1. When should I begin test prep?
In general, it is a good idea to begin prepping for the SAT/ACT some time during Junior year or the summer before. Try to plan so that the time spent preparing for the SAT/ACT is not during the most busy time of the school year (sports seasons, finals, etc.). Keep in mind that you'll likely need to take the test 2-3 times, so try to plan out a timeline for multiple test dates (ie. March/May or May/August). Students should ideally have at least one semester of Advanced Algebra (Algebra 3/4) under their belt before taking their first test.
2. Should I take the SAT or ACT?
In general, there are a couple of basic differences in tests:
Students who are stronger in math may do better on the SAT, which is 50% math (the ACT is 25%) math.
Fast test takers who prefer more, simpler questions may do better on the ACT. The ACT contains significantly more questions in the same time, but the questions require less critical thinking. It is also the case that students with extended time may prefer the ACT since timing is not an issue.
Beyond these differences, the best way to decide is to take an official practice tests for both tests, get a feel for each, and compare your results. At the end of the day, both tests are comparable in difficulty and accepted equally by universities.
3. Can I just come for Math/Science or Reading/English?
While it seems intuitive to focus on the area that you are weaker in, it is actually often the case that students can improve more easily in their areas of strength. Because universities are considering your overall SAT/ACT scores, the best way to increase the most overall is to prep in both the math/science and reading/English sides. For this reason, we require students scoring below a 750 in either section of the SAT, or below a 32 in any ACT section to prepare in that area. Our prep classes equally cover all areas of the test.
4. How much will my score increase?
The score increase students see after a prep class or series of private sessions depends on a variety of factors, some examples being personal motivation, amount of time spend outside of tutoring, learning differences, starting score range (starting higher means more difficult to increase), and test anxiety. However, the average score increase after taking a prep class or a series of private sessions is 100-150 points. Students who follow up with private sessions after a prep class and students who take the test multiple times with prep in between tend to see the highest increases, and we have regularly had motivated students who have increased their score by over 200 points.
5. Can I just prep on my own?
There are a few obstacles to prepping on your own:
It can be difficult for students to set up a plan for preparing and stick to it. In our prep courses, students spend about 7 hours per week for 4 weeks focusing on the SAT/ACT, while with private tutoring students spend about 4 hours per week for 8-12 weeks. Setting aside this much time on your own, and knowing how to focus your efforts can be challenging.
The strategies taught in prep books written by the large test prep companies (Kaplan, Princeton Review) and those available online tend to be superficial. While they may give a good idea of the basics (time management, etc.), they don't teach how to look for patterns in the test and how to tackle specific question types, nor do they offer any shortcut strategies.
Learners often have trouble seeing their own blind spots. Students prepping on their own may continue to make the same errors, or may solve problems more inefficiently, costing them time.
6. Are there discounts available for prep courses?
Yes, we offer an $100 discount for each person you refer who takes a course.
7. What is your cancellation policy?
For prep courses, once you have registered, the $300 deposit is non-refundable. The remaining course fee is due on the first day of class, after which point the course fee is non-refundable. Make-ups for missed classes are only allowed if previously arranged.
For private sessions, appointments cancelled within less than 24 hours or no-shows will be charged the session fee (exceptions may be made for emergencies or illness).