Sunday Practice Test Status: 
 for April 2nd
Next Practice Test is scheduled for
 in Hillsdale, NJ 


About to Splurge on an SAT or ACT Tutor? Here Are 6 Things You Should Know


Ari Freuman

on August 16, 2022
  1. The experience of the tutor matters. Inexperienced tutors will make mistakes, and those mistakes will come at the expensive of their early students. While these inexperienced tutors are well-intentioned, their unlearned lessons are still ahead of them. In contrast, tutors with years of experience have withstood the test of time. Tutoring is an “up or out” field. Strong tutors are offered compelling incentives to remain in the field, and they often do remain for many years.
  2. Companies with weak tutors will sell you their “secret system.” There is no replacement for a strong tutor. Companies that employ cheap or inexperienced tutors will instead sell you on their proprietary system, usually a set of tips, tricks and methods. Don’t buy it. The tutor will be spending most of the session reviewing concepts, techniques and patterns—not a system. What’s more, every good tutor already knows those same useful tips, tricks and methods and—more importantly—the exact point to introduce them. When a company stresses its system, it wants you to look past the inexperience of its tutors.
  3. You cannot buy a higher score. Some companies will suggest there is a 1-to-1 relationship between hours tutored and points increased. This is good for business because they will then recommend a package size that corresponds with your student’s lofty goals. As with any skill, entrance exams scores see diminishing improvements. The greatest improvement is found during the first 6 – 8 sessions. Then, the rate of improvement slows. Those top-level packages will only make a difference at the margins.
  4. False advertising is a problem. I once spotted an agency that claimed to raise students’ scores by an average of 300 points. I had questions, so I gave them a call. After some brief chit-chat, I said, “other companies I’m aware of would consider a 300 points improvement on the high end of what they can realistically deliver. How is that your average?” After a few minutes of prevaricating, the person took my email and told me he would get back to me. He never did. Sadly, even though false advertising is illegal, it is nearly impossible to enforce.
  5. Score guarantees are scammy. Some of those larger companies or national chains with cheap or inexperienced tutors offer lofty score guarantees: they will return your money if your student fails to achieve a lofty score. One would hope these guarantees were proposed by confident tutors and teachers. No. These guarantees were created by unscrupulous private equity consultants who realized that even if no student achieves the guaranteed score, only a fraction of students will successfully make it through the myriad of hoops required to successfully claw back their money. And by the time those few students do get their money back, the final testing dates are already approaching.
  6. You may encounter a matchmaker. Expensive tutoring agencies will sometimes offer an initial consultation with a “matchmaker.” This person attempts to pair students with their ideal tutor. It is true that a strong connection between student and tutor can amplify the benefits of tutoring. However, most tutors tend to be fun and personable. Connecting with high schoolers is part of what good tutors do. Agencies use matchmaking to reinforce the impression that the agency is providing the service—not the tutor. That said, the matchmaker will make a genuine attempt at finding the best fit.

Ari Freuman

Ari began his journey into test prep while working on his Master’s degree in Psychology at SUNY New Paltz and continued through his second Master’s in Statistics. Thanks to insights from his graduate-level studies, Ari became one of the top private tutors in the New York metropolitan era, where he earned a reputation as the original “Ivy Tutor.” Ari decided to create Ivy Tutor when he realized how difficult it was, at any price point, to find tutors who could reliably help students reach their scoring potential.


The College admissions process can be incredibly stressful for students and their families. Ivy Tutor removes uncertainty from the test taking process, providing clear strategy and grounded guidance.

January 27, 2023

Test-optional admissions is opening doors for students who would have previously been locked out of their top choices. Students now have a chance at getting accepted to colleges they were previously locked out of. But the story is nuanced.

December 29, 2022

Recently the New York Times published an article titled Is A.I. the Future of Test Prep? The article discusses a...

September 26, 2022

How great tutors can take abstract ideas, and with them stir imaginations of students is more of an art than a science, but there are two overarching principles.