Frequently Asked Questions

Please click the category names below to find the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

A-List Tutoring Program

Q: What does your SAT/ACT program cover, and how long does it run?

A: Our program covers all content and strategies of your selected exam, including the essay sections (if students choose to take the essay).

The time your student spends with A-List will depend on his or her strengths, diligence, and goals. Some students work with us for a year and others for just a handful of sessions. Once your student has taken diagnostic tests, a member of our team can walk you through a timeline including target test dates and scores.

Q: Does A-List provide tutoring for other exams/subjects or college/essay advising?

A: Absolutely. A-List offers support for most school subjects (including at the college level) and exams (including NYS Regents, AP, and SAT Subject Test tutoring) as well as study skills. A-List also offers fully-customizable college advising services, from college selection and resume preparation to essay brainstorming and editing.

Q: What should we do if we’re concerned about our student’s progress or program?

A: If you are ever concerned about your student’s progress or think the program needs to change, please contact the A-List office immediately. We will always work with you to make sure progress is positive and effective.

Q: Do all of your tutors have teaching backgrounds? How do you select your tutors?

A: Our tutors have foundations in teaching, tutoring, and mentoring in a variety of contexts, coming from backgrounds that range from psychology to medieval literature and physics. We select tutors based on pedigree of education, academic accolades, and demonstrated skill in conveying information to students.

Q: How can one person have the skills to teach the entire test?

A: Our hiring process is rigorous—we have, on average, over 100 applicants for every tutoring position. Successful applicants have acumen and foundational strengths in both English and Math. Furthermore, every new tutor completes our 100 hour training program with our senior staff and founders. The program ensures that every tutor not only has full competency with the exams but also with our strategies and lesson plans that have led to the highest published score improvements in the industry.

Q: What is your average score improvement?

A: Since every student works with his or her tutor for a different amount of time, score improvements are not one-size-fits-all: students who only work with us for a few hours to snag a handful of points skew that number as do outlier students who work with us all year and see huge gains. That said, our overall average score improvement in 2017-2018 was 5.8 points for the ACT and 148 points for the SAT, and our top 25% of students increased, on average, 9.6 points on the ACT and 266 points on the SAT.

Q: Do you offer guarantees?

A: Improvement on the SAT or ACT is highly dependent on the work put in by the student. Although we have proven results with our strategies, we can’t guarantee that students will apply what we’ve taught them during the real exam.

Working with Us

Q: Rescheduling: How do I reschedule an appointment with my tutor?

A: Please notify your tutor at least 24 hours before your scheduled appointment time and by 5 pm on Friday for weekend sessions, so he/she has time to re-organize his/her schedule. If you cancel under this time, then we’ll charge you for 1 hour of your tutor’s time.

Q: Cancelling: Can I cancel a package after I’ve paid for it?

A: Yes, you can cancel anytime. Just send an email to tutorteam@alisteducation.com at least 24 hours before your next tutoring session (and before 5 pm on the Friday before weekend sessions). If you purchased a package or received a discount, the net refund is based on the tutoring sessions held at the non-discounted rate, less an administrative fee of the higher of $100 and 5% of the gross refund amount. Free tutoring hours cannot be reimbursed, advising packages are not eligible for refunds, and the Testing & Materials fee is non-refundable.

Q: Terms & Conditions

A: Click here to download our Tutoring and Advising Terms & Conditions.

Q: How do I get started?

A: Give us a call at 646-216-9187 (Monday – Friday 9:30AM – 6PM EST) or complete our Get Started form!


Testing Questions

Q: How do you choose between the ACT or the SAT?

A: Most students will score comparably on both tests, and colleges and universities do not differentiate between the tests for admissions. However, because there are minor form and content differences between the two, we recommend that students take both diagnostics and have one of our staff members review the scores with you to help decide on the best possible course.

If your student decides to switch tests, our tutors are trained to work on both and can seamlessly transition from one to the other, meaning that no time will be wasted covering material twice.

Q: When should my student take the SAT or ACT?

A: Every student is different, but we can help you pick appropriate test dates based on your specific goals and practice test scores. Most of our students begin work in the fall of their junior year and take their first exam in the winter or spring.

Q: What’s the difference between the SAT and ACT?

A: The SAT and ACT are more similar than different. Both exams test academic content, logic, and comprehension/analysis of text and data. The SAT gives students a little bit more time per question than the ACT, but questions on the ACT are a little bit less in-depth than those on the SAT.

Parents and students are sometimes told that the ACT is more content-based than the SAT, perhaps because ACT includes a Science test. However, the Science test is approximately 96% reading comprehension and data interpretation, requiring little to no knowledge of classroom science subjects. Since 2016, this type of data interpretation is now tested in both exams. There are minor differences in the content tested, but most differences lie in how the tests are formatted.

Here are major format differences between the two tests:

 

SAT

ACT

Scoring

-1600 total aggregate points
-Evidence-Based Reading & Writing scores and Math scores each range from 200-800. Your aggregate SAT score is the sum of your scores on the two sections.

-36 total composite points
–English, Math, Reading, and Science scores each range from 1-36.  Your composite ACT score is the average of your scores on the four sections, rounded to the nearest whole number.

Differences in Format

-5 sections total
-Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Test & Math tests
-Reading: 65 minutes, 52 questions
-Writing: 35-minutes, 44 questions
-Math (NO CALCULATOR): Math: 25 minutes, 20 questions
-Math (CALCULATOR ALLOWED): 55 minutes, 38 questions
-Essay (optional): 50-minutes, separate score

-5 sections total
-English: 45 minutes, 75 questions
-Math: 60 minutes, 60 questions
-Reading: 35 minutes, 40 questions
-Science:  35 minutes, 40 questions
-Essay (optional): 45 minutes, separate score

Is there a penalty for wrong answers?

No

No

Can you superscore?

Some colleges consider the highest score of each section across all test dates, some consider the highest total score test date, and some require all test scores. Check the requirements of every college you are applying to.

Some colleges consider the highest score of each section across all test dates, some consider the highest total score test date, and some require all test scores. Check the requirements of every college you are applying to.

Difficulty Levels

The math section questions are in order of difficulty; the other sections are more randomized.

The math section questions are in order of difficulty; the other sections are more randomized.

Math Levels                                                                                                                              

-Arithmetic, algebra I and II, data analysis, functions, geometry, trigonometry

**Some Formulas Provided**

-Arithmetic, algebra I and II, functions, geometry, trigonometry

**No formulas provided upfront; some may be included in the questions**

Q: I’ve heard the test is easier certain months. Is this true?

A: No. While some tests may feel easier or harder to some students, there are no predictable annual patterns to such feelings, and both tests are carefully curved to ensure that scores from every administration are comparable.

Q: What is the PSAT/NMSQT? Do I have to take it? Does it count for anything?

A: The PSAT/NMSQT is essentially a shorter version of the SAT. The PSAT is typically optional, but taking it is a good idea. It provides a realistic opportunity to practice the skills and strategies you will use on the SAT or ACT and receive feedback on strengths and weaknesses. Colleges never see these scores, so a PSAT score can’t hurt you.

Juniors who score extremely well (in the top ~3.5%) on the PSAT will receive a National Merit Letter of Commendation (which can be listed as an award on college applications). Those who score extraordinarily well (in the top 1% of their state) become National Merit Semifinalists. Semifinalists may apply to win scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation or from corporate or collegiate sponsors. For more information, visit https://www.nationalmerit.org/.


Practice Tests Questions

Q: When do you offer practice tests?

A: During the school year, proctored practice tests are offered almost every weekend at our office in midtown Manhattan, multiple times per month in Manhasset and Garden City, once per month in Tenafly, NJ, and students have access to our video proctor 24/7. During the summer, proctoring is available Tuesdays and Thursdays at our office.

Q: Do we have to pay for practice tests? How many tests do I get to take?

A: All students pay a one-time testing and materials fee of $100, which includes unlimited practice tests. Students should take a test approximately every 3-4 weeks in the beginning of the process and more frequently as they approach their real testing dates. The tutor team and your tutor will help you set an ideal schedule. Non-A-List students may also sign up for practice tests at our facility for $100 each.

Q: How do we sign up for the practice tests? What do I need to bring?

A: No later than 5pm on the Friday before the practice exam, please sign up by clicking your desired date on our practice test schedule.

Your tutor will provide you with tests and bubble sheets to bring with you. Students must bring #2 pencils and a calculator for each exam, and we also recommend a drink and a snack. If you have not yet signed up with a tutor, please call the A-List office to schedule and pay for scoring.

Q: When will the results of the tests be ready and how can I see them?

A: Scores are typically available through your parent platform by the Tuesday morning following each exam. If your tutoring appointment falls on a Monday, please contact us to have your scores expedited.

Tutoring Points of Contact

The tutor team (Alexandra, Bianca, and Dory) is here to answer any of your questions about getting started, invoices or billing, questions about the tests, your tutor, or any other questions you might have. To reach us, please call our main line: 646-216-9187 or email tutorteam@alisteducation.com

Our fax number is 212-661-0487.