Test Prep Tutoring: Benefits, Formats, and What to Expect

Admission to top colleges and universities is more competitive than ever before

Achieving a high test score is one of the best ways to increase the chances of gaining admittance. 

If your child is struggling to score well on these tests or if you’re just trying to give your child a leg up going into the test, a test prep course is a great way to set them up for success.

Wondering if these courses are truly beneficial or what they might look like for your child?

Read on to find out exactly what test prep tutoring is, what your child can expect in these sessions, and how they can set your child up for collegiate admittance.

What Is Test Prep Tutoring?

Test prep tutoring is a very focused form of tutoring that aims to help a student achieve a particular academic goal.

Typically, this type of tutoring is specifically designed to improve a student’s performance on standardized tests, most often the SAT or ACT.

Here at Emergent Education, we approach test prep tutoring with a clear goal in mind.

We aim to help a student get the best score possible to open more doors in the future. 

We provide a chance for learners to grow through the development of personal strategies that will serve them not only during their standardized test but for a lifetime.  

Our test prep tutoring sessions start by learning the student’s WHY. Why is the student interested in score improvement? What are their future goals?

Emergent Education tutors begin by identifying the learner’s individual goals. We then design a unique tutoring program that focuses on improving both the student’s foundational knowledge in key subject areas as well as developing specific strategies and test-taking skills.

What Types of Tests Can Tutoring Prepare Students For?

Most often, test prep tutoring classes focus on preparing high school students for the standardized tests needed for college admittance. 

The SAT is one of the main focal points of test prep tutoring. Whether your child …

  • Struggles with a particular subject covered by the SAT 


  • Needs help writing an exemplary SAT essay

… specifically targeted tutoring sessions can greatly increase test scores. 

Additionally, ACT preparation is extremely popular among high school students. Similar to SAT tutoring, ACT prep sessions might focus on a specific subject area or the test as a whole. 

Prep sessions are also available for these less common, but just as important standardized tests:

  • PSAT
  • GRE
  • GMAT
  • GED

Top 3 Benefits of Test Prep Tutoring

Test prep tutoring can benefit students in a multitude of ways, depending on your student’s individual needs.

Some of the top benefits include: 

  • Helping your student overcome test anxiety
  • Providing important subject-based knowledge and skills
  • Teaching specific test-taking strategies

#1: Teaches Students to Overcome Test Anxiety

Let’s face it.

These high-stakes tests are anxiety-inducing for almost everyone. 

Even during a time when many colleges are becoming test-optional, the outcome of these tests still weighs heavily on the minds of most high-schoolers across the country.

According to Healthline, anywhere from 10-40% of American students suffer from test anxiety. 

While this percentage seems to be rising each year alongside the increased focus on standardized test scores, only a small percentage of these students are taught successful anxiety-reducing strategies.  

If your student experiences test-induced anxiety, Emergent Education can help!

We can create a specialized tutoring plan that focuses on anxiety-reducing practices, such as: 

  • Building confidence
  • Establishing a preparation routine
  • Learning effective study techniques
  • Addressing any learning disabilities, if present

#2: Provides the Knowledge and Skills for Success

Exemplary test prep tutoring should focus not only on expanding content knowledge in the areas of reading, writing, and math but also on specific study skills.

Because of the wide range of content covered in standardized tests, preparing for and doing well requires a very unique set of skills and strategies. 

Ultimately, test prep tutoring goes beyond just helping students prepare for one test. It gives them life skills that set them up for future success.

#3: Introduces Test-Taking Strategies

One of the biggest benefits gained from test prep tutoring is the test-taking strategies taught. 

Tests like the SAT and ACT are broad, spanning years’ worth of content. While this can at first seem quite overwhelming, there are many specific test-taking strategies that, once learned, can greatly improve test scores.

Process of Elimination

Both the SAT and ACT, like most other standardized tests, are primarily composed of multiple-choice questions.  

One of the most successful techniques when dealing with this type of question is the process of elimination

This strategy is encouraged when a student encounters a multiple-choice question that they cannot solve outright. 

Through the process of elimination, students are taught to eliminate potential answers they know are incorrect as well as answers that have almost zero chance of being correct. 

Eliminating improbable answers increases the probability of selecting the correct answer even when that answer is unknown.

