How to Instantly Improve Your SAT Score .... (and Why You Must Guess!)

Sometimes, you just have to go for it-2
Here’s a video explaining exactly why you must guess on the majority of questions on the SAT. In today’s world of Tweets and Vines, this 7 plus minute video may sound like a pain in the butt. So, if you’re a fast reader and you’d rather skip the video, the main points are written below.


1. Randomly guessing on the SAT does not hurt or help your score. So, it IS a waste of time to arbitrarily guess at will. If you guess randomly on 5 questions on the SAT, with answer choices A through E, you have 1 in 5 odds of getting each question right. So, statically you’re likely to answer 1 of those 5 questions correctly, and the other 4 questions incorrectly. The SAT scoring system (for calculating Raw Score) is +1 point for each correctly answered question and -1/4 point for each incorrectly answered question. That means that filling in bubbles arbitrarily won’t help because for every 1 question you answer correctly, you’ll answer 4 incorrectly. Plus 1 point, minus 1/4 point four times. Net zero.

2. Intelligently guessing WILL IMPROVE YOUR SCORE because with every answer choice on an SAT question that you’re certain is incorrect, your odds of guessing correctly improve. For example…

If an SAT question were to read:

In what year was the Constitution of the United States written?

and the answers were…

a. 1776 b. 200 B.C. c. 1492 d. 1787 e. 1781

Even if we don’t know the answer, some of us will be able to cross off some answers and make an educated guess. Perhaps you are certain that answer choice “b” is incorrect because you remember that B.C. means before the birth of Christ, and that can’t be right. So now you’ve got 1 in 4 odds of guessing correctly among the other answer choices. With the SAT scoring system, it is now worth guessing because if you were to do so on four questions, you’d now gain 1 point on the correct guess and lose 3/4 of a point on the 3 incorrect guesses. Netting 1/4 of a point, which could be the difference between rounding up or down 10 points on the SAT scaled score.

Perhaps you also remember that 1492 was the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue. So that can’t be right. Now you’ve got 1 in 3 odds. With these odds on 3 SAT questions, you’d gain 1 point and lose 2/4 of a point. Netting 1/2 of a point, which ends up getting you 10 points on the SAT Scaled Score.

Maybe you even remember that 1776 was the year of the Declaration of Independence, and the founding fathers were too busy fighting a war to worry about the details of a formal Constitution. Now you’ve got 1 in 2 odds. If you were to guess on 2 questions this way, you would gain 1 point and lose 1/4 of a point, netting 3/4 of a point. Guess with these odds on 4 questions, gain 1.5 points (20 points on the SAT Scaled Score). Guess with these odds on 8 out of the total 67 Reading comprehension questions on the SAT, you’ll typically gain 3 raw score points, or roughly 30 points on the SAT Scaled Score.

3. The SAT scoring system is not evil, it’s misunderstood. What it means for you, is that you can be rewarded by guessing intelligently. While the Constitution’s signing date is not part of the content covered by the SAT, there are lots of answers to SAT questions that you will be sure are incorrect, even if you’re not sure which of the remaining answers are correct. The SAT rewards students for that knowledge. While it’s not certain that you will get any single SAT question right by guessing, it is a statistical certainty that you can improve your score when you apply intelligent, judicious guessing to a number of questions on the test. So, unless you’re totally unsure about all the answer choices, guess on the SAT!

The Corporate SAT ACT Tutoring Price Hustle

Our tutors each have over 2,000 hours experience tutoring students one on one for the SAT and ACT.  At Kaplan, that same tutor runs you over 150 dollars per hour.  At Princeton Review, a tutor of similar experience comes with a cost of 325 dollars per hour!

Suffice to say, our summer rate of $70 per hour is an incredible value.  Our rates are so reasonable because we have virtually no overhead.  Yep, that’s right.   Virtually none.  While Kaplan and Princeton Review have massive central offices and staff, we’re simply a small contingent of great tutors, working together to offer a tremendous product.  Our advertising budget every month rivals that of a Kaplan executive’s daily lunch money.  Of course, we could charge more, but we believe every one should have access to great test preparation.

On the other hand, there are bargain tutors that will work for less money.  But they’re mostly beginners, or general tutors with some SAT or ACT experience.  Be careful signing up with a tutor with a cut rate price.  Usually, such a tutor has only a handful of students under their belt.

College costs are out of control.  Still, the expense of higher education is one of the most important investments in life.  The difference, over the length of the course, between the cost for a Higher Learning instructor with over 2000 experience as a one on one SAT/ACT tutor, and the cost for a cut rate tutor with very little measurable experience is about the same as the cost of books for one semester.  Conversely, the difference between the cost of a complete course with Higher Learning versus a complete course with Princeton is roughly equal to the cost of a semester of classes atthe In comparison to the cost of a

Our tutors are the best in the business.  Our rates are the best in the business.  So, send an email to and lets get started!

