Test-Day Tips

Vince Kotchian Test Prep

SAT, ACT, & GRE Classes + Tutoring

Welcome!

We help people get competitive SAT, ACT, and GRE scores.

People work with us in a couple of ways:

1. Small group SAT, ACT, and GRE classes

2. One-on-one GRE, ACT, and SAT tutoring

Since SAT, ACT, and GRE prep is all we do, we’re experts. Working with us gives people the deep understanding they’ll need to achieve the kind of score improvement that makes a difference.

Learn more about getting your SAT, ACT, or GRE black belt here. Or keep scrolling to read more about us. 

We’re looking to hire another test proctor to administer SAT / ACT tests on Saturdays - email us for details.

SAT, PSAT, ACT, and GRE Prep

Need Advice? You're in the right place.

Why We're Really Good At This

Hi! I'm Vince.

Test prep is my career: I'm the founder here at Vince Kotchian Test Prep, and I've been tutoring and teaching classes for the SAT, ACT, and GRE full-time since 2008.

I've also written several test-prep books, and I've created GRE, SAT, and ACT video courses for LinkedIn Learning.

Matt, Blake, Bronte, Bridget, and I are test experts, but we're good at what we do for a few other reasons, too:

Sense of humor: Test prep is important, but being serious all the time is boring!

Kindness: We think friendliness, compassion, and empathy are vital to good teaching.

Empowerment: Half (or more) of the battle is to teach students how to get things done at home.

Also: We're Independent and only operate here, in San Diego. Just as your local taco shop is a million times better than Taco Bell and farmer's market veggies make the ones at Costco taste like cardboard, we're better than big test prep companies since we're focused on quality, not quantity.

Vince, Matt, Blake, Bronte, & Bridget

About

Vince Kotchian

Meet the Vince Kotchian Test Prep tutors. We range from having a few years to more than 10 years of experience, but we all have the same approach and philosophy.

Please note that all of us who tutor in person also tutor online.

Vince: I grew up in small-town Connecticut and completed the honors program at Boston College, graduating with a B.A. in English Literature. Though I loved the intellectual climate of Boston, it eventually dawned on me that life would be much better without Boston’s physical climate (long, gray winters and muggy summers)! I moved to San Diego in 2007, and I’ve been working full-time as a test-prep tutor and author ever since. When a student texts me that she aced the test or got into her reach school, I still literally jump up and down and grin.

In my spare time, I like traveling using miles and points (next trips are Spain and Japan), reading fiction (favorite authors too numerous to list but include Haruki Murakami, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Philip Pullman), watching The Great British Bake-Off (and sometimes actually baking things), hiking and camping, and rooting for the Red Sox and Patriots. I live in the Kensington neighborhood with my hilarious wife and our crazy cat.

Vince tutors the SAT, ACT, and GRE (and teaches classes). 

Vince meets with students in his Sorrento Valley office or online, and he can be reached at (760) 542-8395 (phone or text).

Meet Matt

Matt Sheelen

Matt: I am originally from Hopkinton, Massachusetts - the start of the historic Boston Marathon. I went to college at Northwestern University, where I graduated with a degree in Theatre. After college, I wised up and moved to the warmer coast. I worked in Los Angeles for many years as a full-time SAT / ACT tutor and part-time arts educator.

I have been tutoring for over 10 years and have spent thousands of hours helping students improve their scores. Recently, I moved to San Diego after getting a M.A. in Education from Stanford University, and I currently work as a credentialed classroom teacher.

When I’m not working, I enjoy good books, performing improv comedy, surfing, watching Game of Thrones, and enjoying the charms of San Diego. I live in North Park, where I love to get out and take advantage of all the delicious food in the area. I am also a huge Boston sports fan - the Patriots, Red Sox, and Celtics are my favorite teams.

Matt tutors the SAT and ACT (and teaches classes). He also tutors the ISEE.

