Q: Why should I take your prep course instead of someone else's?
A: Unlike most test prep providers, we are a family-owned and run (first and second generation), comprehensive college prep service, with permanent full-time instructors and a 20-year history of surpassing the competition on standardized test preparation. Our typical test prep students add several hundred points to their SAT test scores as a result of our program's unique emphasis on analytical thinking, generalization and skill transferability. In addition, we offer students the ability to see their scores improve on a real-time basis using our custom score-projection software. In all of this, we are guided by one simple goal: to facilitate the greatest possible outcome for each of our students.
Q: Do you offer one-on-one test prep?
A: Yes, we offer both one-on-one and group sessions. It is important to note, however, that many years of experience have taught us that students benefit more from preparing for tests as part of a group rather than through one-on-one instruction. The reason for this is that standardized tests are designed to elicit a common response, one that the majority of test takers are likely to give. In contrast, one-on-one tutoring tends to focus on the individual, whose understanding or test approaches may or may not conform to general thinking. That's why we offer both one-on-one tutorials to those who desire more personalized coaching, and small group tutorials for those want to benefit from the responses of others but still have access to one-to-one instruction as needed.
Q: Why don't you guarantee a minimum score increase like some of the other prep services?
A: Typically such guarantees promise a free second prep if you don't improve your score by some minimum number of points. We don't believe our students will ever need a second prep once they've completed their first one with us because we cover everything they need in the course. Further, we never recommend students take the test unless their practice scores indicate complete readiness. But it's still true that sometimes factors beyond our control and the student's contribute to a bad test day (illness, bad breakup, person coughing next to you, etc). If this happens, you pay only for the increase in your scores or we will invite you to continue practice testing with us–at no charge–until your retake. So we commit ourselves to your positive outcomes from day one, and we back it up with our own time and money. In other words, we won't give up on your scores unless you do. That's our guarantee!
Q: What can I reasonably expect from this prep?
A: The answer to this question is really, "the sky's the limit." We've had students earn in excess of 300 additional points after prepping with us. Many earn over 100 points in just one category, that is, in just math, reading, or writing. We've even had students with marked learning disabilities succeed in raising their scores significantly (> 100 points) after completing our prep. Not only that, our students usually go on to improve their classroom performance and grades as well. This happens because we focus their attention on the components of analytical thinking that represent both the foundation and secondary structures of formalized learning, which also complement and reinforce what their teachers are striving to do in the classroom. So you can reasonably expect measurable improvement in your test scores, your grades, and overall in your success and confidence as a student.
Q: What if I want to retake the test to score even higher?
A: Then you're welcome to continue practicing with us. However, we recommend you opt for a retake only when your practice scores indicate you will perform moderately to significantly better than your last test. Repeated testing with little to no change allows admission committees to view your results as a firm average rather than a random instance of a wider range of scores. Also, even using Score Choice, the new score reporting option offered by the College Board, you still can't report partial results from a test date, so that you will most likely be forwarding all scores to your intended colleges. A good rule of thumb with standardized testing, therefore, is: prepare maximally, test minimally.
Q: What is the format of the class?
A: The class is a combination of three main activities: lecture, which involves the instructor presenting a topic and giving examples; guided practice, which means students practice techniques or skills under the auspices of the instructor; and computer assisted testing, in which students take practice tests under realistic conditions, whose results are then scored, projected, and scaled by computer.
Q: Do I need to bring anything to class?
A: Only your calculator if you intend to use one for the math portion of your prep. Otherwise, everything is provided, including your textbook and supplemental training materials. Of course, if you prefer you are welcome to bring your own pencils, pens, paper, etc.
Q: What if I have a specific difficulty with reading or math?
A: Usually we address specific problems as you progress through your prep. If, however, we determine that you have deficiencies in any area that may take too much time to address comfortably within the dates of your prep, we may recommend that you sign up with us for concurrent tutoring. This is done on an prepaid, hourly basis, and we will indicate at the time how many tutoring hours we think you'll need – typically only a few are necessary for any particular deficiency. In the meantime you can continue with your prep since it is customized in the first place to match your specific needs. In cases where the deficiency is more extensive, we may recommend postponing your prep until it is resolved. In such cases we will transfer your registration and tuition to the next available prep session at no additional charge.
Q: What if I miss a class?
A: The prep classes are designed for continuity, but occasionally students miss class due to illness, traffic, or other unexpected occurrences. Whenever this happens, we do our best to see that these students catch up quickly, which may involve attending class at another time, communicating with the instructor via email, or staying longer for several remaining classes. While will do our best to accommodate such special circumstances, it is wise to keep in mind that prep outcomes are highly dependent on consistent attendance, so that you should be certain and realistic when committing to a prep schedule at the outset – and strive accordingly to minimize absences.
Q: What if I take your prep course and my scores don't improve, or even go down?
A: That would be a very unusual event, and one likely related to illness or fatigue on the day of the exam, but it doesn't mean you need to repeat the prep course before retaking the test. Nevertheless, you should continue to practice concepts and test strategies up to the time you do retake. In such cases we will invite you to continue practice testing with us, so that we can stand by to offer reinforcement and guidance as needed. Usually there will be no fee for this unless additional tutoring or postponement of the test was part of our earlier recommendation.