Sunday Practice Test Status: 
 for April 21st
Next Practice Test is scheduled for April 28th
 in Hillsdale, NJ 


Keeping Test Prep Fun (And Effective!) Is Not Hard

Effective prep is intrinsically fun and engaging, and we're going to keep it that way.

Ari Freuman

on June 15, 2023
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A Gathering of Test Prep Nerds

Picture this: a convention center in Dallas, buzzing with over 200 of the brightest minds in test prep, all gathered for the National Test Prep Association conference. As the founder of Ivy Tutor, attending this event wasn’t just a professional obligation; it was a chance to immerse myself in a sea of revolutionary educational strategies. What I didn’t anticipate was the profound focus on a seemingly mundane topic: student motivation.

A Surprising Revelation

It’s easy to dismiss test prep as dull and monotonous, but at Ivy Tutor, our approach turns this stereotype on its head. Our students are so captivated that they eagerly exchange their leisurely weekends for SAT and ACT prep. This enthusiasm puzzled many of my peers at the conference. How do we manage to make test prep not just bearable, but enjoyable?

Personalized Learning: The Ivy Tutor Way

In conversing with fellow educators, I uncovered two prevalent issues in traditional test prep methods: “lecturing” and “practice overload.” Here’s how we address these at Ivy Tutor:

  • Beyond Lectures: Interactive Learning Journeys: We’ve transformed the typical lecture model into an interactive journey. Each session is a blend of hands-on practice and relevant theory. When a student like Sally encounters a challenging question, it’s not just a correction; it’s a customized mini-lesson, rich with insights and strategies tailored just for her.
  • Strategic Practice, Not Repetition: The notion that relentless practice is the key to mastery is outdated, especially in test prep. Our approach is more nuanced. When Tim struggles with a specific type of question, we don’t inundate him with endless drills. Instead, we select a handful of questions that strategically target his weaknesses, turning them into strengths.


Engagement Over Endurance

The old-school mindset of “no pain, no gain” is losing ground. Modern educational research consistently supports the idea that learning is most effective when it’s engaging. We’ve embraced this at Ivy Tutor. Our students don’t just memorize; they engage with the material in a way that makes it relevant and exciting. This approach leads to deeper understanding and longer-lasting knowledge retention.

The Checklist Trap: A Cautionary Tale

Many tutors are trapped in a checklist mentality, obsessing over covering every possible topic and question type. This fear-driven approach can lead to inefficiency and disengagement. At Ivy Tutor, we prioritize relevance and engagement over exhaustive coverage. Our goal is not just to teach concepts, but to make them resonate with our students’ aspirations and learning styles.

Building Connections Beyond the Classroom

What sets Ivy Tutor apart is our emphasis on building a connection with each student. We understand that test prep is not just about the content; it’s about understanding each student’s unique motivations and learning preferences. This connection fosters a learning environment where students feel supported and are more open to challenging themselves.

The Bottom Line:

Effective test prep is intrinsically fun and engaging, and we’re going to keep it that way.


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.

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