Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers

Do I need to take proctored tests? Can’t I just take practice tests at home?

Taking practice tests at home is great, but you won’t reach your fullest potential without taking several practice tests under realistic conditions. Taking realistic, proctored tests is the best way to make sure things like nerves and mental fatigue don’t keep you from showing how much you know when the real test day comes. I have all of my students take several proctored tests because it is that important.

What study materials do you recommend?

There are a lot of mediocre study materials around for the SAT, ACT and GRE. In general, the best practice questions come from the official guides: College Board for SAT, ACT Inc for ACT, and ETS for GRE. Erica Meltzer has great books for specifics of the Verbal parts of the SAT and ACT, and Mike McClenathan and Richard Corn have great books for SAT and ACT Math. For the GRE, Manhattan Prep’s 5lb book is good practice.

How do I study?

The first thing to do is to schedule your study times. You will need to revisit and revise it, but having an imperfect schedule is much more effective than having no schedule. Pick study times and stick to them the best you can. Preparing completely for one of these tests takes 30-40 hours of focused work. You won’t be able to accomplish that without a schedule. Next, get good materials. I have recommended some above. Work through them thoughtfully. Pick out chapters that you need to work on. Don’t race through them. Ask yourself what lessons each section is trying to teach you, and pay attention to how well you are understanding them. Then, practice! Take lots of practice tests, and review all the questions you missed. After a few weeks, retry those questions, without notes, to make sure you know how to do them. Keeping track of your mistakes is the most underrated aspect. Write down what you missed, why you missed it, and what you should have done instead.

What can parents do to help their child prepare?

It is important to realize that your child will pick up on any anxiety that you have about this process. Anxiety doesn’t improve test performance! Being calm, supportive, and proactive about helping them study is key. Scolding them when they didn’t finish their work for the week may work a few times, but eventually just leads to more conflict. In my experience, the best system involves letting your child set a study schedule they will follow, and then checking up on them a few minutes before study time, then popping in at random for a moment to make sure they are focused on their work during study time.

Where is your office?

My office is at 12625 High Bluff Dr #113, San Diego CA 92130.  I am in the Hacienda building, down the steps in the back right of the courtyard, inside the League of Extraordinary Programmers space.

What is your rate?

My rate is 249/hr. I currently offer a special rate of 199/hr for GRE students who can meet in the mornings.

Front door

Hacienda front

The Hacienda

See What Parents Have To Say!

My daughter had taken the SAT 2 times without the help of Blake and had a score sufficient to apply to some colleges. After I learned from an admission counselor that a higher SAT score would yield a better offer of financial aid I figured that I would give Blake a shot. Well, he paid off big time. Her score went up 150 points and yes she received more money for all 4 years. Best investment ever!!! I have since used Blake for my grandson Andrew and have referred him to many people. It has always worked well.

Ildiko D.

I wasn’t a believer at first, didn’t think Blake could really make a difference…but he sure did! Blake was able to motivate my daughter to prepare for her SAT by working harder and smarter. She was able to improve her SAT score by 160! My daughter and I are so grateful for his patience and confidence in her, especially when my confidence/patience was so low. Blake also kept me posted on her progress and was honest with his feedback. With Blake’s guidance, her new SAT test score has given her new hopes! I highly recommend Blake for SAT Prep!!

Rachel B.

I would recommend Blake to any parent who is looking for a reliable, knowledgable and encouraging tutor for the SATs. My son has learning issues so it was very important to find someone who could understand his abilities and appreciate his learning differences in order to put together a solid study plan. My son had a goal for the SATs and by working with Blake he was able to meet and surpass that goal by 100 points! Thanks Blake for being there for our family!

Lora H.

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