Last weekend I met with a student who is taking the SAT this Saturday.  Given the limited time before the test, our two hours was the equivalent of the ACT Bootcamp which Knowledge Edge offers before each ACT test.

Working with this student reinforced the value of one-on-one tutoring for ACT and SAT.  He has a strong GPA, is involved in activities, and is taking challenging classes.  He’s a senior who has done college visits, but the whole business of preparing for and taking the ACT or SAT was just too much to add to everything else last year.   So now he is scrambling.

How do students end up in this position?

Just keeping up with schoolwork and grades, particularly in demanding classes, is time consuming.  Add in the time devoted to activities and looking into schools and the pressure on students becomes overwhelming.

Many students don’t know where or how to start to prepare.   Buying an ACT or SAT prep book is a good first step, but with 700-800 pages to cover, it can seem a little daunting.  There is a lot of reading to do in the prep books, which is a challenge itself for students who aren’t tenacious readers.  And while a test prep book contains a lot of detail about the test, it cannot address individual strengths and weaknesses in the test taking process.  Similarly, the answers given in a test prep book may assume the student fully understands certain things (like the difference between a dependent and independent clause and related punctuation issues).

Why One-on-One Tutoring Makes a Difference

Most students benefit from learning some strategies to help them maximize their score on the ACT or SAT.  For example, a student may have difficulty completing the Reading sections in the allotted time.  A tutor can teach  strategies to speed up reading and work through the questions in the most efficient manner.

The English section of the ACT and the Writing and Language part of the SAT test the expression of ideas, vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and other mechanics of writing.  Much of what students know about mechanics was learned in middle school.  Students need to reactivate that knowledge in order to identify writing errors on the test.  A tutor works with a student to reboot that prior learning.

Work with a tutor carves out time to prepare, which busy students find hard to do.  Time with a tutor usually includes practice (in two hours my student did two Writing and Language passages and one Reading passage) with close review and discussion of answers.  In addition, my student now realizes that to practice, he doesn’t have to take an entire test—he can break it down into smaller timed sections to better fit in practice when he has time.

Probably the most valuable aspect of one-on-one tutoring for ACT or SAT is that the tutor can help students understand answers.  A tutor can walk through a question, paraphrase, point out context clues and look at facial clues to ensure a student REALLY understands the question and answer.

The Bottom Line

All students want to do well on these tests.  One-on-one tutoring for ACT or SAT can make a difference for many students.

For more information on ACT prep at Knowledge Edge, click here.  The next ACT Bootcamp will be November 29 from 4:30 to 6:30pm.  The cost is $99 for two hours.  Email to register.