An SAT tutor is a great resource for high school students hoping to get accepted to college. Earning a high SAT score can help you get an offer from both the easiest colleges to get into and the most competitive, so good test prep is essential, and an SAT tutor can help bridge any gaps in your studying strategy or just be an additional aid to help you succeed. However, some students wonder if an SAT tutor is worth their money, or what an SAT tutor actually helps you with. In this blog, we’ll cover what an SAT tutor can do for you, whether you should hire one and how to find the best SAT tutor for your needs.

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How Hard is the SAT? How an SAT Tutor Helps Students Do You Need an SAT Tutor? How to Find the Best SAT Tutor For You FAQs

How Hard is the SAT?

How hard is the SAT really? The SAT, known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a challenging exam, and as it’s a common requirement to get into college, many students dread taking it. Whether you’re still debating between taking the SAT vs ACT, you’ve probably thought about getting an SAT tutor or ACT tutor. Before you take the plunge and start your search for the best SAT tutor, you might ask yourself, is it worth it?

The truth is, while it is entirely possible to prepare for the SAT alone with self-study, a tutor can be an advantage for some students. The SAT’s content includes several complex text passages, advanced mathematics and over a hundred tricky multiple-choice questions. It also features some in-grid questions that may be unfamiliar to you. The challenge of the SAT comes in its tricky structure and the time pressure you’ll be under. You’ll be faced with answering 154 questions in 3 hours, so your time to answer each question is quite limited. On top of this, you’ll be denied access to a calculator for some of the math questions.

The difficulty of taking the SAT lies in its unfamiliarity and the inherent stress of taking a timed, high-stakes exam. Many students experience test anxiety or aren’t sure how to prepare for this type of challenge.

The good news here is that an SAT tutor can teach you how to approach the test, how to improve your timing and answer strategies that will help you break down a long, complex test into manageable pieces.

How important is your SAT score?

Your SAT score, just like your GPA, is one of the first things college admissions officers will look at in your application. Some schools have SAT score cut-offs, meaning you need to meet the minimum score to even be considered.

Getting some college application help or guidance from an SAT tutor is an appealing advantage, especially considering how competitive college acceptance rates are. Your SAT score (or ACT score) can have a big impact on your chances of college admission, too. To get into the most competitive schools, such as Ivy League colleges, a high SAT score is a must. Earning a high SAT score can also give you a nice boost if you are trying to get into college with a low GPA.

Working with an SAT tutor, you can even set a target SAT score for yourself, depending on which colleges you want to get into and what minimum score you need for the best chance of acceptance. With a detailed study plan and a clear goal in mind, an SAT tutor can help you get into the college of your dreams by showing you how to ace the SAT.

How an SAT Tutor Helps Students

SAT tutors help students succeed on standardized tests in a number of ways. Some of the most important ways is by walking students through what to expect from the test, how they can approach it more effectively and how to manage the specific challenges of a standardized test like the SAT. They can even advise you on when to take the SAT, if you should take the SAT or consider the ACT and what study materials you should use.

#1 Test-taking strategies

One of the key ways that an SAT tutor can help is by teaching you how to approach the different sections and question types on the SAT. The test is made up of two main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Mathematics. For the math section, which includes both a calculator-allowed and a no-calculator set of questions, an SAT tutor can coach you on what concepts to expect on the test and how to quickly solve a problem or make a calculation without the use of a calculator. For the reading and writing section, an SAT tutor can show you how to improve your reading comprehension, and how to eliminate wrong answers in multiple-choice.

#2 Time management

The SAT has a fairly intense time pressure, and each section of the test needs to be completed in a set amount of time and in the right order. So, there will be some consistency for you, but students who feel test anxiety over having to answer so many multiple choice questions in a short time span could use the help of an SAT tutor. A tutor can help you work on time management and teach you tricks to avoid getting paralyzed by indecision on difficult questions and running out of time to complete your test.

#3 Study schedule and planning

If you’re not sure where to even begin studying for the SAT or how to create an ideal SAT schedule to follow for studying, an SAT tutor can help. Using your SAT test date and college application deadlines, they can work with you to create a study schedule that suits your timeline and prioritizes the sections you have the most difficulty with. They can also keep you accountable for your studying by creating study milestones or weekly goals you need to meet.

#4 Stress management

Test anxiety can be a very real hurdle to good studying, and having an SAT tutor might be just the thing to make you feel as if you have someone in your corner. A tutor can coach you on managing your test stress or pinpoint what about the SAT is causing you to stress out and find solutions. The goal is to prepare yourself as well as possible and overcome any hurdles, so having a test prep partner like a tutor can go a long way.

Do You Need an SAT Tutor?

