Frequently Asked Questions

What sets Access Test Prep apart? 

We provide the highest quality tutoring available because we deeply understand standardized tests, tutoring only those tests for which we have scored in the 99th percentile. Further, we train our tutors in collaborative negotiation skills, enabling them to build student relationships rooted in respect, integrity, and trust. We combine this commitment to the student-tutor relationship with our unparalleled knowledge base and the ability to demystify standardized tests and academic subjects in order to help students excel.

Access Test Prep is your ally in an anxiety-provoking process. We choose not to capitalize on student-parent-peer anxiety. We motivate students by creating a calm and collaborative environment in which they can confidently develop true test-taking and critical thinking skills.


Why is professional test prep important?

Given the breadth and depth of material on standardized tests, most students benefit from a focused, formal plan of attack. Students typically balance numerous academic and extracurricular commitments, along with constant distractions, that make it easy to neglect or push back test prep.  Moreover, going at it alone can be demoralizing and overwhelming because students may not know the best ways to address their own deficits. A partnership with an experienced guide who acts as mentor, coach, and collaborator can make a decisive difference with regard to a student's final scores.


If a student does well on math tests in school, hasn’t she covered everything on the SAT and ACT?  

Even though the material on the math portions of the SAT and ACT overlaps a lot with a typical high school’s math curriculum, almost any student would benefit from some help from someone specifically focused on SAT and ACT math.  There are several reasons for this conclusion: 
1.    SATs and ACTs include some math questions not generally covered in most math courses. 
2.   The way the SAT and ACT ask questions differs from what students are used to seeing. 
3.   There are often easier, quicker ways to answer SAT and ACT math questions than students learn in school, and a tutor whose focus is standardized tests can help a student adopt those methods.  This assistance enables the student to utilize her limited test time most effectively.


Isn’t all reading the same?  If my child is a good reader, why would he need any help preparing for the reading on standardized tests?

Reading for standardized tests is very different from reading for school or pleasure, and it is not something that comes naturally to most students.  In fact, being a good reader in a high school English class creates habits that make standardized test reading more difficult.  An Access  Test Prep tutor can redirect a student’s reading so that it is suitable for those tests.


Is test prep really imperative, even if the student’s PSAT or PLAN scores were quite high?

The reality is that today, a majority of students prepare for the SAT or ACT, so students who do not prep are at a significant disadvantage. Whether it’s Georgia State, UGA, Harvard, or any other college, each applicant is competing for a fixed number of seats in the freshman class. 


Why use a tutor versus a group class?

Because standardized tests assess a myriad of academic skills, students’ understanding and needs vary greatly. With one-on-one tutoring, the individual student optimizes his or her time by concentrating on particular weaknesses while continuing to improve on strengths.

Individual tutoring allows the tutor and student to form the kind of partnership that is not possible in a group setting. Working together one-on-one leads to greater trust and an ability to motivate and communicate more effectively. These elements enhance confidence and thereby help bring out the best in a student.

The benefits of individual tutoring are evident in the results our students have enjoyed: Many of our students who achieve very successful outcomes had previously taken a different test prep class to unsatisfying results.


How long does this process take?

Students differ, and our program is designed to meet each particular person’s needs. Before a student begins working with us, he or she typically takes a diagnostic test in order to determine how best to structure an individualized tutoring program.

Generally, tutoring over a longer period of time, rather than a “crash course,” is the ideal test-preparation method. Longevity and repeated practice tests typically enhance test-taking confidence and performance.


Where does the tutoring take place?

Tutoring sessions typically take place at the offices of Access Test Prep in Buckhead. Students benefit most from the tutoring process if they are away from the distractions of home. Meeting with a tutor in a professional setting also imbues the process with a significance that increases a student’s focus and motivation.

For our students residing outside of Atlanta, we have had great success with our Skype tutoring program. 


What else is important in the prep process?

Taking timed practice tests under closely simulated test-day conditions is also a vital part of the test prep process primarily because repetition breeds familiarity, which in turn increases test scores while reducing anxiety on test day.  In all honesty, practice tests are likely not something a typical teenager can do well on his own at home, where distractions are usually everywhere.


What does it take to really improve scores?

Improved performance on an SAT or ACT requires a true understanding of how the test writers think.  An Access Test Prep tutor, who not only thinks like those test writers, but can also build a relationship and actually communicate with a student, has the unique ability to custom-design a prep plan for each student. Our tutors can thereby impart the nuanced analytical thinking that will enable a student to maximize her performance on the test and develop the crucial skills that employers look for today.


Are there any other upsides to tutoring with Access?

Absolutely.  In our decades of tutoring and teaching, we have seen a huge benefit to students from test prep and tutoring in general and Access Test Prep’s model in particular.  The skills that students develop while preparing for the SAT, ACT, or any other test using our approach typically carry over into their academic performance and critical thinking abilities, leading to higher GPAs and the increasingly important analytical skills that employers seek.  Parents frequently call us and marvel at these added benefits.