For their recent article titled “What is a good PSAT score?”, U.S.News interviewed Woodlands Test Prep’s founder, Susan Powers. Make sure to check out their article to hear Susan’s thoughts on PSAT scores, as well as other great info on how your child’s PSAT score affects their path to college admissions.
Woodlands Test Prep is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2022! Growing from a solo tutoring practice to a full-service educational services company, Woodlands Test Prep has carefully put together a full set of tutoring services, including test prep for the SAT, PSAT, and ACT and academic and AP tutoring for math, science, history, language arts, and foreign language subjects.
We sat down with Susan to talk about her ten years in business: how her company was created and how it has impacted The Woodlands community. What originally began as a small side hustle has ended up becoming one of the most influential tutoring services in The Woodlands.
Meet the Founder
Susan started tutoring in 1995 as a hobby. When asked what drew her to tutoring, she said:
“I’ve always loved standardized tests. I just think they’re fun. Even as a kid, I thought they were fun. So I’ve obviously always been a little bit weird ha ha!”
Indeed! This “weird” love for tests made Susan an engaging tutor, which she found was exactly what students needed to succeed. After taking a break from teaching SAT and GMAT classes in order to raise children, she was ready for a side hustle and realized that what had been her fun hobby could become her business. Susan said:
“I asked myself, what do I like doing? And I thought, okay, I like tests. Then I started Woodlands Test Prep, and it honestly grew far beyond any expectations I ever had. Pretty soon I had a number of tutors working for me and was doing practice tests for the library and for schools here in the area. It’s been a joy from the beginning.”
It’s obvious that she and her team of tutors not only have fun teaching students how to succeed on their college entrance exams but are experts in the field of test prep as well. Over the past several years, Susan’s average scores have been a 1580 on the SAT and a 35 on the ACT, and she only hires tutors who show a similar affinity for these tests. With a love for tests and tutoring and Susan’s honed curriculum, she and her team of expert tutors are ready to help any student succeed.
To stay up-to-date, Susan is an active member of the NTPA (National Test Prep Association), where she collaborates with other test prep professionals. She also was featured on the podcast Tests and the Rest on episode 231. All this professional development is passed on to her tutors and also shared via her blog on Woodlands Test Prep’s website. You can read expert information along with Susan’s professional thoughts and opinions on everything from the new digital SAT to what test optional really means for your student.
About Woodlands Test Prep and Its Services
Woodlands Test Prep is experienced in helping every student meet their greatest potential. Taking the SAT, ACT, or PSAT is a skill that can be learned and polished. Whether your student needs help with math, science, language arts, or social studies, they can help. No matter where your student is starting, focused test preparation and academic tutoring helps not only improve a student’s score or grades, but also their confidence. Susan commented:
“Our team of tutors is really without peer. I feel so lucky to have each and every person on the team. Only tutors with both heart and serious academic chops make the cut to join our team. Each tutor is genuinely an expert in the topic or skills he or she is teaching, besides just being a ton of fun to be around.”
They provide customized test preparation several ways: one-on-one in-home tutoring, small class format, and proctored practice tests. Working this way allows them to uniquely target your student’s needs. They provide proven, successful strategies and skills. Plus, they identify and polish any test content areas that need attention.
For high-achieving students, they offer a “Goal 1600 Class” each summer designed to push them even further. In the last five years, 25 of their students went on to become National Merit Semi-Finalists!
Test prep tutoring is an investment in your student’s future, but it is also a financial investment that can have a significant return. Not only can it help students get the score they need to get into college, but it can open doors for grants and scholarships that might have been previously closed. Here’s what one mom had to say about it:
“My daughter took one-on-one tutoring this summer to raise her ACT score to get accepted to A&M. She met with an amazing tutor once a week who coached her, and then she also took the practice tests available through your organization before taking the ACT a second time. Thanks to her score, as well as other aspects of her application, she is now going to be Texas A&M Class of 2026!
The return on investment was outstanding, as her backup school was offering her $3,000/year renewable for four years due to her ACT score and her class rank. For anyone wondering if your service is worth the cost, please let them know it was for us.“
If your student needs support for academic success or if college is a part of your student’s future, Woodlands Test Prep is just what your student needs to succeed. Call them today to learn how they fit into your child’s journey to college and beyond.
Click here to learn more about Woodlands Test Prep or call (713) 205-1807 to set up a session today!
Here’s a quick take on questions about the upcoming switch to a digital SAT:
- Will the College Board stick to their announced timeline? We think yes. In presentations late last week that included test prep colleagues, they stated that they’ve had a lot of opportunity to plan and test and are very confident. There will be NO overlap between paper and digital formats in a given geography.
