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Thomas Broderick

Choosing an ACT/SAT Tutor

Good day, Magooshers. Now that summer break is winding down, it’s time to think about the academic year ahead. For you juniors and seniors out there, that means taking (or retaking) the ACT/SAT. For some, reading a study book and taking a few practice tests are all that’s required to attain the score of your dreams. Yet others require a little extra help. I’m talking tutors.


Choosing an ACT SAT Tutor -Magoosh

Good tutors make this question a thing of the past.


In the next few paragraphs, I’ll go over what to look for in a good tutor. I encourage parents to read this article, as it is likely they who will foot the bill. With that said, let’s get down to business.

Know What You Want

Before researching tutoring services or individual tutors, first consider what you want to get out of the tutoring experience. Want to make a perfect score on the ACT? Want to raise your score just enough to qualify for a scholarship or entry to a public college? Take some time to consider what you plan to do with your ACT/SAT scores.

After you know what you want, take your requirements to the tutoring services/tutors in your area. If this is your first time seeking out a tutor, here’s a list of questions you can ask during the interview:

  • How long have you been a tutor?
  • Do you have any formal teaching experience?
  • In the past, by how many points have you helped students raise their scores?
  • Do you have any references (former clients) that I could contact?
  • What were your strengths on the ACT/SAT?

Feel free to ask your own questions as well. Of course, there is “How much do you charge?” Yet price alone does not determine quality.

The Tutor’s Personality Is Key

In my personal experience, who your tutor is has just as much to do with student success as how much the tutor knows. For example, as a high school junior, I went to Princeton Review for SAT tutoring. My tutor was a college kid from the nearby university. I’m sure he knew the content, but he didn’t know how to connect with me on a personal level. Even today the experience still puts a sour taste in my mouth.


Choosing an ACT SAT Tutor -Magoosh

No offense to your classmates, but they have no idea how to properly tutor you, either.


That’s why the interview process is so important. It gives you the opportunity to get to know the tutor as a person. Students and parents should be part of the interview process. For parents, it is important to hear what your child thinks after the interview is over.

Even after you’ve chosen a tutor, the first tutoring session is still an important time. Don’t feel that your tutor is working out? Drop him/her and move on to someone else. There’s no shame in it. Remember that you are the customer. Why accept something with which you’re not satisfied?

Final Thoughts About Finding a Good ACT/SAT Tutor

If you can build a good rapport with your tutor, you’ll likely gain more from your ACT/SAT study sessions. There’s one last thing to remember: no matter how much wisdom/knowledge your tutor imparts to you, it is still your responsibility to hone your mind for test day. That means hitting the books even when your tutor isn’t in the room.

Happy tutor hunting, Magooshers. Till next time.

About Thomas Broderick

Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

2 Responses to “Choosing an ACT/SAT Tutor”

  1. Hi, I am from India. Which is the earliest time to start preparing for SAT? My son is in 6th Grade. I want to prepare him for SAT examination.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hello! 6th grade is probably too early to begin actual SAT preparation in earnest, but learning the concepts that will appear on the test and building reading and math skills should start by 6th grade! The SAT is designed to show mastery of all the concepts a student should learn throughout middle and high school, so drilling the concepts that will appear on the SAT can start whenever a student has begun learning these concepts. 🙂

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