Test-Day Tips

SAT, PSAT, ACT, and GRE Prep

Working with us

Our Test Prep Options

We offer SAT, ACT, and GRE classes as well as one-on-one GRE, ACT, and SAT tutoring.

By the way, SAT prep also functions as PSAT prep.

Quick note about the ACT: Did you know ALL colleges accept both the SAT and the ACT and don't prefer one over the other? We think it's important to try both tests, since many students are better at one of them. 

CLASSES

The SAT, ACT, and GRE classes we offer are limited to just 12 students per class and cost $350 - $850.

Complete Class Info

 

Individual Tutoring

We also offer one-on-one tutoring for the SAT, ACT, and GRE.

To start the process, you can contact the tutor you might want to work with to ask any questions you have, figure out where to meet for tutoring, and schedule a consultation.

Other than getting to know each other, the immediate goals of that meeting will be to figure out:

  • what test to take and when to take it
  • what materials to use
  • how often tutoring should occur

Schedule Consultation

 

To learn more about private tutoring for the SAT, ACT, or GRE, just scroll down.

Personalized Tutoring

What's Private Tutoring Like?

Working with an independent tutor is the most efficient and effective way to master the SAT, ACT, or GRE - because every meeting is customized to you. Whether you're [Boston accent] wicked smaht and want to go from 98th to 99th percentile scores - or you want help with almost everything - we'll focus on what you need at all times. Tutoring sessions can be in person or online.

Tutoring students also have the option to take official, proctored practice tests at our Sorrento Valley office.

So what makes us different than the many other options you have?

Long answer: Does your hairdresser do your taxes?

Short answer: we've been doing this for many years.

Tutoring is not a common career, so most tutors - especially those who work for big companies - are working part-time while they finish grad school or look for a "normal" job in their field of interest.

Once these tutors move on, the big company hires more newbies and the cycle repeats.

In contrast, we're in this for the long haul.

Ready to get started? To start the process, you can contact the tutor you might want to work with to ask any questions you have, figure out where to meet for tutoring, and schedule a consultation.

Schedule Consultation

 

Interested in a small group class instead? Scroll down.

Small Group SAT Classes and GRE Classes

SAT Classes and GRE Classes

Some of our class graduates on their way to take the real test.

 

Register Here

 


 

Click here to jump to our SAT and ACT class dates.

 

GRE Class Dates

GRE MATH

Instructor: Blake Jensen
Location: Encinitas Community Center
Starts August 1st
Last class August 29th
(Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm, 5 meetings, $550)
(8 spots left)

GRE VERBAL

Instructor: Vince Kotchian
Location: V.K.T.P.
Starts August 6th
Last class August 20th
(Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm, 3 meetings, $350)
(8 spots left)

GRE MATH

Instructor: Vince Kotchian
Location: V.K.T.P.
Starts August 15th
Last class September 12th
(Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm, 5 meetings, $550)
(9 spots left)

 

SAT / ACT Class Dates

August SAT COMPLETE

Instructor: Matt Sheelen
Location: V.K.T.P.
Starts July 22nd
Last class August 19th
(Sundays, July 22nd class is 12 - 4 pm. All following classes are 10 am - 2 pm, 5 meetings, $850)
(sold out)

AUGUST SAT COMPLETE

Instructor: Bronte D’Acquisto
Location: Moniker Commons
Starts July 22nd
Last class August 19th
(9:30 am - 1:30 pm, 5 meetings, $850)
(5 spots left)

october SAT COMPLETE

Instructor: Matt Sheelen
Location: Hera Hub Sorrento Valley
Starts August 11th
(skips 8/18 and 9/8)
Last class September 29th
(Saturdays, 9:30 am - 1:00 pm, 6 meetings, $850)
(7 spots left)


 

Our GRE classes and SAT classes are limited to just 12 students per class to keep them fun (yes, I said “fun”), interactive, and engaging. 

SAT Class Schedule

GRE Class Schedule

 

What Will This Class Cover?

"SAT Complete" classes cover ALL parts of the SAT.

GRE Math courses cover the math sections of the test and GRE Verbal courses cover the verbal and essay sections - taking both a math and verbal class will prepare you for the entire GRE.

Through conversation, you’ll learn a LOT more about how the test is written and about the rules it plays by than if you were studying on your own. We'll cover both concepts and strategies and throw in every tip, trick, and hack we've learned over the years.

