SAT/ACT Preparation for the NEW SAT

Dates and Times:
SAT/ACT Fall 2017 September 6, 12, 13, 19, 26, 27 and October 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 6:00 – 8:00
SAT/ACT Winter 2017 November 29, December 6, 13, 20, January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, February 7, 13, 21, 28, and March 7 6:00 – 8:00
SAT/ACT Summer 2018 Dates/Times TBD

Click here to register for ANY Rutledge Learning Academy course!

Mr. Brian Rutledge, National Board Certified Mathematics Teacher - Mathematics


Mr. Bruce DuBoff - Verbal

Cost for the comprehensive program (mathematics AND verbal, 14 sessions): $799

Cost for a partial program (mathematics OR verbal, 7 sessions): $499

To accommodate the busy schedules of students, the RLA will again offer our test preparation courses online in real time with course instructors delivering live cyber lessons, so kids can login from any location! Course details include:
  • We will prepare kids for BOTH the SAT and ACT. There is no need to take two separate prep classes, when there is so much overlap in the skills and strategies of the two tests. Teachers do highlight when there are lessons that are unique to one test or the other.
  • Teachers offer a blend of both skills AND strategy to help kids prepare for the tests. We do not believe that just one method – skills OR strategy – can effectively prepare kids for their testing needs. Generally, we tell people that the course is about 2/3 strategy and 1/3 skills
  • A total of 14 class meetings are scheduled that include 7 sessions for mathematics and 7 sessions for verbal.
  • Class meetings are two-hours long. Classes will be long enough for productive meeting time, but will not dominate students’ busy schedules.
  • Content that is delivered online using Zoom so that kids can login from anywhere to meet with the teachers in a virtual classroom with video, audio, and text capabilities. Teachers have a virtual whiteboard to share, and can also share documents in real time, and the math teacher can share the graphing calculator app.
  • There are two excellent teachers who are masters in their own discipline who delivers their half of the program. I truly do not believe that there is one person who can effectively deliver both sides while being able to meet the needs and answer the questions of all students on both sides (verbal and math) of the tests.

SAT vs. ACT & The Test Preparation Calendar:

As a parent of a student entering their standardized testing years, I wanted to share with you several pieces of information about the details of standardized testing. Even if you do not use my tutoring or test preparation services, I encourage you to read this page and save it for future reference. Please also feel free to forward this to others with kids in 9th – 10th grades for their upcoming needs.

In general, I will suggest that most students consider taking BOTH the SAT as well as the ACT. HOWEVER – there are cases where one test might be more beneficial to the needs/strengths of a given student. There are many urban legends floating around right now about which is the “good test” and which is the “bad test”. Truth is, which is which is dependent on the individual student. Here are some things to consider:

  • The BIGGEST FACTOR to determine which test a child is ready for, and is ready to be SUCCESSFUL for is when did they take Geometry, and how well did they do in that course? The ACT math section contains 20 geometry items on a 60 question test. Yep, one-third! The SAT math section contains LESS than 6 of 58 questions from geometry. That’s less than 10%! Simply put there is much more of a weight on geometry on the ACT than the SAT, and conversely there is more emphasis on the algebras on the SAT than the ACT. That’s a fact – NOT an urban legend from the rumor mill! The content breakdowns for the two tests can be found at the following pages.
  • Another important note is that the SAT offers a formula sheet, but the ACT does not. Kids who have relied on a formula sheet need to be aware of that heading into the ACT, especially since the ACT uses MORE formulas than the SAT does.
  • The ACT has a science section that is ¼ of the overall score, while the SAT has no dedicated science section. There are, however, questions based on graphs, charts, and data embedded into the new SAT.
  • While the scoring of the tests has become more similar with the SAT’s removal of guessing penalty, there are differences in the test format in that the ACT still has 5 answer options, while the SAT dropped to 4. Also, there are “grid-in” questions (without multiple choice answers) on the SAT, but the ACT is multiple choice in full.
I am a BIG BELIEVER that kids are much better off testing in the FALL/WINTER than in waiting until the spring months. If you speak to any of the private college counselors in the area, you will hear this message repeated early and often. Some thoughts about the testing calendar:
  • Assuming a child has completed BOTH geometry and algebra two by the end of 10th grade, I suggest that kids take the ACT in September, the SAT and PSAT in October, and then the ACT and SAT in December.
  • Testing in January can be ugly for some kids as many schools have midterms the same week as the SAT test date.
  • Consider reserving the May SAT date to allow kids to take the SAT II Subject test in any subjects where they are also taking an AP test! Some school require 2-3 SAT II tests, others accept them if they enhance an application.
  • Be careful of, and try to avoid, the March-May-June testing months. There are many reasons to avoid those months. Trust me (or call me to chat!)
  • Of course, if a child is taking algebra two or geometry in 11th grade, this changes the ideal calendar completely. One option is to push the whole calendar back one year. There are pros and cons to that plan. Ultimately, it will come down to what class was taken at which time, and from there, what test will the child be ready for. If I can help sort this out, please let me know.
  • The links for the testing dates for both tests follow here:

