Why should I choose Mindspire™ over other tutoring companies?

Choosing a tutor or tutoring company you want to work with should be a big decision, and one not made without doing your research. Above all else is one concern: how much value am I getting from whomever I choose? Who are the tutors, what’s their background, how do I know that they’re worth the investment? Is this company trustworthy? Are they going to be supportive of my needs as a student throughout the process? And how can I be sure that time and money I spend are going to pay off in the long run? 

First, our tutors themselves are the very best and brightest. In addition to the requisite degrees, previous teaching experience, etc., our tutors must take a full SAT or ACT test in our office and score a minimum of a 35 or 1550 before even getting an interview. And before they’re hired, all of our tutors must demonstrate a firm grasp on the subject material of the test, the strategies needed when taking it, and the teaching/learning methods to effectively convey this information to students. Our tutors’ backgrounds include Bachelor’s and post-grad degrees from some of the nation’s top colleges, as well as years of teaching experience both as one-on-one tutors and as classroom teachers. And our online tutors are a hand-selected few from applicants across the US, which lets us find and hire the some of the strongest and most experienced tutors in the nation. It’s a claim that all tutoring companies will try to make, but our students (and their results) make clear that our tutors really are the best of the best. 

Another factor that sets Mindspire™ apart is our score increase guarantee. While the goal is for immediate, significant improvement, sometimes the first time taking the test doesn’t quite go according to plan. Whether an off day, a brain freeze, or the practice didn’t quite stick, if a student’s score falls short of the guaranteed increase from their baseline test, they get completely free hours in preparation for their next test.  Your free hours are determined by the number of points needed to reach the guaranteed score, so the more practice a student needs, the more they get, all at no cost. For the specific numbers and details of the score guarantee, keep reading! Our next FAQ breaks it down in detail.

Furthermore, our students have access to completely free mock tests during the course of a tutoring package, and even before starting! New clients who’ve not yet taken an official SAT or ACT, or have only taken one test and not the other, are encouraged to sign up for a mock test in order to compare performance on the SAT vs. the ACT. The results from these mock tests and Mindspire’s™ custom-made score breakdown sheets give our students and tutors an in-depth look at the question types and subject areas that need the most focus, as well as a clear picture of which test, if either, is a better fit for you. And once tutoring begins, students are able to take as many as they’d like to practice and refine their test-day performance prior to the real thing. Whether you’re a new student, current student, or still just considering Mindspire™, you can find the calendar of upcoming test dates here

Between our incredible tutors, unmatched score guarantee, and unlimited free mock tests, there really are no other tutoring companies that can provide Mindspire's™ comprehensive education and support. But if you’re not yet sold, you can always give us a call at (919) 335-8378, or email the office at info@mindspire.com to get in touch with one of us directly.


What’s the difference between a Pro and Master tutor? Which is right for me?

One of the most common misconceptions is that the difference between our Pro and Master tutors is a difference in quality, performance, or skill. Again, our tutors are the very best of the best, whether Pro or Master. Instead, the difference between the two comes down almost entirely to experience. While our Pro tutors have at least 2 years of experience (and usually more), our Master tutors have 5, 10, or even 15 years of experience in SAT and ACT test prep. For most students, our Pro tutors’ thorough knowledge of the tests, subject matter, and learning strategies is more than enough to see huge gains in performance. But for students who already have a thorough grasp of the subject material on the test and just need that extra something to get them to the top, a Master tutor might be the best option. Those extra years of test prep experience can often mean exposure and insight into dozens or even hundreds more students, which can help when tailoring a tutoring program to fit already high-performing students. 

Determining the value of a Pro vs. Master tutor for a student is a significant decision, and one that shouldn’t be made without all the key background info. One of the biggest factors in the decision is an existing baseline test score, so we can determine the student's current standing compared to their ultimate goal. If your student hasn’t already taken an official SAT or ACT, signing him or her up for a free mock test should be your first move. Once we have these scores, we can figure out who and what level will best fit your needs. For example, a student starting at a 1200 will fit best with a Pro tutor, while a student starting at a 1500 shooting for a 1600 would often fit better with a Master tutor. 

But don’t forget, this isn’t a decision you have to make alone. You can always call or email us at the office to discuss which level is a better fit for your student’s needs before making the final choice!


How does scheduling my tutoring sessions work? How long is each meeting? Do your tutors have set hours/locations?

Our tutors understand that tutoring sessions will not always be the first priority in a student's busy schedule. Schoolwork, sports, part-time jobs, and extracurriculars can all take precedence before scheduling a tutoring session, so our tutors expect to work around your schedule. There are no specific hours of operation for our tutors, nor a single office or location from which we operate. Instead, during your consultation we’ll make sure to get a thorough picture of your student’s availability and location, so we can match you with a tutor who will be able to work within that schedule and at the most convenient location, or via our online platform. 

Once we’ve matched you with a tutor, planning all future meetings will be handled with your tutor directly. Where, when and for how long you meet is a collaborative effort between you and your tutor, based on their experience with test prep and your needs as a student. The default length for each session will vary based on which tutor your matched with, since each tutor has their own preferred way to run each session. The most typical situation is 60 to 90 minutes per week. But again, the tutoring process is a collaborative one, so at any time students and parents are encouraged to give feedback or pass along preferences. 


Which package should I choose, Basic, Premium, or Ultimate?

At 15 hours and spread over 2-3 months, our Basic Package is the shortest we offer. While other companies may promise results with a smaller time investment, we’ve found 15 hours to be the minimum amount of time needed to really make the work we do with students stick in a significant and long-lasting way.  Our Basic Package is intended for those who are looking for a solid, straightforward test prep plan. 

Our Premium package clocks in at 25 hours. Intended to be more in-depth and longer-term than the Basic package, this one gives our students 3-5 months to learn, practice, and refine the skills and knowledge they’ll need on test day. This package was designed for motivated students who are willing to work to increase their score significantly, no matter where they begin. The Premium package is the one we recommend to most students, simply because we’ve found 25 hours to be the necessary amount of time, both in and out of class, for serious improvement.

The Ultimate package is designed for students who are committed to increasing their scores significantly. Students spend 35 hours with a tutor, allowing them to gain mastery over every aspect of the test: content, techniques, strategies, timing, and psychology. For students who are aiming for top universities, or have had persistent challenges with test-taking, the Ultimate package is the best option. The Ultimate package also guarantees a minimum score increase from your baseline test score: 7 points on the ACT, or 200 points on the SAT (with a Master tutor). 

Each package is designed for different students, with different needs and goals. Click here to see our pricing and packages page in depth, or feel free to give us a call or email us to discuss which package would be the best fit for you.


Do you offer test prep tutoring by the hour?

We do, though we don’t often recommend it. As mentioned above, the amount of work and time necessary for most students to see real results is significant, and we built the packages around that idea. Hourly tutoring can be useful if a student just needs a refresher before an upcoming test, but a full package is far more likely to be worth the investment for most students. Plus, unlike our packages, hourly tutoring does not come with any score increase guarantee. You can check our pricing page for more details, or to compare with the Basic, Premium, and Ultimate packages.


What other tutoring do you offer?

No matter what it is you need a tutor for, we can probably help. While ACT and SAT prep are what we’re best known for, we do plenty of prep for the ISEE, SSAT, LSAT, MCAT, USMLE Step One Exam, as well as nearly all academic subjects at all levels from Elementary School to college.  Just call or email us and let us know what kind of tutoring you’re looking for, and we’ll make it happen!