FAQ

How long are tutoring sessions?

We schedule tutoring sessions around your schedule, and remote sessions can be as short as a 15-minute check in or as long as a four-hour midterm marathon — or longer, if needed! Typically, however, coursework support sessions are one hour or 90 minutes in length and test preparation sessions are 90 minutes. During a test preparation session, tutors discuss test-preparation specific homework the student has been assigned by his or her tutor, work through problems with students in real time to demonstrate and practice techniques and strategies, and teach new content, goals best accomplished during a slightly longer session. Contact us for more information or to get started!

Can my child use the same tutor for coursework tutoring and test prep?

Absolutely! All of our tutors have multiple specialties, and if you’d like to use the same tutor for coursework and test prep tutoring, we select a tutor expert in all of the subjects and exams that need support. A few of our tutors specialize in very specific topics — like Latin, computer programming, or economics — but for the most part, all of our well-rounded and highly trained test prep tutors also have several academic specialities grounded in their own academic pursuits and interests. Browse our Available Tutors here.

Can CET administer a timed mock test?

Yes! We offer both a custom-built online system and in-person testing. Our online system (Link to: online mock testing services page), modeled on the at-home testing platforms some exams are already employing, allows students to test at any time convenient for them from the comfort of their own home. It times exam sections and ends them when time elapses, provides the required breaks between sections, and ensures that students can only access questions in the section they’re currently completing. Detailed results are returned within 24 hours of test completion. Sign up for an online mock test here.

We also have a mock testing space offering proctored tests in a test-like environment closely modeled on the real experience students have when taking an official test. Large-group in-person testing (Link to in-person mock testing services page) is currently on hold but will resume as soon as conditions allow. We are offering small group or individual in-person testing on a  limited basis. Contact us for more details (Link to MT Sign Up Form)!

My family is not based in NYC. Do you offer online tutoring?

Yes! While many of our students live in New York City, we have always enjoyed the great privilege of working with students around the United States and across the globe. Our tutors are experienced and fully-trained in best practices for conducting sessions remotely, can use whichever platform your family prefers, and can generate video and documentary records of sessions for students’ future use and reference as desired. While we love to meet students and work with them face-to-face, online tutoring does add convenience and functionality to traditional tutoring, and our tutors know how to make the best use of its capabilities and advantages. Learn more about our online tutoring services here.

I'm in NYC and just looking for a math tutor for my child: is it possible to get help in only one subject?

Of course! Many families use tutors for generalized academic support in multiple subjects, but we can also provide a subject matter specialist to provide extra attention or enrichment in a single subject. Browse our math tutors here and find our full roster of Available Tutors here.

Do you offer an ISEE upper level practice test?

We do! We have a deep library of ISEE practice tests which includes the single official Upper ISEE exam that has been released by ISEE. Tests can be given through our online system, at our testing center once conditions allow, or at home via self-proctoring with a customized bubble sheet.

Do you offer HSPT test prep?
Yes, we do! Particularly in New York City, where the HSPT is the sole criterion for admission to some of the city’s best private Catholic high schools, high stakes may attach to this relatively obscure standardized test. Competitive Edge is one of very few agencies boasting tutors with hundreds of hours of HSPT-specific tutoring and HSPT-specific training.
Do you provide HSPT practice tests?

Yes, we do! While resources for the HSPT are inherently scarce due to its unusual administration model, we collect the best materials available to ensure students have access to a deep library of practice tests for the HSPT.

How does CET choose the best tutor for my child?

After learning about your child’s goals, personality, learning style, and availability, our Director of Operations proposes a tutor who is both expert in the test and/or subject needed and likely to be a match in personality and approach. You’ll have an opportunity to review the proposed tutor’s profile and biography and approve the selection before we proceed. We find that the vast majority of our tutor-student pairings go swimmingly, but you are always welcome to request a specific tutor or ask to try a different tutor to best meet your changing needs. Contact us to begin today and browse our Available Tutors here.

What college prep services do you offer?

We hear the phrase “college prep” often, but we prefer the term “college admissions support,” since a student’s preparation for college certainly extends through high school — and probably begins much sooner! Nevertheless, the task of applying to and securing admission to a college or university presents many specific and time-sensitive challenges, and we offer a menu of services to help our students surmount them and gain admission to the institution of their choice. For more information, please read the details here.

Do you offer SAT prep classes in NYC?

