College Test Prep

I have been providing college test preparation for over eight years.  My clients vary in ability including those with learning differences, at risk, English language learners, general education and AP.  I work with clients individually, as well as in workshop settings.  I use research-based strategies and tailor each client’s program to accommodate  his/her unique strengths and weaknesses. The tests that I prepare high school students for include SAT, ACT, and PSAT and for 8th graders, ISEE and SSAT.

My education and experience include a MA in Educational Psychology, 11 years in secondary schools, both public and private, serving socio-economically disadvantaged, ELL and LD students.  I am certified as an Associate Educational Therapist and am currently pursuing licensure as a Dyslexia Therapist through SMU’s Learning Therapy Program.  I am passionate about ensuring that all kids have equal opportunity to postsecondary education.  I am committed to helping every student reach his/her potential.

My program at a glance:

  • Instruction in all verbal components of the tests:  reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and the essay
  • Diagnostic test administered at first session to be used as baseline
  • Practice test administered mid-session to be used as benchmark
  • Final practice test with feedback
  • Vocabulary instruction, strategies, and practice
  • Optional online interactive vocabulary support
  • Test format and test-taking strategies
  • Grammar foundation/ refresher
  • Essay writing instruction and practice
  • Essay prep notebook/ vocabulary notebook
  • Reading comprehension and fluency strategies
  • Progress tracked and documented

I want to say a word about these tests.  I believe that everyone learns differently; in a perfect world, one’s success would not be determined by comparison to others but rather to one’s own progress.  Although we can hold on to that tenet as sort of an internal compass, the reality is that it’s a tough world out there.  The higher education “market” has never been more competitive.  The SAT has taken high-stakes testing to another level.  It is a much more sophisticated test than in years past, and universities are setting increasingly higher standards as minimum requirements.  I don’t want to give the impression that this is a lesser focus for me than that of instilling self-confidence or autonomy.  Actually, they go hand in hand.  As a parent, I understand the anticipation of those long two weeks before my kids’ SAT scores were posted!  It’s just a reality; the “best” that parents want for their children sometimes hinges on very concrete, quantifiable factors—like test scores.

The SAT and ACT have three components to their verbal section: reading comprehension, grammar, and the essay.  Every client I have tutored has shown strengths in some areas, weaknesses in others.  I do a brief diagnostic the first session to see where they are.  Sometimes, but not often, a student will be so strong in one particular area that we will devote our time to the others.  Every student will be different; every test prep plan will be tailored and balanced to fit his/her needs.  Tutoring, like teaching and parenting, is very organic.  We have to be flexible to change as our students change.  I love the quote by F.D. Roosevelt:  “If it works, do more of it.  If it doesn’t…try something else.”