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“I am happy to provide a recommendation for Prepped and Polished, both for math tutoring and SSAT test prep tutoring.
Perhaps it would help to know first our circumstances. My son also is in 8th grade and looking to apply to boarding schools. We are New Yorkers (home in Manhattan) but due to my husband’s work have been living in Asia for almost 5 years (Singapore and Tokyo). Prior to living in Asia my son attended a private school in Manhattan.
Our son has been working with Prepped and Polished since April/May 2013 via Skype. Initially he did a two week cram session prior to his taking the SSAT the first time last April, 2013. He has been doing weekly SSAT and Math tutoring since. Our son is a strong student at school and gets consistently high grades. Because our lives in the last five years have had much relocation and changing schools we found our son’s language arts and math curriculum to have fallen behind the levels being tested on the SSAT.
The preparation work has not only given him a big leg up curriculum-wise but has also made him more confident with taking the test. Our son has taken the test twice and will take it at least once more (maybe twice depending on his scores). From the first to second test he doubled his scores. The biggest impact of the tutoring has been learning strategies, getting used to a very long and intensive test time as well as covering a lot of materials that is directly related to what will be on the test.
I can’t begin to tell you how much it helped to calm our son’s nerves his feeling more prepared for the 2nd test. The math tutoring he is receiving has also helped with his math class this year at school even though they are covering different materials than his school class.
To date, we have had 3 different tutors from Prepped and Polished. I am genuinely impressed with all of them. These tutors keep the sessions moving and productive. My son always has homework from the sessions and NEVER complains about either the homework or sessions. Rather he has asked for this support.
From my perspective, the fact that we’ve been able to work out the sessions via Skype half-way around the world is testament to the competency of the tutors and the flexibility of the overall management of Prepped and Polished. They truly want what is best for each student to reach his or her best potential.
You can not begin to understand how wonderful it feels to have this kind of support from half way around the world! People in Asia (except Japan) sometimes do not understand client support/service the way we do in America. So to be able to have access to top notch tutors and people like yourself is like having a little bit of home with us here in Singapore.”
By Alexa M., SAT Math Tutoring Instructor, Prepped & Polished, LLC
This question comes up regularly, and the short answer is: it doesn’t matter. Take whichever test you feel you can do well on. Really. Even MIT does not require that you take the Math 2, though they do insist you take one of the two math tests. Unless you claim on your application that you intend to be a math, physics, or other math-intensive major, your choice of test is unlikely to make a significant difference to your application.
The College Board’s official statement on the matter is: “If you have taken trigonometry or elementary functions (precalculus) or both, received grades of B or better in these courses, and are comfortable knowing when and how to use a scientific or graphing calculator, you should select the Level 2 test. If you are sufficiently prepared to take Level 2, but elect to take Level 1 in hopes of receiving a higher score, you may not do as well as you expect. You may want to consider taking the test that covers the topics you learned most recently, since the material will be fresh in your mind.”
It is useful to be aware of the fact that scores on the two tests are not comparable. Because the Math 2 is taken primarily by those who would describe themselves as “math people”, the overall scores tend to be higher. A 700 on the Math 2 will put you at around the 50th percentile. Fortunately, colleges know this, but it can be a bit of a shock when you receive your scores (especially if you are a self-described “math person”)!
What are the differences between the two tests?
• The Math 1 directly covers plane geometry, which the Math 2 doesn’t cover at all.
• The Math 2 emphasizes a number of major topics that aren’t covered on the Math 1:
o Properties of complex numbers, not just their arithmetic
o Parametric equations
o Polar Coordinates
o Coordinate geometry in three dimensions
o A great deal more trigonometry (graphs of trigonometric functions, radians, Laws of Sines and Cosines, trigonometric equations)
o Standard deviation
If you’ve covered the topics on the Math 2, you may want to sign up for the more advanced test. You can change your mind (and your tutoring!) up to two weeks before the test, so there is no harm in starting to prepare for the Math 2 and then deciding you are not ready for it.
Below is a more detailed chart of the differences between the two tests:
Alexa graduated from Reed College and earned a Master’s degree in math from the University of Pennsylvania. She has tutored students at every age and level from 10 to adult and from basic math through AP calculus, multivariate calculus and beyond.
Are you gearing up for the Math Level 1 or Level 2 Test?
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