With a plethora of prep books and online resources available for every standardized test imaginable, is it worth it to invest in a private test prep tutor? While not all students need a tutor to increase their SAT or ACT score, every student can benefit from one. A good tutor will not only diagnose and work on a student’s academic weaknesses to produce measurable results, but also approach teaching in a holistic way to inspire students to grow as learners.
5 Reasons to Hire a Test Prep Tutor
1. Continuous Assessment
The first step to standardized test improvement is to accurately and continuously assess students’ strengths and weaknesses. This entails having students take a timed, full-length practice test before tutoring officially begins and identifying their specific areas for improvement. Assessment doesn’t stop after taking a diagnostic test, however. Throughout working on test prep, it’s important for students to periodically take timed, full-length tests to quantify their improvement. The benefit of a tutor in assessing students is that a tutor can not only provide an impartial view on students’ academic skill sets, but also take into account their learning style, study habits, and schedule. Not all academic improvement is immediately seen in practice test scores, and having a tutor recognize students’ growth that is not necessarily reflected in their scores can provide students with the encouragement and confidence needed to continue working towards their testing goals. By assessing students as whole people, tutors can help them adapt their studying and test-taking methods so that they can smoothly navigate through their testing requirements.
2. Creating an Individualized Study Plan
While test scores are only one component of a college application, to be competitive academically, it’s important for students to score at or above the average standardized test score of admitted students for the schools on their college list. If students are not sure how to organize their study sessions to reach their goal scores, then having a tutor who can structure students’ test prep schedules according to their individual skill set could make all the difference in whether students reach their target scores or not. Tutors who are trained to work with students with learning disabilities could be especially helpful for students who need extra support — not only can they teach content in ways that improve memory encoding, but they can also help these students understand how they learn so they are able to effectively practice by themselves.
3. Learning Test Topics Students Don’t Learn in School
While creating a study plan, students often encounter topics their teachers never covered in class, or familiar topics presented in unusual ways. It’s difficult for teachers to ensure that all their students thoroughly learn all the material of a course, and this is even more of a concern now that school is online. A tutor will ensure that students efficiently learn test content in ways it appears on standardized tests. With teaching quality currently compromised by asynchronous learning, live sessions with a tutor can fill the gaps in your child’s education.
Between homework, extracurricular activities, and work schedules, it can be difficult for families to find time to help their child stick to a consistent test prep schedule. This is where tutors come into the picture: they can partner with students to hold them accountable to their test prep work and make sure they are on track in the context of their overall high school timeline.
5. Building a Strong Student-Tutor Relationship
Perhaps the greatest benefit of tutoring comes from having someone take an authentic interest in students’ lives. Good tutors will structure lessons so that every session is a collaborative effort between the student and tutor, rather than an impersonal lecture. Command Education only offers 1:1 lessons, so the student receives the tutor’s undivided attention. By doing so, students can openly discuss their goals and concerns, and the tutor can provide accurate expertise based on the students’ responses. Students are often motivated by relationships they have with people in their lives, so having a tutor who genuinely cares about building a healthy relationship with their students can be a source of motivation for students to be active participants in their education. This will help students not only improve their standardized test scores, but also build skills that will help them succeed academically in high school and beyond.
Standardized testing can be a mystifying and emotionally-trying process for students and parents alike. However, through this process, students can not only challenge themselves, but also learn how to navigate through challenges effectively in the ways they feel most comfortable. We believe stress can be a great indicator to better oneself, and if students can overcome their standardized prep successfully, they will gain the confidence to get through their high school years and beyond. If the stress of the SAT or ACT is becoming overwhelming, consider the benefits of having a tutor, someone who can act as a teacher, coach, and friend while helping your child navigate one of the most notoriously difficult hurdles of the college admissions process.