He is based in North Park and can be reached at (323) 761-0170 (phone or text).

this is blake

Blake Jensen

Blake:  I’m a native San Diegan, father, and an aficionado of basketball, vintage video games, pitchy karaoke, and lecturing my son on how much better Star Wars was "back in the day." I played college basketball at St. Mary’s College and Whittier College where I earned my B.A. in Psychology in 2002. 

My most important college mentors were coaches and teachers, so once I realized I didn't want to chase the dream of professional basketball, it’s not surprising that I turned to teaching and tutoring as a career. After college, I taught high school chemistry and started doing some individual tutoring on the side. I realized both that I had a knack for understanding the psychology of standardized tests and that I preferred individualized tutoring to teaching in crowded classrooms of 35 students. Ten years later, I’m a full-time test prep tutor and I believe that makes a big difference in the kind of expertise and tangible results I can offer. 

Blake tutors the SAT, ACT, and GRE (and teaches classes).

He meets people in his Rancho Santa Fe office or online and can be reached at (858) 367-0187 (phone or text).

Hey Bronte!

Bronte D'Acquisto

Bronte: My fondest memories of growing up here in San Diego are the Sunday evenings I spent cruising the beaches of Coronado with a gyro in one hand and a portable camera in the other (the kind you had to drop off at CVS to get developed)!

After graduating from SDSU, I accepted my first job as a SAT/ACT instructor. I quickly realized that my ability to be meticulous, my passion for problem solving and puzzles, and my inherent drive to organize information allowed me to mechanically maneuver students through standardized tests.

After living in Denver for the better part of five years, I moved back here - as beautiful as a white Christmas was, I recently became an aunt and knew I had to get home to my family. You can still find me hanging out on the sand, although my portable camera has been replaced with a math book and my gyro with an acai bowl.

Bronte tutors the SAT, ACT, and GRE (and teaches classes).

She meets with students in her Point Loma office or online and can be reached at (619) 249-2657 (phone or text).

Bonjour, Bridget

Bridget Vaughan

 

BridgetI am a Del Mar & La Jolla native and a Bishop’s alumna, but now reside in the foggier half of California. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley, and am currently pursuing a Master of Translational Medicine at UCSF & Berkeley

In college, I helped create and T.A. for a course titled ‘Sense and Sensibility and Science,’ which combined physics, philosophy, and public policy. Outside of studying and tutoring, I rowed crew, played club water polo, and wrote as a university journalist.

I studied abroad at the University of Queensland, camped across the South Island of New Zealand, and am always up for a great road trip.

I have always enjoyed getting to know my students' unique learning styles to determine the most effective way to improve their testing abilities. I love the variety of working in the early afternoon with a sophomore through a difficult geometry problem, and wrapping up the night showing a senior a time-saving ACT science trick. Seeing the light-bulb moments makes it all worth it!

My favorite San Diego activities to come home to are going to dog beach, hiking Torrey Pines, and perusing local farmers markets.

Bridget tutors the SAT and ACT.

She is only available for online tutoring and can be reached at (858) 652-1591 (phone or text).

a few of my favorite testimonials

Raves

To see all of our reviews, check out Yelp and Google. We have more 5-star reviews than any other local test prep company.

 

(Student) and I will always be grateful to you for all the support and guidance you provided to him which enabled him to do amazing on his SAT. He was also thrilled that he only had to take it one time. I will admit, getting private SAT tutoring was definitely a sacrifice... but it was honestly the absolute BEST investment. (Student's) GPA is not very high, so I know his SAT score really helped him, not only with being admitted to every school he applied to, but also with the merit scholarships he earned.(College) offered him a guaranteed slot into their direct entry doctorate program as well as a full-tuition scholarship beginning freshman year and continuing until the completion of his doctoral program.

