Frequently Asked Questions

Learn the answer to all your most frequently asked questions.

We plan our programs around what works for our students. Our private tutoring programs start at 12 sessions. Our SAT and ACT Boot Camp courses are six weeks long. Every student is different, but through our experience, we find that those timeframes provide students a window to learn what’s on the test and put their new skills into practice on test day.

For some students it takes longer. Taking more time is a conservative approach. The “low-and-slow” approach works—it gives us enough time to teach and concepts or techniques that you did not learn in school.

Whether you decide on a long or short test prep program, do your schoolwork! Your reading level and math fluency will be the building blocks for your test prep.

Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Brown, Penn, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, MIT, UVA, Michigan, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Washington University in St. Louis, Rice, Georgetown, NYU, Tufts, Tulane, and others.

Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Northwestern, Duke, Berkeley, and Cornell.

Use these three factors:

  1. Score comparison, say between a PSAT and a practice ACT, and the official score concordance chart linked here.
  2. The student’s experience. How did they feel about each test? What were the particular challenges, or bright spots?
  3. The student’s study style. Maybe the student is great at memorization. Maybe she has a really great reading level. Maybe he works really quickly.

Whatever his/her strengths, we can use those to help pick a test. We help families pick between these tests all the time, and we’d be happy to help you too. Just call us at (310) 600-9595.

I suppose you could, but we don’t recommend it.

The tests are different—they cover different content, they hide answers in different ways, and their timing and approach are wildly different. So don’t prep for both at once.

Here’s your best case scenario: Pick the right test for you, prep for it, and knock it out of the park. The worst case? You pick the wrong test, then switch to the right one. In either case, you’ll perform better on either test by focusing on one test at a time.

You need two things: knowledge and approach.

On the English, knowledge includes grammar rules and the techniques the test makers have for asking editorial questions. On the Math, knowledge includes all of math from 4th grade through 11th grade. (That sounds like a lot, but they treat the content pretty superficially, so we’ll survive, I promise.)

Approach: both Reading and Science are about doing it “right,” aka “the ACT’s way.” It’s not fun. But it’s also not hard. Once you do these sections right, getting through them efficiently and precisely is an expectation.

Back that up with practice, practice, practice, and you’ll know just what to expect on the ACT.

First, nail down the easy, obvious content knowledge: the rules of grammar that appear on the SAT, and the equations for a line and a parabola. You could learn that stuff in a matter of hours if you really focused. Know that stuff inside and out because you will see it.

Second, work to improve your reading level. We’ve got a couple tricks to help you on the Reading section, but nothing beats being a good, solid reader. Know your vocab, know how to understand diverse sentence structures, read carefully within the questions—these are the strategies that will make you successful on SAT Reading.

I’m bad at bragging—I have been since I was a little kid—so this is a hard question to answer. But here goes…

At the beginning, we create a personalized plan for each student. During the prep process, we provide clear, thoughtful, engaging, non-boring instruction. We offer previously administered official practice tests, and we grade them the day you take them. Our clients and former students say great things about us—really great things. We’ve stayed friends with many and enjoy cheering on their successes.

All of that is to say that I think we offer the highest level of test prep tutoring you can find. I hope you trust me and will find out for yourself.

We offer free diagnostic tests at our offices at certain times of year and online year-round. Reach out to us at [email protected] or by phone at (310) 600-9595 to see if an in-person test is available.

Our rule of thumb: take the test as soon as you are ready. That could be as soon as August or September of junior year, and it could be as late as March or April. The earlier you take the test, the more flexibility you’ll have with SAT Subject Test, AP tests, and your regular ol’ schoolwork.

This is another question we are asked pretty frequently, so if you want some personalized advice, give us a call. (310) 600-9595.

SAT and ACT Math are not the math you study in class. Some of the content is based on what you learned in class, and we’ll make sure you know that stuff. But a big part of getting good at the Math test is learning and using new ways to attack a math problem. Each problem is a puzzle to be unlocked. Your tutor will work with you to show you how to find the key to unlock each type of problem.

Tutor Ted teaches a unique strategy that breaks up the passage visually, recognizing tricks in answer choices, and finds common threads between correct answers. Reading level is important, and we will work with you to develop and improve your fluency while we’re together. We’ll also teach you how the test makers write their questions and how they disguise their answers. With that suite of tools, you’ll be prepared to take on the Reading.

It’s surprisingly simple. The majority of students don’t learn grammar in school these days, so we’ll start by teaching you any rules you don’t know. After we learn the rules, we see the sneaky ways in which ACT and the College Board employ them. These sections are very coachable. If a student listens and does their homework diligently, they can really rock this section.

You bet there is. The graders of the SAT and ACT essays have a clear grading rubric. You want to play by it. You can essentially arrive at the test with your essay already structured and even somewhat pre-planned—before you’ve even read the prompt.

Many colleges require the essay/writing section but also admit they don’t know what to do with it. My advice is to write the essay in case you need it. The colleges may or may not use it, so it’s a good idea to have your best possible score to show.

Yes. That’s what College Board says, anyway. But there is one catch: some colleges ask you to submit an affidavit saying that you submitted all of your scores, which undermines Score Choice.

My advice: look at your list of schools and determine who does (and does not) accept Score Choice, and plan your testing schedule accordingly.

Last piece of advice? Don’t plan on taking either test more than three times. If you prep right, you’ll get the score you want in that many opportunities. And if you can get a great score within three test dates or fewer, then Score Choice becomes less of a need.

Most likely, yes! We help students prep for Literature, Math Levels 1 and 2, US History, World History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and a few others as well. Call us to set up a first session: (310) 600-9595

Many of our tutors recorded the highest possible score on their own AP tests, and some went on to major in those subjects in college. Call us to get set up with one of our experts: (310) 600-9595

Academics? We were born for academics. Reach out and see if we’ve got someone available to help you, OK? (310) 600-9595

Extra time accommodations are available, as are other accommodations, including using a laptop to write the essay, using a large-print test, even receiving 2x or 3x the standard timing.

You will need help from your guidance counselor at school and perhaps a diagnostic write-up from your own psychiatrist/doctor. If you deserve accommodations, you should apply for them; they can make a significant positive impact on your score. Our tutors have worked with many students with accommodations of all kinds, and they can help you make the best use of whatever accommodations you receive.

We want you to be totally happy with your Boot Camp course. If you’re not, we’ll give you your money back.

Here’s how it works:

A refund is available up until the third week of class. You can ask for a refund any time before the third set of lessons is released.

To get a refund, you must have completed all the classwork up until that point of the course. We cannot give refunds to students if they have not tried the course and done the work.

If you have completed the lessons—watched the videos and completed all the quizzes and practice tests that have been assigned—and you ask for a refund before the third week of classes begins, we will refund you your full tuition, no questions asked.

Please note: we make sure to spell out the terms of this guarantee carefully because we are not able to make exceptions to the policy.

Each Boot Camp lesson has a discussion forum where students can ask any questions they have. We also hold an open classroom session for two hours each week. Students can bring specific questions or a topic in general for review. The more we can customize our prep to your needs, the better!