Reviews

Critical Reading review, Library Journal
Nothing many students do in high school is as important as taking the SAT. Parents, students, and teachers devote extensive time and money to preparing for the test to get the best scores. Private Tutor wants to help, and this series in critical reading is an excellent way to prepare for the exam. Host Amy Lucas is young, lively, and engaging and brings an extensive background in test prep tutoring to her discussions. She helps students through every aspect of SAT critical reading work through an approach that is clear, well organized, and certainly student-friendly. Students can work at their own pace to learn how to analyze passages, read the questions, build vocabulary, and understand the formats of the test. Lucas is always aware of the variety of student learning styles, presenting three different techniques for dealing with reading passages. VERDICT: A very useful SAT package that can aid students on the test and beyond in all reading work. Strong supplementary materials include a student workbook. Recommended for all collections serving junior high and high school students.

 

Math section, Starred review, School Library Journal
This five-volume series addresses the math concepts that students must be familiar with on the SAT, the types of problems they can expect to encounter, the problem-solving processes, and basic test-taking skills so that they can experience less anxiety during the test. Instructor Amy Lucas uses an informal lecture-style format to clearly and concisely explain and present arithmetic and algebraic processes. Her introduction puts students at ease by providing them with a basic description of the SAT along with information on when to make educated guesses in selecting the correct response. Lucas divides the test into four categories—test numbers and operations, geometry and measurements, algebra and functions, and statistics and probability—and further breaks these categories into understandable chapters so that the complexity of both the subject and the test is reduced. Ten chapters provide step-by-step instructions and simplify concepts by utilizing illustrated sample problems as well as comprehensive drills at the end of each lecture. Drill questions are reviewed and correct answers are discussed and explained. The accompanying book reviews each lecture and drill. This series will appeal to auditory and visual learns. Library collections serving high school students as well as homeschoolers seeking instruction, practice, and basic standardized test-taking tips for the Math SAT will find this series an essential purchase.

 

Math section review, Library Journal
Amy Lucas brings more than a decade of tutoring experience at the highest levels of the tutoring/test prep industry to this production. Starting with math vocabulary and then offering a discussion of the range of SAT problems from algebra to geometry to functions, this series offers the student the broadest coverage of the SAT math section. In stark contrast to the “teacher in front of a chalk board,” Lucas talks straight into the camera on a set suggesting a living room. The presentation is personal, conversational, relaxed, and effective. Animated examples are shown on a split screen as Lucas narrates, with plenty of drills sprinkled throughout. In the drills, problems are provided with a link to the explanation of the solution, giving students immediate verbal and visual feedback. The format is especially useful for the ability to replay and review and to focus on a specific topic in any order, with the caveat that the introduction and math vocabulary should be viewed first. VERDICT: Highly recommended for students facing the SATs.

 

Writing section review, School Library Journal
Students can follow Amy Lucas as she teaches them about the 19 most common grammar errors that are made in the Writing section of the SAT. She claims that those who avoid these mistakes will receive a perfect score on that part of the exam. The accompanying workbook very closely follows the material presented on the DVDs. There is a lecture, followed with a practice drill and a review. Different question types are presented, and special techniques for answering them are discussed. Lucas runs through each section very quickly, but she has an expressive style that should hold the attention of students. The DVDs are divided into seven chapters: sentence corrections, parts of speech, verb errors, pronoun errors, grammar rules, paragraph improvement, and essay writing. The instructor offers simple tips such as avoid “being” and “having” and always go for “simple and concise.” All incorrect responses are explained clearly. There are easy-to-follow tips for writing the essay as well as sample essays that received high and low scores. Students looking for a comprehensive review of the Writing portion of the SAT will find this program very helpful, especially since they can select specific areas in which they need improvement.

 

Writing section review, Library Journal
In 2005, the College Board added a writing component to the SAT, the standardized test used by most colleges and universities in the admissions process. This set of two DVDs and a workbook walks the viewer through the writing component of the SAT and offers advice on how to approach the test. Narrator and tutor Amy Lucas is attractive and vivacious. Although the content is not particularly exciting, her delivery makes the videos easy to watch. Lucas clearly states that she is coaching viewers on test-taking strategies, not teaching them general rules of grammar. Her examples are lucid, and the suggestions consistent with those offered by other standardized test guides. The accompanying workbook reinforces the discs and provides a number of examples and drills. Lucas’s credentials include work with test preparation companies, and she seems familiar with the kinds of questions used in the SAT. VERDICT Watching these DVDs and completing the workbook will not make the viewer a great writer, but the processes will help a student gain confidence in the writing skills required by the SAT.

 

Math section review, Home Educating Family
Amy Lucas has an engaging, clear, conversational style… Explanations of difficult math concepts, especially the process for determining the different “plug-ins” used, are quite excellent… step-by-step explanations are clear and concise.

 

Critical Reading section review, Video Librarian
3-1/2 out of 4 stars. Host Amy Lucas is the titular “private tutor,” who shares strategies for tackling the critical-reading portion of the SAT while seated on a couch in a cozy domestic setting. Lucas covers several aspects of the subject, from providing an overview of the test structure and suggesting techniques for improving memory, to walking students through sample questions. Lucas uses lively vocal inflection and a conversational tone to engage her audience, with key points frequently flashed onscreen in brightly colored text, helping to underscore important material. Lucas talks about what types of questions to expect and offers tips on specific ways to approach them. She also presents study pointers, pacing tips for test day, and information what to expect form the exam based on statistics. Individual sections cover vocabulary, sentence completion, and reading comprehension. The disc also includes two supplementary PDFs: one with sentence-completion drills, and the other offering a sample essay that demonstrates how to tackle a reading comprehension passage. Other titles in the series includes Your Complete SAT Critical Reading Prep Course with Amy Lucas, DVD 2; Your Complete SAT Math Prep Course with Amy Lucas, DVD 1-4; and Your Complete SAT Writing Prep Course with Amy Lucas, DVD 1-2. Thorough, informative, and likely to help take some of the anxiety out of the testing experience, this is highly recommended.

 

Critical Reading section review, Library Journal
Nothing many students do in high school is as important as taking the SAT. Parents, students, and teachers devote extensive time and money to preparing for the test to get the best scores. Private Tutor wants to help, and this series in critical reading is an excellent way to prepare for the exam. Host Amy Lucas is young, lively, and engaging and brings an extensive background in test prep tutoring to her discussions. She helps students through every aspect of SAT critical-reading work through an approach that is clear, well organized, and certainly student-friendly. Students can work at their own pace to learn how to analyze passages, read the questions, build vocabulary, and understand the formats of the test. Lucas is always aware of the variety of student learning styles, presenting three different techniques for dealing with reading passages. VERDICT: A very useful SAT package that can aid students on the test and beyond in all reading work. Strong supplementary materials include a student workbook. Recommended for all collections serving junior high and high school students.