PLEASE be fully aware of SAT/ACT Score Choice!! I really hate when I hear someone say that they “are just going to take the test one time to see how they do”. AAARGH! That can be a KILLER to the SAT/ACT score report. I cannot tell you how many times I have had that conversation, only to then ask if the person knew if the “practice” score could hurt the child. Nearly every time – that answer has been NO! PLEASE do not have your child take the test in a live situation for a baseline. If you are looking for a baseline, go to Amazon, buy the best test practice book out there for the SAT/ACT (call me, I’ll guide you) and let your child spend 3-5 quality, quiet hours in the dining room taking a practice test. The details for score choice and super scoring for the two tests follow here:

As you may know, I have offered test preparation programs through the Rutledge Learning Academy since 2000. I am a National Board Certified Math Teacher, and am also in the last stages of completing my doctorate. I bring many years of experience, expertise, and dedication to my craft to the table in every class that I teach. I am very proud of the program that we have created and refined over the years, and I am excited to be delivering the program online in a real-time cyber format to make the offering as convenient as possible for most kids.

If you would like more information about the details of the upcoming classes, please reach out to me by e-mail at (please know that if you do not hear back from me in 48-72 hours, it is almost certain that I did not get your message) or call me at 215-343-9642.

I look forward to the chance to help your child succeed!

If you know of others who would benefit from this information, please consider forwarding it along. Thank you so much for your help in that regard.

The Rutledge Learning Academy SAT/ACT Preparation Philosophy:

My name is Brian Rutledge and, as a former recipient of a full academic scholarship, I am writing this to let you know about my beliefs in preparation for the high stakes testing examinations - the SAT and the ACT. My belief in the necessity to prepare appropriately is embedded in the structure and design of my SAT/ACT preparation course.

Some standardized test preparation programs are geared towards teaching the skills that are necessary for success on the test. Others are solely based in teaching kids the strategies that can be used on the test. This program will provide the best of both of these approaches to test preparation to give students the best possible advantage to maximize their score on the exams. This program is designed to help build students' test-taking skills and provide insight that will help solve the mystery behind these high-stakes assessments. With the recent changes in formats to the tests, being prepared is now more important than ever. Since standardized testing is a vital part of a student's college application, making sure that your child has all the tools needed to succeed before taking this test is a great investment. I stress to kids and parents frequently that my SAT score was the key factor in earning a full academic scholarship. For this reason, I truly understand the importance of testing for your child's collegiate application. I am most proud of the success stories of the students who have taken one of my courses, and then gone on to raise their scores to win scholarship money of their own!

Over the course of my more than twenty years in the field of education, I have seen numerous students who have excellent grade point averages struggle to score well on their standardized testing due to a lack of appropriate preparation specific to these tests. Standardized testing is not often written and formatted to be a fair reflection of the knowledge that your student has acquired while in high school. Learning time management strategies and being able to look for trap answers built into the test are important skills that students need to have prior to sitting for the test. Enrolling your child in one of my courses will allow them to take these tests more prepared to succeed.

My philosophy for test preparation is that kids should ideally complete any preparatory class work that they wish to pursue prior to the start of their junior year, or at the latest, at least a month before they intend to take their high stakes testing for the first time. With that in place, they will be in position to take the PSAT in October of their junior year, and then they can gear up to take either or both of the SAT twice as an 11th grader. Given that planning, if there is still a portion of the test that the student would want to strengthen, they can work on that area alone in the summer between 11th and 12th grade, and take the test in October and/or November of 12th grade. The ultimate hope here is that the student would get a good enough score to not need to take any of the tests again in their senior year. I do, however, have several seniors improve their score on the fall test dates by taking the course in the summer or fall of their senior year.

The biggest part of any standardized test preparation program is the practice that the student does with the skills and strategies that are taught. I really recommend completing the test prep in a timely manner that will allow the student to complete several practice tests after the course is completed, but before taking the actual test. I have had students increase their scores, or have a good showing on the first time taking the test by sitting for one of my courses that ends within days of taking the test administration, but the best results of those who have prepared are usually by the students who leave some time to take the practice tests independently prior to taking the formal test. This is why I recommend at least a month after the conclusion of the course before the student takes the SAT or ACT for the first time.

Students are encouraged to bring the calculator to class with them that they plan to use on the day of the SAT or ACT. Please note that in the event that a class needs to be cancelled due to inclement weather, or instructor illness, it will be rescheduled in a timely manner.

I am very pleased that you are researching a quality preparation program for your child and are considering allowing me the opportunity to make this program available for your child this year. If I can provide any additional information, please call me at 215-343-9642, or e-mail me at, and I will be sure to answer any of your questions personally. Registration information is available on the site, but please call ahead if you will be registering your student late so I can help with materials and determine if space is still available.