Test-Day Tips

Vince Kotchian Test Prep

SAT, ACT, & GRE Classes + Tutoring


We're six expert tutors who help motivated people raise their SAT, ACT, and GRE scores.

People work with us in a couple of ways:

1. Small group SAT, ACT, and GRE classes (at our San Diego locations)

2. One-on-one GRE, ACT, and SAT tutoring (in person or online)

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

GRE, ACT, and SAT Prep

Need Advice? You're in the right place.

Why We're Really Good At This

Our Strengths and Values

Hi! I'm Vince, and I'm the founder here at Vince Kotchian Test Prep.

Unlike most companies, we don't do subject tutoring or college counseling, so we can focus on being SAT, ACT, and GRE experts.

We have a few other qualities that are important, 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 we 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.

Our Team


Vince Kotchian

Tutor Bios

Vince: I grew up in small-town Connecticut and completed the honors program at Boston College, graduating with a B.A. in English Literature. I moved to San Diego in 2007, and I’ve been working full-time as a test-prep tutor ever since. Along the way, I've written some test-prep books and courses, but I still enjoy tutoring, even after 11 years. 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 (Japan is our favorite country to visit), reading (favorite authors include Haruki Murakami, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 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 teaches all of our GRE classes in our Sorrento Valley office.

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, ACT, and GRE (and teaches classes).

He is based in North Park and also tutors online.

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 (whenever), in his Sorrento Valley office (before 2 p.m. on weekdays), or online.

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.

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.

Hello, Lauren!

Lauren Hammond

Lauren: I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and Writing at Cal State San Marcos, and my Master’s Degree in English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State. I recently completed my first year of the PhD program in English at the University of California Riverside.

My passion for literature and writing began as a CSUSM undergraduate when I served as a research assistant and helped design a new course on the folklore and mythology in the Harry Potter seriesI now serve as an English instructor for the University Writing Program at UCR. My current work as a PhD student focuses on the materiality of gender, sexuality, and identity in the punk subculture.

I have been a writing consultant for over six years now and I specialize in personal statements and statements of purpose. I also tutor the verbal and essay portions of the GRE, SAT, and ACT.

I love hanging out in San Diego during my downtime! My favorite activities are snorkeling and playing volleyball at the beach, cruising the fun hiking trails, and making my way through all of the local eateries. When I am not at the beach or in the classroom, I am usually napping and cuddling with my dog, Lego.

Lauren tutors the verbal portions of the SAT, ACT, and GRE and helps with personal statements.

She is based in both Riverside and San Diego and can also meet online.

a few of my favorite testimonials


Client TesTimonials

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


Vince, (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


I was tutored by both Vince and Blake for the GRE and they both were excellent! Not only were they both supportive, extremely helpful, and very upfront, I never felt judged or dumb by any questions or concerns I had (something I have experienced by previous tutors). I had taken the GRE 3 times prior before meeting them, and I couldn't do anything to improve my verbal score no matter how much I prepared or studied. I met with them only 4 times, twice with Blake and twice with Vince, and I raised my verbal section 6 points (from a 144 to a 150) and was able finally to meet the criteria I needed to apply to my graduate programs! I wish I had known about their test prep sooner to be able to spend more time with them, but I am so happy I finally did. I highly recommend their test prep as someone who as always struggled with standardized and timed tests. These guys are great at what they do and helped me even when I thought it was too late!

– GRE Student, San Diego


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


My 17 year old daughter used Blake this past summer for a month to help her improve her SAT scores for college admittance. Blake thoroughly trained her for the test and she felt prepared going in on text day. Her scores went up 200 points with Blake's fantastic tutoring help. She got a 1250 and is thrilled. Blake is worth every penny of your time. Thank you again.

- SAT parent


My daughter worked with Bronte D’Acquisto for about two months to prepare for her SAT and ACT. Bronte’s help was invaluable! She assessed where Fiona’s strong points and weak points were on both tests, and worked to improve on the weak points. They offered proctored practice tests so you can take the test in a testing situation, which I highly recommend. My daughter got exceptional scores on both tests on the first attempt, and I think Bronte’s focused tutoring made all the difference. Thank you!!

– ACT Parent


We were given Vince’s name by friends of ours. After emailing him about my daughter and her specific needs he recommended Bridget as a great fit to help her prepare for the ACT. My daughter has dyslexia and we needed a tutor to help her navigate the test with that in mind. Bridget was also able to meet with my daughter via Skype which I loved. It was one less lesson we had to drive to. Bridget helped my daughter improve her scores and built her confidence as well. Thank you so much!

– 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


Vince, 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

Ready to get started?

How We Work

Let's Get this test prep Party started

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


Learn more

Copyright 2019 Vince Kotchian Test Prep
5230 Carroll Canyon Road, Suite 206, San Diego CA 92121
Telephone 760-542-8395

Hand-Crafted by Flylight Media, Portsmouth NH