Picture it. Brooklyn, 1990. A young Dan Trachtenberg, Method Test Prep’s future Office Manager, is trying once again to raise his SAT score after getting a flat score of 1000.

brooklynFor the first SAT, I tried a course offered at a local school in Brooklyn run by a popular SAT company, a name I’m sure you might be familiar with. Mind you, this was 25 years ago, but I do recall a hip teacher with a personality not unlike something you’d find at an Apple Genius Bar.  There were a lot of bad jokes, a lot of vocabulary, and a lot of analogies.  If this meant this, would that mean that? Something along those lines. The test was broken down into strategies that had cute names that sound more like the menu at Moe’s Southwest Grill than actual test prep pointers. Needless to say, for me, it bombed. My score after the course? 1000.

For the second go-around, I went with private tutoring, but with the same company. Yes, tutoring existed in those pre-internet cell phone-less days, but on a far more primitive scale. There was no email, no way to tackle problems or prep for the SAT online. The company did not even offer any way to take practice SATs under actual testing conditions. In the spring of 1990, tutoring meant working out of books.

Why we stuck with the same company is beyond me, but we did.  The tutor, while pleasant and well meaning, brought with her a newborn baby. Newborn babies, as I’m sure you’re doubtless aware, require constant feeding and attention. Newborn babies, as I’m sure you’re also aware, are not worried about an upcoming SAT. When said baby wanted attention, or nursing, or anything, our tutoring sessions got interrupted.  Yes, this tutor nursed her child during our tutoring sessions. No, I didn’t think it was cool. For a 16-year-old high school junior who hadn’t had much experience with such matters, this was a distraction.

My second SAT score? 1000. The same score, twice. We did not move forward with a third test or more tutoring.

Fast forward to 2016.  Prepping for the SAT has come a tremendously long way from working out of a large book back in the old days. The options are endless. Method Test Prep offers tutoring one-on-one or in small groups, in-person or online. We also offer mini classes and courses in both of our Long Island-based centers and online. In my day, that only existed on Star Trek! Bad weather? No problem––hop on your tablet or laptop and watch an online class. Can’t make a tutoring session? Same thing! Want the ability to prep more in between classes or sessions? Method Test Prep has on online self-paced program for both the ACT and SAT.  Odds are your school already offers our software to your students. What could be easier?

One thing is for certain: if these options existed for me in 1990, my SAT score almost certainly would have been higher.

Probably the most important aspect of prepping for an SAT or ACT is taking practice tests.  Practice makes perfect as they say, and what better way than to take an actual SAT or ACT under actual testing conditions? Method holds practice tests both online and in-person. If you’re on Long Island, we hold practice tests at our Plainview center every Saturday at 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM, and every Sunday at 9:00 AM. Method is also proud to announce that we now hold practice tests all weekend at our new Mineola center, at 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Not on Long Island? Our self-paced online program also offers online timed practice tests.

Taking a practice SAT or ACT is the best way for students to gauge their initial abilities and to target areas that need work and extra help. It’s also a great way to begin the process of getting prepared for the ACT or SAT.  We all have to start somewhere: take a practice test and find your starting point!

So, here I am. Twenty five years later, I’ve come full circle. From a flat score on his own SAT, the kid from Brooklyn now proctors practice ACTs and SATs and helps guide students on their own journey with the exams.