Best SAT and ACT Tutors – 2024

January 29, 2024

sat and act tutors, sat tutoring, act tutoring

While a small number of colleges operated with test-optional policies for years before the pandemic, COVID-19 instigated a new era of testing guidelines that brought as much confusion as rejoicing. Was a strong test score still the proverbial cherry on top of one’s application? Or was it finally time to throw testing out the window and repurpose SAT and ACT prep books into attractive doorstops? After carefully observing admissions trends over the past several years, one takeaway has become abundantly clear: while standardized testing policies remain highly variable, strong standardized test scores continue to increase the competitiveness of an application at the vast majority of institutions. Want to learn more about why SAT and ACT tutoring can prepare you for your best score? Keep scrolling—in today’s blog post, we’re profiling our top five SAT and ACT tutors.

Why do standardized tests matter?

The fundamental task of college admissions officers is to identify students who they believe will excel in their school’s academic environment, benefit from its resources, and graduate in four years. As such, your application’s primary objective is to demonstrate academic preparedness for the institutions to which you are applying.

Recent research led by Harvard economics professor Raj Chetty as well as the UC Academic Council’s Standardized Testing Task Force Report suggest that standardized testing, when viewed in light of a student’s context and resources, can be uniquely predictive of a student’s ability to succeed at the undergraduate level. It can even outweigh other factors, like course rigor, which varies from school and school, and grades, which are increasingly subject to inflation.

Moreover, standardized testing requirements can increase on-campus diversity. Years before the pandemic-induced test-optional phenomenon, Andrew Belasco, College Transitions’ CEO, published research in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis asserting that test-optional policies do little to promote equity of access in higher education. Instead, they enhance the perceived selectivity, rather than the diversity, of participating institutions. This finding has been supported by MIT’s recent research on its own admissions policies. It found that standardized testing not only better predicts undergraduate academic success at MIT but also increases diversity. After reinstating its testing policies for the 2022-23 academic year, MIT enrolled its most diverse class yet.

Should I submit scores to a test-optional institution?

The decision to submit test scores to a test-optional institution is based on a variety of factors. However, if a university does have a test-optional policy, dig deeper into both their official and unofficial preferences. What percentage of their enrolling freshman class submitted test scores? Is there a difference in the admit rate for students who submit test scores? Has their admissions office or leadership team released insight into their attitudes toward standardized testing? For example, standardized testing is currently optional at Brown, but 81% of the most recent enrolled cohort submitted scores. Moreover, their president recently acknowledged that standardized test scores often predict future academic success more accurately than high school grades. Furthermore, although Auburn offers a test-optional pathway, they’re openly “test-preferred.” Last year, only 9% of students who applied without test scores were accepted.

In addition to a measurable admissions edge, standardized testing can be an essential factor in earning scholarships and merit aid. For example, to qualify as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, students must submit an SAT score that is high enough to confirm their original PSAT score. Additionally, some state and university-specific scholarships have standardized test score minimums. These include the University of Delaware’s B. Bradford Barnes Memorial Scholarship and Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship.

Why should I invest in an SAT or ACT tutor?

College is one of the most important investments that you’ll make in your lifetime, with the potential to heavily influence your personal and professional life for years to come. Accordingly, the admissions process is about making a series of wise choices that position you for success in today’s uber-competitive landscape. Since we anticipate that colleges will continue fine-tuning their testing policies and preferences as they amass further internal data, it’s essential to stay flexible and prepared for a variety of possibilities.

As such, you should plan to dedicate ample time to standardized test preparation. Although self-guided preparation is possible, we’ve found that the most focused and effective preparation is often best achieved under the guidance of an SAT or ACT tutor.

Who are the best SAT and ACT tutors?

The best SAT and ACT tutoring programs—whether in-person or online—help students improve their content mastery, testing familiarity and strategy, and mental stamina and preparation. Similar to how English class presentation anxiety can be mitigated by delighting your friends and family with ten different dry runs about totalitarianism in Animal Farm, standardized testing performance can be optimized by working with a tutor who is deeply familiar with the exam.

It’s also important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all test preparation method. Students’ needs and goals vary widely, so we advise focusing on providers who offer a variety of options and delivery methods. These can include self-paced online courses, group classes, and private tutoring.

