Test Prep Overview

Lisa T.

"Fantastic. Needed ACT prep which is hard to find. They matched us with the tutor named Vivia who could not have been more perfect for my artsy daughter. They meet every Sunday, and she's getting so much out of it. Can't recommend this any higher."
2018-05-04T11:52:43+00:00
"Fantastic. Needed ACT prep which is hard to find. They matched us with the tutor named Vivia who could not have been more perfect for my artsy daughter. They meet every Sunday, and she's getting so much out of it. Can't recommend this any higher."

Margie M.

"My son and I could not have gone through the college testing and application process without Great Expectations. They made a very overwhelming process understandable and manageable. They were able to manage our concerns as parents and my son’s need to be independent, all the while securing a 530-point increase on the SAT and 6-point jump on the ACT. Our tutor was gifted and a true asset to our family. Hats off to you!"
2015-02-26T00:23:25+00:00
"My son and I could not have gone through the college testing and application process without Great Expectations. They made a very overwhelming process understandable and manageable. They were able to manage our concerns as parents and my son’s need to be independent, all the while securing a 530-point increase on the SAT and 6-point jump on the ACT. Our tutor was gifted and a true asset to our family. Hats off to you!"

Jamie M.

"My test scores improved dramatically in each section because GE helped me understand the nuances of the tests and how to attack each section in the way best fit to my skills. I would highly recommend the tutors at Great Expectations – not only do they teach you everything you need to know about the SAT, ACT, or college applications, but they develop a relationship with you filled with trust, kindness, and teamwork."
2015-02-26T00:22:20+00:00
"My test scores improved dramatically in each section because GE helped me understand the nuances of the tests and how to attack each section in the way best fit to my skills. I would highly recommend the tutors at Great Expectations – not only do they teach you everything you need to know about the SAT, ACT, or college applications, but they develop a relationship with you filled with trust, kindness, and teamwork."

Jennifer E.

"The tutors at GE prep don’t let you slack off — many of my friends took prep courses with a group of people or in a classroom setting where they were able to get away with not completing their assigned practice tests, and were also not shown techniques that might have worked best for them individually. Working one-on-one with a tutor who knows you very well is a crucial component in getting the best score a student can on a standardized test! I am so grateful for the personalized techniques and attention I had when preparing for the ACT because I couldn’t have been more pleased with the result."
2015-02-26T00:21:13+00:00
"The tutors at GE prep don’t let you slack off — many of my friends took prep courses with a group of people or in a classroom setting where they were able to get away with not completing their assigned practice tests, and were also not shown techniques that might have worked best for them individually. Working one-on-one with a tutor who knows you very well is a crucial component in getting the best score a student can on a standardized test! I am so grateful for the personalized techniques and attention I had when preparing for the ACT because I couldn’t have been more pleased with the result."

Jenn K.

"I wasn’t treated just like any high school student; I was able to focus on my weaknesses and enhance my skills. My tutor was very knowledgeable about the intricacies of both the ACT and the SAT. Because of this, I was able to study more efficiently for each of them. With the help of my GE tutor, I scored a 34 on my ACT, a 2190 on my SAT and was admitted to Amherst College (my top choice) Early Decision."
2015-02-26T00:17:38+00:00
"I wasn’t treated just like any high school student; I was able to focus on my weaknesses and enhance my skills. My tutor was very knowledgeable about the intricacies of both the ACT and the SAT. Because of this, I was able to study more efficiently for each of them. With the help of my GE tutor, I scored a 34 on my ACT, a 2190 on my SAT and was admitted to Amherst College (my top choice) Early Decision."

Dani H.

"I worked with my tutor to determine which test was better for me -- SAT or ACT -- and I chose to focus on the ACT, eventually improving 6 points."
2015-02-24T23:32:17+00:00
"I worked with my tutor to determine which test was better for me -- SAT or ACT -- and I chose to focus on the ACT, eventually improving 6 points."

Donna B.

"Great Expectations is a tremendous asset in preparing for all the different standardized tests and also helping with the application process. The time spent with our tutor not only resulted in scores higher than we’d ever hoped for, but it was also an enjoyable experience. She knew how to manage a very stressful time and keep the pressure to a minimum. We highly recommend Great Expectations to any family."
2015-02-24T23:27:37+00:00
"Great Expectations is a tremendous asset in preparing for all the different standardized tests and also helping with the application process. The time spent with our tutor not only resulted in scores higher than we’d ever hoped for, but it was also an enjoyable experience. She knew how to manage a very stressful time and keep the pressure to a minimum. We highly recommend Great Expectations to any family."

Kari M.

"Fantastic ACT prep! Highly recommended! Great tutoring, materials and practice tests, all at a great price. My daughter went from a 26 to a 33! Vivia is an amazing tutor! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
2018-05-04T11:51:38+00:00
"Fantastic ACT prep! Highly recommended! Great tutoring, materials and practice tests, all at a great price. My daughter went from a 26 to a 33! Vivia is an amazing tutor! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Cameron B.

