Welcome to CSS Tutoring Services 

SSAT, PSAT/SAT, ACT, GMAT and GRE Instruction

Current Class Schedules: (click on test date below to see schedule)

SAT: December 5
         January 23, 2016
 March 5, 2016

ACT: December 12
         February 6, 2016


"We emphasize small group and individual classes taught by experienced instructors. We offer Sunday classes for most test dates." 
                                                    Carolyn Scanniello (Founder/Instructor) 

Tips & Trivia:

#1. "What three SAT/ACT testing dates should all juniors consider as one of their choices during the junior year?"

Answer: "All juniors should consider using January, May and/or October as one of their SAT testing dates because the College Board releases the test questions and answers for those test dates. This Question & Answer (Q&A) Service is invaluable for targeting strengths and weaknesses for future testing. Other test dates only offer the Student Answer Service which does not include the questions, but does indicate where a student has missed questions. Exception for athletes: if possible, avoid test dates that correspond to major athletic commitments. Parents should always plan around all students' busy spring activities and the need for taking subject tests. The ACT offers the TIR (Test Information Release) for their December, April and June test dates. It is the equivalent of the SAT Question and Answer Service."

"What does the SAT Strategy class cover in the math portion?"

Answer:  "We cover all the math vocabulary used on the math test along with the strategies necessary to improve math scores. There are several math vocabulary words and concepts that appear on every test. Advanced students often have forgotten the math vocabulary that appears on the test and many other students do not know what words appear often in the questions on the SAT and the ACT. As a result, their score suffers because of their lack of vocabulary and not because of their math skills."

"Do colleges average test scores if a student takes the SAT or ACT more than three times?"

Answer: "No, that belief is a persistent myth. A very small number of colleges use the best overall score from one sitting for the SAT. Most institutions mix and match subscores. Additionally, when using the ACT most use the composite score."

"Is the PSAT easier or harder than the actual SAT and why is the PSAT very important to some students?"

Answer: "The critical reading and writing skills multiple choice portions of the PSAT are exactly the same difficulty level as those sections on the SAT.  The math portion of the PSAT does not include all the skills that can be included on the SAT so students sometimes can score higher on that than they can on the SAT math. Athletes and students with high GPA's should attempt to score well on the PSAT since that score can be requested by coaches who are showing early interest in an athlete and can be used as the beginning of a scholarship search for students with high GPA's. For all other students the PSAT is a practice forum for the SAT." 

"What should I know about calculators?"  

Answer:  "Many students have their own calculators and are very familiar with their function which makes students comfortable on test day. Do not buy a new calculator or borrow a friend’s calculator right before a test without mastering its use.  Students who use unfamiliar calculators often spent part of their testing time figuring out the calculator. Be aware that the TI89 is not allowed on the ACT but is allowed on the SAT". 

#6. "What is "right" and what is "wrong" with online preparation classes for a paper and pencil based test?"  

Answer: "Online classes can help a student practice skills that are weak such as vocabulary and math skills IF a student is capable of recognizing his own weaknesses. Often, the material on some online sites includes concepts that do not appear on the tests. In addition, most students do not gain a concept of the organization of the test by using online instruction and have trouble knowing where to answer questions and where to omit questions as a result. Many students have no idea why their score is where it is and need direction on what to study.  A major reason to be careful about practicing only on line is that the test is not given on a computer and students can't eliminate answer choices as they practice on a computer, a key strategy for both the SAT and the ACT. Students also do not develop a sense of the timing they will need to employ on the actual test."

#7. "Why do many students have an "A" or a "B" in English but do not do well on the SAT or the ACT critical reading section?" 

Answer:  "The content of English class is not the same as the tested subject matter of the SAT or ACT Critical Reading sections. The SAT sentence completion portion of Critical Reading requires students to choose a vocabulary word that fits best into a sentence. Usually, English classes do not cover vocabulary specific to the SAT in junior and senior years of high school. The ACT does not have such a vocabulary component. The remainder of the SAT Critical Reading section and the entire ACT section both require the student to read "boring" passages and answer questions in a very literal way. Both tests require this type of literal thinking in a strictly timed format. Many students develop a form of "AP English Disease" which leads to over analysis and poor SAT/ACT performance. Some students have the appropriate skills, but cannot properly manage their time. We address all of these issues in our classes."

Program Strategy:

Our Regular SAT or ACT Class whether conducted as a group class(regular and honors levels available for SAT classes) or on an individual basis, is designed and presented as strategy sessions. While each class does include skills review beyond the basic level, its primary objective is to build a successful strategy for test taking. At the first class meeting, each student receives a practice book and a folder of information. Inside the folder are the test strategy guidelines, class assignments and for the SAT, a list of important vocabulary words. Each class meeting ends with an assignment to reinforce skills and should be completed before the next class meeting. During the SAT preparation classes, each student will receive 3 complete test scores.

GRE preparation is conducted on an individual basis.

For those students needing a review of SAT or ACT required math skills, we suggest taking our Pre-strategy Math Skills Review course prior to enrolling in the strategy class. 

For comprehensive college planning, refer to our "Class Schedules" page for the College Counseling Package.
Additional Recommended Resources: 
College Connections
College Selection, Applications, Essays, Financial Aid  
The BrownMiller Group
Career and Life Management
Educational Enterprises, Inc.
Assessment, Learning & organizational strategies, Cognitive behavior management

824 Castle Hollow Rd., Midlothian, VA 23114, (804)897-7136
Serving the Greater Richmond, VA area including: Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Powhatan as well as other areas of the Commonwealth of Virginia
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