Still unsure if you really need an SAT tutor? It’s true, you can score well on the SAT without one, it just means you’ll be doing the hard work alone. It’s important to remember that hiring an SAT tutor doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the score you want or get into a prestigious college. An SAT tutor is a tool to help you succeed, but you’ll still need to put in the hard work yourself to study and prepare yourself for exam day.

If you’re weighing the decision of whether an SAT tutor is right for you, start off by asking yourself some important questions:

  1. Do I struggle with test anxiety? Plenty of students suffer from test anxiety or might panic a bit at the high stakes of college applications. An SAT tutor can be a nice reassurance for students who dislike taking tests knowing that they’re preparing themselves as best as they possibly can. An SAT tutor may also have some stress-management tips for anxious students or be able to pinpoint the source of test anxiety and help students overcome it on exam day.
  2. Is reading comprehension or advanced mathematics a weakness for me? The SAT demands a good level of both reading comprehension and a thorough understanding of a wide array of advanced mathematics concepts. These are the “core” of the SAT’s content, so if either one is a known weakness for you, a tutor will be an advantage. SAT tutors can work with you to review the many math concepts you’ll encounter on the exam and how to approach these questions. Or, they can work with you to improve your reading comprehension level and speed.
  3. Do I feel confident in self-studying? Even if you’re a great test-taker and have solid studying techniques, you might choose to get a tutor’s help for this particularly important test. Especially since the SAT’s structure and content may be unfamiliar to you and not something you’ve encountered before. An SAT tutor will be an exam “expert” of sorts who can walk you through what to expect on the exam, how to approach every type of question and strategies to ace it.
  4. Do I have trouble staying on track with my studying? Some students dislike studying, or find their focus drifts during long hours of study. An SAT tutor can be a great help in keeping yourself organized, aiding you in devising an SAT schedule for studying, or even choosing the ideal SAT test date for you. SAT tutors also provide you with accountability when it comes to studying. They’ll help you to take responsibility for your studying time and commit to your study goals.
  5. Is my goal to get into a highly competitive college? Do I need a very good SAT score? Students who want to get into competitive programs, where their SAT score needs to be quite high to be considered “above average” may want to look into tutoring. It takes many hours of dedicated studying and solid preparation to achieve a very high SAT score, and having an SAT tutor as your studying partner keeps you focused. An SAT tutor can show you how to set a study plan and coach you on how to improve any weaknesses before you take the test.

How to Find the Best SAT Tutor For You

Finding the right SAT tutor is about more than choosing a private tutor or tutoring service that meets your budget and college application timeline demands. There are hundreds of specialized SAT tutors out there, and discerning whether they are of good quality or will provide you the help you need is tricky. Here’s a few tips to watch for when researching SAT tutors near you:


1. Are SAT tutors worth it?

While SAT tutors are not a requirement for every student to succeed on the SAT, they can certainly be worth it for most students. The SAT is a challenging test, and it will be unfamiliar to most first-time test-takers. An SAT tutor can be an excellent resource to help you study more effectively.

2. What do SAT tutors help with?

SAT tutors can help you with everything from creating an ideal SAT schedule for studying, practicing SAT test strategies to working on your time management during the test.

3. How much can SAT tutoring improve your score?

SAT tutoring can improve your score by several points, depending on where your practice scores are and what your ideal score is. The amount of improvement you see will depend on how much work and commitment you put into studying with a tutor and how well you employ the test strategies.

4. What are the best SAT tutors?

The best SAT tutors will be familiar with the SAT’s content and structure and be able to offer you personalized study help. They should also be able to work with your study timeline and budget.

5. How do I choose the best SAT tutor?

Look for SAT tutors who have demonstrated expertise, strong reviews from other students and have transparency in what they offer and for how much. Choose a tutor who is a good match for you, rather than choosing the most expensive tutor or the one with the highest number of reviews.

6. How much do SAT tutors cost?

SAT tutors can be quite expensive, depending if you choose a private tutor or tutoring service, and how they charge for their services. Some tutors charge hourly and others charge a rate for a set amount of studying time. 

7. What is a good SAT score?

A good SAT score is the ideal score that helps you get accepted to the college of your choice. Any score above the 50th percentile is considered a “good” score, but to get into more competitive colleges, you’ll want a score above the 75th percentile at least. You can also check the average score of admitted students at your target college, and aim to get a score that meets or beats this average for the best chance of getting in.

8. What skills do you need for the SAT?

The SAT will primarily demand strong reading comprehension skills and the ability to work on mathematical problems using a wide variety of math concepts. The majority of the SAT’s content is based on your understanding of complex texts and your ability to problem solve. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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