In 10th grade I took the ACT and received a score of 35/36, placing me in the 99.7th percentile for all test takers; the average ACT score at Harvard and MIT is 34. Since then I've gained a deep understanding of what effective SAT/ACT preparation looks like. I tailor completely individualized SAT/ACT lessons for every student, teaching the specific techniques and strategies that will work best for each student. I also create completely individualized homework for each lesson.
My in-home rate for test preparation is $75/hour (paid after each lesson). I generally recommend 12 to 24 hours of SAT/ACT tutoring.
To achieve large score improvements on the SAT and ACT, it is imperative for students to do the homework. Score improvements of 5+ on the ACT and 200+ on the SAT are typical when students complete all of the homework I assign. To this end, I ask that students and parents treat SAT/ACT preparation as the top academic concern while they are engaged in it. Let's do some math:
- I recommend 12 to 24 hours of SAT or ACT tutoring for most students.
- I assign approximately 2 hours of homework for every hour of SAT or ACT tutoring, which is 24 to 48 total hours of homework.
- That comes out to 36-72 hours spent on SAT/ACT preparation, which should result in a substantial boost to a student's SAT or ACT score.
OK. Now, here are the things that colleges care about most:
- Maintaining a high GPA and taking challenging courses during high school (45%)
- SAT and/or ACT scores (25%)
- Extracurriculars (15%)
- Application essays (15%)
If we assume that high school students spend on average 7 hours a day physically present at school, as well as 1.5 hours a day on homework, for 180 days a year, for 4 years, we calculate that the typical high school student spends approximately 6,000 hours on high school. And depending on the commitment, students spend anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand hours on extracurriculars.
SAT/ACT preparation is the quickest and most straightforward way to improve a student's chances of acceptance to any and all colleges. Students who prioritize test preparation (by doing all of the assigned homework) will attain their goals.
In the table below I compiled the estimated cost of private SAT/ACT tutoring for some of the main national and local companies.