You need to find a tutor who understands his students, as we learned in “How to Choose an SAT Tutor – Part 1”.
It’s not sufficient for a tutor to know the SAT material and the test taking techniques. Tutors and coaches who consistently help the large majority of their students achieve huge score increases know how to help their students prepare mentally and emotionally, not just academically, for the SAT. A great tutor or coach understands, and can help his students learn, the inner game.
A tutor like that is not easy to find. Here are some questions to ask, and the answers to expect, to help you make the right choice.
1) Can I speak directly to the tutor you plan to assign to my child?
If you’re thinking of hiring a tutor from a company such as Kaplan, Princeton Review, Revolution, or any other company of that nature, ask them if you can speak to the tutor they plan to assign to your son or daughter before you make a commitment to hire them.
It’s not enough to know the company’s philosophy or the company’s track record. If they won’t allow you to speak with the tutor directly before you make a final decision, walk away.
Of course they train their tutors, and would never send a tutor who didn’t understand the algebra or know the grammar rules. It’s not enough that the tutor knows the material. You have to ask the specific tutor himself the questions that follow, and receive satisfactory answers, or you run a high risk of getting a tutor who can’t help your child.
2) Do you have testimonials or references?
Every tutor will have them. The important thing here is that if you’re considering a tutor from a test prep company, you have to get testimonials or references for that tutor himself. You can’t rely on those for the company in general.
3) How much experience do you have?
Experience doesn’t equal effectiveness. Someone with 7 years of experience won’t necessarily be better than someone with only three. However, a tutor with only a year or two of experience hasn’t worked with enough students.
Every student is different. They have different issues, different learning styles, different personalities, and different roadblocks that get in the way of doing their best. You can’t count on a tutor with only a couple of years of experience to handle the particular challenges that your son or daughter will face on her way to getting the score she deserves.
Once you know these basics, it’s time to ask more questions. “How to Choose an SAT Tutor – Part 3”.