Optimal thought and optimal fitness through reason, logic, science, passion, and wisdom.


Lauren P made a 1220 on the combined math and reading sections of the January 2015 SAT!! She earned the score she needed — to get a $10K scholarship!!! Even better: $10K per year!! Love it!! She was paid well for her efforts. That’s on top of some scholarship money she already had. She and her parents had a very high ROI: she made a great deal more money than her parents invested in tutoring. Put in less than $1000, get out $40,000. “I’ll take one!”

We did not bring her score up enough the first time she took her SAT (after I started tutoring her) in December, so we worked more and worked harder, and did the job in January. We brought her score up 120 points!!  Goes to show that people need more time to master skills — that people should start preparing early for the SAT or ACT, and not wait till the last minute. (Some students who do only 3 or 4 sessions before a test might increase their score 50 points; some none at all.) What’s more, I work on skills that students can use in college and in life, so I do not merely “teach to the test.” We make the most of your precious resources, of time, mind, and money.

Congrats, Lauren P!!!

Update (2-13-15, 5:44 PM):  Did some editing of the above. Now let’s do some math and do some reasoning.

That scholarship amounts to Lauren earning over $2000 per hour! We worked about 17 or 18 hours. Do the math: 40,000/17 (or /18). If we round to 20 hours, then double or triple that time (for self-directed study) and add a little extra, including time for the SAT test itself, then maybe we come up with 70 or 80 hours. $40,000/ 70? $40,000/80? We are still talking a lawyer’s earnings: making over $500 per hour. 

Dividing 80 hours up across a crammed but reasonable time period — even if you want to spend the week of Spring Break or a week in the summer putting in what would be one heck of a work week, you should still give yourself time to learn and habituate the knowledge and methods/techniques — say 2 months, you’d need to put in 10 hours per week of study time, some tutored and some self-directed. If you divide it up across 4 months, then you’d need to spend about 5 hours per week. But that is still more like cramming: the SAT covers material you’ve been expected to master in 10 years of schooling. 

Your best bet is to start learning the material and methods a few years ahead of time. But do it right and study the reading, writing, and math skills you need for life, not merely the test. Make efficient and productive use of your resources.

Remember, you have to consider what your starting point is, and what your goal is. (Starting point and goal both in terms of SAT score and education.) You have to consider how fast you learn. Not the same for everyone. OK with a lower score than 1220? You can maybe do less work — but maybe you have to do a whole lot more. Want a higher score? Maybe you can walk in and get a 1600 (or 2400 on the whole thing) cold — but maybe you need to do three to five times 80 hours of prep. 

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