Test Prep

SAT/ACT, Test Anxiety, Test Prep

If A Test Prep Company Guarantees A Point Increase, Run!


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Benjamin Franklin said there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.

So if a test prep company guarantees a certain amount of points increase on the SAT or ACT: run fast!

There are too many factors in point increases including: new material learned, how much studying between sessions is done, comprehension, test anxiety, enough sleep the night before, the higher your initial score; the harder it is to increase next time accordingly, etc.

Guarantees are more of a desperation sales tactic. It’s getting the sale and offering a money back guarantee if it doesn’t happen. Bold, but at the same time crazy.

Tutors don’t take the test. Students do.

If anything a tutor can provide it’s accountability. It’s challenging for a student to be motivated to take the SAT or ACT, yet much more challenging without some additional help.

Parents, we welcome your involvement in the tutoring process. It’s why we invite you to the complimentary 30 minute video meet and greet with your child and tutor. You can request recordings of any tutoring session to review. Our hope is with our transparency we can earn your trust.

Students don’t want “helicopter” parents, but we also understand parents are paying for this service. They deserve to know what’s going on.

Focus on constant communication in the form of update emails, phone calls, student-tutor, tutor-parent and parent-company conversations. Similar to an annual review, there should be no surprises about an outcome if the feedback is regular.

We’d love to offer a score increase guarantee, but the problem is it’d be a lie. Doing business ethically is more important to us than just another sale. When it comes to serving families we try our best to put our money where our mouth is.

College, SAT/ACT, Test Prep

The Optimal Time To Take The SAT/ACT


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Conventional wisdom says Spring of your Junior year, then Fall of your Senior year if you haven’t achieved the score you desire yet.

But the problem with that generic reply is it doesn’t take into consideration your overall schedule.

The more competitive academically a student is Spring may overlap with Finals and AP Exams.

If you’re a student athlete games and playoffs factor into your busyness.

You could go on and on with scheduling challenges, but for future college students it comes down to identifying the optimal time to focus on SAT/ACT prep.

Most high school students are procrastinators, so parents you may have to help them strategize on long-term planning.

We recommend starting to prepare 1 – 3 months before the test date so pick the time then work backwards.

Studying during winter or summer break isn’t favorable, but if it allows for the most prep to be done then this might be your smartest choice.

In the big picture you want to take your best shot so making a sacrifice once for an opportunity that only comes along once in a lifetime is worth it.

The best way for students to stay motivated is focus on what score it takes to be accepted to your dream school and provide accountability for doing the work.

We can help you with the latter either through group courses or individual tutoring.

Here’s the best place to start.

Matchmaking, Test Prep

SAT/ACT Test Prep: Group Course Vs. Tutoring


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Preparing for the SAT/ACT is a must.

Assuming self-study isn’t the best option it comes down to a group course and individual tutoring.

The difference between the two can be summed up in a fitness center analogy.

When not working out alone: do you prefer a group class or personal trainer?

Some just need other “bodies” there as group accountability for motivation to show up and do the work (fear of embarrassment).

Others need individualized accountability.

Both work, but it depends on your personality and learning style.

One factor to consider is which type is more like your son/daughter: extrovert or introvert?

In this context extroverts might do better in a group course because the extra faces will energize him/her while introverts may lean towards individual tutoring because they prefer a more intimate setting.

Group courses offer more value while individual tutoring provides more attention/customization.

Ultimately it’s your call, but remember the greatest factor is finding the right tutor for your child’s personality and learning style.

Want our opinion? Fill out this student profile form and we’ll contact you with an answer!

College, Matchmaking, Online Tutoring, Test Prep

The Case Against Test Prep


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Don’t worry. You’re reading this correctly.

This may sound like an asinine post coming from the owner of an online test prep company, but you need to hear the truth.

There are 3 categories of students listed below. Identify which one your son/daughter is (and be honest with yourself!)

Self-motivated: this is the student who pushes himself/herself harder than anyone else can. Give them free resources and they’re on their way. Valedictorians, college-bound athletes, academic scholarship recipients live here. Chances are putting additional pressure on them would cause burnout. A group class initially with some friends might jumpstart the process, but this type of student takes initiative and responsibility for her/her results consistently.

Lazy/Procrastinator: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink. Test prep tutoring includes accountability, but if you choose to tune it out it may be a waste of your time. The tutor doesn’t take the test, the student does. A tutor can give you all the resources and training possible, but at the end of the day it’s the student who does (or doesn’t) do the work and lives with the results. That’s why we put such an emphasis on finding the right tutor match for your son/daughter. If they are motivated because they actually like their tutor, they’ll work harder. If not, save your money.

