FAQ

 

What services do you offer? 
When should my student get started?
Should my student take the ACT or the SAT?
How long is a typical session?
How many hours should we plan on?
What kind of improvement can we expect?
Do you offer a score guarantee?
So why do all those other companies offer score guarantees?
Are you qualified to tutor students with learning differences?
I simply can't afford your tutoring rates. Are there any options for me?
Do you ever tutor groups?
Could you give me a hint for the puzzle?

 

 

What services do you offer?

About 85% of our business is tutoring the SAT and ACT, but we go well beyond that. We will tutor all math subjects, K-12, and we cover most AP classes in high school. We can help you edit and revise your college application essays, too! Finally, for the older crowd, we will also tutor the GRE, the math portion of the GMAT, and the logic games section of the LSAT. Back to top.

 

When should my student get started?

This is very flexible, but typically 2-3 months before your student is planning to sit for the test is a good time to start. Truly, though, there is no one right answer to this question. Some students want lots of time up front, and some students want to get the results of a real test first, and then start tutoring. Back to top.

 

Should my student take the ACT or the SAT?

Both, probably. Then focus on whichever one she does better on. But if you're looking for a place to start, ask yourself this: Do you want a test that has easier material, a slower pace, but trickier problems? If so, take the SAT first. Do you want a test that has a bit tougher material, a faster pace, but straightforward problems? If so, take the ACT first. Back to top.

 

How long is a typical session?

I usually start out with 1-hour sessions, but will go to 1.5 hours on occasion, if it seems to fit your particular student's needs. I try to avoid much longer than that, though, because most students have a hard time focusing beyond 90 minutes. Back to top.

 

How many hours will we need?

There is such a variety of need from one student to the next that answering this question is almost silly. On average, perhaps 3 or 4 months of prep is typical, which is why I offer 12- and 16-hour packages, but please know that it really does vary hugely from student to student. Back to top.

 

What kind of improvement can we expect?

I hate this question, but of course it's a fair one to ask. The reason I hate it is because there are about a billion (give or take) variables that go into a student's improvement. How motivated is he? How hard will he work? Does the material click with him quickly? How low or high was his original score? Did he have a bad day? Was he tired? Did he have a headache? Did he guess well? Guess poorly? Was there a cute girl/boy in the seat next to him/her that was distracting?

Only one of the variables - did we tutor him well? - do I have any control over.

All that being said, I know you still want numbers. Since starting this company, the average improvement of my students has been 172 points on the SAT, and 2.7 points on the ACT. I urge you - no, beg you - not to put too much stock into those numbers, or those of any other company, because the truth is that your student's improvement is largely up to him. If he's motivated to improve, works hard with us during the tutoring sessions, and does every bit of his homework, he should expect a very solid improvement. Back to top.

 

Do you offer a score guarantee?

No, but I'm glad you asked. We'll make this simple: if you don't think we did a great job, we'll give you your money back. That's all there is to it. We just ask that you don't purely look at the numbers. Sometimes, for any of a thousand different reasons (see above FAQ for examples), the score doesn't improve as much as planned. This is rare, thankfully, but it happens, especially with the first test or two that a student takes. If this happens, we will obviously continue to work hard to make it right. Back to top.

 

So why do all those other companies offer score guarantees?

Excellent follow-up! I feel like the guarantees at most other companies are quite disingenuous. Don't be fooled by them! The big companies all offer very similar guarantees, namely that if you don't improve as much as you'd like, you can take their course again. I think you have a better chance of finding Atlantis than you do of finding a student who wants to retake an entire course that didn't work the first time. It's true that they will return your money if you didn't improve at all, but if you go up even 10 points in even one of the sections, you don't qualify to get your money back (even if you went down in the other sections!).

Oh, and this is all assuming that the student attended 100% of the classes and did all of his homework. Otherwise, the guarantee is voided.

I prefer to be upfront with my clients, rather than offer them a half-hearted guarantee. Back to top.

 

Are you qualified to tutor students with learning differences?

Absolutely. I don't have any specific credentials, but in my 18+ years of experience, I've seen the spectrum. I've worked very successfully with countless ADHD students, students with various perception and comprehension difficulties, students with severe anxiety, etc. Back to top.

 

I simply can't afford your tutoring rates. Are there any options for me?

Yes. Please contact me directly, and hopefully we can find something that works for you. Back to top.

 

Do you ever tutor groups?

Once in a blue moon, yes. If 2-4 students are beginning at nearly identical levels of scoring, I will consider tutoring in groups on a case-by-case basis. If students are at different levels, it simply doesn't work. The high-scoring students get bored, and the low-scoring students get lost. Back to top.

 

Could you give me a hint for the puzzle?

Yes! Try to figure out how many 1s appear in the numbers 1-28, since all 12 months have those days. Then, add the extra 1s from months with 31 days. Finally, don't forget what's special about all of January, October, December... and what's really special about November! Back to top.

-Alex Fay
Manager / CEO / Lead Tutor

Obviously your help was more than valuable. (My son) has loved working with you.

-- C.L.

SAT Test Dates:
3/10
5/5
6/2

ACT Test Dates:
2/10
4/14
6/9
7/14