"I'm so thankful I had Jen Kaifesh and Great Expectations to depend on to provide my two sons with good subject test, ACT and SAT tutors and college application essay writing counselors over the past three years. It was very convenient to only have to call one place for all our college prep assistance. When I had a specific question about something in the application process, Jen always offered me quick and useful advice. And, when I had a concern with a tutor one time, Jen jumped right in and immediately addressed the problem herself. Jen and her crew kept our family sane during this stressful process AND both my boys got into great universities. So, in sum, Great Expectations is the perfect size- small enough to offer personal service but big enough to offer a wide array of qualified tutors/counselors. Thank you so much Jen and Great Expectations."
2018-05-04T11:55:26+00:00
"I'm so thankful I had Jen Kaifesh and Great Expectations to depend on to provide my two sons with good subject test, ACT and SAT tutors and college application essay writing counselors over the past three years. It was very convenient to only have to call one place for all our college prep assistance. When I had a specific question about something in the application process, Jen always offered me quick and useful advice. And, when I had a concern with a tutor one time, Jen jumped right in and immediately addressed the problem herself. Jen and her crew kept our family sane during this stressful process AND both my boys got into great universities. So, in sum, Great Expectations is the perfect size- small enough to offer personal service but big enough to offer a wide array of qualified tutors/counselors. Thank you so much Jen and Great Expectations."

Gerry G.

"We are extremely satisfied and grateful Great Expectations customers. We have used its services for several years, including to advise and assist our son with applications to high school and college. Great Expectations provided invaluable assistance with test preparation, essays, the common application, UC applications and other application hurdles. Throughout the otherwise daunting process, founder Jen Kaifesh, Erica Flener and others at Great Expectations have been consistently well-informed, thoughtful, patient and tactful. They helped keep our son organized and energized, and let us maintain family harmony by allowing his parents to step out of the college application process, knowing it was being well-handled. Thanks to Great Expectations our son ultimately had his choice of several excellent colleges!"
2018-05-04T11:50:39+00:00
"We are extremely satisfied and grateful Great Expectations customers. We have used its services for several years, including to advise and assist our son with applications to high school and college. Great Expectations provided invaluable assistance with test preparation, essays, the common application, UC applications and other application hurdles. Throughout the otherwise daunting process, founder Jen Kaifesh, Erica Flener and others at Great Expectations have been consistently well-informed, thoughtful, patient and tactful. They helped keep our son organized and energized, and let us maintain family harmony by allowing his parents to step out of the college application process, knowing it was being well-handled. Thanks to Great Expectations our son ultimately had his choice of several excellent colleges!"

Chris I.

"HAPPY CUSTOMER: Our son's final ACT score jumped 8 points! I wanted to express our gratitude for the tremendous job performance and support that Great Expectations' tutor extended to my son while helping to prepare him for taking the ACT exam. The result of this one-on-one work is self-explanatory if you look at the scores. My son's first proctored ACT test concluded with a composite score of 21. While working with the tutor, the scores continued to improve. We're elated to share that after working with the Great Expectations tutor, our son's final ACT score jumped 8 points! In fact, we are convinced that if we needed to work toward an even higher score, continued work would create even better results. The cost for tutoring was worth it!! We could not be more pleased."
2018-05-04T11:58:35+00:00
"HAPPY CUSTOMER: Our son's final ACT score jumped 8 points! I wanted to express our gratitude for the tremendous job performance and support that Great Expectations' tutor extended to my son while helping to prepare him for taking the ACT exam. The result of this one-on-one work is self-explanatory if you look at the scores. My son's first proctored ACT test concluded with a composite score of 21. While working with the tutor, the scores continued to improve. We're elated to share that after working with the Great Expectations tutor, our son's final ACT score jumped 8 points! In fact, we are convinced that if we needed to work toward an even higher score, continued work would create even better results. The cost for tutoring was worth it!! We could not be more pleased."

Lisa G.

"Best investment ever for my son! He wanted to go to a 4 year college and at risk of not getting in! Jennifer tutored him to achieve a great score on ACT and that helped him get into the college of his choice. She did all the work with him on the application process and helped us pick the most appropriate schools to apply. Today we are on a college tour of his first pick and thrilled he was accepted! We owe it all to Jennifer at Great Expectations. Thank you Jennifer. We are truly grateful and owe this accomplishment to you!"
2018-05-04T13:00:11+00:00
"Best investment ever for my son! He wanted to go to a 4 year college and at risk of not getting in! Jennifer tutored him to achieve a great score on ACT and that helped him get into the college of his choice. She did all the work with him on the application process and helped us pick the most appropriate schools to apply. Today we are on a college tour of his first pick and thrilled he was accepted! We owe it all to Jennifer at Great Expectations. Thank you Jennifer. We are truly grateful and owe this accomplishment to you!"

Dallas M.

