If you want to do well on the SAT or ACT, you will need a tutor. Tutors are no longer an optional part of this process. Before you disagree or give an account of someone who never opened a prep book and got a perfect score, consider the logic of the following:
- Only one percent of students can earn a perfect score.
- Most students work to earn the best scores possible.
- Test preparation materials, test strategies, and tutoring methods have improved steadily.
Therefore: Since only 1% of these well-prepared students can earn a perfect score, the tests must become more difficult to compensate for the gains students receive from test preparation.
SAT and ACT aren’t that far away for me, I remember what was involved with my preparation back then, and as a tutor I can see what is involved with SAT/ACT preparation now. The tests are simply more difficult than they were before. So difficult in fact, that I’ve never met a student adequately prepared to take the SAT/ACT from their High School curriculum alone. Students NEED tutors and preparation now in order to be competitive for the highest test scores.
A good metaphor for the increase in the trend of overall standardized testing difficulty is the discovery of penicillin. In the beginning, penicillin was a miracle drug. Now, penicillin must be used in quantities that are almost toxic or alternate/specialized types of antibiotics need to replace penicillin because the bacterium have evolved and become more resistant to these medicines.
Likewise, it takes more preparation now than before to get to the stellar scores. Also, it takes a great teacher armed with tips and techniques to instill the skills necessary for students to outshine other ambitious and hard-working people.
The curve keeps getting steeper and the competition is using tutors, taking practice tests, and starting their preparation earlier (summer of their sophomore year or before). The only way to close the gap is to work harder and smarter. Slow and steady wins the race.
And, of course, you will need a great tutor.
By Grant Bergland, Private Tutor