Should I Hire an SAT Coach?

In preparing for the SAT, you will need to decide whether or not to hire an SAT coach to help you prepare for the exam. Hiring a good coach or tutor can be costly, depending on the experience of the person and where you live. It would not be unreasonable in many parts of the country to spend over $1000 on private lessons for the SAT exam. In California and the Northeast, expect to pay at least twice that. But before you hire someone, make sure the choice makes sense.

Even though I have made my living for almost twenty years coaching students privately for the SAT, you may be surprised to know that I do not think every student benefits from hiring a private coach for the SAT. If a student is smart and motivated, he or she may be just fine self-preparing. I actually designed this website with that type of student in mind.

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Why Do I Need a Coach?

The purpose of hiring a coach for the SAT is to help a student become “test-wise” and confident on test day. A good coach will help students with the following:

  • Become familiar with the format of the exam
  • Make effective use of test time
  • Become aware of any guessing penalty
  • Teach general test-taking strategies
  • Target specific strategies for weak areas
  • Use “real” practice tests to increase accuracy and speed
  • Help students create a schedule and study plan

Which Students Benefit from SAT Coaching?

Some students benefit from the personal attention of a private tutor more than others. Over the years I have found students with the following situations or qualities may want to consider private coaching for test preparation:

  • Lack of confidence in their abilities
  • Lack of experience with standardized tests (like a home schooled student)
  • Particular weakness in one subject area, such as reading or grammar
  • Poor performance on standardized tests compared to grades or class rank
  • Diagnosed learning issue or ADD/ADHD diagnosis

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What If I Cannot Afford Private Coaching?

Well, the main reason I created this website is to provide free coaching to students (or to supplement a students current coaching). If you read the website thoroughly and follow my suggestions, you can approximate the private coaching experience for basically free. To become your own SAT coach, start with the "SAT Study Skills Checklist"

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Many College are "Test Optional"

Did you know that not all colleges require students to submit SAT or ACT scores to be admitted to college? If you are a strong student, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you may be surprised to learn that many colleges, and really good colleges, have become "test-optional". Too many parents and students dismiss "test-optional" as a possible route to college admission. But before you do that, find out more about this growing, "student-friendly" trend in college admission.

Worried you do not have a good score on the SAT? Don't forget to read about colleges and universities that offer test-optional admissions (that's right, these schools do not require students to take the SAT to be admitted).