Frequently Asked Questions
I'm a 10th-grader; will this class be helpful to me?
Yes! Taking our class as a 10th-grader puts you a step ahead of the curve for the College Application process. Our SAT course, in particular, will prepare you for the PSAT, increasing your chances of receiving a National Merit award and giving you a leg up on the SAT.
Both the SAT and the ACT are entirely learnable skills like anything else. Think of practicing for a sport or playing the piano – preparing early on gives you a distinct advantage.
Why pay so much for an SAT or ACT course?
Our SAT and ACT programs provide comprehensive in-depth preparation for tests that can directly impact a student’s future. Most colleges and universities award scholarships–up to $25,000 in some cases–for a student’s high test scores and National Merit awards. Some schools, in fact, use SAT and ACT results as a marker in determining whether or not applicants are eligible for scholarships. Between these scholarships and the career advantage that top schools provide, our course more than pays for itself in the long run.
With 2 dedicated teachers who know the test inside-out and only 15 students per class, each student receives the individual attention they need to make huge gains on the SAT or ACT.
SAT vs. PSAT - What's the difference?
The SAT and the PSAT are similar tests. The two most obvious differences are that the SAT is much longer, typically 3 hours and 45 minutes to the PSAT’s 2 hours and 10 minutes, and that the PSAT contains no essay. Otherwise, the basic structure and question types are identical.
However, there are a few differences in content between the two tests. The SAT Math section, for example, covers a few Functions topics from Algebra II that aren’t tested by the PSAT, since most students haven’t encountered them yet by the Fall of their junior year. Since the PSAT is administered a few weeks before the SAT, our Fall course specifically targets the information students need to master for that test first, and covers the SAT-only material after the students have taken the PSAT.
SAT vs. ACT- How do I know which one is right for me?
Many schools recommend that their students take both the SAT and ACT and we couldn’t agree more. While many students don’t show a clear preference for either test, finding out if you do can present a big advantage.
If you haven’t taken both tests yet or don’t have the time to, we we offer a free 2 hour diagnostic test that samples all sections of the SAT and ACT. Request our test using the signup form and receive the test by email. Our teachers will grade your test, send you a score breakdown and, based on your performance, recommend one test for you to focus on.
What about sports and other conflicts?
Many of our students are also athletes, and occasionally have games or practices that prevent them from coming to class. The best way to handle this is to let us know in advance.
Since Alexander Academy usually teaches 4 to 5 sections in any given week, in most cases catching the student up is an easy fix. Students simply come to a section that meets later in the week where we cover the same material that they have missed. In cases where this isn’t possible, our teachers will find a convenient time to schedule an individual makeup session. We know our students have busy schedules, so the first makeup is complementary.
For students who can’t commit to the class, we also offer 1-on-1 tutoring and SAT and ACT workshops to accommodate students’ schedules. Please contact us if you are interested in one of these options.
What are the “info sessions” and when are they available?
Every Alexander Academy semester begins with a free info session. We give a brief 30-minute presentation on the SAT and ACT and programs that we offer, followed by a Q&A session.
We always enjoy the opportunity to meet students and parents face-to-face, so we strongly encourage interested students and parents to join us with any questions you might have. We look forward to meeting you soon!
Do you offer a class that prepares for both tests?
Even though the new SAT is similar to the ACT, we believe in keeping the classes separate to effectively target the differences. In our experience, students see the best results when they focus on only one test at a time.
How did the SAT change in 2016?
The short answer is the new SAT is a lot like the ACT. The English/Grammar sections are essentially the same, the SAT essay is now optional, and students no longer have points subtracted for incorrect answers.Some other changes include a new “no calculator” math section, an emphasis on algebra over geometry, and math topics like trigonometry and imaginary numbers that were previously included on the ACT but not the SAT. The Reading and Grammar sections now also include graphs and charts that students must interpret.
Does the Fall SAT class prep for the PSAT too?
Yes! The PSAT is essentially just a shorter SAT. The PSAT has no essay, and a few of the more advanced math topics are excluded, but otherwise, preparing for the two tests is the same. Because the PSAT is administered a few weeks before the SAT, we structure our Fall class to cover all PSAT topics before that test.
Should I get tutoring specifically for the PSAT?
Our SAT classes and tutoring will prepare you for the PSAT as well. However, many students (especially those with high 10th grade PSAT scores) will be vying for National Merit Scholarships based on their 11th grade PSAT scores.
For students within “striking distance” of National Merit cutoffs, targeted tutoring sessions are a great way to maximize your chances of achieving a National Merit score. We recommend at least 5 sessions.