Your ACT Tutor: The Straight Shot or the Scenic Route?
Whenever you or I embark on a trip, there are times when adding a few hours onto our travel times is a welcome trade-off for enjoying the view. Of course, there are other occasions when we just want to get our destinations as quickly as possible. Such is the path your student should take with an ACT tutor.
When trying to determine which route your ACT bound student should go, it is helpful to understand the differences between the two types of tutoring. The objectives of traditional subject matter tutoring differ from the ACT in that we strive to give the student the most comprehensive instruction possible. This is often a winding road. A strong grasp of any concept requires time-and as satisfying as it is to get quick results-that is not the primary objective. The goal is for the student to excel in a subject in which he or she previously struggled. In a sense, the tutor’s role is much like that of a builder. The focus is thus on reinforcing foundational knowledge and scaffolding upon the information your students already knows. The goal is to build a solid, lasting structure that will ensure your student’s success as their coursework gets increasingly challenging.
The Straight Shot Approach
While effective ACT tutoring also builds upon existing knowledge, it is nevertheless quite different. Students do not normally seek help with ACT preparation until several weeks before the testing date. As a consequence, they often have a long way to go and a short time to get there. ACT prep tutors should be more akin to surgeons than to builders. They concentrate on repairing areas of weakness and work as quickly as possible. Because time is short, accuracy is essential and immediate results are required. The score is the focus. Emphasis on strategies, timing, and educated guessing when appropriate are most important. In keeping with this narrow focus, the subject matter concentrates only on what is featured on the assessment. What we do is the ultimate in “teaching to the test.” As an educator, while I find this approach to be at odds with comprehensive learning, it is unquestionably appropriate for ACT preparation.
Efficient and Money-Saving
This is what sets our targeted tutoring approach apart from what is offered by most commercial tutoring companies. In large commercial tutoring companies, prospective clients are typically given assessments that cost in the hundreds of dollars, and—predictably-they prescribe nearly the same “program” as everyone else receives. The recommended course of action is appealingly framed as being comprehensive when in reality, it is the bill that’s comprehensive! This is one of the many reasons why private tutoring is beginning to surpass franchised, center based tutoring. Too much money, too much information, spread out over too much time–and too much for the student to handle with their existing course load.
Targeted tutoring offers parents and their children something better. After a two-hour assessment that exclusively uses materials licensed by the creators of the ACT, we determine where student’s strengths and weaknesses are and focus on gaining the most points possible in the subject areas most likely to see rapid improvement. Performing well on the ACT requires a selective strategy.
There is also an added bonus to our targeted approach: compared to most big name programs, it costs families less money. Simply stated, economy in tutoring hours equals financial economy. While saving money should not ideally be the deciding factor, it is a happy consequence of how we do things.