In 2015 alone more than 1.9 million high school students took the ACT. Obviously, any test-taker wants to do the best that they can when taking this college entrance exam. With that in mind, it's no wonder that plenty of parents hire an ACT tutor (or an SAT tutor, depending on which of the tests the student is prepping for).
If you're considering hiring a tutor, what should you look for in a test-taking pro?
A stand-out score.
Simply studying the ACT (or SAT) isn't exactly enough to make a tutor top-notch. When you're looking for someone to help your child (or yourself) prep, you need an actual expert. Ask the tutor if they've taken the test, and find out what their highest score was. If the 'pro' has never taken this specific college entrance exam, or did poorly, its red flag that you're not looking in the right place. On the other hand, if your potential teacher has stellar scores, it's more likely they know what to study for, how to study and tips/tricks to try.
Anyone can say that they know the most or are the 'best'. But, an ACT tutor that actually helps students will come with recommendations. Keep in mind, you want recommendations for the specific tutor – and not just for a service. While it's certainly preferable that a tutoring center comes with a top-notch rating, you should also ask for customer references for the actual tutor. The center's references are key to telling you have the overall business is run, but recommendations for the tutor give you a real-life look into how effective they really are.
Match learning styles.
Not every student learns in the same way. Some students are natural test-takers, while others aren't. The tutor you choose needs to come ready with strategies that match the test-taker's learning style. Ask about methods, strategies and teaching techniques before starting ACT or SAT study sessions.
Not every student has the time for multiple tutoring sessions each week. That said, the test-taker may need more help than one class a week offers. If the ACT tutor offers an online component to the test prep, has a video conferencing option or provides additional take home work you may have alternate ways of getting in more test-prep time that go above and beyond in-person sessions.
Finding the 'just right' ACT tutor (or SAT tutor) is a key part of the college preparation process. Understanding what to look for and how to pick a practice helper may make the difference between a top percentile score and one that's just okay.