With the SAT under revision, it's a good time to see how closely your SAT preparation company follows changes in the test. Even though the test won't be revised until spring of 2016, ask about the changes. Your SAT potential tutor or instructor should know that the new SAT won't test difficult vocabulary, that the essay will become optional and that calculators won't be permitted on certain math sections.
First impressions count. Does the website look professional? Is there full contact information, including an e-mail address and a telephone number.
Ask about the SAT class lessons that will be offered. Do the SAT classes offer a substantial amount of lessons, or are the classes just SAT after SAT and review after review. You need SAT tips and tricks in addition to mock tests.
Does the company specialize in test preparation? A company that focuses on test prep would know the SAT better than a general tutoring company that has added on test preparation, or an educational consulting company that has tacked on SAT preparation. If it's an independent SAT company working with a separate educational consulting company, that's fine.
Find out if the company has an online component to the SAT classes. If so, you can reinforce what you've learned in class by going online. It's a great option.
Ask if you can get customized quizzes to supplement in-class learning. Learning online after class can help you learn the material more quickly and remember it longer.
See if the company offers a calculator program that can help you boost your SAT score on the math section. Remember that SAT math is very different from secondary school math. It's tricky. So you might need help on SAT math even if you do well on math in school.
Does the SAT prep company have a good reputation? Ask around. Look for testimonials on the company's website. Also look for online reviews on sites such as Yelp and Google+. Check out the Better Business Bureau rating of the company.
When you check out testimonials, see how much the scores have been raised. Anything less than 100 points is unimpressive, unless it's a case in which that's all the student needed to get a scholarship. Recognize, however, that not all students who give testimonials are comfortable providing their score gain to the public in a testimonial.
Check out the qualifications of the instructors. Do the instructors have degrees related to the SAT? Do they have training from any well-known SAT preparation companies? Their SAT scores aren't as important as their ability to understand the material and convey that understanding to students -- and to make the classes fun. You learn more if you are having fun. The testimonials can give you a sense of the teaching style.
Make sure you have a choice to study just the sections on which you require help. If you already have a perfect 800 on math, ask if you can just study reading and writing. NCAA is only interested in the reading and math sections, so student-athletes should see if they can study just those sections.
Does the company offer classes online? If you don't have high-quality SAT preparation in your area (or no SAT prep at all), you'll need an online course. Many companies that offer tutoring in a particular city also offer tutoring around the world via the Internet.