5 Surprising Tips For Anyone Wondering about Commercial SAT/ACT Coaching

Recently I got such a great question from a mom. I’m hoping many parents will benefit from hearing why I told her, “No, I don’t.”

Jeannie, I was wondering if you do coaching for students looking to study for the ACT/SAT tests? I have a daughter who is wanting to take the PSAT and the ACT this year and her high school counselor told us to invest in a good testing coach. I honestly have no idea where to find one, but thought of you because of the work you have already been doing in this area. Do you provide tutoring services to students who want to do well on standardized tests?

My answer to her is below.


You’re asking great questions about SAT/ACT prep! Here are some things to think about on this subject:

1. I strongly suggest that you have your daughter seriously prep for just one of these tests.

She’s busy enough without making her spread her limited time out over both. The ACT is so widely accepted now that that one might be a good one for her to pursue with gusto.

2. Have her take it once just to see how she does.

If she scores high enough she might not even need structured prep. Don’t worry that she might bomb the test by taking it without prep. If she does poorly on it she can always take it again as many times as she wants to and schools will always look at her highest score.

3. Here’s my best suggestion for test prep coaching. (FYI I get nothing for telling you this.)

I don’t do SAT/ACT prep myself–I did do it as a KAPLAN instructor many years ago. I don’t do test prep coaching for two reasons: I’m too busy and I’m turning away clients as it is, but more importantly, I don’t currently have a full time research department behind me keeping up with every little change in these tests. This is a critically important qualification for any test prep you choose–and it’s a reason I never recommend locally based “tutors” or classes.

After all these years I still do strongly recommend KAPLAN for test prep because they are so huge and have so many resources to put into the formation of their class curriculum and practice materials. Save yourself money though–just take KAPLAN’s least expensive $299 self-paced option and create a personal calendar at home for how your daughter will progress through the materials and get everything done. Scroll all the way to the bottom of this page and you’ll see the KAPLAN course I’m recommending.

4. If your daughter’s college counselor is gravely worried about her standardized test prowess for some reason, worry no more.

There are hundreds and hundreds of well-respected “test optional” colleges and universities that don’t require standardized test scores at all. Please take a look at the extensive informative blog post I wrote on this subject here and feel hope!

There’s no part of parenting more important than setting your kid up for successful college and career life.

For clear, step-by-step help getting your kids through college debt-free, don’t rely on a loose collection of blog posts. You’ll miss hundreds of details that way. Instead, get your copy of my book:

You can “Look Inside” the book on Amazon for free by going to:


(Tell your friends.)

You can see why financial planners and wealth managers love LAUNCHhere.

You can see the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCHhere.

Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.

And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.

Do you have friends who are wrestling with these same questions?

Do you know a high school guidance counselor who might be able to help others using the strategies I recommend? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin right now.

What about you?

What are your thoughts on standardized test prep? What’s worked well for you? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.

Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie is a full time author, academic strategist, and speaker. Her writing and speaking help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, NerdWallet, and US News and World Report.

Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.