The Time Has Come!

As the first Saturday in October quickly approaches, I have begun to get the panicked calls from high school students both near my office in Burbank(where the new school year has already started) and across the entire San Fernando Valley.  These fine  folks have just come to the realization that the fun days of summer are gone and the biggest test of their young lives are quickly approaching.  Like it or not, SAT and ACT scores play a huge role in the college admissions process – up to 40% of the overall admission criteria for some colleges!  A great score can open many doors, while a bad performance can close them.

The SAT:  A true measurement tool?  A scam?  Either way, it is the present reality so … GET READY!

Some say that the SAT is a cruel money-making scheme that has become biased and over-commercialized, but the reality is that it does have its merits in determining whether college-bound students are really prepared for post-secondary learning.  The SAT mirrors a typical college final in many ways:  it is a very large, time-sensitive, and covers a great amount of content and subject material.

What’s the secret to beating the SAT?

Again, this is a massive test covering all content covered in the areas of mathematics, reading, composition and grammar from the 7th to 10th grades.  For this reason, there is no quick-fix or magic formula to ace the SAT or any major college test. My experience has shown me that the only consistently successful and reliable way to really improve SAT scores is through extensive preparation. This preparation takes plenty of time, dedication, and hard-work on the part of the student.  On average, my students spend 20 hours working one-on-one with me to get ready for the test, and I warn them that  this tutoring time alone is not enough to maximize their potential.  I recommend  my students spend an additional 40 hours preparing on their own.  I also suggest that students start preparing either alone or with the help of a preparation course a minimum of 8-10 weeks BEFORE the test date. With this kind of dedication and effort, students can expect score increases ranging from 200-400 points.  These kinds of improvements  can open many doors to colleges that were once thought unattainable.

The SAT can push some students over the edge and bring others on to the playing field.

For students with great GPA’s, a high SAT will truly set them apart by demonstating that the student can not only perform well in the safe confines of high school, but can also deliver under the time-sensitive, pressure cooker that is the SAT.  For the under-achieving high school student, the SAT can offer a second chance academically, in that a great score can signal to interested colleges that the student has achieved a higher degree of focus and maturity.

How can I help?

Nothing is more gratifying to me as testing instructor than seeing the immediate gratification that comes when a hard-earned SAT score improvement translates into acceptance at a college or university that was previously thought out of reach.  For this reason, I want to make myself available to answer questions of students and parents who are pointing to the October or November tests.  Rather than answer the same question over and over, I created this blog to cover the common questions that I get asked repeatedly everyday.  Whether or not you are located near my offices in Burbank, feel free to  drop me a line at if you or your child need any help or direction in getting ready for this big day.

Many parents have asked me what

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