Video: How SAT / ACT Prep is like the Pizza Industry
The most important factor in SAT / ACT prep is the person teaching you.
Private ACT tutoring from veteran tutors
In our view, the very most important question for parents to ask is this:
"Who, exactly, will be the person teaching my kid?"
We're the most expensive ACT tutors in San Diego. Why? In stark contrast to our competitors who employ a rotating cast of 23-year-olds, our tutors have an average of 10 years of experience. We pay them really well because we only hire tutors who are extremely good at what they do. We're definitely not trying to serve everyone, but if you're a savvy parent with a smart, motivated kid, you're probably in the right place.
One-on-one tutoring, with us, is completely customized to your learning style, personality, and needs.
Talking through the nuances of ACT practice questions not only allows us to explain, in detail, the strategies that work, but that conversation also allows us to see what a student is thinking, ask the right questions to test understanding, and adjust our instruction minute-by-minute.
"What are the benefits of ACT tutoring?"
- Instruction tailored to your child's learning style, motivation level, and personality
- The opportunity to talk through the nuances of questions with someone with several years of experience with the test
- Homework adjusted to your specific needs
- Accountability and encouragement :)
"When should ACT tutoring begin?"
About 10-12 weeks before a certain official ACT date, but that might depend a little bit on a student's situation. A great time to start ACT prep is the summer before junior year - and often students take the test once in the fall at the beginning of junior year and once in the spring, though some take it as late as the fall of senior year.
"How often should we meet with a tutor?"
Typically, ACT tutoring works well if we meet once a week for 90 minutes, though that can vary. Ideally, the student will also have time to do about 3 hours of homework for us each week to practice more on their own.
"Can you help with college admissions?"
We work closely with some great consultants if you'd like help with college admissions. Let us know if you'd like a referral.
Private ACT tutoring is simply the most effective and efficient way to raise scores.
Look for each tutor's location and pricing in their bio. Questions? Contact any of them directly.
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.
Having been a full-time test prep coach for over 13 years, I have seen just about every type of student and tutoring situation. This allows me to give my students exactly what they need to reach their goals.
My years of experience have also led me to coach my students a little differently than most. A lot of test prep revolves around how to answer a question. While that is a necessary component, identifying what is needed to answer a question is at least as important, especially for timed tests like the SAT and ACT. I show my students how to look at the test the way I do, to the patterns and tendencies of the tests to make them faster and more accurate.
Though I still work with students of all types, these days I tend to specialize in students with ambitious score goals.
ACT tutoring with Blake is $275 / hour (or $248 / hour for 10 or more hours).
"I wanted to write this post and thank Blake for the EXTRAORDINARY work he did with my daughter in training her, encouraging her, and giving her the tools to get a near perfect score on the ACT. I am an educator myself, training medical students, residents, and fellows to be the next generation of healthcare leaders. I will be taking a page from Blake’s book on how to be a better educator and mentor to my medical students on the medical ward. If you are a parent deciding on which test prep is the “BEST” for your child, there is no question, Vince Kotchian Test Prep is worth every penny. I have barely time to write reviews with my busy schedule, but this is a review I am blessed to write. Thank you Blake for making a difference." - Sivaraman Gounder
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. I usually have something in common with every student - my interests are really diverse!
ACT tutoring with Matt is $200 an hour ($180 / hour for 10 or more hours). He meets with students online via Zoom, and in person in North Park or Mission Valley. Matt specializes in helping students set and achieve ambitious score goals, as well as helping them build their confidence and test-taking abilities.
"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." - Diane Mack
Kaitlin: I am originally from Amarillo, TX, where I developed a love of BBQ, country music, and beautiful sunsets (I can still get about 2 out of 3 of these things in San Diego).
I attended the University of Pennsylvania and received a B.S.E. in chemical engineering with minors in Spanish and nanotechnology. I also have received my California teaching credential in chemistry. I have taught chemistry and environmental science at the high school level for eight years and currently teach 10th and 12th grade at a private school in San Diego.
At the same time I started classroom teaching, I began tutoring the SAT and ACT. I use my knowledge of classroom teaching to infuse my tutoring sessions with strategies for students to help improve their scores. I love helping students do well on these tests so that they can shine in other areas of their college applications. I never want a test score to limit a student from their potential dreams and goals.
As your child's tutor, I focus on creating clear expectations, providing the best resources and strategy recommendations, being available to answer questions both during and between lessons, filling in gaps in necessary content knowledge, and working with your child's schedule to determine a study plan that makes sense.
If your child experiences test anxiety or if your child needs additional support for ADHD or a learning disorder, the test-taking process can be especially stressful! I include strategies such as clearly documenting progress and homework, chunking homework assignments into smaller pieces and working with the student's schedule (i.e. not treating test prep like it's the only thing on their plate!) to help minimize this stress and support them as much as possible.
SAT tutoring with Kaitlin is $175 per hour ($157.50 / hour for 10 or more hours).
She meets students in person or online.
"I took an initial pre-evaluation ACT to see roughly where I was in terms of general high school knowledge. I scored roughly a 24 composite score. After just 8 individual meetings with Kaitlin Douglass, I scored a 28 on the February ACT! We both knew that I could have scored in the 30s but mistakes can happen! She was still able to help bump my score by 4 points! Not to mention, I scored a 33 on the reading section. All in all, the proof is in the pudding. If they can teach someone who has been out of the high school setting for 4 years how to take the ACT effectively, they can teach you." - Matt Williams
"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
"(Student) and I will always be grateful to you, Vince, 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...especially being both a single mom and a teacher, but it was honestly the absolute BEST investment. His 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. They offered him a guaranteed slot into their direct entry doctor of physical therapy program as well as a full-tuition scholarship beginning freshman year and continuing until the completion of his doctoral program."
- SAT Parent, The Bishop's School