SAT / ACT Prep - Brian R. McElroy Tutoring
As an SAT/ACT perfect scorer, test-prep expert, and Harvard graduate with over 20 years of teaching experience, I can say with confidence that I offer some of the best SAT / ACT preparation and tutoring services in the world.
Class of '25 and beyond: read about the new digital SAT that debuts in 2023-24.
My customized SAT and ACT prep programs have produced consistent score improvements (an average of 170 points improvement on the 1600-point SAT, and 4-8 points of improvement on the ACT) that rival those of any tutoring company worldwide.
Unlike most major test prep companies, I use only real SATs and ACTs during the preparation process, and my methods have been gradually refined over time to reflect the subtle changes to the tests.
The proof is in my students' results--the vast majority of my business comes from the recommendations of other satisfied clients and students.
Hundreds of companies will promise you big SAT and ACT improvements, but in the end, most will fail to live up to that promise. In most cases, an SAT or ACT prep program is only as effective as is the instructor who actually teaches the material. The best way to learn is not through a canned video, but through personal, one-on-one, engaging real-time interaction. My clients choose me instead of a brand name, because they do not want to take any chances with their scores.
Increasingly, the bulk of my SAT-prep business is coming from students with elite scores who just need a fine-tuning, or dissatisfied former clients of nationally franchised test-prep companies who need a complete "re-boot." When it comes to a test as important as the SAT, students should choose to prepare with a true professional, not a novice tutor with a weekend's worth of training who reads lessons straight from the manual, or a bunch of canned, free online videos that purport to be a suitable substitute for private, personalized instruction.
On average, my SAT Prep students improve their scores by around 150-200 points on the New 1600-point test, and in some cases 300 points or more—the lower the initial score, the higher the potential for improvement.
While the ACT is in many ways a better test than the SAT, and is definitely worth taking (I advise most of our students to take both tests), the truth is that the SAT is still king at the most selective colleges, and that many colleges prefer to see an SAT score when making their decision. On the other hand, however, the ACT is increasing in popularity as an alternative to the SAT for a variety of reasons. On average, my ACT students improve their scores between 4-8 points, and in some cases 10 points or more.
Prep Time / Average Number of Lessons Required
I know that today's overbooked teenager has many other things to do in addition to test prep, so I seek to make my lessons as efficient as possible. And so long as students do their homework (approximately 1-2 hours of homework per lesson recommended), I will need less time with your students than you might think. Although every student is different, many of my students only require around 10-15 hours of tutoring for a full SAT preparation (less than half the time of many traditional prep courses). Or, if you wish, you can concentrate only on a particular section of the test (Math, Critical Reading, Writing), which of course takes less time.
As for the ACT, ACT prep becomes easier after one has prepared for the SAT (the only major difference is the Science section), so I only recommend about 5-10 additional hours of instruction. If you wish to prepare for the ACT only, then I recommend 15-20 hours (about 10-15 lessons) for a full preparation. In the end, most of my private students have decided to take both the SAT and the ACT.
McElroy Tutoring vs. Other Prep Companies
Don't trust your student's scores to a series of subpar YouTube videos, a faceless "tutor mill," or a nationally franchised test-prep corporation. The teachers are often unsupervised, unprepared, under-qualified, and underpaid, and will force your student into a "one size fits all" approach that works for some students but is very ineffective for most.
Sure, these YouTube videos are easy to watch, but they lack the element of interactivity that is key to private tutoring and group classes. Learning by video has become more popular in 2022 due to its low cost and convenience, and you certainly might feel like you are learning—but like fast food, it's mostly empty calories.
When you hire me, you pay for the services of a true expert in the field of SAT: a consummate professional, not just a recognizable brand name. You will never have to worry about being stuck with an inexperienced or incompetent instructor.
"Brian had already cracked the unbreakable code of the SAT, so I was relieved to find out that I didn't need to."
Francis Parker '05, James Madison honor student