College Admissions News and ACT / SAT Strategy

How to Hire the Best ACT or SAT Tutor for You

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Dec 29, 2021 @ 12:46 PM

Preparing for the ACT or SAT can seem daunting, but remember, these exams are your chance to improve the likelihood of admission to your dream college. In fact, if your GPA isn’t as high as it could be, this could be the chance you have at giving yourself an edge in the admissions process. While many colleges are going test optional, a strong ACT score can only help you show off your academic prowess and readiness to thrive in at the university level. Though the ACT can be challenging, and perhaps you’ve scored less-than-ideally on a practice test, utilizing an ACT tutor can noticeably improve your score. An in-person or online ACT tutor can really kick-start your ACT prep process, providing you with the ACT study plan you need to be effective and efficient when you self-study for the ACT. After all, for every hour you spend with an ACT or SAT tutor, you should spend three hours self-studying.

That said, the choice of SAT tutor is key. With so many different companies within the test prep industry to choose from, how do you know which tutor is the best? Check out our list of considerations for finding the best ACT or SAT tutor for you.

Before Seeking an SAT Tutor

To inform the search for a tutor, it’s best to identify your weaknesses. This may require taking a practice test or two and some honest self-reckoning. Generally, ACT weaknesses will fall into two areas: test strategy and / or content area. If you just don’t understand what to do with the exponents or systems of equations you are staring it, you have an SAT content issue to address. If you struggle with time management or second-guesses questions frequently, you will want to work on SAT test-taking strategy. Regardless of your needs, a tutor can provide a disciplined, structured study plan to hold you accountable in studying for the exam.

Get SAT or ACT Tutor Referrals


You may know someone who found a tutor for the ACT and was pleased with their experience and score improvement. If that’s the case, do not hesitate to ask if they’d refer the tutor. There may be local tutors who are popular in your community; gathering information from local sources can help you feel comfortable in finding someone you trust. This may be easier than sifting through the many online ACT tutoring options. That said, while the world in general places great value on personal referrals, keep in mind that just because person A is person B’s good friend, this does not mean they are an experienced an effective ACT coach. You need to ensure you ask questions about their background and experience.

How much should an SAT or ACT tutor cost?

In the context of ACT or SAT tutoring, expensive does not always equal better. Many companies will make grand promises that justify their prices; ultimately, talking to the specific tutor you’re interested in is the best way to sus out a good fit. Sure, some highly experienced tutors may charge a pretty penny, but they are not the determining factor in your ACT score: you are.

While many standardized test tutors charge exorbitant amounts for their services, there are more affordable ACT or SAT tutoring options out there. Students can opt for fewer, more in-depth sessions, or more regular, less-lengthy sessions. MyGuru offers lower ACT and SAT tutoring prices than the other major national tutoring companies for ACT/SAT tutoring and offers discounts from 5% to 20% depending on the situation.

Areas of Expertise: SAT Math, SAT Verbal, or Both?

Most students will score higher on some sections than on others based on their natural abilities and academic strengths. It can be frustrating when one rough section brings down the aggregate ACT score when the scores on other sections are sound. Thus, it may be wise to find an ACT tutor who specializes in, say, math and science, if those are areas where you want to hone in your energy. Conversely, if you want to focus on every area of the ACT, a tutor with a breadth of experience could be a stronger option.

At MyGuru, we recommend working with an ACT or SAT tutor who can cover all sections of the exam. That said, if you really are only struggling with math, a focused SAT math tutor could be the best fit for you. The bottom line is this; make sure you do some self-exploration of your comfort with and strengths and weaknesses around the SAT before hiring an SAT tutor.

 ACT Tutoring Style and Approach

Different tutors have different ACT or SAT tutoring styles. If you prefer to work in-person, you’ll want a tutor willing to meet a tutor at a coffee shop, local library, or at home. Other tutors strongly prefer online SAT tutoring. Sometimes you may have heard great things about a tutor who conducts SAT tutoring online, but you prefer an in-person approach. It may make sense to find a different SAT coaching option. Similarly, some tutors will have more experience working with students with learning disabilities like ADHD or mental health challenges like test-anxiety. Always ask about a tutor’s background; this is an important consideration in finding the best fit. Finding a tutor who you can connect to is key. You should feel comfortable asking questions; a positive work environment is proven to be conducive to academic success.

ACT or SAT Coaching Track Record

How experienced is the ACT or SAT prep coach? What is their background? Stating the obvious, it’s important to find a tutor who knows what they’re doing and has a lot of ACT or SAT prep experience. Simply receiving a high score on the ACT alone does not qualify someone to tutor someone else for the test. Always ask about their number of total students worked with and years of ACT tutoring specifically. Asking for references from previous clients is always a good strategy of sniffing out the best candidate.

Read the Fine Print in any SAT Tutoring Contract

Some test prep tutors may want you to sign a contract. Maybe there is no formal document, but the tutor outlines certain policies around missing sessions and /or trying to re-schedule a session last minute. Always ask about policies in this vein, as they can vary greatly from company to company and tutor to tutor.

Conclusion: How to Find the Best SAT Tutor for You

At the end of the day, finding a strong SAT or ACT tutor in conjunction with putting in the work outside of tutoring sessions is a tried-and-true method to raising your ACT score. Hiring the right tutor may seem challenging, but this list of considerations should help you find the best fit.

Topics: sat tutoring, ACT concepts, SAT test, ACT/SAT study skills