Next SAT Test Date: Oct 10, 2009

Kaplan SAT Tutors

A private SAT tutor will almost invariably give you the edge for getting into college, especially an Ivy League. The cost can be prohibitive for some parents, but others view a private SAT tutor as well-worth the investment if it means improving SAT scores and getting into an Ivy League school.

While a majority of SAT prep courses offer a guaranteed bump in your SAT score (or they continue giving you additional SAT preparation – there’s usually no “money back guarantee”), you’ll rarely find such an offer from an SAT tutor. If you’re looking for guaranteed success, SAT tutoring is not for you.

That said, a good SAT tutor will provide you with personalized insights you can’t possibly expect from SAT prep courses. SAT tutors typically know all the same tricks and trapdoors that will be explored in SAT prep courses, but after first administering a practice test, they’ll laser in on exactly the areas where you need to focus.

Underline the you. This is a more self-directed form of SAT preparation. The reason SAT tutors don’t make any guarantees is that they’re not going to sit there for five hours and run SAT vocabulary flash cards with you. You’re going to have to follow directions and put in the hours to make the most of SAT preparation.

SAT Tutoring

Good SAT tutors have lots of tricks up their sleeve. They’ll show you a sneaky method for cutting corners on math problems, foregoing traditional algebra when simpler, faster methods suffice. But where SAT tutoring really shines – if, of course, you’re lucky enough to land a fantastic SAT tutor – is their ability to shift gears and offer additional approaches. Maybe that math trick didn’t work for you. Maybe you’re actually quite great and agile at setting up algebraic equations and you’d actually be better off approaching problems that way. Your SAT tutor will notice this, and point you in the right direction, allowing you to shave minutes off your time – which is often the key to making the most of time management during the actual test.

Lastly, we’ve mentioned the concept of a “good” SAT tutor several times now. This is important. After your first session, don’t expect to have fun. No one said SAT preparation will be a blast. And don’t worry about whether or not you think your SAT tutor is the coolest cat on the planet. Bottom line: did you learn something? Did you feel that he or she adapted to your learning style and gave you highly personalized instruction? Or was that first experience with SAT tutoring like listening to a broken record? Did you SAT tutor just go through the motions, reciting lines he or she has said a thousand times?

If that was your impression of your SAT tutor, definitely speak to your parents. There are plenty of wonderful SAT tutors in almost every city – you owe it to yourself, and to your chances of getting into an Ivy League school – to switch horses, and find yourself a new SAT tutor.

Please also visit our review of SAT test prep books.