You probably have a lot of questions. Most parents and students do—that makes you normal. Below are some typical questions and my typical answers.
Most frequently asked questions
Can I call you and ask you questions about what you do? This website will answer the questions you have—and it will answer a lot of questions you didn’t know you had. For 97% of my clients, this website will tell you everything you need to know. And, if you think you’re in the 3% after reading all the pages on this website, then feel free to email me (there’s a link to email me at the bottom of this page).
When is your ACT Crash Course? Check out the dates on the Sign up now page. When can I sign up? Registrations open about one month prior to an ACT Crash Course—the exact dates signups are available on also on the Sign up now page. But I want to sign up now. Registrations open about one month prior to an ACT Crash Course. Did you just repeat yourself? Yes. Why? Because repetition is an effective teaching technique (you may see it again in this FAQ).
Does my student need a tutor? If your student has a high GPA (3.75 or higher after five semesters of high school), is a solid standardized test-taker (90+ percentile the past few standardized tests), is highly motivated, and is looking to get into a college or university with moderate-to-low ACT entrance requirements (24 or below), then probably not. Have your student take the ACT first to see if your student needs a better score. Sometimes kids don’t need help. But that’s not my kid. I know—that’s why you’re reading this. If your student doesn’t have a high GPA, doesn’t do well on standardized tests, isn’t overly motivated, or is looking to get in to a school with high ACT entrance requirements, then your student will likely need help—and I’m all for getting students help before they are frustrated with the ACT. Also, if your student is someone who takes coaching well and can independently practice what your student is taught, then I’m a big fan of giving students as much time as possible to practice—so coming to my ACT Crash Course a few months prior to an ACT is a good thing.
I’ve signed up and I can’t find my ticket. What does my student need to bring to the ACT Crash Course? Your ticket was emailed to the email address you used to register. A list of items to bring is on the ticket. If you cannot find your ticket, check your email (especially your spam folder). If you still can’t find your ticket, then email me (there’s a link at the bottom of this page). Do I need to buy a calculator for the ACT or for the ACT Crash Course? No—have your student bring the calculator he or she uses in school. My student does not use a calculator in school. You should reconsider (high school is hard enough—don’t make it harder—let the kid use a calculator).
What if all the seats fill up for an ACT Crash Course? Then that ACT Crash Course is full. Do you have a waiting list? No—check out the Sign up now page for openings. But I want to be on a waiting list. Please do not email me asking to be put on a waiting list. I do not keep a waiting list. I will gently encourage you to check out the Sign up now page for openings. But the world will end if my student does not get into your ACT Crash Course. No, the world will end when God wants it to end—and the Bible says nothing about my ACT Crash Courses precipitating that event. Also, He’s going to make a new and better one—probably without ACTs.
Do you tutor anything outside of the ACT Crash Courses (i.e., one-on-one, other subjects, etc.)? No. Why? I like spending time with my wife and my kids more than I like spending time with your kids—and I have church and work commitments. I also use an unhealthy volume of dashes in sentences—but that’s another matter entirely. Can you recommend a tutor for __________ subject? No, but studies show if you shoot me an email it will make you feel better about reading the same answer in an email as you’ve already read here. Was that sarcasm? You’re pretty quick. 😉
Can you travel to my town to teach the ACT Crash Course? Yes—I would love to do that. What is required for you to consider traveling? More money to cover travel and time away from my family—and assuming the ACT Crash Course is held at a school, I would need all the following guaranteed one month in advance in writing:
- Written permission from the principal to me allowing me to teach the ACT Crash Course
- A minimum of 20 paying students (the rate will be based on the distance I travel—Hong Kong will be more than Knoxville)—but returning students are always welcome to attend for free as well
- A distraction-free room with tables comfortably and quietly seating 1.5 times the number of students plus myself (there’s a lot of materials involved in this ACT Crash Course and everyone needs plenty of space)
- A screen to project on to
- A single point of contact to communicate with (note: this point of contact coordinates with the school administration, staff, parents, students, and anyone else that needs to know)
- A proposed date for the ACT Crash Course
Not as frequently asked questions
Where do I start with college preparation/planning/selection? Start by developing a list of potential schools with your high school student. By the end of the 10th grade, your list should be no longer than 10 schools. By the end of the 11th grade, your list should be no longer than five schools. Managing a list longer than five schools is difficult and places undue stress on you and your student. Keeping this list small also enables you and your student to get to know the admissions staff at each school. Wait, we should talk to the admissions staff? Yes, that’s how you go to college for free—by being nice to admissions staff.
Why do we even take the ACT? There is a fairly high correlation between ACT scores and the level of success a freshman will have in college. What about the SAT? Same thing. Which one does my student need to take? That depends on the college(s) you and your student are looking at. Do you tutor for the SAT? Not anymore. Why not? It’s harder to coach than the ACT and pretty much every college will accept an ACT score.
What’s a good score? The score your student needs to obtain on the ACT is dictated by the school your student wants to go to. Every student is different. Every school is different. Do your research (see the questions above) and you’ll have an idea of the score your student needs.
When should my student start preparing for the ACT? There’s almost no scenario where a high school freshman should be preparing for the ACT. Additionally, your student needs to have passed all of Algebra 1, passed all of Geometry, and passed at least half of Algebra II before starting ACT prep—otherwise your student will just be frustrated with the math. (And frustrating kids with test prep is a great way to create all kinds of anxiety.) Your student should probably start ACT prep either the second half of your student’s sophomore year or the first half of your student’s Junior year. But my student is a Senior and we haven’t started. Then you’re both going to get to work a little harder, but it is still doable.