We do not offer standing large group classes; rather, we provide one-on-one and small group tutoring aimed at the unique strengths, weaknesses, goals, and learning style of each student. Individualized test prep tutoring, like traditional classes, includes proprietary materials and curricula, homework, and structured practice, all tailored to the student or small group’s specific requirements, and our tutors are trained pedagogues. That said, if you have a group of students with similar needs in mind, we can craft a customized class that fits your needs and circumstances.
Learn more about the SAT here.

Do you offer ACT prep classes in NYC?

We do not offer standing large group classes; rather, we provide one-on-one and small group tutoring aimed at the unique strengths, weaknesses, goals, and learning style of each student. Individualized test prep tutoring, like traditional classes, includes proprietary materials and curricula, homework, and structured practice, all tailored to the student or small group’s specific requirements, and our tutors are trained pedagogues. That said, if you have a group of students with similar needs in mind, we can craft a customized class that fits your needs and circumstances.
Learn more about the ACT here.

What is a typical tutoring session like?

Tutoring sessions vary depending on whether the purpose of the tutoring is preparation for a standardized test, to support a student with their coursework in school, or simply to provide enrichment in advanced or novel topics. They can be held remotely via the student’s choice of video conferencing platform or one-on-one in person in New York City at the student’s home or at a mutually convenient public location. Parents may also arrange for small group tutoring with their child’s peers. Regardless of whether the tutoring is one-on-one, in a small group or Pod of students, in person, or remote, sessions are 100% customizable and tailored to the specific goals and needs of the student or students. Competitive Edge students can expect upbeat, energetic, approachable, and dedicated tutors who are experts in the fields they teach. After every meeting, parents and any other recipient they elect (including the student him or herself, a teacher, or counselor) receive a 5 – 10 sentence analytical summary of the tutoring session via email from the tutor.
Learn more about our Full Tutoring Services here and Browse our Full Roster of Available Tutors here.

SAT vs SAT subject test: what are the differences?

Including the optional writing section, the SAT is a broad, 3 hour and 50 minute-long standardized achievement test rooted in English grammar, reading comprehension, and high school mathematics written by testing company College Board. It is scored on a scale of 400 to 1600 points. Importantly, most colleges and universities in the United States require applicants to submit the results of an official SAT or ACT test administration. SAT Subject Tests are topic-specific exams also written by College Board. There are nearly 20 different SAT Subject Tests each focused on one subject (e.g., Biology, Spanish, or Literature) learned in advanced high school classes. SAT Subject Tests are 60 minutes in length and are entirely multiple choice. They are scored on a scale from 200 – 800 points. In contrast to the SAT, SAT Subject Tests are a requirement for applicants at fewer than 20 colleges and universities in the United States and tend to factor into admissions at only the most selective schools in the country.
Learn more about the SAT and SAT Subject Tests here.

What is the average SAT score of your students after tutoring, and how much do scores typically improve?

Our median student score after tutoring on the SAT is a 1450, and our median student starts at a 1250, an impressive 200-point improvement! That’s equivalent to moving from approximately the 81st percentile to the 96th percentile among SAT testers.
Find your SAT tutor here.

What is the average ACT score of your students after tutoring, and how much do scores typically improve?

Our median ACT student starts with a 25 on the ACT and receives an official ACT score of 32 after tutoring, a tremendous 7-point gain! That’s equivalent to moving from approximately the 78th percentile to the 96th percentile among ACT testers.
Find your ACT tutor here.

What is a good SAT score?

A composite score of 1050 is better than roughly 50% of students who sit for an official SAT administration. A composite score of 1250 is better than roughly 80% of students who sit for an official SAT and is often considered “good.” That said, the nature of a “good” score truly depends on the circumstances and goals of the individual student in question. For an application to receive serious consideration from the 15 most selective colleges and universities in the United States, including those in the Ivy League, students should target a score of 1500 or above, which is higher than the scores of 98% or 99% of students who take an official SAT and considered excellent. Learn more about the SAT and the way it is scored here.

What is a good ACT score?

A composite score of 20 is better than roughly 50% of students who sit for an official ACT administration. A composite score of 26 is better than roughly 80% of students who sit for an official ACT and is often considered “good.” That said, the nature of a “good” score truly depends on the circumstances and goals of the individual student in question. For an application to receive serious consideration at the 15 most selective colleges and universities in the United States, including those in the Ivy League, students should aim to get a 34 or above, a score better than 98% or 99% of students who’ve taken an official ACT and considered excellent. Learn more about the ACT and the way it is scored here.

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