Curious about whether a test prep course is right for you? Not sure what topics and subjects are covered in a test-specific session? Refer to this page for answers to common questions about our services and the test preparation process.
You can also find out more about the tests that we help you prep for:
Your Test Prep Options
If you are preparing to take a college or grad school admissions test, you have four basic options:
- Do nothing, take the test ‘cold’ and hope for the best.
- Study on your own or with friends, using available books and software.
- Study on your own and hire a tutor to help you improve in selected areas.
- Enroll in a test preparation course.
An Honest Look at the First Two Options
Based on 20 years of experience in preparing students for standardized tests, we wouldn’t recommend the first option to anyone who is serious about maximizing the value of their education. Some people can achieve their goals by studying on their own or with friends, particularly if they are already scoring at – or close to – the level they require for admission to the college of their choice. This option may also appeal to the kind of person who is highly-disciplined and self-motivated, and who is capable of taking instructions mainly from books and software but does not require personal interaction with a teacher in order to better understand their subject.
However, many test takers find it useful to work with a teacher or tutor, someone who can recognize your individual learning style and present the material in a way that increases your confidence in your test-taking abilities, thereby increasing your score. In this case, you should consider taking a course or arranging some private tutoring sessions.
This depends on your current test taking ability, learning preferences, and availability. Some people find they are more comfortable and learn better in a classroom environment and others prefer the personal support and customized approach of one-on-one tutoring. Tutoring tends to be better suited to those who only need help in a few very specific areas of the test, while full-length group courses are often a better choice for those who need help with a broad variety of question types.
Study Hall is a drop-in study session held weekly in both Seattle and in Bellevue. Students currently enrolled for the first time in an ACT or SAT group course are eligible to attend. We hold separate Study Hall sessions for GRE and LSAT course students whenever enrollment consists of at least five students. It’s a great opportunity to meet with an experienced instructor to develop a better understanding of challenging concepts introduced in class or to get help with the assigned homework problems. Students have also found it useful to simply work on practice questions, or get extra help reviewing practice test material in a quiet setting. We recommend taking advantage of this great service whenever you can!
Students seeking help with test preparation in the Seattle metropolitan area have three primary options to choose from: 1) large national test-preparation companies offering either classroom-based or online instruction; 2) private individuals offering one-on-one tutoring; and 3) smaller local companies such as Sandweiss Test Prep. The national companies often charge considerably more for their services, and they often feature larger classes with a more standardized, “cookie-cutter” curriculum. Private tutors may sometimes charge less for their services, but it can be difficult to determine how experienced and effective a particular tutor might be. Moreover, many individual tutors don’t have an office location, so they are unlikely to be able to offer proctored practice-testing – which we’ve found to be an extremely beneficial component of effective test preparation. In contrast to either of these options, we can provide both small courses (including weekly study halls), and customized tutoring programs at reasonable rates, and we can administer proctored diagnostic and practice exams in a setting designed to simulate what students will experience on Test Day. We offer a personalized, comprehensive, yet flexible approach to test prep. We have no minimum number of tutoring hours and we don’t recommend any more hours than we have found to be effective for each student to achieve his/her desired score increases (no “up selling” here!). Finally, we offer admissions consulting services to complement our test preparation work and to help students achieve their academic goals.
What Our Students and Parents Say
My son took the ACT prep class and not only did he enjoy the class, he improved his ACT score by 5 points. Steve reviewed his practice ACT and PSAT test results and recommended my son take the ACT minus the math section, so we signed him up for those sections only. He thought Steve was a great teacher and he never complained about going to class. The office staff was friendly and courteous. If students miss a class they have study hall offered once a week and they can get help there to get caught up. I signed my younger child up to take the class this spring, and so far she likes it too. She needed to do all the sections of the class. I know others who have gone here and liked it as well; you can’t go wrong. Steve is very experienced and knowledgeable and you will get instruction that is more targeted to your child’s needs. They won’t waste your time and will recommend one of the 2 tests, and even just certain sections, or combinations of sections and private tutoring.
– Seattle Parent (ACT)