How much preparation should my student do for the first SAT or ACT?

For the SAT, a thorough course is usually 8-12 sessions.  A basic overview covering test strategies and addressing any obvious areas of weakness is 4-6 sessions.  Students who only need work in one subject may do 4 sessions (we require a minimum commitment of 4 sessions to work with us).  For the ACT, students usually do fewer sessions than for the SAT.

If doing prep, when should my student take the SAT or ACT for the first time?


Students who prepare in the summer usually take the September ACT or October SAT.  Those who prepare in the fall usually take the December or February ACT or the January SAT.  The fall dates allow students to prepare when they are less busy and get an early baseline.  However, students may be less intellectually mature and less motivated.  By winter, students have more knowledge and better focus, but they do prep during the school year, and the subsequent tests are compressed into the spring.  We usually decide case-by-case.


Should my student prepare for the PSAT?

Students with 10th grade PSAT scores in the 60s are close to the National Merit Scholar cutoff (scores in the low 70s) and should consider doing some preparation.  Prep may also be helpful for students who have test anxiety or might be discouraged by low PSAT scores.

Can my student’s score increase with just a few sessions of tutoring?

It depends on what your student needs to improve.  It’s easier to help a student who has good reading comprehension but falls for trick answers or uses the wrong techniques.  It’s harder to help a student who doesn’t understand the questions or lacks basic academic skills.  Also, some students pick up concepts more quickly than others do.  In our first conversation, we may be able to tell you whether a few sessions might make a significant difference.  Generally, it is easier to make progress with a small number of sessions for the ACT than for the SAT.

Will my student’s score go up from the first test to the second test without doing any preparation?

It depends on your student’s weakness.  If your student had trouble with nerves or poor time management, he may be able to adjust the second time around.  If your student used the wrong techniques or did not recognize trick answers, he may just make the same mistakes again.

If my student has now finished Algebra 2, will her math score improve?

Maybe.  She will have learned more of the concepts on the test. But if she gets confused, makes careless errors, or omits problems, she may not get the questions right anyway.