.

Likewise, if you are the type of student who cannot adapt to diverse teaching-coaching methods, then review center preparation is not for you.

A Middle Ground: A Guided Self Review Program

With the evolution of online learning management systems and now, the need for physical distancing due to the pandemic, you may choose a middle ground between self-review and enrolling in a review center:

A Fully Online, self-paced LET Review

You may opt for a self-study LET review program, such as our own at MyReviewCoach powered by RevYou Hub. This option provides you with:

a) thousands of practice test items that you can answer at your own pace, and place

b) an exclusive online group where discussions with coaches or among peers can be held

c) an optional attendance to a LET simulation and synchronous final coaching event.

But for this option to work, you need to have personal initiative to research on test items that you cannot understand and a fast and stable internet connection on your computer.

You also need to discipline because while you will receive a suggested schedule and materials from the center, you will still be the one who will answer the drills and review topics yourself.

Since this is a fully-online program, you will not receive workbooks, which might be a consideration if you are prone to lose focus or tire out fast when using technology for learning.

Take time to ask friends who already took the LET or other board exams. Ask them what experiences they can share to help you decide.

If you get stuck in this making this choice, feel free to use this 10-10-10 approach to decision-making:

Will be satisfied with your decision 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years from now?

At RevYOU Hub, we offer both full course and self-study coaching programs for the Licensure Examinations for Teachers. If you’re looking for support for your LET journey, you might want to consider joining either of our courses 🙂

Leave a Reply