FAQs

How long are tutoring sessions?

Both curriculum and test prep sessions generally run an hour in length, but adjustments can be made to suit a student’s needs and schedule.

Where are sessions held?

Most sessions are held at one of the library locations listed below, but on occasion a tutor will come to the student’s home (travel fee added) or hold sessions somewhere other than the libraries listed below, especially if the library is closed during the hours your child’s tutor holds sessions. Your child’s tutor can let you know his/her venue(s).

Edina Library: 5280 Grandview Square, Edina, MN 55436 | (612) 543-6325

Southdale Library: 7001 York Avenue S., Edina, MN 55435 | (612) 543-5900

Washburn Library: 5244 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55419 | (612) 543-8375

Do you have a cancellation policy?

Yes. The English Tutor’s cancellation policy is 48-hour notice or you will be charged the session fee. Fee is waived for family emergencies and illnesses.

Can a specific tutor be requested?

Yes. However, please note that some tutors may have a full calendar at the time of your request, so you will either need to work with someone else or be willing to be put on your requested tutor’s wait list.

Can tutoring start and stop at any time?

Yes. However, please note that high seasons for The English Tutor are August through October and late January through mid-April, so sometimes there may be a wait period before you can start with a particular tutor. ACT tutors have a good idea of when your child has reached his/her maximum potential. This generally happens after 16-24 hours of prep across the board over a period of 2-4 testing periods, although some gifted students may only need 6-10 hours of spot treatment prep. To terminate tutoring, simply notify your child's tutor with at least 48-hour advance notice.

Can students of similar ability & in the same class share sessions?

Yes. While all students greatly benefit from at least a few solo sessions, well-matched students also benefit from the added dialogue and academic competition that shared sessions provide, and this added dimension can help push both students to their full potential just as well as solo sessions. Shared sessions are limited to 2 students per tutor per session based on comparable scores.

How will test prep help my child and/or enhance his score?

The vast majority of students are not natural born testers, and those who are still do some level of test prep, even if it’s on their own. Test prep will familiarize your child with the test questions and format, show him test traps and provide testing tips, give him problem-solving strategies and short cuts to answers, and teach him to work against the clock. The English Tutor can usually move overall *benchmark composite scores 4 points over time and after multiple tests, so a student scoring a 21 can usually get to a 24; a student at a 24 to a 28. However, individual subject composites may increase more than 4 points; this is very common in the English and Math sections.

*If your child started with another tutoring service before working with us and already made some gains with that other service, his gains with us may be different from students who start with us.

How many hours of ACT prep does my child need?

The national test prep organizations (Kaplan & Princeton Review) sell test prep in 30 or 36-hour packages. While there is nothing magical about the 30-36 hour blocks, they fit nicely into these organizations’ test format: ten to twelve, 3-hour sessions. This format gives students approximately 5-8 hours of prep time per subject area: English, Math, Reading, and Science. However, students progress and peak at different rates, so while gifted students may only need a total of 6-10 hours of spot-treatment prep, most students need closer to 16-24 spread out over the four subject areas and multiple testing periods. Very few students actually need 30-36 hours!

What are the benefits of private ACT tutoring vs. classroom tutoring?

Private tutoring offers a one-on-one or two-on-one focus that can quickly identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses and help her hone her strengths and improve her weaknesses. No one gets any individual attention in test prep classroom settings and often times the instruction is a “blanket type” of instruction delivered by a teacher who is either Math/Science strong and English/Reading weak or vice versa. The English Tutor breaks ACT prep into Math/Science (STEM) and English/Reading (ELA) prep.

The company’s tutors are seasoned teachers with Master’s Degrees or working professionals with more than 15 years of experience in a field related to high school curriculum. Due to our expertise in the STEM and ELA fields, we are able to maximize the potential of students at both ends of the testing spectrum: those who score 17-19 on the ACT (26-42% national percentile rank) and those who score 35-36 (99th percentile rank). We have worked with students who come from classroom-style prep classes and they all say the same thing: I didn’t learn very much and my scores didn’t, or barely, improved.

Is one-on-one better than a shared session?

It can be, but it depends on the student. Admittedly, all students would greatly benefit from some one-on-one sessions, but at some point, most kids could share sessions and not lose out on personalized instruction. Many students respond well to some level of academic competition; some even thrive on it, making the shared session a great option for those competitive students.

What is the difference between the ACT and the SAT?

For a side-by-side comparison, click here. The ACT is largely based on high school curriculum and is therefore a knowledge and achievement test. The SAT is more of an aptitude test (the acronym used to stand for “Scholastic Aptitude Test”) and largely tests reading comprehension at the AP level, Math logic & reasoning skills, and general problem-solving skills. The re-designed SAT now has a Math No Calculator section.

Which test(s) should my child take?

All 4-year colleges, including the Ivies and highly selective ones, accept the ACT Plus Writing score, so unless your child is gifted tester capable of scoring in the top ½ of 1% of kids in the nation, she does not need to take the SAT. Only students who score well enough on the PSAT the fall of their junior year to make it into the National Merit Scholarship program need to take the SAT. PSAT index scores need to be 200+ to make test prep for the PSAT a good investment. Cut-off the NMS program (Commended Scholar) for the class of 2019 is 212; for Finalist 220.

How is the ACT composite figured?

The ACT composite is figured by adding up all 4 subject composites and dividing by 4. While rounding can make a difference, the general formula for moving the overall composite is a 4-to-1 ratio: 4 combined subject composite points = 1 point overall composite increase. (Rounding is determined by the .5. Example: 23.5 and a 24.25 are both a 24.)

What kind of scores should my child shoot for?

That is largely based upon natural intelligence and standardized testing ability, but the magic number many students shoot for on the ACT is a 25-26 composite (79-81st percentile) because it opens up so many more doors for college choices. A 28-29 on the ACT is outstanding; 30-36 is elite. Remember, though, if your child’s overall ACT benchmark composite is 18, a 22 or 23 is likely where he will top out. While you may live in a community of high level achievers and professionals, the students still represent the total bell curve.

When should my child take the ACT?

While some students and parents have been told by counselors to wait until the spring to take the test for the first time, The English Tutor feels this puts your child behind the 8-ball and greatly increases pressure and anxiety on both the student’s and the parents’ part. The English Tutor likes kids to test for the first time in December of their junior year (Sept or Oct if they are gifted and capable of scoring 30+ that early). Kids have 4 months of their junior year under their belt and usually 10-12+ hours of prep with us by December, and it gives everyone a read on their testing ability toward the end of their first semester. It also leaves ample time for them to retest: Feb, April, June, July, and then September & October of their senior year. Please plan ahead for optimal testing conditions for your child.

My child is an A (or A/B) student, but she hasn’t been able to score a 25 on the ACT. Why?

Your child may perform well in school because she has multiple ways of learning and processing information: lectures, notes, study guides, study groups, extra credit, etc. She also usually knows what will be on tests, and her general diligence may push her to do extra studying for difficult subjects. On the other hand, she only knows general concepts and general content that will be covered on a standardized test. Moreover, most kids are such slow readers that they cannot finish some of the sections on time, which greatly impacts their overall composite. Additionally, students who experience a high-level of test anxiety and/or who have traditionally scored low on standardized tests will not necessarily see a direct correlation between classroom performance and ACT test scores. And finally, while I hate to say it, there is a thing called grade inflation.