- Will fees or test dates change? The College Board has said nothing about fees. Over 60% of SAT testers tested on School Day test dates in the last couple years. The announcement indicates that schools will have additional flexibility in choosing when to administer the test. Along those lines, we anticipate changes to national test dates, in part to accommodate the additional administrative and technological burden of conducting digital testing.
- Will digital SAT scores be equal to current SAT scores (and the concorded ACT scores)? In those same presentations, the College Board says yes. There will be no concordance required from current SAT to digital SAT. Section sub-scores will no longer exist as Reading and Writing questions will be mixed in the two verbal sections. They did assure that the same skills are being tested.
- How will adaptive sections be scored? This hasn’t been announced specifically; however, the GRE uses a similar structure and can possibly provide an early guide since the ETS creates both the SAT and the GRE.
- How will students with accommodations test? Current College Board guidance says that only Braille and raised-line accommodations will continue to test on paper. We shall see how that holds up.
- When will practice be available? This is the $64,000 question! The College Board says that multiple full-length tests will be available through Khan Academy by the end of 2022. We will keep you updated!
- Will this help equity issues in college admissions? Access to technology for both practice ahead of time and functionality while taking the test is an issue the College Board has not fully addressed. While they have committed to providing devices for test-taking, it is clear that a student bringing his or her own familiar device has an advantage over one using an unfamiliar one with much less practice.
- What will ACT, Inc. do? The ACT has been testing digitally in school districts and internationally for many years. Their 2019 announced move to computer-based testing and section-only retesting in U.S.-based national test dates was put on hold during the pandemic. While they have been mum so far, it seems likely that they will refocus on rolling out their version of digital testing more widely sooner rather than later.
How will this change affect this year’s freshmen (Class of 2025?)
- As the first class affected by this change, our first concern is the availability of practice materials. The new SAT that launched in 2016 suffered from a lack of materials, especially in time for high-scoring students focused on National Merit Scholarship possibilities. If enough materials are available by the end of the year (as promised), we will have more confidence in our early testers’ timelines.
- Speaking of National Merit, we are concerned that these students will take the last paper PSAT administration (dinosaur) as preparation for the NMSQT digital version their junior year. College Board has heard this feedback from many corners. We hope this feedback will lead to possible access to digital PSAT testing for them during their sophomore year, or some other way to give them real-world practice prior to the high-stakes junior year digital PSAT.
- Strong testers and students who have completed Algebra II as sophomores may choose to test earlier or more frequently prior to the change in an effort to get testing finished by the end of 2023.
- Many other students will follow the pattern of 2016 and just avoid the SAT altogether for the 2023-2024 academic year to wait until all the kinks have been worked out. We expect to work with a LOT more ACT students.
The College Board announced on Tuesday, January 25, that the SAT will be going digital in 2024. As if *that* isn’t big enough news, they are also changing the format substantively to be more student-friendly.
So What’s Changing?
- Moving to an all-digital format – bring your own device or use one of the College Board’s
- Shorter overall test time – approximately 2 hours instead of 3 hours
- More time per question
- Much shorter reading passages
- Built in graphing calculator for ALL math questions
- Adaptive scoring – performance on the first section of topic affects the difficulty of the second section
- Much faster score receipt – in days rather than weeks
Overall, the changes are good for students!
When Is All This Happening?
- International SAT administrations will go digital in Spring 2023
- The PSAT will go digital in Fall 2023
- U.S. SAT and SAT School Day dates will go digital in Spring 2024
What Does That Mean For My High School Student?
- Junior and Seniors (Class of 2022 and 2023) – Nothing will be different!! Carry on!!
- Sophomores (Class of 2024) – Most students will be finished with testing before changes happen.
- Freshman (Class of 2025) – You are the class this will affect first. Nothing to worry about yet though! We’ll keep you up to date with all the important changes including when practice will be available for you.
What Questions Are Still Out There About All This?
- Will the College Board stick to their announced timeline? We think yes. In insider presentations, they’ve had a lot of opportunity to plan and test and are very confident.
- Will digital SAT scores be equal to current SAT scores (and the concorded ACT scores)? The College Board says yes. We shall see.
- How will adaptive sections be scored? That hasn’t been announced; however, the GRE uses a similar structure and can possibly provide an early guide.
- How will students with accommodations test? Current College Board guidance says that only Braille and similar types of accommodations will continue to test on paper. We shall see how that holds up.
- When will practice be available? This is the $64,000 question. The College Board says that multiple full-length tests will be available by the end of 2022. We will keep you updated!