Here are a few of the takeaways:

  • All math concepts explained in plain English
  • How to precisely prove answers for vocab and reading passages
  • A thorough understanding of tested grammar concepts
  • How to deal with tricky critical reasoning questions
  • How to make sure you're ready to write great essays
  • How to develop good technique for verbal and math questions
  • How to squeeze the most value out of practice questions
  • How to effectively study outside of class
  • How to decipher the test's patterns, logic, and rules
  • How to analyze your practice tests and make better test-taking decisions

Everything we do is designed to maximize your test-day performance and your score.

 

What Makes Your Classes Different?

Long answer: Does your hairdresser do your taxes?

Short answer: we've been doing this for many years.

Test prep is not a common career, so most test prep teachers - especially those who work for big organizations - are working part-time while they finish grad school or look for a "normal" job in their field of interest.

Once these instructors move on, the big company hires more newbies and the cycle repeats.

This is why big companies and universities don’t tell you who’s teaching their classes.

 

What Are Former Students Saying?

Check out our reviews on Yelp and Google. We have more 5-star reviews than any other local test prep company. 

 

What’s Included In The Price?

  • All books and materials, which include official practice tests.
  • For SAT students: three official, proctored practice tests (these are held on Saturday mornings in Sorrento Valley and are in addition to the normal class hours).
  • For GRE students: a simulated test day, complete with a full official, proctored practice test (this is in addition to the normal class hours).
  • Video explanations of GRE questions and concepts.

 

Cost? Duration?

GRE: "Verbal" courses are $350 for 9 hours of class time, and "Math" courses are $550 for 15 hours of class time. Taking both Verbal and Math will prepare you for the entire test.

SAT: "Complete" courses are $850 for 20 hours of class time. The price includes 3 official proctored practice tests to be taken outside of normal class hours; class time plus testing time adds up to 32 hours.

 

When Should I Take A Class?

It's usually better to take a class first and then study on your own as opposed to vice versa, because by taking a class, you'll learn how to study more effectively, with the right materials.

The above advice still applies if you need a lot of help with GRE math, or if you haven’t taken a math class since Bill Clinton was in office. Don't worry - most people in our GRE math classes are pretty rusty. However, any math work you have time to do before starting a math class will help you get more out of that class. Contact us for specific recommendations based on your situation.

 

Who Should Not Take A Class?

SAT: If you already have a 1430+ on an official practice test or real test, first of all - nice job, dude. One-on-one tutoring is going to be more efficient and effective to help you get those last few points.

GRE: Everyone, even high scorers, can benefit from a verbal class. Learning precise verbal technique and analysis skills will raise your score quickly.

If you are solid on math concepts, keep in mind that in math classes we spend a lot of time teaching concepts. So, the main benefit to you might be the test-specific techniques we teach as well as the accountability and structure the class provides.

What's that, you say? You know your math concepts AND you have the discipline of a Navy SEAL? Then a half-hour meeting to figure out how to self-study math might be all you need.

Ready to get started?

 

Register for a Class 

Class Registration Form

Register for a Class

Our classes are listed in chronological order of when they begin.

Class Registration
Class policies are at vincekotchian.com/rates/#rates-and-policies
Cardholder Info
Credit Card

Five Things Parents Should Know

1.

Begin with Motivation

 

Dear Parents,

Please read this whole section. It’s important stuff to know.

Best,

Vince

It’s important that you help your kid develop his own drive to do well. YOU are probably motivated for him to succeed, but he must develop his own compelling reasons to get high scores.

  • Have a conversation about what your child wants to do or experience in the future. The answer doesn’t have to have anything to do with a job or career. Just anything he finds interesting or exciting. When I was in high school, I (Vince) had NO IDEA what kind of career or college I wanted, so starting with interests can be a lot easier.
  • Then, talk about how to further those interests. There are ways to pursue most interests both in college and outside of college, so you might as well talk about ALL the options. This way, your kid gets the big picture and doesn’t feel as though he’s being forced to choose college as the next step in his life. Talking about the pros and cons can help going to college be more of a mutual decision.
  • Make a list of colleges that seem to have the attributes that might further your kid’s interests. A college counselor – especially a private counselor – will be helpful here. We all seem to know about certain colleges, but there are many excellent schools you probably haven’t heard about. Note the average ACT and SAT scores for each school and discuss setting a score goal.
  • Agree on a realistic amount of time each week during which your son will study for the ACT / SAT. Schedule it and write it down at the beginning of each week. Check on him every so often to make sure he’s working during those times.

