Benthall Test Prep – Test Prep Provider Spotlight

January 27, 2024

benthall test prep

Ever been taught a strategy that made you feel like a small, hand-drawn lightbulb was suddenly flickering happily above your head? Perhaps it was a slight tweak to how you were approaching a math problem, or a simple way to scout out the presence of a direct object. Once you learn the strategy, it’s hard to forget—you unconsciously implement it again and again, even as you shift into more complex material. Accordingly, Benthall Test Prep’s mission is to teach students both the art and science—the strategy—of test-taking in order to maximize their score, alongside habits of mind that will have an impact far beyond the exam.

Moreover, students are empowered with the revelation that they can use what they already know to master the ACT or SAT. In today’s blog, we’re taking a closer look at how Benthall Test Prep uniquely prepares students for the standardized testing gauntlet.

Note: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Benthall Test Prep. We have independently (and enthusiastically) recommended their offerings to our clients for many years. Our site only partners with test prep providers that bring significant value to students and the material in this blog is 100% the genuine opinion of College Transitions. 

Why should I take an SAT or ACT prep class?

To better understand how Benthall Test Prep’s offerings can benefit you, let’s first take a closer look at the current role of standardized testing in college admissions. The proliferation of test-optional policies at both public and private universities—nearly 1,900 institutions, at last count—has led many students and families to believe that test-optional schools do not strongly consider test scores. However, “test-optional” simply means that students have the option to submit their scores along with their application. If they do not submit scores, other aspects of their application will be weighted more heavily, and if they do submit scores, those scores will be fully considered.

What does this mean, exactly? Regardless of policy, the truth is that many test-optional colleges continue to rely heavily on the data that standardized testing supplies, particularly as an indicator of college readiness. For example, recent research highlighted in the New York Times found that standardized test scores are a stronger predictor of undergraduate success than high school GPA, an insight that has been corroborated by deans of selective institutions like Brown and MIT. Moreover, further evidence of standardized testing’s influence on admissions can be observed by taking a close look at the makeup of a given college’s incoming class. At seven out of eight Ivy Leagues (Dartmouth doesn’t publish their numbers), the majority of enrolled freshmen submitted test scores. Top public institutions have similarly high percentages—71% of enrolled first-year students at UVA submitted test scores, as did 75% at UNC-Chapel Hill and 78% at the University of Michigan.

Benthall Test Prep (Continued)

Bottom line: unless you are exclusively applying to test-blind institutions, submitting strong test scores is a surefire way to increase the competitiveness of your application. As such, it is always in your best interest to take the ACT or SAT and do everything in your power to score as highly as possible.

Now, for the importance of test prep—when preparing for an unfamiliar task, it’s a wise move to elicit expert assistance, whether asking your research mentor to review your poster presentation ahead of a symposium or engaging in mock interview prep ahead of sitting down with the selection committee for a competitive internship. The SAT and ACT are no different. You can fast-track your success by learning from experts who have spent hundreds of thousands of hours studying the test and teaching students, which is precisely why experienced test prep instructors—like Benthall Test Prep—can make a sizable difference in your SAT or ACT results.

Why Benthall Test Prep?

After receiving a PhD in English from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and teaching at colleges and universities in North Carolina, Michigan, and Washington, DC, Dr. Al Benthall decided to pour his years of experience as a college professor into helping high school students prepare for higher education. Fourteen years ago, he began offering small test preparation seminars in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, providing a private tutor-level experience in a group setting. After observing a dearth of quality virtual offerings, Dr. Benthall then expanded to remote classes and self-study options, including an incredibly comprehensive, self-paced SAT course that he personally developed over thousands of hours (more on that below).

Over the years, Dr. Benthall has taught over three thousand students his signature strategies for standardized testing, which are designed to provide students with the skills they need to succeed on the test. He trains students in his unique recursive study method that improves both precision and efficiency; students catalog each question they miss and review challenge areas as they go. As a result, students become adept at diagnosing their own issues and rapidly eliminating them. Such an approach allows each student to customize their experience and attain maximum results in minimal time.

What are Benthall Test Prep’s results?

After completing one of Benthall Test Prep’s signature six-week courses, students typically experience a stunning score increase. Those taking the SAT have an average increase of 217 points, and those taking the ACT see their scores climb an average of 4.5 points.

To provide even more peace of mind to students and families, Benthall Test Prep also offers a Score Improvement Guarantee. In the event that you complete the course in full (in-person or virtual), including all homework and assignments, and still do not increase your SAT or ACT superscore, you’ll receive a 100% refund on services. You’ll also be able to enroll in subsequent courses for a heavy discount.

How are Benthall Test Prep’s classes structured?

Dr. Benthall holds six-week intensive SAT and ACT preparation courses before every test date (seven for each test). Each of the six classes is 2.5 hours long. Classes are intentionally capped at ten students, which allows each student to receive individualized attention and also benefit from the energy of a small-class setting, where they’ll be challenged and motivated in a way that is difficult to accomplish when studying alone.

