Advice about Tutors & Classes for Test Preparation

Archived Responses: 


Test-taking support for high school sophomore

Jan 2012

My very hard-working conscientious sophomore had great grades going into finals last semester but had a tough time across the board on his finals, and his teachers agreed that his final exam scores did not reflect his knowledge or his academic effort. Clearly he needs help in test-taking strategies and skills. I'd like to find a class and/or tutor to help him expressly in this area. A weekend- long or week-long class would be great, or individual tutoring if that's the only option would work as well. I'd want to make sure he doesn't get discouraged and gets the scores that truly reflect his efforts and his smarts. We're in North Berkeley but he drives and can travel as needed, hopefully not too far from home. Many thanks.

Hi, I have been really impressed with Smart Cookie Learning. They are in the Lafayette area. My daughter benefited greatly from a free 2 hour lecture they gave on reducing test taking stress. Finals went much easier this year and she felt fully prepared. Their number is 925-878-5202, Good Luck! Sindy

Aug 18 2010

I would like to recommend Jeff Segall - jasegall [at] - who is tutoring my daughter for the SAT and for her literature and writing classes at BHS. My daughter has learning disabilities and can be difficult to work with. Jeff is patient and able to communicate well with her. Her skills and confidence have increased with his help and she is surprisingly open to his assistance. I recommend him highly and without hestitation. Amy

Oct 2009

Re: How to help Teen w/test taking
I resorted to professional help. Yes, there are people who do just TEST TAKING skills. The standardized tests build in tricks - I don't know why but they do. I'm sure someone will recommend some of the tutors who prepare you for SAT, etc.

For us the bigger issue was being prepared, feeling confident (messing up on tests hurts your child's self esteem) and building more academic skills. We went to Phyllis Koppelman at Strategies for Learning. After just one session I had an ''AH HA'' moment. All my parental tutoring simply was not as good as a professional who knew the tricks of the trade. Additionally, we had used a young tutor before who actually use put-downs as a motivator (my child was NOT motivated). Phyllis is kind and develops a relationship with your child. She uses humor, praise and honest critiques. My son finally admitted to himself that while he is a good writer, writing is very hard for him and he simply must devote additional time to it. On the other hand, math is a breeze - so hurray for that. Her website is Mom of a test hater

March 2009

Re: 17-year-old's problems with math and science tests
My son was also very bright but tested poorly, mainly in math. After trying several tutors, I finally found Paul Gee, a math tutor, who helped him tremendously. He was very patient working with my son, and also quite communicative with me as a parent. Paul said that he has dealt with quite a few such students. He explained that some bright students learn concepts very quickly, but either do not spend the time and/or do not have the patience to learn the problem solving procedures, thus performing poorly on tests. He said one other sign of this type of student is that in their homework they may give the correct answer, but either can't or don't want to show how they got the answer. You might give Paul a call at 510-502-8465 to discuss your situation. We feel fortunate that he was able to help us. Good luck.

Oct 2002

I highly recommend Doug Buckwald for test preparation. He works with kids from 4th grade through 12th grade, and knows all the tricks for succeeding at standardized tests. He will come to your house and is reliable, focused, very clear and organized. He can assess where your child is in terms of academic readiness and strengthen areas of math or English that need improvement. He also works with test taking attitude, dealing with anxiety and building confidence. Be prepared for him to carefully consider whether he and your child/family are a good match. He screens carefully as it is a one-on-one relationship and has to be a good fit. Good luck, Andrea.

Sept 2002

My Orinda neighbor and friend, Eric Myers, is a professional tutor. He is an immensely bright and personable guy (he's a Princeton grad and a playwright), and has a great touch with kids. He mostly focuses on high school kids (especially SAT prep -- he is a former master teacher with Princeton Review), but also works with younger kids. Several of my friends have hired him to work with their 5th graders, and have been very pleased. He is not cheap, but quality service rarely is. His phone number is (925) 253-7738. Leslie