January 2018 Sarah Gonzales

Private Tutoring or Small Group: What’s the Right Test Prep for Your Student?

Private Tutoring or Small Group: What’s the Right Test Prep for Your Student?

Conventional wisdom suggests that private tutoring is always the best option for students looking to succeed on the SAT or ACT.

And certainly one-on-one coaching has significant benefits – from a personalized curriculum to the careful match between tutor and student.

But after hundreds of hours of guiding students through this rite of passage, we concluded that there is no one-size-fits all approach, and that the “ideal” learning environment varies based on a student’s personality, goals, motivation and extracurricular schedule.

So how do parents chose a program that positions their son or daughter to succeed?

Here are a few factors to consider:

Learning Style:

Is your student a social butterfly who thrives in a shared learning environment? Or a studious learner who prefers quiet reflection or the space to address very specific needs? Group learning works well for the outspoken student who feels comfortable asking questions, and the student who is energized by learning from and teaching his or her peers. Meanwhile, reserved students, focused students and daydreamers alike may thrive in a one-on-one environment.

Extracurricular Commitments:

Between sports, activities, homework and friends, many students justifiably feel there’s not a moment of free time for test prep. For some, private tutoring could be the solution – the tutor comes to your home, and sessions can be scheduled around other activities.  On the other hand, a group class provides the fixed certainty of a weekly routine and minimizes the temptation to reschedule or cancel.  (Each of our SAT and ACT classes meets twice per week, because things come up and students may need to attend the other session.)

Bandwidth for Homework:

Students get the most out of their test prep when they supplement class time with independent work. For some students, the additional demand of SAT or ACT homework is unrealistic – their schedules are busy, they don’t relish studying for another test, or they work best with a tutor cheering them on. We designed our group classes for these students. While we assign homework, and still believe students will get the best results if they continue studying outside of the classroom, we build time into the class for independent work. Conversely, highly motivated and organized students may be able to absorb the outside homework that will ensure the optimal results from one-on-one tutoring.

Rapport with Teachers:

Does your son or daughter get along well with a wide variety of teachers and enjoy diverse teaching styles? Or has he or she established a rapport with one or two special educators who bring out the best in him or her? Some students thrive under the tutelage of a joke-cracking extrovert, while others prefer the steady hand of a soft-spoken and patient coach. Our team offers varied personalities, teaching styles and approaches because we know that some students learn best in a one-on-one environment with that just-right tutor.

Ultimately, there’s no wrong answer and a variety of solutions can work for any one student.  The important thing is for your son or daughter to have a supportive coach in their corner, giving them the structure, tools and moral support needed to succeed!  And if in doubt, get in touch and we’re happy to chat.