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Summer at AJ: Test Prep Tutoring


Whether you are a rising 8th grader looking ahead to a fall or winter ISEE, SSAT, or HSPT; or you are a rising junior looking ahead to a first go-around at the PSAT, SAT, and ACT, the summer is an excellent time to get a head start on test prep.

At AJ Tutoring, we’ve worked with thousands of students in the summer to instill key test-taking strategies, cover crucial content areas, and review proctored practice exams. These days, students are super busy during the school year with school, sports, and other extracurriculars, so summer studying can be a nice way to hone in on exam prep without the pressures of the academic year.

With that in mind, please read on to learn more about how we can help this summer.

What are the options for summer test prep at AJ?

As a team of professional tutors who specialize in 1-on-1 tutoring, we do a lot of such customized prep over the summer. You can learn more about our approach to middle school, high school or college admissions tests here. We also offer small group classes for the SAT.

Keep in mind, we’re also highly knowledgeable about tough classes like algebra, US History, and chemistry, and summer is a great time to dive into these curricula to review, enrich, or get ahead. You can learn more about our academic tutoring here.

Read on for a more in-depth breakdown of our primary summer test prep plans!

How can we help prepare students for the ISEE, SSAT, or HSPT?

We want every student who is taking an ISEE, SSAT, or HSPT and is perhaps new to standardized tests to feel confident and capable on test day. By introducing important test-taking skills that will help students throughout their academic career, we strive to set students up for long-term success.

Not sure which exam your student should take? Click here for a short quiz to identify the right fit.

Generally, students aim to complete ten 1-hour sessions over the summer and also take two or three full-length proctored exams in preparation for a middle or high school entrance exam.

If you plan to schedule an exam for late fall or early winter, it can still be wise to start preparing in the summer and continue into the fall or simply do a few refresher sessions as the exam approaches.

If you’d like to discuss your student’s options and put together a customized plan, give us a call.

How does SAT or ACT tutoring fit into your summer schedule?

The SAT and ACT are rites of passage for American high schoolers. At AJ, we don’t believe these exams have to be stressful and mysterious. Our professional tutors know the tests back and forth and delight in working with students to familiarize them with the exams and build confidence.

For context, we estimate that a student’s chances for admission to a college depend on high school courses and grades (60%), SAT and SAT subject test scores (30%), and essays, recommendations, and extracurricular activities (10%). Because grades are a multi-year effort, the exams offer a great opportunity to showcase your skills on a shorter timeline.

How does SAT or ACT tutoring fit into your summer schedule?

If you choose to prepare for the SAT or ACT with an AJ tutor (and we hope you do!), you can expect to complete ten 1.5-hour sessions leading up to the August 24 SAT test date or September 14 ACT test date . If you start tutoring after school is out, this generally means meeting about once per week throughout June, July and August. We also ask our SAT or ACT prep students to complete at least 3 full-length practice SATs or ACTs, preferably proctored at our office on Saturday mornings. You can find our complete schedule of proctored practice SATs and ACTs on our website.

If you’ve a rising senior who has already worked with us for SAT or ACT prep, we can usually shorten your prep for a retake. Students will often complete four 1.5-hour sessions in preparation for retaking an exam. You should also plan on taking 2 full-length practice tests on the weekends. During the retake prep, your tutor will focus more closely on your areas of difficulty from the last exam and work on fine-tuning your approach to the test.

In general, we think that the late summer exams are great moves by The College Board and ACT to give students more options. Most rising seniors should at least consider taking the SAT in August and/or ACT in September.

What about the PSAT?

The PSAT is a practice run for the SAT which students take in their junior year and often in their sophomore year. The PSAT gives students a baseline for SAT scores and qualifies the top percentage of test-takers for the National Merit Scholarship.

While the vast majority of students won’t qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, it can still be valuable to prepare for the PSAT. Because it is so similar to the SAT, preparing for the PSAT can give students a great head start on SAT preparation and an indication of where they can improve.

You can learn about timelines and options for PSAT prep here. Most students who prepare for the PSAT over the summer go on to do preparation for the SAT and/or ACT in the spring of their junior year.
Because each student has a different starting point, learning style, and summer schedule, we’ll help you find the right match for a tutor and for a test prep plan. Give us a call and speak with one of our directors today!

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