Standardized Test Preparation

What does my student learn in their tutoring sessions?

The ACT and SAT are standardized tests. Yes, everyone knows that, but this means something very important for all of the students taking these tests: no matter where you went to school, the school system by 11th grade has covered all of the material on the SAT and ACT. Granted, many students will have to brush up on some concepts that they may have forgotten since 9th grade, but this content knowledge is not extensive. Your student will see no concepts from Calculus on the ACT or SAT and 95% of the math will be covered by Algebra II and Geometry. In order to compensate for the limited amount of material they can cover, the writers of the ACT and SAT devise ways of asking questions that require your student to use logic and deductive reasoning to figure out the right answer.

In order for a student to do well on these standardized tests, they need to learn how the test makers are tricking you by making very simple concepts (like how to read a graph) much more difficult and how they can decode the questions to ace this test. This is why our students meet with our highly skilled tutors so they can learn all the tricks and also brush up on any skills they may have forgotten.

Why don’t you offer group classes?

Honestly, we don’t offer group classes because we think that test prep classes are a waste of time. Student A scores in the 90th percentile in Math and the 60th percentile in Reading. With this student, we will focus a little bit on Math to raise that score, but we will work mostly on Reading to raise this student’s overall score. Student B scores in the 50th percentile in Math and the 95th percentile in Reading. What do we focus on with this student? The exact opposite. If we offered classes, both of these students would be doing the exact same prep, which means that Student A would be wasting time on math practice and Student B would be wasting time on Reading practice. Offering individualized support allows us to tailor our program to your student’s needs.

Does my student do any work at home?

NO! Your student will be very happy to hear that. We require a 6 hour commitment of time* each week that a student is at our center but we will not assign him or her homework outside of that.

* The Crash Course package requires a 7 hour time commitment

Think your student can do homework at home without an issue?

We only recommend a student complete a test prep program without guided homework time at our center if they are highly motivated to succeed. Although you might think your child is that student, we have unfortunately seen too many students with a GPA of 4.0+ struggle to do test prep homework at home on their own. But if you think your student really can do it, we are more than happy to work with you. Just give us a call at 650-394-6250 and we can discuss options. Also note that our money back guarantee applies to these programs ONLY IF your student does all homework assigned.

What material do you use?

All of our proctored tests are released practice tests given in a simulated test environment, ensuring the highest amount of similarity between your student’s scores on our practice tests and your student’s score on their actual test.

Why doesn’t my student meet 1:1 with a tutor more often?

Meeting individually with a tutor is great – but you can only learn so much. These tests cannot cover more material than an average student reviews in all grades before 11th grade. For example, 95% of the math concepts tested on the SAT and ACT are covered by Algebra II and Geometry. This means that there will not be an extensive amount of “new” information the average high school student will have to “learn” for the test, making extensive amounts of time meeting with a tutor redundant. However, our tutors will cover strategies to approach standardized tests and any content material your student may have forgotten. After they learn the strategies or learn the new content material, however, they have to practice, practice, practice! Only then will they see improvement.

Why is my student grading and self correcting his/her own work?

Because, although it is a chore and it is difficult, it’s the only way your student will learn. Looking at the questions you got wrong is passive learning. Looking at the questions you got wrong and then reworking the questions until you get them right is active learning. Active learning results in significantly higher retention of new material.

My student has a learning disability and/or attention issues

Well, so do many of our other students! Since we work primarily with students who have a learning disability or an attention issue such as ADHD, we offer a variety of services tailored specifically to students like yours.

Do you offer specialized strategies?

We’ve worked with a lot of students like yours and we know that sometimes the traditional way doesn’t work. We will help your student find what really works for them.

Accommodations in school but not on the test?

If your student has an IEP or 504 plan through school but has not gotten accommodations on the SAT or ACT, please let us know and we can work with you on how to write a letter to get those accommodations. Act quickly as this process does take some time.

Does your student already have an approved extra time accommodation on the test?

Congratulations! You have passed the first hurdle of communication with the organizations that administer these tests. Please let us know this and we will proctor all of your student’s tests with extra time to fully simulate his or her official test experience at no additional cost.