Frequently Asked Questions

The name of the game is consistency. For more than 45 years, we have constantly bettered our ability to deliver results more quickly, less painfully, and with a degree of humor and fun; we refer to this as the "ES Difference." We believe that parents like to be able to track real scores as a student progresses through a course, have feedback from both student and instructor, and not have any surprises on the real test for which a student has been preparing. The majority of our materials are real past tests (or pieces of real past tests). When real material is not released from the test maker, we use material that has been created to closely mimic the real tests and has been verified as the best material available. None of our offerings are designed to get easier as you go along, so the scores achieved during preparation are relatable to the scores achieved in a test center. We also offer free Proctored Practice Tests to our students currently enrolled in our Course Packages (learn more about Practice Tests below). The majority of our new clients come from recommendations from other students and guidance counselors. Students can easily change instructors if the match isn’t right (it happens once or twice each year). All our locations are safe with free on-site parking (floodlit at night). Still not sure ES is the best fit for your child? Call us to schedule a complimentary consultation!
Yes! Our nearly fifty-year record of proven success shows that scores can indeed be improved. In a study of advertising claims by SAT preparation services, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concluded that claims were justified, and that “students could make significant gains on the SAT as a result of participating in a coaching program… Students have a right to know this.” The FTC report was widely publicized in the media and appeared on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The gains resulted from a number of contributing factors: new insights and knowledge; complete familiarity with the examination, testing procedures and formats; increased confidence; and extensive supervised practice with conscious control of carelessness. The process is similar to preparing for an Olympic Event! ETS (Educational Testing Services), which prepares and administers the examination, now also admits that scores can be improved with preparation. The PSAT is designed to familiarize students with new directions and specific kinds of questions asked. Learn more about the different tests by selecting one of the links above.
All Courses are taught 1-to-1 (no classes, clinics, workshops, or independent study) and a student would always have the same instructor, who is responsible for results. We are open in all offices every day from 9am to 9pm. Appointments are scheduled one-at-a-time as a student progresses through a course; they do not have to follow any pattern (Thursday evening, Sunday morning, skip a week if a student is busy). We immediately confirm by e-mail all appointments, changes, and cancellations, and we ask parents and students to review these confirmations carefully to ensure we are all in agreement. We require 24 hours notice to change or cancel an appointment (unless weather is involved).
Most instructors are former students of ours who we have tracked through college and graduate school. They all have classroom teaching experience and have had background checks. The average tenure of our instructors is over seven years! They are passionate about teaching and are committed long-term. Get to know our instructors through the Meet the Team Page! Complimentary, personalized meet-and-greets with instructors are available upon request to ensure your child's comfort.
Since we provide individualized one-to-one instruction, the student-instructor match is critically important. One instructor is usually assigned to the student throughout the entire course. This establishes a critical relationship, and ensures that one member of our team is ultimately responsible for progress and results. Upon request, however, a student may change instructors at any point with a single telephone call.
In the first appointment, the instructor and student build a rapport, confirm starting scores, and establish goals. We review the mechanics of the Course, and our expectations. We then teach “quizmanship”; we offer information and suggestions on every aspect of mastering the examination, when and how many times to take it, and how to get real tests back for later diagnostic post-mortems. We explain directions, how to improve speed and accuracy, how to guess, how to strip a reading passage, how to identify and conquer categories of mathematics problems. We also teach the specific grammar errors continually reappearing on the test, and the necessary components for the written essay. We continually point out common errors, traps, tricks and forced carelessness.
Yes, and homework is an important part of the process. The student is able to apply what they are learning in their 1-to-1 lessons to material focused on specific areas of opportunity, and/or to a full-length test (completed either at home or at ES in a proctored environment).
Proctored Practice Tests are offered most Saturday and Sunday mornings at 9am. During the Practice Tests, students can complete the full-length test that has been assigned as homework in a more realistic test-center environment. Taking the test with us eliminates the possible issues of barking dogs, text messages, telephone calls and extended trips to the refrigerator or bathroom that a student may experience at home. It assures us that the timings are exact, and that the entire test has been completed in one sitting (full fatigue factor). Our test-center atmosphere also provides the actual vicissitudes of a real test center, such as other students coughing, blowing their noses, tapping their pencils, etc. Any food or beverage served to students during a test break is complimentary.
When enrolled in a course, students and parents have access to the online Student Portal. The Student Portal provides each family with all homework scores as well as other important information. Scores from homework are uploaded within 24 hours of each appointment. Generally, an instructor will also leave a table of scores in the front of a student’s test booklet. An instructor will telephone or email a parent with a progress report as often as the parent would like (as indicated in a Welcome Survey before the start of a course). If we find any deviation from normal expectations, an instructor will contact a parent immediately.
We offer a range of options for essay help which you can peruse here. The student is matched with one of our Essay Specialists who has a degree in English and/or Literature. Final essay drafts are usually read by more than one Essay Specialist so that there is a consensus that the essay will help the student gain admission to the specific college(s) for which it is written.
We offer actual past Subject Tests in all popular areas for practice and review. Please see a complete list of subjects here. The Specialist reviewing a subject area is often certified to teach that subject, and usually has a Masters or PhD in that subject as well. Subject tests are generally taken in May for AP Courses, and in June for non-AP courses. They are best taken at the end of each academic year when a student is at peak command of course material at the time of the final examination. Note: While Subject Tests are available on most SAT test dates, March is an exception and there are no Subject Tests offered.
The SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test) and the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) are both offered at different levels for students entering different grades. The HSPT (High School Placement Test) is a test for entrance into 9th grade and higher for Catholic High Schools. These tests are usually taken by students whose schools only go through grade 8, students changing from public to private school, students changing private schools, and students applying to boarding schools. Testing requirements vary by school, so please check with individual schools to verify which test(s) they accept. To prepare for these tests, we often begin with an Initial Diagnostic Assessment to understand a student's current abilities. The results are then discussed in a follow-up consultation and a plan is formulated to help the student achieve his or her full potential.
Usually performed by one of our Certified Reading Specialists on a by-the-hour basis, we can quickly tune up a student's study habits. An instructor will provide a detailed suggested course of action for a particular student after an initial meeting.
Certainly! We tutor various academic subjects on a by-the-hour basis. You can find a complete list of subjects available here. We also work extensively with students learning to write term papers. Our goal is to teach a student to be self-sufficient once adequately caught-up and with confidence restored. Instructors are all certified in their areas of specialty. Most have Master's Degrees or PhDs.

If you have further questions, we're ready to answer them!
Call us today at 610-687-0627