Working with your son or daughter to establish goals and a routine will greatly help the entire process (not to mention make our job a lot easier). Just keep in mind the above conversations may take time.

2.

Understand Test Prep

In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know about SAT and ACT prep.

  • Most of our students have high grades, but many of them don’t do well on the ACT and SAT at first. The process of getting an A on a test or in a class in school is dramatically different than getting the equivalent of an A on the SAT or ACT (especially with today’s rampant grade inflation).
  • Students must have a strong foundation in the fundamentals (reading, math, grammar, writing), but also must be able to recognize patterns, read precisely, think, and adapt. Test prep usually takes a lot longer than studying for a typical exam; the SAT and ACT can’t be crammed for.
  • About half of the test involves concepts, i.e., grammar, punctuation, rhetorical skills, and math. There is no magic or art involved in learning concepts. In fact, students can do most conceptual learning without us and we encourage them to do so as early as possible, using the workbooks we recommend. Of course, we have technique and tips to add, but success here stems mostly from knowledge.
  • The other half is strategy and technique, mostly for the Reading, Science, and essay portions of the tests. This is where we add the most value. Performing well on these sections usually isn’t as simple as following a step-by-step process you read in a book or watch in a video. Conversation about these sections helps much more. It lets us talk about the subtleties of thinking through questions and allows us to observe the student’s thought process.

3.

When to Start and How Long It Takes

The summer before junior year is an ideal time to begin formal test-prep. Freshmen and sophomores should be aiming for top grades and reading widely. The better their reading and math ability, the better test prep will work.

(Speaking of "when to start" things, the sooner you start working with an independent college counselor, the better! We'd be happy to make some recommendations if you're looking for a good college counselor.)

A good place to start test prep is to take an official ACT and SAT practice test to see which score is higher. Before students do this, it’s useful that they talk with one of us briefly so they have some idea of what to expect; we don’t want their scores to be skewed from surprise at the timing or test content.

Reminder: All colleges take either the SAT or the ACT, so it's important to figure out which one your kid is better at.

You can find the official SAT practice tests here, and an official ACT test here. Print them before your kid takes them. Then you can score them (it's pretty easy).

Once we decide on a test, test prep can begin in earnest. Conveniently, SAT prep is also PSAT prep, so SAT classes and tutoring are ideal ways to prepare for the PSAT if your kid is trying for a National Merit Scholarship.

Students should take the test for real when they’ve hit their goal on an official practice test. This is the answer to the question, “how long will test prep take?”. Some students do this quickly and others take several months. It depends on a lot of things: inherent intelligence, motivation, practice quantity and quality, tutoring quantity, how high the goal is compared to the initial score, etc. With that said, a typical tutoring plan during the school year might consist of weekly 90-minute meetings for a few months leading up to the real test.

During the summer, it's often a good idea to meet twice a week for 90 minutes to take advantage of the extra free time students have!

4.

Practicing at Home

It’s essential that students are able to accomplish things outside of tutoring sessions so that they can make faster progress. We usually assign about 3 hours of homework per week, which is often best split up into daily 30-minute sessions.

Once students come into tutoring, we’ll go over their corrections to test their understanding.

Important: It will help your child if you make sure not only that he is working on test prep for the agreed upon time, but also that he has a distraction-free environment. This means no cell phones or other electronic devices, no interruptions, and no T.V. or music. Seriously.

5.

Why us?

Tutoring is not a common career, so most tutors are working part-time while they finish grad school or look for a "normal" job in their field of interest. This is particularly true of tutors who work for big organizations (USD, UCSD, Kaplan, The Princeton Review, etc). In fact, the bigger the company or organization, the less likely it is to have veteran tutors.

We all have several years of experience and are in this for the long haul.

Our greatest value comes from our insight, so we can tell students exactly…

  • what to do
  • how to do it
  • and how long to do it for

…in the most efficient and effective way possible.

With us, students go far beyond just getting questions right. We help them fully understand the concepts behind questions, identify the best methods to use, and recognize takeaways to help with similar questions in the future.

It’s our hope that we can not only significantly raise their scores, but also help them feel more confident, decrease their stress about the tests, and in general, make their lives (and yours) a little easier.

Ready to get started?

You can schedule a consultation here.

Schedule Now

 

Or, check out our SAT and ACT class schedule.

 

Copyright 2018 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