SAT Scores Cause a Scandal: There's More To Your Student's Score from the New SAT Than Meets The Eye.

Since the first scores of the New SAT were released last week, there has been a great deal of speculation and skepticism surrounding the scores, and quite frankly it is for good reason.  Although many students in Plymouth were thrilled to see scores better than they expected, the sheer numbers reported in and of themselves are actually a bit misleading, as the Washington Post reported in an article titled “Why your new SAT score is not as strong as you think it is.” 

At first glance, the scores from the new SAT appear encouraging.  However, the reality is that a score of 1300 for example on the new SAT, is not as strong as a score of 1300 on the past exam.  In fact, you need a calculator to adjust your new score, to the appropriate score of years past.  (Incidentally, there is also an app available through the College Board to help convert scores).  However, what the conversion calculators unanimously reveal is that the new scores don’t stack up to the old scores, and the discrepancy between scores can be as much as 80 points.   

That means that students who were counting on a specific score to lock in admission to a certain school are liable to find out they need a higher score than they thought.   Consider the example of student Bill Jones.  Bill believed he needed a 900 total SAT score to fall in line with the Median Score of Incoming Freshman at West Virginia University in 2015. However, with the new SAT scoring system, Bill actually needs a 980 score.  Likewise, at Penn State, where the 2015 Median Score of Incoming Freshmen was an 1190, students taking the new SAT need to score 1260 for the score to carry the same weight. 

Confused yet?  You’re not alone.  At Achieve Academics, we predicted that there were going to be some hiccups and obstacles and problems with the new SAT.  A change of this magnitude simply wasn’t going to go off without a hitch, which is why we continue to recommend that high school students in Plymouth take both the SAT and the ACT for the foreseeable future.   

The ACT has become the more popular of the tests in recent years, and with such big changes to the SAT, it is highly advisable that students preparing for college study take the ACT in addition to the SAT, until this scoring is better understood.  As a private tutoring and test prep services company serving the Plymouth area for a number of years, at Achieve Academics our sole goal is to ensure your student performs their best in school, and on all college prep tests they choose to take. 

In the meantime, if you are struggling to understand what your student’s new SAT score means for them, in regards to college admissions, feel free to contact us anytime at 763-559-8378, or via email at

The March 2016 SAT Scores Are Finally Here! What's Your Next Step?

In this day and age, it is increasingly common to turn to the Internet and digital platforms to resolve life’s daily tasks and conundrums. Though plenty of web services make life easier or more efficient, one particular digital area’s true value still remains to be seen: online tutoring. Though some online tutoring services tout cost efficiency and accessibility, can education via the Internet work as effectively as the time tested and proven face-to-face tutoring model?

There are plenty of reasons that students and their families seek out tutoring services, often to prep for major college admission tests like the SAT or the ACT. In addition to choosing the college admission test that’s best for a student, it is just as important to determine the delivery method by which a student is best served. Even online tutoring courses that promise real-time online SAT or ACT support from teachers tend to come up short when it comes to lasting results. Though a quick online course may modestly boost scores, it is no match for a small group or private one-on-one tutoring where actual, in-person tutors can strategize alongside a student and cater to his or her specific strengths, weaknesses, learning style, and goals.

Personal Tutoring With a Professional Tutor

In fact, one of the most effective tools a tutor can employ is the bond forged between teacher and student which is built through spending time with one another. When trust is built between a tutor and his or her pupil through a small group setting or one-on-one study, comfort and communication result—which ultimately paves the way for the formation of positive and lasting study habits. A good tutor doesn’t evaluate from afar, via a screen located potentially thousands of miles away. Instead, the face-to-face, interaction between tutor and student puts the student at the center, and the ensuing strategy and set of goals are developed from a personalized starting point. While the nuances of test prep can get lost in translation when utilizing an online tutoring service, an experienced tutor can assess a student’s needs, progress, and long-term retention, and adjust along the way, when they are personally and routinely meeting with the student.