– SAT Parent

 

162 verbal; 161 math. 5.5 AWA. I’ll take it!!! Thank you so much for all of your help while I was preparing for the GRE. I didn’t feel like a doofus while you read my essays and taught me math, and I didn’t feel like a doofus while taking my test (which I know helped)! Plus we shared a few laughs, and I love laughing! You rock; thanks so much for everything.

– GRE Student, San Diego

(Student was accepted into Columbia’s journalism school.)

 

I stress to the maximum when it comes to generalized tests, to the point where I can't focus or even think straight! I had previously taken the GRE twice before taking Vince's class and did not meet my expectations or schools’ expectations, but I increased all around with scores and expectations after taking his class! *He taught multiple applications for each question and how to find the best solution (on an individual basis) for finding the answer. *He is super calm (which helped my ever speedy brain to process what I needed to) and went through questions and processes step by step. *He answered ALL of my questions (I had tons) and checked for clarification. He often expanded beyond what I had asked and helped me to understand where my logic was either correct or not and suggested helpful tips on how to improve. *He is very personable; I felt like he wanted my classmates and I to succeed, which helped with overall morale. Overall, if you are looking for a superb GRE prep class look no further, Vince's class is it! Take it - you won't regret it!

-GRE Student, San Diego

 

Our daughter worked with Matt Sheelen to prepare for the ACT, and she could not have been more pleased. Matt gave her clear strategies to improve in the areas that she needed to most, and, from her 1st practice test to the real test, she raised her score 8 points! She did so well on the actual test the 1st time she took it, that she did not even need to re-take it, as many students choose to do. On top of Matt's expertise, he happens to be a really great guy that relates well to teens (and their parents :-) ). My daughter really enjoyed working with him and we highly recommend him.

– ACT Parent

 

I’ve recommended Vince to my friends for their children and am happy to recommend him to you. Vince worked with (student) via Skype because we live out of the area. They quickly established a great rapport and the results were fantastic! (Student) got a 32 on the ACT and has been admitted to Stanford — and is also being considered for merit scholarships at UC Berkeley and USC. Thank you Vince! We appreciate all your help!

- ACT parent

 

I worked one on one with Matt for about 9 months in total to prepare for my ACT. I took the real test once and got a respectable score, but we decided that I could definitely push further to improve. The second time taking the ACT, my Math section improved by 4 points and my Science by 6 points from the first test, and I received a perfect score (36) in both the English and Reading sections! I loved working with Matt because he is so positive and intelligent. He is very patient and really seems to care about his students and cater to their learning styles. I would definitely recommend him to anyone who wants to improve their standardized test scores!

– ACT Student

 

I took the ACT in June and got a 23. I started seeing Vince in late July and then got a 28 on my September ACT and a 30 on my October ACT. The super score between my last two is a 31! Vince is amazing!! I did not think it was possible to go up 8 points. He taught me "mantras" to remind myself during the test. Having severe ADHD and Dyslexia, this was never a score I would expect to receive; I was hoping for a 27 (as a reach.) Vince exceeded my expectations and helped more than I thought possible.

– ACT Student, La Jolla Country Day H.S., San Diego

 

Vince was great. I had a lot of trouble in the reading and writing portion of the test, but he helped me understand and improve those portions. He also is very understanding and easy to talk to. I am naturally a very shy person, but whenever I had a one on one with him, I could always talk to him. He also helped me build up my confidence on the SAT.

– SAT Student, La Jolla Country Day H.S., San Diego

 

I thought you might like to know that (student’s) second SAT scores are in and he accomplished what he set out to do.  He brought up his Verbal score to 790 (from 750) and his Math score to 760 (from 700). Pretty darn good.  Thank you for all your help.

– SAT Parent, The Bishop's School, San Diego

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How We Work

Now that you know a bit more about us, let's talk about how we work with people.

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Copyright 2018 Vince Kotchian Test Prep
5230 Carroll Canyon Road, Suite 206, San Diego CA 92121
Telephone 760-542-8395

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