Policies & FAQ

Do you offer a free trial lesson or consultation?

I offer a free 15-minute initial consultation over the phone (or via Skype or iChat). Sometimes parents ask for in-person initial consultations, however, I do not typically offer free in-person consultations and do not offer free lessons. If for any reason you are truly disappointed with your first tutoring session, I will offer you a refund. I’m also happy to use part of our tutoring time to sit down with parents and discuss the best plan of action for a student.

How much will my child’s score increase?

This comes down to a host of unpredictable factors. I can help students realize their goals, but I’m not a magician. Students must make an effort and work hard. The more work and tutoring a student does, the more he or she will likely improve. But other factors contribute as well– the intellectual personality of a student, the way a student thinks can mean that the SAT may be more challenging for one student than another. I typically expect students to put in 4-7 hours of time doing homework each week. If students complete most all of the homework I give them, take a minimum of 20 hours of tutoring, and are healthy on the test day (illness can be one of the biggest score killers) I have yet to see a student who has not increased somewhat overall on the test. That being said, if you already sent your child to 3 SAT tutors for the past 2 years, and only schedule a month of lessons with me, we may not see as much improvement as a student who has had no prep and studies for 4-5 months. I’ve seen students improve by a modest 50 points, and others by over 450 points, and on the ACT anywhere from 1 point to 9 points with only a couple months of tutoring.

Should we take the ACT, the SAT, or both?

I suggest that ALL students take a practice ACT and practice SAT before trying to answer this question, and check out the online concordance table of scores. If both tests are fairly similar in percentile for a student, I typically suggest focusing on the SAT. Different colleges have different policies on testing– i.e. some (like Stanford) require you to send ALL scores of all tests if you’ve taken them– while others let you choose to send one or the other. If you are applying to schools that let you choose what you send, taking both may not be a bad option. About 65% of the content of both tests is very similar, so SAT prep will still help an ACT taker — particularly upper level students. If a student performs better on the ACT, or struggles with vocabulary and reading comprehension, the ACT is often a better test to focus on. This question really differs on a student by student basis, and the answer to the question may change throughout the testing process (i.e. depending on what one already scored and how many testing opportunities remain). I do suggest, though that students not take any one test more than three times. In general, the highest achieving students (4.3+ GPA’s, all honors, Ivy-bound) benefit best from the SAT, and good students who don’t like the indirect nature of SAT questions, but get good grades (4.0 weighted, maybe not a 4.4), or average students (scoring below 1600 on the SAT) sometimes do better on the ACT. The ACT is an easier test in many ways (the reading level is about 8th grade vs. 12th grade), but it’s less precise than the SAT (i.e. some questions are of debatable certainty in the reading section) and far less forgiving (2 wrong answers will plummet your score from 99% to 92% on some sections).

How many lessons are necessary?

Again there is no direct answer to this– different families have different budgets and expectations. I have some clients who have prepped for over a year for standardized tests, and others who could only afford 3-4 sessions total. I have seen positive results with both, but obviously more results with more tutoring. Student effort is a big factor in success.

The “typical” round of ISEE, SSAT, GRE, ACT or SAT prep (for one test, all sections) is about 12-20 two-hour lessons (3-6 months, 1x week)– that’s about how long it takes to teach every “rule” once over for students who start with a minimum score in about the 70th percentile or above. Lower scoring students may need far more prep, and higher scoring students less.

How do I pay for lessons?

We invoice via Square invoicing for online students and accept check payments for in person clients.  By request, we can invoice in advance for multiple lessons.  All online lessons must be paid 24 hours in advance. Failure to pay lessons 24 hours in advance may open your reserved lesson times up to rescheduling or lower scheduling priority at our discretion.  All in person or last minute lessons must be paid no later than the start of the lesson.

What is your Cancellation Policy:

To avoid late cancellation fees, any scheduled tutoring sessions should be cancelled or rescheduled at least 24 hours in advance, via email or by calling my phone number (Skype message also if international). As with any scheduling changes, I like to have things in writing in case of any discrepancies– so please email me or text me if you’re canceling several days in advance or more.

Unless 24 hours notice from the START of the lesson time is given, full charge for the lesson is due.

My schedule is often overbooked, and a cancelled lesson with appropriate notice could mean I could accommodate another student who has requested an extra lesson or different time, or otherwise make plans. Likewise, I regularly turn away multiple new clients a month because my schedule is too full to fit their schedules. A last minute cancellation, for me, is lost income as well as opportunity. A straight forward policy will also help us avoid the drama and uncomfortable situations last minute cancellations can create.

Can I still ask to move my time without penalty, if I tell you I’m flexible and can keep my original time if necessary?

I try to be flexible when I can– you’re always welcome to call to discuss.  Know that in my busy season (August – November) your chances are low.

Can I get a discount?

At this time I am not offering any tutoring discounts.  If you’re prepping for the ACT or SAT, and I’m out of your price range, I highly recommend checking out our online course– you’ll hear most all of the strategies I tell my private students if you subscribe and watch our videos.

If you’re set on private tutoring and want to save money, the best way to save money is to find a friend for a group class, or to combine 1-2 private lessons with our online course.

If I prepay for lessons and don’t use all of them, can I get a refund?

If a student pre-pays for lessons, any unused or cancelled lessons may be refunded. Any late cancellation fees will also be deducted from pre-paid amounts.