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What To Look for in an SAT Tutor and How To Find One

A high school student interacts with an SAT tutor through his laptop

The SAT is the most important standardized test a high schooler takes. This exam is a crucial aspect of the college admissions process, and scoring well can help you get accepted to the institution of your choice.

While this test is certainly challenging, a tutor can help. Working with an SAT tutor can ensure you’re prepared for the test. In addition to understanding the content of the test, a tutor will make sure you know the format and design of the exam.

When you know what to expect, you’re likely to feel more confident and perform well on the test. Here’s what to look for in an SAT tutor and how to find the right one for you.

Why You Should Use an SAT Tutor

Administered by the College Board, the SAT is a multiple-choice test designed to evaluate high school students’ readiness for college. The SAT has a variety of question types spanning math, language, reading, and writing. An SAT tutor helps you understand what you can expect to see on the test so you’re not surprised or anxious when you begin the test.

Let’s quickly review the exam so you understand what areas you might need help with. The SAT math section tests skills like algebra, problem-solving, data analysis, advanced math, and additional math topics. The writing and language section tests the individual’s command of evidence, understanding words in context, expression of ideas, and standard English conventions. Reading, analysis, and writing are skills included in the optional essay.

Benefits of Studying With an SAT Tutor

The SAT is designed to give high school students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. Yet this chance to showcase one's strengths can also highlight one’s weaknesses, which can in turn lower your overall score.

Fortunately, that’s where an SAT tutor can help. SAT tutoring helps students with multiple aspects of the exam in order to improve test scores. For example, SAT tutors focus on the content of the exam and the required knowledge and skills. Yet what’s equally important is an emphasis on the types of questions and their formats.

What To Expect From Tutoring Sessions

Whether or not you took the PSAT, your tutor will start by assessing your current strengths and weaknesses. This is best achieved by taking full-length practice tests. Once it’s clear where you need to improve, the tutor will outline a study plan to follow until test day.

A good SAT tutor will teach test-taking skills. This means they will demonstrate how to navigate the questions and make an educated guess on multiple-choice questions.

Test-taking skills are important because they also help students perform well on other important exams like the ACT. The higher the SAT score, the higher your chances of getting into an Ivy League school (or whatever your dream school might be).

SAT Tutor Qualifications

A student works with an in-person SAT tutor

As with any teacher, it’s essential your SAT tutor has a few years of experience under their belt. The more years they’ve been teaching the SAT, the more question types they’ve been exposed to. This means they’ll have a more in-depth knowledge of how questions and answers work.

Next, you’ll want to find a tutor who understands how to teach students with varied learning styles. The best SAT tutors can recognize how you best learn best and create a plan for catering to those needs across different subject areas.

Similarly, a tutor should have subject-area expertise in the topics where you need to improve the most. Perhaps you need a boost on your SAT math skills. An SAT tutor who doubles as a math tutor will ensure that your time and money are well-spent. In contrast, a tutor who is more of a generalist but doesn’t have specific strengths may be better suited for a student who needs to brush up in all areas.

Remember: People decide to become a tutor when they feel they have the skills and knowledge to help others academically excel. The best tutor will help you determine the areas where you most need to improve, so it’s OK if you don’t yet know where you’d like to focus.

Where To Find an SAT Tutor

The best tutoring experience occurs when you find someone whose teaching style aligns with your learning style. So how do you find an SAT tutor who understands it all? Try to parse through the mountain of search results by narrowing your expectations and requirements.

Consider what you most need help with and what qualifications might make a tutor well-suited to assist with that goal. For example, you might consider a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree as essential qualifications for your tutor. You could also think about previous job experience, previous tutoring experience, and whether or not that person has direct experience in a teaching environment.

Next, open your search to online tutors. The spread of COVID-19 has brought more tutors online, meaning the pool of qualified SAT support professionals is wider and more diverse than ever. This also means you don’t have to settle. Rather, you can choose someone who fits your ideal SAT tutor description.

SAT Tutor Cost

There are many students in need of SAT tutors, so there’s no doubt this skill is in high demand. However, private tutoring for the SAT can vary greatly in cost. Some tutors may cost more due to location. For example, a tutor in New York City of Los Angeles will likely cost more than one in rural Ohio due to higher demand. The most important thing to remember about SAT tutoring is the person you choose can have a direct impact on your future quality of life.

Therefore, it’s better to invest in a high-quality, experienced tutor who understands not only what’s on the SAT but how to teach it well to students with a range of strengths and learning preferences.

How To Study Between Tutoring Sessions

A student looks excited after taking an online SAT practice test

Tutoring services expand your knowledge of the SAT and make you more confident and well-equipped to navigate the exam. However, studying on your own is an important component of SAT test prep.

After all, independent study is when you put your SAT tutoring knowledge to work. You can parse through practice questions, review SAT test essentials, and take more practice exams to see how you stack up with your original score.

So how do you study between tutoring sessions? It’s best to start with a study plan that’s adaptable and caters to your individual needs. You want to maintain a schedule that adjusts according to your progress. This means that you can ramp up efforts on certain subjects while scaling back on others from week to week, which will come in handy when you need to skip a lesson (or spend some extra time on a topic).

Lastly, the most important aspect of a successful study plan is tracking your progress. Continue to test yourself each week to see how you improve. This will help you build a measurable study plan — a plan informed by your own strengths, weaknesses, and desired areas of improvements.

Find the Right SAT Tutor for You

An SAT tutor ensures you’re well-equipped before your test date rolls around. Whether you need help with math, reading comprehension, or a bit of both, a qualified and experienced tutor can create the right prep course for you.

The right tutor will have a strong grasp on your strengths and weaknesses so you can focus your time and energy on the areas it matters most. These benefits are amplified when you know what to look for and how to find a tutor. For more information on SAT test prep and to find a tutor today, visit TutorMe.

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