Wyomissing, PA

Don’t make this common SAT mistake!


Doing anything to prepare for the SAT is a good idea. Working with experienced coaches either through private lessons or in a class is a better idea that has proven results.  When SAT scores have big consequences; don’t make the mistake of struggling through preparing alone.  Here is some advice from College Counseling Services of Pennsylvania’s senior SAT advisor:

Should your child take a group SAT prep course?shutterstock_213330322


As a private SAT tutor, I receive many phone calls & emails asking me to tutor.  I often tutor one-on-one, but sometimes I tutor larger classes throughout the year.  I am often asked by parents, “what are the benefits of my child taking your class as opposed to private tutoring?”  The following is a list of benefits to taking a group SAT prep course.


  1.  Price – A private SAT tutor can be pricey. As I mentioned earlier, I usually tutor students one at a time. A weekly visit from a private tutor can add up. Depending on where you live, you can expect to pay a private SAT tutor between $50-$100 per hour.


In a group setting or SAT prep class, the price would be significantly lower, and you get the benefit of the same instruction.


  1.  Solidarity-    We have all heard of the old saying “two heads are better than one.”  Well, it turns out that it’s kind of true.  When your 0720achild takes a group prep class, he/she may have questions but are too afraid to ask. It turns out that many students often have the same question.  When a child asks a question, that question was usually on the minds of many students.


In addition, group instruction lends itself well to peer instruction.  The larger the group, the more the instructor has to divide his/her time among the students. I often use peer teaching to help one another out until I can personally speak with each student.  Many times even if a student is correct, it’s nice to confirm an answer with a peer.


  1.  Practice – I cannot stress enough how important it is to practice for the SAT exam. Although I hate calling it homework, I often assign extra work to complete for the following week.photo-1424115087662-5845efc6b366


A group prep class can “guilt” a child to into practice. After all, you don’t want to be the one who doesn’t have their homework completed!


  1.  Structure – As I just mentioned, I often assign extra work to be completed for the following class. Of course some students groan and complain about have to complete “homework”.


The extra work I assign not only provides more practice, but structure as well. Students are used to being in “school mode”.   If structure is provided, a group prep class is a lot like school.


Why is this so important?  Children tend to accomplish more when structure is provided.  In addition, structure provides stability. The routine is familiar to them and they tend to put more time and effort into the class.


As always, good luck!  Let me know if I’ve missed anything in the comments section.


Lou Blair has been a public school teacher and private SAT tutor for twenty-one years.


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SAT Crash Course

Our experienced team will provide an accelerated review of the Reading, Writing, and Math sections of the SAT exam.  Participants will be taught the most effective strategies for each section. The course will also cover the new  (optional) essay portion. Test-taking skills and techniques for reducing test anxiety will also be discussed with each class.  Finally, students will be able to work with instructors to create long-term goals to maximize their scores.

The class will meet in the Body Zone conference room from 9-11am on September 17th and 24th.  The cost of for each session is $50 per student.  You may register on our website www.collegeplannerforyou.com  or by calling 888-524-1958.  We will provide the books, please bring a calculator. Space is limited to 20 students.

Email us: info@collegeplannerforyou.com

Include SAT Crash course in the comment box.

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Summer before your freshman year- What you should have done.

I wish I would have…….


Okay guys! It’s the summer before your freshman year. Its agonizingly long because you can’t wait to head off to college, it’s also painfully short because you know that  this is the last summer of your childhood. The hours are slow but the weeks are fast and before you know it you are trying to fit everything you own into one car, parting ways with some of your closest friends and starting a new and exciting chapter of your life.  So, what’s on your summer after high school bucket list? What are your “Must Do’s” before leaving home (possibly for good)?

I’m going to throw this question out there to those who have just gone through it-

College Students-

What do you wish you would have done during the summer before your freshman year? These incoming freshmen need all the help they can get- let’s make sure they arrive on campus with no regrets!0523l

We’ll pick a few of our favorite comments and message you to send you a gift card of your choosing!



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SAT Tips for Parents: What you must do to prepare your kids for test day!

Three tips for parents to help boost their child’s SAT score


The last few weeks before the SAT exam are often some of the most stressful for students. It’s during this time that I begin to get a lot of phone calls and texts from parents trying to get their child some last-minute tutoring on the exam.  Don’t get me wrong, some help, even last minute help, is better than no help at all. It’s great that parents want to help their child boost their score. In fact, nine out of ten times I get the same question from a parent, “I know this is last-minute, but is there anything that we as parents can do to help (insert child’s name here) to prepare for the exam?”
Actually, there are a few things that parents can do! Here are three suggestions to help your child reduce stress and boost their SAT score.
1. Sleep – Numerous studies have shown that when we get more sleep we perform better.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if your child is well-rested, he/she will be more prepared for the exam.  Typically,  adolescents need between eight and nine hours of sleep each night. Ideally this would be great, but sadly, most teens don’t even come close to this much time sleeping.
To make up for the lack of sleep, many students tell me that they are going to go to bed at 8 PM the night before the exam. I usually ask, “When is your normal bedtime?” If their answer isn’t within 30 minutes of 8 PM I tell them, “Why bother?”
In order for your body to adapt to a new schedule/rhythm, it takes about 7-10 days.
So, parents, what can you do to help?
Starting about two weeks before the exam, children should go to sleep a bit earlier.  How much earlier? I would start small, say 15 to 20 minutes earlier the first couple of nights. Then they should begin to work their way up to 30 minutes or so the last week of the exam. By the time the exam rolls around, they will have gained several hours of more sleep.  By the way, when I say sleep, I mean sleep. That does not mean laying in bed staring at a phone or tablet for an hour or so.
2.  Homework/projects/tests – So often, I hear students complaining that they have a major project or test due the Monday after the exam. Furthermore, they tell me that  they haven’t even started studying for the upcoming test or haven’t even looked at the project. Now they begin to worry about school work and become distracted thus losing focus on the exam.
 photo-1452830978618-d6feae7d0ffa (1)
 So, parents, what can you do to help?
Simple, help your child plan out their work ahead of time. If they know that they will have a test or project due early next week, you could help them begin to tackle the work well in advance of the exam. Knocking out large parts of a project or looking over the material for an upcoming exam will lower stress and help them focus on the task at hand -– the SAT exam! Besides, now they have completed the work that they had to do anyway. It’s a win-win.
3.  Supplies – the night before the exam all of the test-taking supplies (printed test ticket number two pencils, calculator, etc.) should be ready to go. A complete list of what to bring (and not to bring) can be found at https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/taking-the-test/test-day-checklist  Please, never assume anything. I once had a student tell me that his high school allowed students to sign out graphing calculators the day before the exam. Everything was great until he tried turning on the calculator–dead batteries. Never, assume anything.
So, parents, what can you do to help?
Before your child goes to bed on Friday night make sure all of the College Board checklist items are in the same place.  That way they can just pick up and go.
These tips seem small, but they can really go a long way in reducing your child’s stress levels.  Remember, SAT day should be all about lowering stress.  Although these tips seem small, they can really go a long way to help lower anxiety and boost confidence.
Look for my upcoming post on stress-reducing tips on the day of the exam. Good luck!
Lou Blair is a high school social studies teacher and a private SAT tutor. He has been teaching & tutoring for twenty years. 

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