While you can always call me at 610-730-4876 and ask me anything you like, here are some questions that I often hear from prospective students and their parents:
Q: Do you offer one-on-one tutoring?
Yes, though the per-hour cost is much higher for tutoring–$150 per hour–than for classroom instruction.
Q: When is the best time to take your class?
My motto is: The earlier the better, schedule permitting.
Those students who come onboard as sophomores and juniors invariably do better (usually much better) than kids who wait until their senior year to take the class. The more time they have to integrate the techniques and strategies I teach them (which they often apply in high school assignments as well as on standardized tests), the more my students improve their scores.
Even more important than taking the class early is devoting sufficient time to it. Each three-hour class requires 1.5-2 hours worth of homework–not a huge amount of time compared to the time students spend on school and other extracurricular activities–but kids must spend real quality time focusing on our classwork. Just showing upto class won’t get it done.
Thus, I strongly urge students to take my class when they are not burdened with sports, shows, or part-time jobs.
Q: How rigid is your two-absence rule?
Work ethic and attendance are incredibly important for my students’ success. Kids show up for class on time also tend to do a good job on their homework. Predictably, the harder my students work, the more their scores go up.
Also, attendance problems tend to spread like a virus. When one student is absent or late… the other students get the idea that missing class and being late aren’t a big deal. Ugh. That is why I instituted my Two Absence policy: a student who misses two classes for any reason–including illness or any other emergency–must leave the current session and start over in a future session. Each instance of tardiness counts as half-an-absence.
I can allow for one unforeseen absence due to illness or a family emergency–not for a discretional absence–but I don’t make any judgment about which absences/tardies are legitimate. I treat them all the same. Once students hit two absences, no matter the circumstance, they must leave the class and start over, or pay $150 for a make-up class–if I can fit it into my schedule: sometimes I can and sometimes I cannot, so make up classes are not guaranteed.
Q: How much homework do you assign?
Each class typically requires 1.5-2 hours of homework. Whether the students’ answers are right or wrong is less important to me than the quality of the work they do; in other words, I grade my students on how well they follow my instructions and how carefully they execute their pencil work. For academic-year classes, homework is due (via text or email) by 9 pm the day after class. I then send students my notes on their homework; they must get their corrections back to me by 9 pm the next day. For summer morning students, homework is due by 4 pm that afternoon; for summer evening students, homework is due by noon the next day. I will send my notes to students before the start of the next class but, unfortunately, there is not enough time for student corrections.
Q: Do you recommend the SAT or the ACT?
It depends on the individual student. During my class, students take two SAT practice tests and one ACT practice test. After that, they should be able tell which test best suits their particular strengths. However, since both tests are pretty similar, I can teach both the ACT and SAT in the same course.
Q: How often should I take the test?
After finishing my class, students should make a final decision about which one they like best, and take that particular test (ACT or SAT) three times. Why… ?
- Practice makes perfect. Or, at least, it leads to improvement, if not perfection.
- Anybody can have a bad day. Having your college future ride on just one test is unnecessarily stressful.
- The difficulty of individual SAT and ACT tests varies. The SAT test on one date can be easier or harder than SAT tests on other dates. This shouldn’t be the case, but it is.
- Colleges do not average your results. They either use your total score on your best day, or combine section scores from all of your reported test dates. This is called superscoring. For instance, if you get a 1040 (510 on Reading and Writing, 530 on Math) in March 2019; then, in May 2019, you get a 1070 (560 on Reading and Writing, 490 on Math)… a college that does superscoring will actually set your score as a 1090 by combining the 560 Reading and Writing score with the 530 Math score.
To sum up: it is wise to take whichever test you prefer, SAT or ACT, multiple times.
Q: Do colleges count it against me if I take the test multiple times?
Nope; they’re used to it. However, I don’t recommend students’ taking official tests too close together because they aren’t likely to see a ton of improvement over a month or two. Also, if kids are constantly taking standardized tests, they may see diminishing returns. An exception can be made for seniors, who might want to take consecutive tests before they apply to college in the fall and early-winter.