College requirements for the SAT and ACT have undergone a sea change since 2020. Some schools have become “Test Blind,” meaning that they simply will not consider standardized tests as a factor in admission decisions. (In 2021, the University of California became the best-known proponent of this test-blind policy.) But the vast majority of colleges and universities have adopted a “Test Optional” policy.  At these test-optional schools, students are not required to submit their SAT or ACT scores–but, if they do, the schools will consider those scores in their admission decision.

For students hoping to gain admission to selective, test-optional colleges, achieving a high score on the SAT or ACT can be a winning strategy, a way of showing college readiness and standing out from other applicants. Of course, achieving that high score requires a commitment to studying and practicing the exam under the guidance of a tutor who can explain the test criteria, develop personalized strategies, and assess your progress.


To help students achieve their goals on the SAT and ACT English, Dr. Kevin Cooney has designed a comprehensive program for each exam.  An 8-hour group class reviews the test design, strategies for reading analytically, the grammar and editing criteria, as well as question/passage identification and tips on pacing.  Then, in one-on-one test prep with Dr. Cooney, students practice individual strategies designed to maximize their score.

SAT/ACT GROUP CLASSES are the most cost-effective way of studying for each exam. The classes focus on the English sections and consist of 8 hours of instruction over the course of 4 weeks.  Classes include 6 to 10 students per group.

  • Analytical Reading Strategies
  • Grammar and Editing Criteria
  • Question/Passage Identification Tips

SAT/ACT INDIVIDUAL PREP is the most direct method of improving student scores on each exam.  Creating strategies uniquely suited to each student, Dr. Cooney guides students one-on-one to reach their full potential.

  • Analytical Reading Strategies
  • Grammar and Editing Criteria
  • Question/Passage Identification Tips
  • Individual Strategies and Progress Reports
  • Package Deals Available


Before individual tutoring begins, we look closely at students’ past performance on the PSAT, SAT, or ACT Exams.  If students have not taken any of the exams yet, we recommend taking a Diagnostic Test.  Based on diagnostic scores, we determine key concepts and strategies to focus on and recommend a test-prep program.

Our students practice on real SAT or ACT Tests.  We create a comprehensive program for each student and encourage continuous improvement between tutoring sessions with weekly assignments.


Write Start Prep and Dr. Kevin Cooney have an excellent record of success with students at all levels of performance on the SAT and ACT.  While student scores can plateau and drop slightly between one test and the next, more than 90% of our students increase their scores.  On average, our students see their scores on the SAT English rise by 40-50 points and their scores on the ACT rise by 2-3 points.


The 3 key factors in making a decision are the student’s SAT/ACT score, learning style, and amount of preparation time. If it is 3 months or more before your test date, it may be best to begin with the group class and then pursue individual tutoring. For these SAT/ACT scores, we often recommend the following programs:

English SAT scores below 540 (ACT 20)The Group Class. It is a quick and cost-effective way to learn the key concepts and best strategies.
English SAT scores 540-630 (ACT 20-27)The Group Class (if time) or Individual Test Prep
English SAT scores above 630 (ACT 27)Individual Test Prep.  This will help students to identify areas for improvement and learn customized strategies to maximize their score.

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