HSPT Review

I was happy to receive the following today:

Hi Kate – I realized I never followed up with you about my daughter Allie Vasquez and her results on the HSPT. She worked with you in the Fall of 2016 to brush up on a few areas in preparation for the HSPT in early December. I’m happy to report that she scored in the 99th percentile, received a scholarship to both O’Connell and St. John’s and was also accepted in the St. John’s De La Salle Scholars program – which she will be attending in the fall!

Thanks so much for all your work with her – not only did it improve her performance on the test, but I believe it gave her more confidence overall in her work as well as her test taking abilities. I suspect we’ll be seeing you again in a few years as she gets ready for her college admissions!


All the best,


karen m. vasquez


Bragging Rights

At Inspiring Test Preparation, we are pretty accustomed to our students improving 4 points on the ACT composite.  That’s our average gain.   But occasionally we get a student who does so outstandingly well, we can’t help telling the world.  Here’s the latest story.



September 2016 ACT Results

This summer Inspiring Test Preparation held three classes to help students get ready for the ACT.  In July we held a three-week class that covered both ACT and SAT, and in August students chose between a three-week class dedicated to the ACT and a six-week class to prepare for both tests.  Altogether 22 students participated in the classes and we have heard from ten class students so far.  We also provided one-on-one preparation for over twenty students but not all took the September ACT.

Of ten class students providing full scores, we saw an average gain of 3.7 points on the composite with a beginning average of 28 and an ending score of 31.7. (A four point gain in the composite is like a 140 point gain on the new SAT.)

Below is a breakdown of the data.(Updated 10/4/16)
1 ACT/SAT AUG 30E 29M 31RC 27S 29 36E 29M 33RC 30S 32 3
2 ACT AUG 25E 20M 28RC 25S 25 35E 24M 35RC 27S 30 5
3 ACT AUG 29E 25M 30RC 24S 27 35E 27M 33RC 27S 31 4
4 ACT AUG 25E 24M 24$C 30S 31 31E 35M 35RC 24S 34 3
5 ACT/SAT JUNE 28E 31M 30RC 29S 30 36E 34M 32RC 32S 34 4
6 ACT/SAT JULY 21E 32M 22RC 25S 25 30E 35M 24RC 33S 31 6
7 ACT/SAT AUG 26E 32M 30RC 25S 28 35E 34M 30RC 26S 31 3
8 ACT/SAT AUG 29E 29M 34RC 26S 30 36E 33M 35RC 34S 35 5
9 ACT/SAT AUG 23E 24M 27RC 29S 26 29E 27M 33RC 26S 29 3
10 ACT AUG 31E 24M 34RC 26S 29 34E 27M 31RC 27S 30 1
RANGE 25-31 29-35 1-6 pts

The Case of the Missing PSAT

Posted by Kate Dalby

When I started coaching the SAT back in the mid 80s, I would often start my evaluation of a student with his or her PSAT booklet from the previous fall.

Usually the students would get the scores back before the winter break in December, and I would get a flurry of calls over the vacation asking for my help. At the same time the students received the scores, they received the very PSAT booklets they used during the testing session.

These tests were a goldmine of information. I could see if the student miss marked, if there were careless mistakes, if a problem was overworked, and I could deduce much about the test taker’s habits. It was a great jumping off point and gave me concrete information that helped me come up with a plan of action to prepare the student for the SAT. (more…)