Saturday, August 27, 2016

Buyer Beware: Khan Academy and SAT Prep

That the College Board partnered with the Khan Academy to offer free SAT resources is a glorious arrangement. 

Long the subject of criticism that SAT prep resources were exclusively available to higher income families, the College Board made a strategic move with the relaunch of the new SAT in early 2016 to make many online resources free of charge via Khan Academy. 

This partnership was intended to even the playing field a bit since reports showed that the SAT favored higher income and more educated families

Now, it seems, that consumers are getting what they paid for. 

Thanks to one of CROSSWALK's top tutors, Dan Marks, it has come to our attention that the SAT resources on Khan Academy contain many errors. Dan has uncovered some wonkiness in both reading and math sections on the Khan materials and his findings are echoed by other tutors via online chat threads and discussion forums. There is even some debate as to who is really writing these questions. 

Personally, I stick to the official study guide book with my students. Purchasing the College Board's Official Study Guide to the SAT continues to be, in my opinion, the best bang for your buck. $25 for accurate questions, loads of study resources and full-length practice tests is an economical and worthwhile investment. 

So sad that the mantra, "you get what you pay for" turns out to be true for Khan Academy and SAT prep. I hope that both the College Board and Khan Academy take a deep dive into the online forums, comments and feedback in order to make their resources as useful as the guidebook. 

If you find yourself in need of support for the SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT or academic subjects, contact CROSSWALK today. We offer private Skype and face-to-face tutoring as well as group classes and other resources to help you succeed in the classroom and on test day. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hiring a Tutor is Fruitless Unless...

Another true confession of an SAT/ACT tutor: hiring a tutor for test prep does not automatically guarantee a score increase

Hiring a tutor is fruitless unless...

  •  ...a student has time to boost a test score. There are no quick fixes. Test prep takes time. 
  • ...a student is stress-free. Anxiety and stress do not foster learning so an over-scheduled and overstressed student will not see any point increase. 
  • ...a student is motivated to put in the work. Tutoring sessions are only productive if the student puts in the practice time between sessions. No practice, no improvement. 
This last point may be the most important. Students need to care about improvement. The best tutors can teach test content and strategies until they are blue in the face, but if the student does not care, there is no point to the sessions. 

If you are considering hiring a private tutor for SAT or ACT prep, ask yourself: Do you have time? Are you stress-free? Are you motivated? 

If you answer "no" to any of those questions, perhaps you can avoid spending money on tutoring sessions that might not be productive. Instead, try the do-it-yourself approach or figure out ways to find time, reduce stress and increase motivation. 

If you answered "yes" to the questions above and need a tutor, contact CROSSWALK today. CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for ACT prep, SAT prep and academic tutoring. We offer face-to-face tutoring as well as Skype tutoring. Learn more here