I have both a 99th percentile SAT score and many years of SAT prep tutoring experience.
If you're looking for the best SAT tutor in Palo Alto,
then you've found him.
If you're not looking for the best SAT tutor in Palo Alto,
then you've still found him.
Since 1997, I have tutored hundreds of SAT and ACT prep students. While working for different test prep companies, I have taught SAT classes, and while working for Ivy West, I tutored many SAT students. Since 2008, when I started tutoring on my own, I have tutored hundreds of SAT and ACT prep students. So, clearly, I am very experienced.
The SAT has changed a lot since 1997. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to take the new SAT I. So in 2009 I took the new SAT I and got an official score of 2390 out of 2400. Pretty good, huh? I know more about the SAT now than I did then, so...
My test prep method is pretty simple. For students who are willing and able to do homework, I assign a practice test for the student to take untimed. Then the student grades it, marking the ones he or she missed or left blank if the problem was a little confusing. Then I come over and scrutinize the test, problem by problem. I cover every problem thoroughly; every problem has a correct answer that is absolutely correct (no argument!). There are very clear and specific reasons for every correct answer. Whether it's the math, writing, or reading, the problems are simply black and white; otherwise, you could argue about the correct answers. I also cover a variety of test-taking strategies, "tricks" and techniques in other words, some of which I think I invented but probably not. In addition, I pore over pages 101 and 102 for the writing multiple-choice sections, as well as some pages on parallelism and dangling modifiers in the blue book and in my grammar book. I have an old SAT pamphlet that I use for the essays, and I go over the essays in the College Board book too. And I have my old essays.
Some students work on just math, some just reading, and some just writing, and some just math and writing, and so on. Writing is the easiest to improve; I had a kid go from the mid 500s in writing to a perfect 800, with only a few lessons. That could NEVER happen on the critical reading section. No way! Ditto for math. That's the truth. I've had a kid go from around 500 to around 700 on the math, but that is very unusual. And critical reading is the hardest area to improve, because you have to make up for years and years of inadequate reading on the part of the child. Reading comprehension involves many complex things. The reader has to understand the main idea of each paragraph, the logic used to make an argument, the author's mood, the author's main point, and so on.
Most of my clients have 8 or fewer lessons and gain from 120 to 500 points, with 300 being average. I don't sell typical package deals of 15 lessons or anything like that. I guess I should. If I tutored someone for 15 1.5 hour lessons, the kid might go from a 500 in math or reading to an 800, but I don't know, to be honest. In just a few lessons, I had a student's writing score go from around 550 to a perfect 800; however, the writing score is the easiest one to improve.
I teach common sense test-taking strategies; what I don't teach is the nonsense most prep companies focus on. I also focus on rules: grammar rules, math rules, reading rules. If you know how to do math, how to make a sentence grammatically correct, and what vocabulary words mean, then you don't need many tricks in order to get a super high score.
One of my favorite places to tutor is Palo Alto, California.