Everything in between: the two archetypes mentioned above tend to lie on the ends of the spectrum so chances are your son/daughter is somewhere in between. There are enough free resources out there, but the reason why test prep companies exist is the same reason why personal trainers are employed at gyms. Left unsupervised and lacking accountability usually produces poor results for high school students. Also scoring well on the SAT/ACT isn’t purely math and English comprehension, it’s about demystifying the test both by eliminating wrong answers and identifying patterns of questions immediately. The messenger matters as much as the message in this case hence why we hire mostly tutors in their 20’s and 30’s for their relational advantage.

Overall the stigma of hiring a tutor has shifted from being a luxury to a necessity for having an edge in the college admissions process. Investing a couple of thousands of dollars in test prep seems like a lot, but knowing the average 4 year public university costs $40,000 and the average 4 year private university costs $140,000 it’s only 1% – 5% of the amount.

All high school athletes have a coach, so why not hire a private tutor to boost your chances of getting into your dream school? 

Test Anxiety, Test Prep

Why Study Habits Beat Study Goals


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When it comes to preparing for the SAT or ACT there’s a goal score and dream school in mind.

With any goal in order to maximize your chances of attaining them breaking it into smaller pieces is crucial to your success.

Did you know that creating good study habits for test prep is more important than the goal you set?

Here’s why:

Take for example, your fitness goal is losing 20 pounds. Setting a weekly goal of weight loss is typical, but the results fluctuate based on a number of different factors. The better method is to set the habit of going to the gym for 45 minutes 3 – 5 times per week. The time it takes to lose 20 pounds may differ than your timeline, but focusing on the habit will get you to our goal eventually.

As for test prep, the higher the score or more prestigious the university closing the gap to a perfect score becomes harder.

If you plan on studying 2 1/2 hours per week until the test date it’s unrealistic to find that chunk of time during the week on top of your regular homework.

Instead why not set the habit of spending 30 minutes daily for test prep reviewing the problems you got incorrect on the practice test

Daily test prep influences the timeline in which you feel ready to score well on the test. If you start this process now, chances are you’ll have a choice as to which test date to sign up for in the future.

Think of good study habits as a means to your end goal.

Rather than apply more pressure to yourself, stick to creating good study habits and you’ll relieve some test anxiety.

When preparing for the SAT or ACT set good study habits from the start. It’s the foundation that sets you up for reaching your academic goals.

Test Anxiety, Test Prep

Battling Test Anxiety: Watch The Clock


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One of the most overlooked strategies to beating the SAT/ACT is pacing.

For example the ACT moves faster than the SAT, yet what really matters is knowing how much time to allow for each section prior to test day.

Most students tend to favor the Math or English section over the other so factor in completing the easier problems first then leave extra time to re-check your answers.

Since there isn’t any penalty for guessing incorrectly, there’s no reason to leave any answers blank.

You also don’t need to go chronologically in order especially if you can instantly identify what type of problem you’re solving.

The reality is: when are you ever going to take a 4-hour test in your high school career?

If you don’t take practice tests as part of your preparation to build your endurance, mentally you’ll fold on test day.

Most of the time anxiety stems from the unknown, so that’s why our tutors help demystify the test so you know what to expect.

Being prepared is the best strategy you can have to achieve an optimal score and time management can be the foundation on which to build on.

Matchmaking, Test Anxiety, Test Prep

Raising Student Athletes


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Whether your teenager is playing a sport competitively or not in high school, this post is still for you.

Athletes have coaches that cannot perform for them, but provide guidance and instruction.

Good managers gives you the tools and resources to do your job better in the workplace.

Teachers help you in the classroom, but today’s student benefits much more from customized, individualized learning.

The amount of free resources including You Tube videos that can literally teach you any subject are endless.

But similar to a gym that has all the equipment to getting in shape, it takes an extremely motivated person to study on their own.

Whether it’s the SAT, ACT or an academic subject you’re preparing for each person learns differently and at their own pace.

Sports accepts the idea of a coach to help you, but in academics it’s no different.

The content isn’t as important as the way it’s taught.

Investing in a tutor isn’t limited to the test you’re studying for. Students find the strategies to battle anxiety for test taking are universal.

Getting accepted into your desired college is normally the goal, but don’t stop there.

Even the most successful business people and athletes continue to get help to perform at a higher level.

Being held accountable, staying motivated and challenging your mindset are all benefits from working with a tutor. In fact when the chemistry is strong, tutors becomes mentors that push you forward in life.

As a parent you want that edge for your son/daughter.

That’s our goal too.