For over 35 years, I’ve been actively involved with test prep, mostly for the SAT and ACT, but also for the LSAT, GMAT, and GRE. I’ve been an owner/senior executive for three different online test prep companies, two of which my partners and I successfully sold. I started in test prep decades ago working for Kaplan teaching SAT, LSAT, GMAT, and GRE classes. The factors that determine success on standardized tests was the subject of my doctoral dissertation.
Many students can get at least some of the training they need through free, online programs. Khan Academy does a good job for part of what is needed for the SAT, but they don’t have any support for the ACT. There are also critical gaps in what Khan offers. In my opinion, this is partially because they work directly with the College Board, which influences the content and methodology of the online course. They think very much like good high school teachers, who want students to do the questions “the right way”. As anyone who has rigorously researched test prep knows, there are techniques and strategies to do well on multiple-choice tests that are uncomfortable for teachers to offer to students. They have no long-term educational value and only serve to get better test scores. But for many students, they are essential to getting the scores they need for entrance into select colleges and maximizing financial aid offers. Learning how to strategically handle multiple-choice tests is an undeniable factor in test scores.
For many years, I have wanted to help level the playing field in test prep by offering an online program that would be free for students. This website is evolving and will fulfill part of that goal. Early in 2020, all the material on this site will be available to every public library in CT at no cost for at least a few years so that they can offer it for free to any student with a library card. The courses will begin as text-only, but will soon be supplemented by short videos. It will be very rich in two areas, both of which are not strong parts of the Khan Academy program. The first will focus on reading principles that will help anyone become a better reader, but with specific emphasis on how to read for standardized tests. The second area of focus will be on developing multiple-choice test-taking techniques.
While some students can successfully use only free, online resources or a good test prep book, many need the support of a good tutor. To help defray the costs of creating the videos and running this website, I'm offering in-person tutoring services for local students and virtual tutoring for all other students. Rates will begin at $195 for a rigorous 3-hour, private session that for many students, will be enough to give them enough to effectively use self-study resources for the rest of their preparation. A complete 6-lesson, private program will be $795 with substantial discounts available for small groups of no more than 4 students.
If interested, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Richard A. Bolton, Ed.D.