I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. I am hard at work trying to finish a new tutoring resource. I have a pair of students who will need to use it in just a few weeks, so I'm on a tight deadline. I thought I would take a moment here to explain what I do as an SAT/ ACT coach.
As a test prep coach I work with students who are working to get a better test score. Sometimes everything goes very well and the student sees a dramatic improvement. Sometimes the score hardly budges. Some day I'll have to write a post about my theories on why it works that way.
If you've tried to prepare for a standardized test on your own, you probably know: there is an awful lot of information out there. Some of it is contradictory. To figure out what would work for you could take a long time. Sometimes a student will write about how he managed to raise his score by hundreds of points all by himself. Typically this took months. The students who contact me for help don't have a very long time. They only have days or weeks before they have to take the test.
There are coaches who will work with students starting in middle school. They will meet with the student every week to work on test prep. This process can go on for years. Over that time a family could spend thousands of dollars on coaching, not to mention hundreds of hours of the student's time. That's not my philosophy. These tests are important, sure, but so are other activities. College admissions officers are going to be interested in how you spend your time. They don't want to see that you spent it all on studying for one test. I like to work with a student for a couple of months at most. We hit the high points, brush up on some topics that they once knew but have since forgotten, and develop a testing strategy. The whole thing typically costs around $300. A family usually spends about what they would on a video game console.
If you are trying to decide whether or not to hire a test prep coach, just remember: It doesn't have to take months and it doesn't have to break the bank. Find someone who shares your philosophy and fits your budget.