Standardized Test Prep

There isn’t one type of standardized test prep that works best for everyone, so the type of test prep to choose depends on the type of learner you are and how much time and energy you are willing to put in. Some students like the flexibility of online programs, while other students prefer the personalization that one-on-one tutoring offers, and still others find being in a classroom setting to be most stimulating.

Take a minute to think about how you learn best and pick the standardized test prep option that works for you.

It may seem obvious, but one of the most important things to look for in a tutor is someone who has aced the test that you are studying for. Ideally your tutor has scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT or ACT. Even very smart individuals can be stumped by the ACT or SAT, so don’t be swayed by an impressive university degree or the years of experience of the tutor. You want to work with someone who has mastered the exam, so you should ask about their exam results.

The best tutors also know how to tailor their teaching approach for each student’s learning style. Ideally, your tutor will be able to diagnose your weakness(es) and customize your tutoring sessions to give you the largest score gains. You want your tutor to be able to identify your content gaps, create a strategy for how to attack each type of question, and make a plan for how you can budget your time effectively.

Finally, always ask for references for your potential tutor. If you are working with a test prep company, ask to speak with the tutor that you are being assigned to before hiring them. The expertise of the particular tutor you are working with is more important than the reputation that the tutoring company has. When speaking with your potential tutor, ask how he or she keeps students motivated, how he or she assesses testing weaknesses and how he or she gauges progress and a student’s potential score.

Most importantly, though, you should trust your gut and find a tutor that you are going to enjoy spending time with!


Written by Kerrin Lyons
Kerrin Lyons is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts. Prior to joining College Coach, Kerrin worked in admissions at Tufts University.