Prep School

Colleges may claim that SAT scores aren’t that important, but having a high score never hurt. If your high schooler is looking for extra preparation, here’s a sampling of some of the help out there.

Advantage Testing
(914) 921-6700
Advantage claims it designed its course materials by reading through every official test from the past 25 years. Yikes—and you thought one test was bad! The company recommends that each student work with a tutor for at least one academic year as “true cognition involves phases of digestion, application, and repetition.” Whatever. Cost: Varies per tutor.

Huntington Learning Center
Huntington uses an ”educational approach” and teaches test-taking strategies for those who ascribe to the “all bases covered” theory. It also administers regular practice tests under test-like conditions. Each student must take a diagnostic test, which Huntington uses to “personalize” the tutoring. Cost: $195 for initial diagnostic tests; $83/hour for each additional session.

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Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
This is the largest company out there, the one-stop-shop of test prep. Kaplan’s pretty confident in its methods, too—so much so that it offers a refund if students don’t achieve a higher score (and it stresses that it’s “very rare” that it has to give the refund, though the company won’t say how rare). Cost: Private tutoring is $4,699 per 32 hours, $3,999 per 26 hours, and $3,299 per 20 hours; small-group tutoring is $1,749 per 24 tutoring hours and 16 exam hours; group classes are $1,199 per 36 hours, $399 per 30 online lessons and four full-length practice tests.

>> OUR FAVE Let’s Get Ready
(646) 808-2760
Let’s Get Ready offers free SAT tutoring and college-admissions guidance to first-generation and/or low-income high school students. Can we say that again? Free! “Students Helping Students Get to College” is the motto of this non-profit organization founded by Scarsdale High School (and Harvard) alumna Eugenie Lang. The tutors are volunteers (hence the price), themselves high-scoring students. Each program runs for about nine weeks and includes 30 hours of instruction and three practice tests. Cost: Say it with us now, “Free!”

My Ivy Leaguer
(877) 70 TUTOR
This company employs Ivy League students or graduates who have scored in the 99th percentile on standardized exams. The program claims a score increase of “roughly 320 points.” No word on whether the tutor disavows you for applying to his or her Ivy rival. Cost: $120 to $150 per hour, including transportation, with packages available.

Philip M. Gillen
(347) 244-2231
Philip Gillen, who offers private sessions at a client’s home and group sessions in Elmsford, graduated Columbia’s Executive MBA program before he got into test prep. Cost: $100 per one-hour private session; $100 per three-hour group workshop.

The Princeton Review
(800) 273-8439
This second big Kahuna (the other is Kaplan) claims that 90 percent of its students get into one of their top choice schools. Cost: $100/hour to $350/hour for private tutoring; $1,149 per 30 hours, plus four full-length practice tests, for group classes; $2,225 per 24 hours of online help; and group session prices vary based on number of group members.

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Sylvan Learning
Sylvan offers small-group (six to eight students) tutoring sessions and claims students can master test-taking skills in five to eight weeks—faster, it says, than with its biggest competitors. Sylvan offers live, online tutoring too. Cost: $1,095/30 lecture hours and three practice tests; private tutoring $75/hour.

(914) 723-4448
TestTakers organizes kids into small classes and has them practice, practice, practice taking tests. Cost: $1,845 for 31 ½ hours of instruction, four practice tests, and six extra-help sessions.

Wilson Daily Prep
(914) 861-2085
Wilson offers students online access to six questions daily (for the math and verbal sections), which it maintains will take up just six minutes of time (assuming YouTube isn’t running on a different browser tab). It also has personal coaches to answer e-mails and provide immediate feedback. It even guarantees an increase of 200 points. Cost: $59 for one month. (Best Value: $299 for nine months, including free guides “English in English” and “Write the 25-Minute SAT Essay Right.”)

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