How long do your ACT Crash Courses last? Four hours and thirty minutes of instruction (with some breaks built in for lunch and non-classroom learning) all on one day. Is lunch provided? No. Why not? It’s a hassle and I don’t like hassles—I do like dashes though (even when I should use semicolons, commas, or parentheses—and I’m a big fan of the Oxford comma). There are a wide variety of restaurants in the area for lunch, so don’t fret. Do you start on time? Yes. What happens if my student is late? Your student should not be late. What does that mean? It means I start on time and your student will not be allowed to enter the ACT Crash Course after it has begun—just like the ACT.
Will there be any materials provided? Yes. Each student receives a binder with ample space for notes and a book (The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2018-2019) with several real ACTs. That sounds like an opportunity to practice what my student will learn in the ACT Crash Course. Bingo—homework will be issued and those who complete the homework improve more than those who do not. Galatians 6:7 is true in ACT preparation as well. We already own a copy of the book that you sell, so my student should go ahead and read it and complete the practice tests, right? No. Please do not do that. The book is actually quite horrible, but it does have one tremendously redeeming quality I discuss in the ACT Crash Course. If you already own a copy, just bring it—don’t have your student read it or do any work in it before the ACT Crash Course.
Is the ACT Crash Course just for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors? Yes. But I have a 7th grader who’s been asked to take the ACT. Great! You have a very smart 7th grader, but my ACT Crash Course won’t help (and isn’t for) 7th graders. But he/she is a special 7th grader! All children are special, but please do not sign up a 7th grader. What about high school freshmen? Freshmen have not yet been taught the necessary content and would be at a significant disadvantage in my ACT Crash Course. Please do not sign them up. (If you do sign up a 7th grader or a freshman, I will not admit them to an ACT Crash Course.)
Can you take the ACT for my student? No. Why is this question in the FAQ? Because it’s asked. Really? Yes. How much money have you been offered to do this? Five figures—and the answer is always no. I love Jesus and I don’t think that would make Him happy.
How can a one-day ACT Crash Course be successful? I focus on strategies (how to correctly answer questions, what to do when you don’t know what to do, etc.) and not on content (an adverb is this, the Pythagorean Theorem is that, etc.). Content courses take weeks and weeks and cost thousands of dollars and are typically wildly frustrating for students (just ask them—this is what most school ACT prep courses focus on and students and teachers hate them). Strategy courses take content a student knows and focus on techniques to quickly and correctly answer questions. The ACT is an extremely consistent test and that consistency helps to facilitate successful coaching. But my student doesn’t know a lot of content and/or makes poor grades. Then scoring well on the ACT might be harder, but my average score increase is two to three points from a single one-day ACT Crash Course. What if my student scored below a 15 composite score? Then college may not be a viable option for your student at this time. That was blunt. Maybe, but I’m OK being the person in your life who will tell you the truth.
What if my student needs to improve by six points? Then you should consider setting aside over six months of study for your student. What about seven or eight points? Closer to nine months. Have you ever seen someone do this? Yes, several times, but it takes a tremendous amount of work (and a lot of prayer) and I would love to help your student make that happen. It seems like you talk about spiritual things a lot. Yep—and Jesus comes up often in my ACT Crash Courses as well.
My student already has a 30+ composite score. Will your ACT Crash Course help? Yes, but the higher the starting score a student has, the more work it takes to improve (due to the limited amount of improvement available). Students scoring above a 30 sometimes benefit more from strategies on how to practice than test-taking strategies. Have you ever helped someone get a 36? Yes—many times—but be careful what you wish for—challenges exist along all parts of the Bell Curve.
How much does the ACT Crash Course cost? $198 for courses offered in the Chattanooga area. The $198 includes a copy of The Official ACT Prep Guide. What if my student wants to come and take the ACT Crash Course again? Repeats are free as long as your student brings his or her original binder and a hard copy of The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2016-2017, 2018, or 2018-2019 Really? Yes. That’s cool. Yes, it is, but there are a limited number of “Returning Student” seats available for each ACT Crash Course. Can I sign my student up to take your ACT Crash Course twice in a one-month period? No, and if you do, I will ask you which date you want to keep and I will remove the registration for the other date. Why? I teach almost the exact same thing in each ACT Crash Course and your student will need time to practice before taking the ACT Crash Course again (and really—twice in a month? Let the kid be a kid).
Do you offer scholarships/discounts? No, but I’m open to bartering—there is always plenty of work to be done for those who are willing to do it. What about refunds? I don’t offer refunds. What if . . .? Doesn’t matter. I don’t offer refunds. However, once a student buys a ticket, all future ACT Crash Courses are free (whether the student attends the ACT Crash Course that student paid for or not).
What if inclement weather (e.g., snow) is in the forecast? There are hotels within easy walking distance of my locations, so it is highly unlikely that an ACT Crash Course would not be held as scheduled. I have been holding ACT Crash Courses for many years and only once have I ever cancelled an ACT Crash Course. If I do need to cancel an ACT Crash Course, you will be contacted via the email address you used to register about a make-up date.
I don’t think my student(s) will enjoy your ACT Crash Course. Talk to a student who has taken one. They are enjoyable, effective, and filled with sarcastic humor like you’ve been reading. But I don’t like sarcasm. Your student probably does.
This ACT Crash Course sounds like it could help. Yep, and if you are ready to sign up your student, click Sign up now.
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