How to get a Perfect SAT Score

The elusive 2400. 800 in Reading, 800 in Writing, 800 in Math. Perfect.

Nobody cares.

Asking somebody what they got on the SAT is one of the lamest questions known to man. Telling people what you got on the SAT when you haven’t been asked is even worse.

What a rip off! Even if you’re perfect and you know it, it’s not that cool to clap your hands. Maybe you can get away with patting yourself on the back, but be sure to do so discretely.

Of course, there is quite a payoff for a perfect SAT score. Unless you’re an axe murderer with a terrible attendance record and a GPA below 1.2, you’re probably on your way to a tremendous institution of higher learning.

So the payoff isn’t the score. The payoff is gaining admittance to an incredible school. And therefore, 2400 is not the only perfect score.

If you can gain admission to your top choice school with a score of 1800, then 1800 is perfect. If you need 2000, perfect. If you need 1200, perfect. And if you need a 2400, perfect.

With the help of a great tutor, this fall is the perfect time to reach your goal. Studying for the SAT will change dramatically next spring. The SAT changes in 2016. Right now, there’s 10 years of previous SATs in the current format we can review in our study. That gives students that study a huge advantage over students that take the test cold.

In the spring, with less material on which to rely, improvement may be harder to come by. Which is why we’re encouraging all students to take the ACT in 2016 instead. We know what the ACT is going to look like. We don’t know with the same degree of certainty what the SAT is going to look like. So, why be the guinea pig for the new test?

Take advantage of the incredible opportunity the October 2016 SAT offers. Start your study now, use all available resources, find a tutor that can increase the efficiency of your study. Then, go get the score you need to get where you want to go. Someday, when some sad, lame soul inquires about your SAT score, you can say, “Perfect.”

Summer, Sun, and SAT lessons on Skype

Sitting on the beach, sipping lemonade, soaking up the sun and studying for the SAT or ACT. Seriously. Skype SAT and ACT Tutoring with Higher Learning Test Prep is tailor made for summer vacation. Whether you’re jet setting, beach bumming, or squeezing in lessons between barbecues, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re having trouble with SAT Math or ACT Science, or anything else on the tests, we can help.

Summer is the best time to prepare for the SAT or ACT. Skype Tutoring with Higher Learning is the best way to prepare for the SAT or ACT. What are you waiting for? A little bit of study goes a long way!

If you just need a question answered, check out our Facebook Page. Ask us a question, and we’ll make a short video and save the day. Like SAT/ACT Superheroes, minus the tights. Thank goodness for that.

4 reasons to take the October 2015 SAT

Taking the October SAT in 2015 may sound about as appealing as, say, a day’s work in an underground coal mine, or going to see your Mom’s favorite band from the 90’s. In the end, however, you’ll be happy you did it. If you play your cards right, you could get your best score yet on the SAT, which is certainly better than getting Miner’s Cough, or a Goo-Goo Doll’s Reunion Tour T-shirt.

Here’s 4 reasons to take the SAT in October:

1. If you’re a senior and you’ve taken then test before, you get one more shot to bring your score up. Take what you’ve learned from your previous test dates, study your mistakes, and take a few practice tests. It will be worth it when your improved score gets you in to your top choice college.

2. If you’re a junior, and just starting out, give yourself a shot at the SAT before it changes in 2016! The test makers have released limited material, and most likely, it’s misleading. They’re not going to reveal the information you really need to get a perfect score. So, take the SAT while it’s still in the current format. That way, you’ll know what to expect!

3. If you plan on taking the new SAT in 2016, you might as well take the old test and compare your results. Not everything is going to change, and if your score is better in the fall, you can send those scores to schools instead of the new test scores. Colleges will not be favoring one version over the other version in any way. So, take both and send in your best scores.

4. The fall test gives you the most amount of time to study. Some students get rusty over the summer, and that can be a problem. However, if you spend your time wisely this summer, you can radically improve your score studying for the SAT, by yourself or with a tutor. Your schedule will be relaxed, your mind at ease, allowing you to focus on the task at hand- a perfect score. (Remember, a perfect score isn’t necessarily a 2400, it’s the score that gets you into your dream school.)

