Standardized Test Prep

A decade of teaching test prep for learning differences has led me to the same conclusion most parents have already arrived at: these tests are not always good measurements of a student’s ability or aptitude. Standardized tests are easy for schools to scale, but they don’t test students in a way that helps us measure their knowledge in a particular subject, nor are they designed to test critical thinking very well. Life is more than multiple-choice.

I’m convinced these tests are just hoops students have to jump through to apply to college or graduate school. There’s not much worth learning on the test. In fact, I can’t wait until these tests are phased out of the college application process and kids don’t have to take them any more. But until they do, I think they might as well get good at taking them.

My Test Prep for Learning Differences Gets Results

This pragmatic perspective means I care about results over everything else. When I tutor test prep for students with learning differences, we talk about test-taking strategy, self-pacing, watching the clock, guessing, and other test-specific strategies first. After we’ve squeezed as many points out of that as we can, we talk about content.

My SAT Prep for Learning Differences Results

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Personal Tutor
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Next Step Prep w/ Jonah Fishel
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Khan Academy

According to the College Board’s own research, working with a private test prep company or personal tutor shows average score gains of 20-40 points, on average, with more gains coming in the math. This is hard to separate from normal testing noise, which is about 32 points (don’t think about that too hard–it’s more evidence of how poor these tests are at measuring anything useful). By contrast, a student working through the Khan Academy program for 20 hours is associated with an average score increase of 115.

My students see an average gain of 270 points on the SAT after the same number of hours working with me. That’s because I know how the test is written, how each question is designed, and how to exploit that design, and that’s what I teach my students.

What to Expect

I tailor each test prep session to the student’s individual needs and learning differences. This includes how we practice, how we communicate, and the social expectations for the session.

Based on your study plan and timetable, we’ll meet regularly and work through the curriculum I have prepared for you. I prefer to meet weekly for 1-hour-45-minute sessions ($260), but my recommendations may vary.

There is no contract and no commitment, so we can meet as often as you’d like. However, students should understand that consistency is key to getting good results.

We’ll have your student take practice exams throughout your program. I am very data-driven, and I prefer to adjust my approach at least once a month with practice test data.

After your first test, we’ll re-evaluate your study plan and decide if and when you should test again. We’ll revisit your goals, make any adjustments we need to make, and take it from there.

Let's Talk About Your Child's Learning Needs

Free 30-minute consultation includes:

I’ll ask some questions to get to know you, learn about your goals and your obstacles, and start coming up with a study plan.

We’ll decide when the best time for you to test is, have you register for the test, and plan backward from there. We’ll also decide how many tests you should schedule.

I like to hit the ground running by learning and practicing the best strategies for each student, so I gather information ahead of time in the form of an hour-long cognitive assessment. This tool helps me understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses so I can craft the best study plan for them. I use MindPrint Learning to assess my students’ strengths and needs.

Based on the information you provided me and what I learned from the assessment, I’ll craft a study plan. This is my recommendation for the practice I think you should do before your first test date. If you like, you take this study plan and work through it on your own. If you’d like additional guidance or one-on-one instruction, we’ll talk about signing up for private sessions.

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