Standardized tests are here to stay. Not only do colleges use them to determine academic abilities, but also partly base offers of admission on these scores. With competitiveness among college applicants growing, many parents and students should consider a tutor to help prepare for the PSAT, SAT and ACT.
If you’re considering a tutor for test prep or simply for academic help, it is prudent to know how a tutor could assist you and help you improve your scores.
1. A tutor can teach test-taking strategy.
A good tutor can teach you how to approach difficult problems, use complicated math formulas, and work through verbal passages even if you don’t know the vocabulary used. Learning the formulas and vocabulary tactics can significantly reduce the time spent on each part of the test. Since the tests are timed, a student with strong time management skills will have more time to answer the questions and complete the writing passages, thus completing the test without skipping questions. Tutors can also help with educated guesses and teach you how to recognize the most logical answer to difficult questions.
2. A tutor can identify strengths and weaknesses.
Even though these tests are standardized, no two test-takers are the same. Each student has certain areas where they consistently perform better and areas where they struggle. A good tutor can help assess the areas of weakness and develop a plan to improve them. Students who may excel with writing might struggle in the multiple-choice sections, especially with math. If a student has difficulty with essay prompts, a tutor should be able to help with brainstorming, outlining, and writing within test time limits. This helps you avoid sacrificing valuable time and apply it towards other parts of the test.
3. A tutor can help with motivation.
Students who are college-bound are already busy with multiple tasks. It’s easy to get bogged down and push test prep to the back burner. A good tutor can provide more than help with the test. They can provide you with guidance, motivation, and encouragement when test prep seems overwhelming and difficult. Tutors have experience with these standardized tests, along with college preparation, and will offer more than strategies. They will support you mentally and empathize with you when needed.
4. A tutor can help relieve stress.
Preparing for college is a stressful time. Many important decisions are being considered and choices made that will significantly affect your future. Since colleges rely heavily on standardized tests to determine admission, a tutor can help alleviate test anxiety by making you feel better prepared. It makes perfect sense, that when you have studied and feel ready to conquer the test, you will think more positively about the outcome. And that results in better performance and a better score.
5. A tutor can be a positive presence.
A tutor can become a positive influence in your life by speaking from experience about the situation. Whether the tutor is older or of college age, there are benefits to both. An older tutor might help cushion the tension between you and your parents over test prep and the college admissions process. A younger tutor, like a current college student, can provide a different perspective and help foster enthusiasm and excitement about your future long after completing the test and you have been accepted to college. Either way, you will benefit from the tutor’s knowledge and experience and you won’t be facing the test alone.
6. Tutoring can mean more than prep for test day.
Of course, standardized tests are important, but don't forget to think about the skills you will learn and the knowledge you will gain by working with a tutor. A tutor can teach you valuable study strategies and learning tools applicable to college. Hiring a test prep tutor might very well be the best decision you and your parents make to secure a positive academic future.