FAQ

Wendy Segal Tutoring Answers Your Questions … Including Some You Probably Haven’t Thought of Yet!

Which test should my student take, the SAT or the ACT?

Colleges don’t have a preference.  Since each student is different, the best way to find out which is better for your student is to have her take one of each.  For many students, taking a sample ACT and a sample SAT at home works fine. Wendy can help you compare the scores and determine which test is a better fit for your student.

Do you think a class or private tutoring is better for my student?

In almost all cases, private tutoring is best.  If your student is fairly advanced, she’ll be bored listening to the teacher explain what she already knows – and you’ll be wasting your money. If a student needs some remediation or test technique, she’s not likely to keep asking questions when others in the room seem to understand already. A good private tutor can not only help your student improve on the areas where he is weak but can also work to help polish those areas where he is already strong to make a good score great!

This is our first child to take college admissions exams. Where do we begin?

You’ve come to the right place. First, Wendy will ask a few questions about your student, which will help her to suggest a schedule and a plan for testing. Wendy Segal can suggest some colleges to explore based on your student’s interests and grades, and when your student is ready, Wendy can even help him with the Common Application. Once you start working with Wendy, you won’t have to rely on what one of the mothers in the parking lot or at the ballfield told you. You’ll always have an expert available to answer your questions.

When should my student start tutoring?

Many prep schools offer a standard timeline that fits the average student, but Wendy can help you create the best schedule for your student based on his sports season, work schedule, or any other concern. As a general guideline, most students should begin tutoring in September or October for the December SAT or ACT.

How many sessions will it take to be tutored for the SAT or ACT?

Wendy will consult with you to prepare a tutoring schedule that works best for you and your student. The number of sessions varies greatly from student to student, but Wendy will make sure your student is well prepared. Feel free to call Wendy at (914) 243-90959 or email her at wbsegal@gmail.com to discuss your student’s individual needs.

Should my student take the PSAT in 10th grade?

No, a student should not be working on test technique in 10th grade, other than keeping up with math to make sure his skills are on grade level.

Is private tutoring much more expensive than classes?

Not necessarily. Wendy Segal can assess your student’s strengths and weaknesses quick and tailor his sessions to focus on exactly what he needs so that his test scores represent his true potential. Wendy won’t spend time on what your student already knows, and she won’t charge you to supervise hours of practice tests that he can take at home for free.

Should my student start to prepare for the SAT or ACT in 10th grade?

No. Students shouldn’t be concerned with test technique in 10th grade. It’s more important for 10th graders to read frequently and make sure their basic math skills are on grade level. Wendy will be happy to suggest enjoyable books, magazines, and stories that students might like to read to improve their reading fluency and vocabulary.

Do colleges prefer the SAT to ACT?

It’s true that colleges used to prefer the SAT, but all colleges now accept the ACT, and colleges no longer have a preference. Your student should take whichever test shows her to her best advantage.

If my student takes the ACT, does he have to take SAT Subject tests?

Very often, colleges will accept the ACT instead of SAT Subject tests.  But each college makes its own rules, so it’s always best to check on the website of any college your student might be interested in to find out.

How many times is my student allowed to take the SAT or ACT?

There’s no maximum number of times your student can test, but most students take anywhere from two to four tests, usually a combination of SAT and ACT.

Should my student sign up for the optional essay writing on the SAT or ACT?

Absolutely! Many schools have said that they are not going to require the essay portion, but just as many schools of all levels have said that they either prefer or require the essay. To make sure your student has the widest choice of college, he should take the optional essay. But most colleges just want to make sure that your student writes as well as his peers. They use this section for placement in a freshman writing class. If you’re concerned about your student’s writing ability, Wendy will make sure he’s ready for that portion of the test.

I heard that a lot of schools don’t even require an SAT or ACT.  Is that true?

Yes and no.  More and more schools are becoming “test-optional.”  But don’t be fooled.  Many of those schools require additional SAT Subject tests in place of an SAT or ACT.  Or they want several graded research or analysis papers instead of an SAT or ACT.  Or they want several more essays.  Test optional seldom means an easier application.  In short, there just aren’t enough test optional schools to justify your student not taking the ACT or SAT.

What’s a good score on the SAT or ACT?

A score that’s at the top of one school’s range easily could be at the bottom of another school’s range.  A better question might be what score should my student get based on her abilities?  Or even more appropriate: Given my student’s grades, interests, activities, and intended major, what score will ensure that colleges will take a good look at her application?

Do you guarantee a certain score or a certain increase?

Wendy has never made guarantees like that, and she never will. A student who comes for tutoring in the 90th percentile won’t increase as much as a student who starts out in the 40th percentile.  Students have different abilities and not all students are equally motivated.

Don’t be fooled by schools or tutors who will let your student take the course again if he doesn’t improve by a certain amount.  If the course wasn’t successful the first time, what’s the point of wasting time by repeating the same unproductive strategy?

When should my student start writing his Common App essay?

The Common App changes the essay topics most years. The topics are usually announced on the Common App website June or July. But students shouldn’t wait until school starts to write their essay. No matter how busy the summer is, September is likely to be busier!

How many colleges should my student apply to?

It’s not unusual these days for students to apply to 12-14 schools!  Wendy can help you evaluate which colleges should be on your student’s list. He should apply to some schools that are a dream but a stretch, some which are very likely to accept him, and some schools at which he’s got a good chance of being accepted – his good match schools.

If tuition costs are a concern, let Wendy know and she’ll help you build a list of schools that are likely to offer your student a scholarship or which are already within your price range budget. (It may surprise you that a SUNY state school isn’t always your least expensive option.)

Should my student take SAT Subject tests?

Not all students should take SAT Subject tests. Some colleges require two for all applicants, some colleges require two but only for certain majors, some colleges prefer but don’t require them, and other schools don’t care about them at all. Wendy can help you figure out whether Subject Tests are necessary for your students, and if so, which ones he’ll likely do well on.

My junior was thinking of taking a fall SAT or ACT to get it over with early in her junior year.  Is that a good idea?

It might be, depending on her high school classes and activity schedule.  Most students, though, should wait until late winter, early spring of Junior year to take SATs or ACTs, which are based on 11th grade learning.  Let’s talk about your student’s individual situation