While online tutoring can be good at providing free generic instructional help and repetitive practice exercises, they also use generic approaches, not keeping in mind a student’s learning style/ difference/ psyche. An experienced tutor teaches a student how they can personalize and make the strategies and concepts their own. Using verbal and nonverbal cues, they diagnose and assess a student’s unique learning style, resulting in improved learning skills and self-confidence. Online programs have yet to bridge that human touch.

The College Board will be extending the regular registration deadline for the 6/4/16 SAT until 5/11/16. Please contact us to learn about our small group and private one-on-one tutoring options.

At Achieve Academics, we seek to meet the needs of each and every student, no matter his or her goals, interests, or academic background. Through one-on-one personalized tutoring and small group classes, we address the individual learning needs of all students, especially during the critical end of the year stretch. Finishing strong during final exams keeps transcripts and GPA’s on track, showing teachers and future college admission committees that a student is consistent and serious about his or her education. Whatever your student’s academic needs may be, Achieve Academics has a summer program that can help. Contact us today at 763-559-8378, or via email at



Online Tutoring: Pass or Fail?

As internet services become increasingly available, families look to technology to solve problems and to make life more efficient. Many of us use Nest to regulate our thermostat, track our bills with Mint, and coordinate family schedules with Cozi. But should this internet use extend to online tutoring? How do parents navigate the growing number of online tutoring companies that promise to fill academic needs without the student ever having to leave home?

There are many factors to consider when finding a tutor for your child. First ask yourself the question: “What are the goals I would like to see my child achieve through a tutoring relationship?” If your answer is more than homework help or specific topic reinforcement, you may find online tutoring will not fulfill your needs. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a quick fix. You may be trading off a chance for your child to grow academically in exchange for just covering the basic facts for a better grade.

When tutoring is productive, it is not just teaching basic knowledge. It becomes a mentoring relationship that fosters greater learning which leads to enrichment rather than rote memorization. Great teachers and tutors are effective because of the time they take to build relationships with the student that foster a trust between teacher and student. Trust takes time to build and occurs when people meet in person, not in an online chat. There are other less tangible reasons that in ­person tutoring beats out online tutoring. A good tutor will evaluate the student’s nonverbal cues such as body language or facial expression to know when a student isn’t “getting it.” These unique personal cues are lost during an online experience. Quality and consistency are other factors to consider when choosing an online versus an in­person tutoring service. Many online companies do not offer the ability to exclusively book with the same tutor. In addition, Princeton Review and many other online companies do not require their tutors have a teaching background or hold an advanced degree. With smaller companies and services, how do you know who is on the other end interacting with your child? Better to invest in a local credentialed tutor who has the experience and knowledge to adapt instruction to the specific needs of your unique child. Achieve Academics tutors are vetted, background checked, and trained before they ever meet with a single client.

Considering an online service because it’s convenient? Many Achieve Academics centers are open until 10pm during the week and have hours all day Saturday and Sunday to accommodate the full schedules of our clients. The in­ center experience elicits motivation and attention that students can find difficult to muster at home in their room on their laptops. The teaching environment is incredibly important to student focus and retention. Online tutoring lacks the essential engagement that the mind needs for optimal learning. Convenience may not be the best characteristic of effective learning. If schedules or hectic commutes just can’t be conquered, there may still be an efficient way to get that in ­person value with a hybrid approach. Tutors can meet initially in person and then use Skype once trust has been built.

This last strategy is a great one for students at boarding schools or families traveling to a Achieve Academics center from farther distances.

Bottom line: websites and apps can be great for reinforcement and practice, but by no means should they be a student’s primary source of academic support.

Achieve Academics is a national network of independent educators sharing resources and talent to deliver high quality tutoring and test preparation programs.

Whatever your student’s academic needs may be, Achieve Academics has a summer program that can help. Contact us today at 763-559-8378, or via email at