"I used the services of Great Expectations for over two years and am so grateful for every session. My tutor helped me with everything from testing to the application process. My test scores improved dramatically in each section because GE helped me understand the nuances of the tests and how to attack each section in the way that best fit to my skills. In addition, the college application process felt so smooth with the help of my GE tutor. I was confident in my essays and knew that I was turning in the best applications I could. Overall, I would highly recommend the tutors at Great Expectations - not only do they teach you everything you need to know about the SAT, ACT, or college applications, but they develop a relationship with you filled with trust, kindness, and teamwork."
2018-05-04T13:02:05+00:00
"I used the services of Great Expectations for over two years and am so grateful for every session. My tutor helped me with everything from testing to the application process. My test scores improved dramatically in each section because GE helped me understand the nuances of the tests and how to attack each section in the way that best fit to my skills. In addition, the college application process felt so smooth with the help of my GE tutor. I was confident in my essays and knew that I was turning in the best applications I could. Overall, I would highly recommend the tutors at Great Expectations - not only do they teach you everything you need to know about the SAT, ACT, or college applications, but they develop a relationship with you filled with trust, kindness, and teamwork."

Standardized tests enable admissions officers, whether at private middle/high schools or universities, to differentiate between two applicants who might otherwise seem academically identical. But let’s be honest — we all know that an “A” at one school isn’t always the same as an “A” at another. Standardized tests are meant to level the playing field and help colleges determine how challenging and thorough your school’s curriculum is, all while measuring your basic skill sets.

scantronUnfortunately, because many students believe that good grades beget good standardized test scores (and vice versa), they fail to prepare for these tests. The fact is, GPA isn’t a reliable predictor because these tests don’t just test how much you know, but how well you take tests.

In the college admissions process, four hours of testing carries as much weight as four years of extracurricular activities.

Learning to navigate the standard tricks and traps, utilize strategies to help narrow down answers, and make the clock work for instead of against you can mean the difference between your top choice and a safety school. Contact us today to discover how!


FAQs

Which test should I take — the SAT or ACT?

The most common strategic error high school students make: jumping into the SAT without considering the ACT. Both are accepted by all universities and respected equally, and with the redesigned SAT on the market, the ACT is actually the only known entity for Admissions Officers. In the past, the SAT was a better exam for students who struggled with pacing but excelled at thinking outside the box. The new version, however, is eerily reminiscent of the ACT’s format and question type — the most noticeable difference is that the new SAT’s Math section is far more challenging and tests students on higher level math. Since the ACT is a proven, trusted exam and the redesigned SAT is a tougher newcomer with a greater margin of uncertainty, it seems wise for most students to focus on the ACT.

It’s worth pointing out that, historically, College Board has been more liberal with accommodations, so if you are seeking extended time, you are perhaps more likely to have it granted for the SAT. For more information, please visit our Extended Time page.

NOTE: We do NOT recommend taking the exams that some companies and schools offer that are half ACT, half SAT, and basing your decision on which section you scored highest. If you got distracted on one section — or struggled on a single passage — your score would be skewed. Additionally, how would you possibly do well on a section you’ve never seen before (the ACT Science section, for instance) if you have no clue what it’s testing or how to approach it? These blind tests (which you take without any introduction to the material) are NOT good gauges of which you’ll do better on after learning some fundamental facts/strategies for each.

We will work together to determine which exam is best for your particular skill set. Do you excel at thinking outside the box? Are time limitations a problem for you? For those students who don’t know which exam they want to pursue, we offer a summer program that is an efficient, cost-effective way to truly determine which test is the best fit. We encourage you to visit our High School Summer Programs page to learn more about what the program offers, how it works, et cetera.

How much will my SAT or ACT score improve?

While all students obviously start from different points, the average SAT score increase for our students in the Class of 2016 was 320 points, and for the ACT, 4 points. Subject test improvement varied by subject.

When should I start test prep?

Many students begin prepping for the SAT/ACT as early as the summer before their junior year, while others put it off until fall of their senior year. Whether you fall in the first or last group (or somewhere in between), the important thing is that you wait until you have taken the necessary high school courses (particularly math) and leave yourself enough time to take the exam more than once.

Athletes on the recruitment path typically need to start preparing at the end of sophomore year or very beginning of junior year in order to have scores to share with coaches — but this does depend on the sport and division, as the recruitment timeline can vary.

From our experience, though, for the average high schooler, the optimal time for test prep is spring of Junior year; you’ve likely learned everything you need to know by this point, and you don’t have to balance college essays and applications, like you would in the fall of senior year. Our goal is for students to start preparing in January and wrap up their final test date (we encourage taking it 2-3 times) by June so you’re completely done by the time summer begins.

Based on your performance in school, extracurricular commitments, and college goals, we will determine the right time for you!

How many sessions will I need?

The answer to this, of course, depends entirely on what you hope to accomplish. Some students only want a few sessions to review the broad strokes of the SAT/ACT, while others set weekly or bi-weekly sessions that span several months to cover specific problem types and increase their scores as much as possible. Still others are looking for assistance preparing for Subject Tests and AP exams, as well. Based on the number of exams you are preparing for and the score improvement you are seeking, we will sit down and come up with a plan that fits your goals.

Explore our various Private Tutoring packages and Founder’s Circle Packages to determine which is best for you!

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