To that end, we frequently recommend the following companies to our clients. All have worked with many College Transitions students and achieved excellent results. Moreover, each company listed provides some level of virtual services. Most importantly, their founders have dedicated their careers to preparing students for standardized testing. All have at least ten years of experience and are constantly adapting their offerings to shifts in the testing landscape.

Presented in alphabetical order, our top five SAT and ACT tutors are as follows:

1) Applerouth

Program Types: Online Self-Paced, Group Classes, Private Tutoring

Applerouth was founded nearly 25 years ago by Dr. Jed Applerouth, whose research background is evident in everything from his company’s innovative and empathy-driven tutoring practices—which incorporate findings from the latest studies in cognition, memory, and motivation—to his national conference presentations and publications. Before getting started, you’ll first meet with a program director to discuss which learning experience would work best for you. These include group classes, private SAT or ACT tutoring, or online self-prep. Moreover, Applerouth students who do 20 hours of private tutoring and 85% of their homework have an average SAT increase of 130 points and an average ACT increase of 5 points. The same score increase is also experienced by students who complete at least 50 online lessons as part of a self-paced program.

2) Benthall Test Prep

Program Types: Online Self-Paced, Group Classes

Led by Dr. Al Benthall, a college professor who has taught nearly three thousand students his signature standardized testing strategies over the past fourteen years, Benthall Test Prep’s mission is to teach you both the art and science of test-taking. Dr. Benthall 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, you can customize your experience and attain maximum results in minimal time. Moreover, you can opt for group classes or a self-paced option. SAT-takers see an average increase of 217 points. Those taking the ACT see their scores climb an average of 4.5 points.

Related: Benthall Test Prep — Test Prep Provider Spotlight

3) Edison Test Prep

Program Types: Group Classes, Private Tutoring

Edison Prep’s co-founders and tutors are passionate educators who possess over one hundred thousand hours of combined experience. Moreover, they personally take both the SAT and ACT on a yearly basis. Founded in 2010 by husband-and-wife team Brian and Dr. Silvia Eufinger, Edison Prep offers both group classes and private SAT and ACT tutoring, delivered both in-person and virtually. They bring a highly effective mix of personal test-taking experience and tutoring expertise to the table, resulting in sizable score increases for their students who are willing to put in the work. Their ACT students average a 4.4-point increase, with some increasing 8-9 points. SAT students average a 121-point increase, with some increasing their score by over 200 points.

4) Mindfish

Program Types: Group Classes, Private Tutoring

Founded by Stanford alums Bill Huston and Ryan Krug, Mindfish came on the test prep scene nearly twenty years ago. It has only grown exponentially since. Inspired by Oxford’s tutorial method, every single Mindfish offering is built around 1:1 tutoring. As such, students can choose from group classes, which include eight hours of private tutoring, or straight-up 1-on-1 SAT or ACT tutoring. In addition to providing guided structure, consistency, and motivation, Mindfish tutors teach students personalized strategies that help them overcome their individual testing hurdles. On average, Mindfish students raise their SAT scores by 160 points and their ACT scores by 4 points.

5) PrepPros

Program Types: Online Self-Paced, Group Classes, Private Tutoring

Brothers Matthew and Michael Stroup, the founders of PrepPros, are perfect ACT and SAT scorers who possess a combined 15,000+ hours of tutoring experience. They personally conduct all of their offerings, which include group classes, private tutoring, and an online self-study option. This commitment ensures that all students benefit from an incredibly high level of expertise, experience, and professionalism. Moreover, students who’ve taken a PrepPros group class see an average score increase of 200 points on the SAT and 5 points on the ACT. Privately tutored students have an average score increase of 6 points on the ACT and over 200 points on the SAT.

Final Thoughts — Best SAT and ACT Tutors

Given the continued influence of standardized testing on the college admissions process, we advise diligently preparing for the SAT or ACT. Working with a top SAT or ACT tutor can significantly elevate your scores, thus increasing the competitiveness of your application as well as the likelihood of earning scholarship and merit aid funding, both of which can have a sizable impact on your future.

Looking for more standardized testing resources? You might find value in the following resources: