Guarantees in test prep

I just got an amazing phone call. I said hello and the parent on the other end launched into me with “What score can you guarantee me that my son will score?”


I was about to say, “I don’t think we are a good fit,” and hang up. Or, I was thinking:  “You should find a prep company with guarantees somewhere else.”  But I didn’t. I launched into the fray and explained that there are no guarantees in things dealing with humans. I was driving and had the time to spare, so why not get into a nice argument about the thing that I know MOST about.

What I asked were questions. What was his starting point? What are his goals? Where does he want to apply?  How are his grades? How tough are his classes?  These are all factors that can help me determine if a student will raise his/her score. But there are no guarantees. David likes to say, “We offer one guarantee: If your child does NOT do what we say, I guarantee you that the score will not improve.”

There are no guarantees in Pittsburgh Test Prep, none.  If you buy a guarantee you are simply falling for a marketing trick.

Penn abandons policy requiring all test scores

College Board makes a mess.

In case you don’t follow SAT news. The College Board screwed up in June. Two 20 minute sections were printed as 25 minutes in the test booklets. They are not counting sections 8 and 9 of the June SAT for student’s scores and are allowing June students to take the October test for free.

This is the last thing that they needed with all the negative press about the SAT changes coming in March of 2016. It is as if they want the ACT to continue to grow in market share.

I’ll be writing about the new changes to the SAT in coming posts. They released four practice tests and their new study guide is to be released in two weeks, so I have a lot of reading and practice to do. But I’m focused on the ACT – which I seriously recommend that class of 2017 do as well. The Pittsburgh test prep market has traditionally been focused on the SAT, but the times they are a changing.  Phil