Do I really need tutoring for the SAT or ACT?

Is tutoring really necessary?

My honest answer is: Probably.

Many students have succeeded on the SAT or ACT by studying on their own, and there are many resources out there for a driven young individual to use to improve their skills. Some of these include SAT/ACT Study Guide books and free study videos.

The benefit of tutoring is that it can make your tutoring experience much quicker and more effective by the minute. And if you find the right tutor, they can provide two very important things: motivational guidance and expert direction.

Studying for the SAT/ACT on your own

Time magazine wrote an article called “Don’t pay for an expensive tutor” in which they advised that tutoring did not help students get a better score on the SAT. In that article, a $1000/hr tutor claimed that students are better off studying on their own.

I partly agree. One reason why tutoring works is that we force you to do work that you could do on your own, but just don’t. But there’s more that tutoring can provide.

My own experience

When I was in high school, I studied on my own, and I did end up doing very well on the SAT. But it was a really tough experience, including a cancelled score, two boxes of flashcards, and practice books that ended up tattered, looking like ancient scriptures.

I had a great deal of drive and ambition. And yes, I was a nerd. I was willing to sacrifice free time and a social life in order to get a top score. I assure you, I was not one of those geniuses out there who can ace the SAT or ACT with no sweat. I had to work hard.

Likewise, if you’re going to study on your own, you need to have a really great work ethic. You have to be able to keep yourself disciplined.

If you can do this on your own, more power to you. Bravo and godspeed!

How Tutoring can Help

When I trained to be a tutor, the first thing I thought was, “Gosh, I could really have used these strategies back then!” If I had a little bit of guidance, I think I would have saved myself a lot of time and grief. And I might have pushed my score up a few points to get a perfect score.

What tutoring provides for a student is the following: motivation and guidance.

  1. Guidance: A tutor can help you stay motivated, stay focused while you’re working (to ignore your cellphone), to keep working beyond frustration, stay consistent in your work.
  2. Expert Direction: A tutor can help you to spend your time more wisely, tell you what weak points to focus on, help you find the most effective practice at each stage, interpret your results to tell you the significance of your results, and explain concepts that are hard for you.

Do YOU need tutoring?

You may NOT need tutoring if…

  • You have strong self-motivation and discipline,
  • You know how to improve your weak areas,
  • You are already at or close to the score you need to get accepted into your school, or
  • You really don’t care about the SAT or ACT, college, or an easy career path.

You MAY need tutoring if…

  • You have low self-motivation, or get distracted easily by your phone, computer, etc. or are discouraged easily by failure,
  • You’ve been stuck at the same score for a while, and you don’t know why (You may benefit from another set of eyes, especially those of an expert), or
  • You need to spend your time wisely, because you are busy with a lot of different other obligations (like many athletes).

Finding the right tutor

But even if you feel you need a tutor, studying with an ineffective tutor can be a waste of your time and money. I recommend that you spend some time researching so that you can find a good, dedicated tutor who can truly make a difference.

A good tutor should be thinking constantly about your weaknesses–evaluating your skills, understanding what you do best, what it is that’s dragging you down. And then they need to come up with the best way to shore up that weakness. Some weaknesses, like math concepts, are a simple matter of addressing that issue, like by teaching that concept. Other weaknesses are more complex, like issues with time or reading comprehension. With these the right answer is harder to find. The issue may be more based on your mental approach. It takes a good tutor to help you frame things in a different light by saying just the right thing, to encourage a paradigm shift in the way you approach reading passages.

You might be looking at a bad tutor if the tutor:

  • Doesn’t seem to really have a plan for the class,
  • Is not really thinking about what’s going on inside your head,
  • Is not really paying attention to you as an individual (if he/she can’t remember who you are, that’s bad!),
  • Is just giving you practice problems to do every class (some practice is okay), without actually teaching you anything, or
  • Dismisses you as a lost cause, instead of trying to help.

What’s different about tutors at Sky High?

At Sky High Tutoring, we want to make every minute count. We are tracking your progress down to the details. We are looking for your more straightforward weaknesses as well as the more complex ones. Our tutoring is based on years of research that is kept up-to-date with the latest developments. Our curriculum makes sure you know everything you need to know for the tests, including things you didn’t know you didn’t know. We choose tutors who not only have top-class credentials, but also have a great teacher’s intuition and skill.

All of this adds up to a kind of tutoring that seeks to understand you and push you higher. (Sky high?)

We want to make your time with us count. Start with us today with a free trial class.