Additionally, throughout the SAT course, students have access to Dr. Benthall’s video explanations for nearly 700 practice questions, giving them consistent support as they complete their homework each week.

Instead of simply giving students information about where they went wrong on questions they miss, Benthall Test Prep, goes deeper, showing students how to use their preexisting knowledge—combined with Dr. Benthall’s strategies—to improve. Benthall Test Prep aims to simplify the SAT and ACT for students, not make them more complicated; by focusing on test content as well as strategies in reading, logic, and reasoning, students consistently increase their precision and efficiency as well as their confidence, mental stamina, and psychological preparation for the exams.

Finally, any standing-ovation-worthy performance requires a solid dress rehearsal, which is built into every Benthall Test Prep class. Two weeks before your test date, you’ll sit for a mock SAT or ACT that mimics test conditions as closely as possible, allowing you to take inventory of not only how you scored on the exam but also how you coped from a psychological standpoint.

Why is mental preparation an important part of doing well on the SAT or ACT?

For starters, the exam requires serious stamina and focus, and it’s easy to get nervous and make mistakes. As such, if you’re taking one of Benthall Test Prep’s classes, you’ll also learn how to mentally prepare for the exam. For example, you’ll practice overcoming typical anxiety-induced pitfalls—such as overthinking and underthinking—and instead master staying relaxed but alert. You’ll also learn essential time management skills. Both will increase your confidence and help you earn your best possible score.

What will I learn in Benthall Test Prep’s Digital SAT Master Strategies class?

Want to raise your SAT score? In addition to learning time management and strategic guessing skills, you’ll also cover a number of specific topics for each section:

SAT Reading and Writing

  • Master comprehension, analysis, and reasoning skills.
  • Locate, evaluate, and integrate information from texts and informational graphics.
  • Identify important words and phrases in context, evaluate texts rhetorically, and make connections between related texts.
  • Revise texts to improve effectiveness and meet specific rhetorical goals while staying mindful of standard conventions.

SAT Math

  • Master the four main categories of Digital SAT Math, which include Algebra, Advanced Math, Problem-Solving/Data Analysis, and Geometry/Trigonometry.
  • Master in-context (“word”) questions that apply math skills and knowledge to science, social studies, or real-world scenarios.

What will I learn in Benthall Test Prep’s ACT Master Strategies class?

Hoping to improve your score on the ACT? In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Master ACT grammar, including punctuation, usage, and sentence structure, among others, on the ACT English Test.
  • Apply strategies like answer substitution (backsolving), number plugin, and strategic guessing on the ACT Math Test.
  • Accelerate reading speed and deepen comprehension through “smart reading” strategies, as well as how to avoid “trap answers” on the ACT Reading Test.
  • Filter information quickly and accurately, as well as learn to sort questions by data representation, research summary, and conflicting viewpoints on the ACT Science Test.
  • Compose an excellent ACT essay by learning to parse each prompt and write powerful sentences.
  • Overcome test anxiety and manage time.

Can I take Benthall Test Prep’s classes remotely?

Yes. The six-week ACT and SAT intensives are both offered via Zoom. Additionally, Benthall Test Prep offers a meticulously designed and researched self-study option called SAT Solved, in which students have full access to Dr. Benthall’s strategies and guidance in a self-paced, pre-recorded format. When students purchase this class, they receive 7 practice digital SATs, 75 strategy models, and over 700 videos that feature Dr. Benthall talking through every single question that appears on each of the practice tests, explaining what the student may have missed when selecting each incorrect answer as well as how to answer it correctly next time.

SAT Solved not only increases accessibility to Benthall Test Prep’s results-oriented test-taking methods but also gives students the luxury of pausing, stopping, and rewinding videos as many times as they like while studying. Moreover, SAT Solved students have access to the curriculum for a full year, meaning that they can revisit Dr. Benthall’s content for multiple exams, repeatedly honing their knowledge and practicing strategies. It’s an option that’s perfect for motivated students who are willing to fully invest themselves in the content and take advantage of all the platform’s perks.

What do Benthall Test Prep’s programs cost?

There are several different price models depending on what type of class you take. Currently, six-week, in-person classes for both the SAT and ACT cost $1,295. In addition, classes include Dr. Benthall’s SAT or ACT Master Strategies book.

How is Benthall Test Prep adapting to the Digital SAT?

Benthall Test Prep is way ahead on this one. Their SAT prep courses, both in-person and SAT Solved, already focus exclusively on the new digital test, which Dr. Benthall has been studying for months after its release internationally. Paper or digital, Dr. Benthall’s strategies still work, and he has fully adapted them to the new format.

Final Thoughts — Benthall Test Prep

Benthall Test Prep has dedicated thousands of hours over the years to understanding standardized testing and simplifying it into a set of replicable strategies that any student can learn. Moreover, their programs cater to multiple types of learning styles, increasing test preparation accessibility and providing students with a best-fit experience. Such an approach translates to massive score increases and a comprehensive set of reusable skills that will benefit students for years to come.