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SAT Tutoring

The SAT is a college entrance exam accepted by all college admissions offices in the United States and Canada. Because the SAT has significant differences from the ACT, it is important to determine which test is better suited to a student’s abilities and test-taking style.
Once a student decides to take the SAT, I use material from real SATs written by the CollegeBoard in one-on-one tutoring sessions to teach content, timing, strategy, and shortcuts that strengthen students’ skills and confidence. For many students, the SAT is the first standardized exam they are taking that will have a significant impact on their life and future, and of course every student feels considerable pressure to do well. Personalized one-on-one tutoring support is the most efficient way to reduce test anxiety and improve performance. When students feel confident about their ability and preparation, they are more likely to achieve the results they seek.
Since most colleges formally or informally superscore (i.e., take the highest score from each section across multiple test dates), students typically take the SAT two or three times, once in the 11th grade and once or twice again in the 12th grade. We recommend students allow at least six months for SAT preparation to ensure they’re fully ready on test day to achieve their greatest potential. If you’re reading this with less time than the recommended 6+ months, we can still quickly develop strategies to accelerate SAT tutoring.
 
Schedule a complimentary consultation to find out how the best SAT tutoring in New York can help your child get the highest score possible on a college entrance exam that matters so much.

What is the SAT?

The SAT is a college entrance examination accepted by all college admissions offices throughout the United States and Canada as an alternative to the ACT. Because the SAT tests students in a different manner than the ACT, some students find it better suited to their aptitude and personality. Colleges do not have a preference between the SAT or ACT, so you should choose the test that is a better fit for you, and I can help make that determination.

How can I help?

While I am well versed in the structure, content, strategy, and timing of the SAT, my experience has shown that properly assessing a student’s unique learning style and aptitude while simultaneously building effective rapport allows me to design a tutoring approach that will achieve the quickest and most desirable results. I know the SAT well (having scored in the 99th Percentile myself) and have considerable experience successfully supporting students.

Who takes it and when?

Students typically take the SAT two to three times, generally in the 11th grade and again in the 12th grade, allowing sufficient time between each test for additional practice and focused SAT preparation. The test is offered on 7 different dates throughout the school year. Please see this page for this year’s test dates.

How are the ACT and SAT different?

Recent changes to the SAT have brought it more in line with the ACT. However, there are still several meaningful differences. Because SAT questions require more processing and reasoning, the SAT grants more time per question. Conversely, ACT questions are more straightforward, and as a result the test can feel more like an achievement test that prioritizes ”what you know,” timing, and endurance. There are also significant differences in content and structure:
 
 

​​How do I know which test is better for my child?

As both tests are viewed equally in the eyes of college admissions staff, the decision of which test to take is an important one. I will identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses, aptitude, and learning style to assess which test is the better fit. Typically, a student will work through sections of each test to gauge comfort and aptitude before a decision is made. After review and working through material from each test, students almost always express a strong preference or comfort level, which serves as a primary indicator of which direction to go.

When should preparation begin?

The amount of preparation required for the SAT varies with each student. Just as no two students are the same, preparation for every student is also different. The following factors should be considered:

  • Is the student working at grade level?
  • Are there concepts or material on the exam that require significant review?
  • Does the student typically perform well on standardized exams?
  • Is anxiety a factor in performance?
  • Does the student need to learn how to use extra time accommodation?
  • Is motivation an issue?
  • Is the student able to focus his or her full attention on preparation?
  • Does the student have time to complete homework assignments as part of preparation?
  • Is the student applying to highly competitive schools for which a higher score is essential?
Most students begin preparation early in their junior year, but that varies depending upon the starting point and comfort level of the student. However, it is never advisable for students to wait until a few weeks before their first attempt. Just as cramming for a test in school is rarely productive, waiting until right before the SAT exam can generate significant and sometimes even debilitating anxiety. The ideal approach is to spread out preparation over a longer period so the student doesn’t feel an intensifying pressure to put it all together quickly.
 
For many students, the SAT is the first time they are taking a standardized test that will have a substantial impact on their future, and that realization alone can generate substantial anxiety. Getting an early start can often help ameliorate anxiety and put students in a significantly better position to achieve their greatest potential.
 
I recommend starting the preparation process with a timed full-length practice test to identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Taking a practice exam provides a valuable opportunity for students to work on test-taking skills and to see how they perform under pressure. A practice exam also helps students develop better time management skills.

What’s on the SAT?

The test consists of four separate sections. The total time is 3 hours. There is no guessing penalty. Each question is multiple choice with four possible answer choices.

Reading Test

65 minutes | 52 questions

  • Command of evidence
  • Words in context
  • Analysis in History/Social Studies and Science
  • Writing and Language Test

    35 minutes | 44 questions

  • Command of evidence
  • Words in context
  • Analysis in History/Social Studies and
  • Science
  • Expression of ideas
  • Standard English conventions
  • Math (calculator and no-calculator)

    80 minutes | 58 questions

  • Two separate sections: calculator and no-calculator
  • Multiple choice and free response questions

  • Scoring

  • The composite score is reported in the range 400-1600.
  • The test is scored in two separate sections: Evidence Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math. Each section is in the range 200-800.

  • When are SAT scores released?

    SAT results are typically available 3-4 weeks after the test date.

    How are SAT scores reported?

    Scores are reported separately for the two sections: math and reading/writing on a scale of 200-800. These two scores are added to get a ‘total score’ on the scale 400-1600. Furthermore, most colleges “superscore” the SAT, which means that they accept the highest sub-score across all the test sittings. For example, if a student takes the SAT twice and gets a 580 in the Reading/Writing and a 620 Math the first time, and a 650 Reading/Writing and a 580 Math the second time, most colleges will accept the 650 Reading/Writing and the 620 Math. Thus, a student can use superscoring to produce a higher composite score than the score they achieved in any single test. Note: Not all schools accept superscoring. Applicants should always check with the school’s admissions department to learn the school’s policy. Students who apply to colleges that allow superscoring should consider taking the SAT multiple times to take advantage of the opportunity to present the highest scores from each test.
     
    The SAT uses a tool called Score Choice that allows students to manage which scores they send to colleges. More information can be found here. (The tool also shows which scores each college requires the student to send.)

    Featured SAT testimonial

    My sister worked with Kenny to study for the SAT exam. This was a second attempt at the test. After 5 weekly 2-hour sessions, the math score improved by a full 100 points, with an overall 200 point improvement. After each session, I received a summary of the skills covered, and HW recommendations. She reports that he was clear and patient. Highly recommended!
    - Anastasia

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