Time Management

While the SAT is a long test, clocking in at 3.5 hours, it’s also very fast-paced, averaging about 70 seconds spent per question. 

Learning effective time management is one of the most important test-taking strategies and should be a cornerstone for any successful test prep program. 

Often, unprepared test-takers spend too much time attempting to figure out questions they don’t know. This error in time management can greatly reduce the time that can be spent on known questions, which could ultimately result in a lower test score.

Rather than wasting valuable time on the unknown, students should instead focus on first answering the questions that they know. 

For all other questions, students should use other strategies to narrow down the options to two, make the most educated guess possible, and then move on.  

What Learning Formats are Offered for Test Prep Tutoring?

With such a wide variety of formats available, how do you know which one to choose?

Choosing a test prep tutoring program is an investment in your child’s future so it’s important that you first consider their needs as well as all of your options and potential benefits. This will allow you to more easily determine which learning format will best set your child up for future success


Group Test Prep

Group test classes tend to work well for motivated students who just want to learn a few test-taking strategies and receive basic support. These programs are also a great choice for students who enjoy peer-to-peer engagement.

Often the instructors leading these commercial courses help students work through identifying their strengths and weaknesses, teach some basic test-taking strategies, conduct a test walk-through, and explain general test questions. Some of these courses may also offer additional resources such as practice activities and study guides.

These types of test prep sessions can vary from a one-day class to weekly classes that convene over several months. They are usually offered at local high schools, libraries, or community colleges.

One-on-One Test Prep

Private one-on-one test prep tutoring allows for the most individualized support possible. It is often a good choice for students who are less self-motivated and require more structure and personal attention.

Most often, a private tutor will create an individual program of study that focuses on the areas in which your particular student needs to improve. 

While one-on-one test prep can be a more expensive option, it is also usually the most effective at raising test scores and helping your child reach their ultimate goals.

Online Test Prep

Generally speaking, online test prep programs are the most economical choice. 

These online courses may be self-paced, comprised of video lessons, or lead by a live tutor. 

The course structure of these programs may contain any combination of these instructional methods: 

  • Interactive practice questions
  • Games
  • Downloadable resources
  • Peer-to-peer discussions
  • Webinars
  • Full-length practice tests

Despite the format of the specific online prep course you choose, one thing remains the same – these types of programs work best for highly motivated students who are self-starters and committed to the process. 

What Should You Expect From Test Prep Tutoring?

So now that you know your options for test prep programs, one question remains … 

What are the qualities you should expect from a good test prep tutor?


Individualized Instruction

Individualized instruction is the biggest sign that you’ve found a good test prep tutor. 

To get the most bang for your buck, instruction should focus on your child’s individual needs and your tutor should tailor the sessions to specifically address those needs. 

Even if you choose group sessions, a good test prep tutor can work with a small group of students and still provide personalized support and real-time feedback.

Expert Tutors

So what sets an expert tutor apart from any other college kid that wants to make a few bucks on the side?

Being knowledgeable is great, but being personable, connecting with the student, and being committed to student success are all signs of truly top-notch tutors. 

When seeking out a tutor for your student, look for someone who will …  

  • Identify your child’s strengths, challenges, and goals
  • Communicate clearly and personably
  • Create a plan to help your child build both their self-confidence and skill set

Higher Test Scores

General subject tutoring may help a class grade to rise from a C to an A, but the effect that a single grade has on the student’s overall GPA is actually rather small. 

However, raising a student’s SAT or ACT score 200, 300, or even 400 points can be huge and could be the deciding factor on that student’s admission to their school of choice. 

As long as the student puts in the daily work required to practice the skills and strategies taught, the test score will most likely go up.

Emergent Education Offers Students an Opportunity to Learn, Grow, and Embrace Challenges Through Test Prep Tutoring

If you’re looking for highly skilled, expert tutors in the Portland area, look no further.

Emergent Education has you covered!

During your child’s first test prep tutoring session – which is free – we’ll conduct an assessment and then we create a tailored study plan that addresses your child’s specific needs, providing targeted advice, tips, and guidance based on the results of that assessment. 

We focus on study and preparation strategies that will best serve your student during their test prep phase and on into their future. 

Call today and try us out, risk-free!

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