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Quick! The test is this Saturday!

Sometimes, I answer a request for tutoring and I arrive at the student's home with the best intentions when I am greeted with: "Are we glad to see you, the SAT is Saturday and our child needs to know everything about SAT Math!" (Actually you could substitute ACT Math, or reading, or Science, get the picture). I realize then I am about to fall into the "One Star" category.

The reality is that I recommend a MINIMUM of 12 one hour lessons for SAT preparation based upon STUDENT test-taking ability. Dissect what I just wrote. Student test-taking ability is the key phrase. I am not going to be able to teach you math, or English or reading comprehension in 12 hours. You should be up to the challenge of the test and require only "fine tuning", "problem solving strategies" and building the testing skills necessary to do well.

It may be that you need more (or less) prep time, but that is determined by your level of understanding of the testing material and your familiarity with test-taking pressures and strategies. It is also determined by your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you have "no fear" of the Math section, but the Reading and Writing sections are pure torture for you. Or, in the best case you need only a few hours of "brush-up" because you forgot the use of the Pythagorean Equation.

What neither of us needs is the "Tutor-cramming" syndrome. That occurs when the pressure is on to succeed but the available time to learn is not sufficient to the task. Uninteresting concepts are difficult to remember! To remember something requires that it be impressed upon the brain, the best way to do this is periodic study sessions to review material.

When it comes to "Test Prep", a measured approach is necessary. Sufficient time must be allowed BEFORE the exam date for: Practice Testing, Self-Evaluation, Understanding of strengths and weaknesses, recognizing what has to be accomplished and giving the tutor a chance to tutor.

Although I can't do anything about this Saturday's test, I can give you assurance that you will be well prepared for the November test.