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


A thorough course is usually 8-10 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 fewer. 


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 the August or October SAT.  Those who prepare in the fall usually take the December or February ACT or the December SAT.  Summer prep allows students to prepare when they are less busy and get an early baseline.  However, students may be less intellectually mature and less motivated.  For fall prep, students have more knowledge and better focus, but they are busier 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 600s are close to the National Merit Scholar cutoff (scores in the low 700s) 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.  A student who has good reading comprehension but falls for trick answers or uses the wrong techniques might.  A student who doesn’t understand the questions or lacks basic academic skills might need more work.  Also, some students pick up concepts more quickly, which others need more practice.  In our first conversation, I may be able to tell you whether a few sessions might make a significant difference.


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


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.

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