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PSAT Tutoring

kyproudkyproud Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
I read this article and I'm very curious about how many parents paid for PSAT tutoring or even tutoring for the SAT/ACT for their kid. My S was NMS this past year; barely qualified in our home state, and he did it without even one practice test. Would tutoring have helped him achieve a perfect score?
http://www.businessinsider.com/anthony-green-tutoring-2014-8

Replies to: PSAT Tutoring

  • mathyonemathyone Registered User Posts: 4,224 Senior Member
    My daughter prepped with a book and occasional parental nagging. I actually don't know what her first practice test score was, or whether it was high enough to qualify. We occasionally discussed a question she didn't understand or vocab words she was unfamiliar with, but I mostly left her on her own. I'm not even sure she completed the entire book. She was working a few hours per week for much of two summers (not during school year).

    "If attention is a persistent problem, Green will drop the client."
    Yes, that also quite conveniently dumps the kids who aren't going to make the best gains, thus pumping up the average test gain he advertises. Do other companies also kick out their lower achievers and drop their scores from their record?

    Not impressed by the example they described either. You can see the problem in the photo and that problem can be solved in 10 seconds in your head by anyone who understood algebra1. This tutor didn't teach how to solve it, which would be more applicable, but instead just substituting in numbers to check all the answers. While student should be aware of that method, it really should not be necessary to resort to it on such a simple problem, and waste a whopping 3 minutes! A student who can't do that simple mental math isn't going to be fast at substitute and check either.
  • atomomatomom Registered User Posts: 4,498 Senior Member
    All I can say is that I am totally in the wrong market. . .;) I have done PSAT/SAT tutoring prep for years. I always tell people that a tutor doesn't have any special info. that is not found in prep books or online. An experienced tutor can be good at analyzing types of mistakes and focusing prep in the right areas, or explaining the tricks/traps that might not be so obvious to some students. But most smart kids who are motivated to raise their scores can do so by focusing on the books. Parents hire tutors because they don't have the time/desire/experience to help with prep themselves. Many teenagers have "difficulty" working with their own parents, so the parents know the work won't get done, or even if it does, it is likely to be an unpleasant experience for all involved. For a price, a tutor will force the kid to prep in a systematic way.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    >>> My S was NMS this past year; barely qualified in our home state, and he did it without even one practice test. <<<

    Do not take this badly, but the question remains ... Why would you let your kid take the PSAT without even one practice? The worst schools in the country distribute a practice book!

    There is a huge step between ignoring the test and hiring a tutor, and that step is often the very best when it takes the form of a proactive self preparation.

    Fwiw, there have been multiple misrepresentation by parents of their kid "no prep" as they forget about HS programs and in classes preparation or academic competition.

    A student who takes a test such as the PSAT without having taken a single practice is de facto handicapping himself. It is a really bad idea.
  • HannaHanna Registered User Posts: 14,660 Senior Member
    "Many teenagers have "difficulty" working with their own parents, so the parents know the work won't get done, or even if it does, it is likely to be an unpleasant experience for all involved. For a price, a tutor will force the kid to prep in a systematic way."

    This is what it's all about. I say this as a pretty expensive tutor who collaborates with other expensive tutors, though certainly not at the price point described in the article. Different tutors have different levels of experience and skill in explaining the material and approaches to the test, as well as connecting with and inspiring kids. But the single most important factor is always the student's discipline in completing the assignments and working hard, so the single biggest value a tutor can add is providing non-parental structure and expectations.

    I was really surprised by the example given in the article of specialized math tutoring expertise. I'd expect a $25-an-hour college student to explain the problem that way. Maybe the subject didn't want to give away his secrets, but I suspect his tutoring is much like that of other capable people. It takes skill and patience, but it isn't brain surgery. The people who make a fortune doing this are great salespeople with good connections.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    edited September 2014
    Parents hire tutors because they don't have the time/desire/experience to help with prep themselves. Many teenagers have "difficulty" working with their own parents, so the parents know the work won't get done, or even if it does, it is likely to be an unpleasant experience for all involved. For a price, a tutor will force the kid to prep in a systematic way.

    Aren't there plenty of shades of grey in describing the difficulty to "work" for parents? My perspective is that many parents are following a path of lesser resistance in merely looking for the easiest to locate "help." Hence, they usually end up making the mistake of hiring a local teacher or signing up for one of those group classes offered by the Sylvan or Kaplan of this world. All recipes for mild disasters in terms of earning better scores.

    Does this mean that the alternative is for the parents to turn into tutors? Nope, since few of them possess contemporary knowledge of the tests. But could they be the catalysts and lead the efforts towards the engagement of the student? Yes, and this can be done with the help of professional tutors who are engaged for SPECIFIC parts of the tests.

    Does one need a tutor to direct the preliminary steps of getting familiar with the tests, taking a couple of sections of the Blue Book, and perhaps one or two full timed tests? Absolutely NOT. That is the easy picking for any tutor and a waste of money similar to signing up for the 600 to 1500 group class. Do you need a tutor to be cheerleader and find a way to make the mule drink the water at the fountain? Perhaps, but there are other mechanisms that work just as well.

    Now, do you need a tutor to reach the higher level of the attainable scores (different for different students) and save the sanity of parents? More than probably ... yes. But not until you have plucked all the low hanging fruits of the process of "evaluation" and "selling" the generic advice that can be bought for less than 100 dollars at Barnes and Noble!

    To make an analogy, you have generalist doctors and you have specialists. You do not need a generalist to help you ascertain the overall deficiencies. There are plenty of tools and steps people can use before turning to a specialist who will NOT come cheaply. Those guys deserve the fees but it will take some work to locate them and hire the right ones.

    But, unfortunately, few people do understand that it requires time and effort, and from both parents and students. There are no secrets but there are methods that work better.

    PS The above does not address very specific needs such as students who need to overcome learning disabilities. Those students should benefit from the earlier reliance on specialists.
  • kyproudkyproud Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    @xiggi‌, . Our school system in rural KY does not pass out practice tests for the PSAT. I even called today to ask and my son is now at UK! All I knew at the time he was a junior was that the PSAT could win him a big scholarship at UK. Our school system really pushes the ACT as all juniors in KY are required by state legislature to take it. When I asked about the National Merit Semifinalist deal at his school the guidance counselor told me, (and these were her EXACT words, "Oh, that is no big deal." The morning he took the test there were about six kids taking it; there was no advertisement for the exam. He had to ask and find out when and where the test would take place. However, he had taken the ACT a couple of times; so you are right, I am sure that helped him with the PSAT. I forgot about that. I was more focused on tutoring and parents experiences. My nephew is a sophomore and I was kicking around ideas with my sister about tutoring.
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