Most likely, you’ll want a tutor to help you maximize your score. If so, drop us a line. We’ve got the best SAT and ACT tutors in the world available anywhere, anytime using Skype or Google Hangouts. World class online tutoring, just a click away. You can even use your tutoring sessions as an excuse to bail on that concert with Mom…

The Secret to Getting the Best Score on the SAT or ACT

There are three elements that ultimately determine your on the SAT and ACT. If you want to get the best score you can on these exams, you’ll have to master all three.

1. Understand the Material

This is the obvious one, and also the first thing overlooked by students looking to improve their scores on the SAT and ACT. Students are hungry for the tricks and secrets to improving their scores. But, first and foremost, students must have a thorough understanding of the math, grammar, and reading skills that are tested by the SAT, and the math, grammar, reading, and science skills tested on the ACT. Don’t worry! It’s not a huge list. Don’t go back and re-read a bunch of text books. The material tested on both the SAT and ACT is very limited. It won’t take long to review the specific materials tested on each exam.

2. Understand the Test

The test makers of both the SAT and ACT have strategies they use each year to design test questions. While the questions may look tough the first couple times you see them, the truth is that these questions become predictable when you begin to study them closely. The test makers use the same tricks year after year. You don’t have to be a genius to score like one on the ACT or SAT. You simply need to carefully study the similarities in the tests year after year, and apply that knowledge on test day.

3. Understand Yourself

This one is huge. It’s also the hardest part to be honest about. What score do you need to get in to your top choice? How many correct answers will it take to get that score? To what extent is timing an issue for you? Do timed tests make you nervous? What kind of mistakes do you make? For some students, its all about practice tests. Some students need drills in specific subject areas in order to polish up a certain skill set. Some students need to work on mind set. For these students we recommend meditation and relaxation techniques to alleviate test anxiety.

If you can master the Material, the Test, and Yourself, you’re golden. If you’d like some help with any of the three, or all of the above, drop us a line-

Happy Studying!

SAT and ACT Algebra

Check out the latest tip for SAT and ACT Algebra! Sometimes, SAT and ACT algebra questions are flat out confusing. If you want to improve your score on the SAT Math or ACT Math section, listen up! Before you know it, you’ll have the best score in your class.

Why We Do What We Do

SAT and ACT Tutoring isn’t one of those things folks dream about doing. Ask a young kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If he or she says, “I want to tutor high school students studying for the SAT and ACT using Skype” then let us know. The kid is either deranged or hired. We’re not sure which.

We started Higher Learning Test Prep for a few reasons.

1. The industry is a mess. We wanted to do our part to clean it up. Test Prep companies charge top dollar, and often times don’t do enough to help their students. Some companies are too large to put students first. They’ve got executives, brick and mortar offices with massive overhead, and bottom lines to consider. In these cases, students are paying for much more than their tutoring. Other companies just have the wrong idea. They’ve got mediocre tutors and bad advice. The mission of Higher Learning Test Prep is to provide the best SAT and ACT preparation in the world to students. We’ve got experienced world class educators, the best materials, and reasonable rates to boot.

2. Video conferencing technology is changing the world of education, and we’re right at the forefront of that. Our company started when one of our SAT students asked if we would be willing to work remotely while she was traveling. Once we worked out the kinks, Skype and Google Hangouts have allowed us to tutor students all over the world with ease. We are eviscerating the barriers of geographical distance. We figure, if you’re studying for a U.S. test, trying to get into a U.S. college, you should probably study with a U.S. tutor. There’s smart people all over the world. But nobody knows the SAT and ACT like we do.

3. While we doubt that anybody “loves” the SAT or ACT, we absolutely love helping students overcome the SAT or ACT. Each of these exams stands as an obstacle between smart students and the college or university of their dreams. While we believe that standardized tests are useful tools for admissions offices, we strongly believe that no test can accurately measure a student’s intelligence. There are simply too many kinds of intelligence that cannot be tested by the SAT or ACT. Smart students that struggle with these tests can end up overlooked by admissions officers. That’s where we come in. Higher Learning Test Prep tutors help students improve their scores tremendously, and thereby gain admission to their top choice universities.

The mindset of our company can be summed up as, “What if this student, who is struggling with the SAT or ACT, is the person who will, given the right collegiate opportunities, discover the cure for cancer? Doesn’t that person deserve our help? Is there anything more important than helping this person accomplish their goals?”

This is how we derive meaning from our work. We have a fixed amount of time with each student- typically between 20 and 30 hours of work. In this small amount of time, we can help each student open doors that lead to the rest of their lives. That’s why we do what we do.

If you need a hand getting the door open, get in touch. We’ll be happy to help. Our goal is to transform the SAT and/or ACT from an obstacle to an opportunity.

Happy Studying!
Jeremy Ciampa
Director at Higher Learning Test Prep