New math puzzle podcast: level up your creative problem solving!

“Easy to visualize but challenging to solve: that’s the kind of math puzzle you get here, one per episode. (Remember the Car Talk Puzzler? Yeah, kinda like that.)”

Wes from Do the Math here: I’m still feeling great about hosting Ask A Scientist SF‘s annual Pi Day Puzzle Party, where all of us math geeks had a rollicking time, and where I launched a shiny new puzzle podcast. I hope you’ll check it out, subscribe, and start submitting answers!

Four reasons to give up on big tutoring companies

What’s wrong with big tutoring companies?  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it for the longest time.  Then, this morning, it finally hit me, and I ran to the Bodsat Blog to get it down.

The thing is, some of these folks are colleagues, nice people, truly, and some very good ideas there. To say nothing of solid execution on a successful business model.

But then I saw this post on LinkedIn, seeking “recent grads” —
2015 06 LinkedIn
— and something snapped into focus for me.

I did a bit more clicking, and found:

  • Recent grads wanted (i.e. we want cheap labor, not professionals)
  • Available to tutor at least through December 2015 (i.e. this job is a waystation, not a career)
  • Work between 5 and 20 hours per week (i.e. this job doesn’t require much focus)
  • Higher rates for premium locations (i.e. you’re a commodity, paid for your location rather than for your effectiveness)

A big company is successful for itself: it gets lots of “good-enough” tutors to lots of kids.

But small firms and lone experts are successful for the families we serve.

As a result, our kids are changed, because we take self-improvement seriously. This has been our careers and our reputation for over a decade. This is not some summer job.

Bodsat Prep and our colleagues at the Summit really are better where it matters.

Who’s working with your son or daughter?

students

Thanks for nothing, Yelp.

One of the few frustrating things about co-running an SAT/ACT prep firm is that even when you do great work, it’s hard to get the word out.  So all I ask is that if you’re looking for prep for a serious learner, take a moment to read Bodsat Prep’s filtered Yelp reviews. Though our reviewers are non-Yelpers (and thus filtered), we’re happy to put you in touch with them directly. These reviews are as legitimate as they are gushing. Thanks for reading!

(Or contact us directly at 800.291.4661 for answer to all your questions.)

Why Wes Carroll thinks Sal Khan and David Coleman will fail

As I mentioned on the Bodsat blog recently, David Coleman of the College Board talks a good game, and he might even have his heart in the right place.  And Sal Khan, who went through MIT a few years after I did, has certainly done no shortage of good in the world.

So when these fellows say they are going to make costly SAT prep a thing of the past, one gets excited about the possibilities.

Trouble is, they genuinely don’t have the first or faintest clue what they’re doing, at least where serious learners are concerned.

Their goal is a good one: they hope to level the playing field economically by giving away world-class test prep.  Two problems here:

1. They wouldn’t know world-class test prep if it bit them on the elbow.  (That’s not their fault; the whole point of Khan Academy and of College Board is to “teach to the middle.” Unlike these guys, we at Bodsat Prep spend all day, every day, with students in the 1800 to 2350 range.)

2. They think that expensive test prep is out there telling people to “guess C if they don’t know the answer,” and that giving students good material will lead inexorably to good practice.  Both are false.  What we understand is that the biggest barrier to high-quality practice is not knowing what high-quality practice feels like in the first place.

I’m not one for throwing down gauntlets in general, but I’ll make an exception here:

Mr. Coleman and Mr. Khan, Bodsat Prep’s course is going to deliver easily triple the results of yours.  And that’s because we know how to give high-scorers what they need in order to become truly effective thinkers.

Families will decide for themselves whether that’s worth our price.

You, by contrast, merely know that you can do better for the average student than bad test prep can.  You’re right about that much, but we’ll see how far that gets you.

 

Another delighted family

Bodsat Prep gets yet another great Yelp review, this time from Ximena A. We couldn’t be more delighted:

Our daughter had decent SAT scores before working with Justin Sigars from Bodsat Prep, but we all knew she needed to improve them if she wanted to go to the colleges she liked.  Her school’s college counselor recommended Bodsat.  Justin blew my mind.  I was impressed by his method, and his use of the latest scientific research in student test performance.  And I was even more impressed when I saw that my daughter’s SAT scores post-Bodsat were now in the 99% national percentile.  This wasn’t your regular SAT prep course.  This was the most professional approach to taking the SAT test you will ever find, and the SAT score gains you’ll obtain will attest to that.