Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why start Early?

Test prep has been broken for a while now. Despite billions in spending on a booming test prep industry, test scores have been plummeting. Unsurprisingly, studies have found that traditional test prep isn’t working. Any student can raise his or her scores by an entire college tiers. These are tests of material, strategy, and approach – all three are learnable – none are “innate,” and despite popular opinion, there’s no such thing as a “bad tester.” There are simply students who have learned these three elements, and those who have not. With the right program, any student can pick up all three. So why hasn’t test prep been working? Why are we spending billions on classes, courses, and tutoring that don’t seem to be effective in teaching these three simple elements?

There are two simple answers:

  1. We wait too long. These tests aren’t particularly tough – if you give yourself a long runway. If we started early and studied 15 minutes a day, we’d have these things knocked out with no stress and no problems. Instead, we’re encouraged to start a few months before the test and pay for “crash courses” and “boot camps” – no one thinks this is the way we should learn. Find me an educator who recommends cramming and I’ll find you a goose that lays golden eggs. We’re imposing false deadlines on ourselves and creating too little time to succeed and learn.
  2. We rely on “passive learning” and “test prep osmosis.” You learn best by doing – by taking things into your own hands and working through them – not by sitting back and watching. Would you let a surgeon operate on you if she’d only ever watched videos or sat in class? That would be insane – unless she actively practices her craft, she won’t be good enough. Same goes for any learning – yet we rely on classroom courses, one-on-one tutors, and online video-based programs that hope we’ll master by watching. That’s not how this works!

Our program allows you to start early and prep consistently and actively in only a few minutes a day, fully engaging you in the process and allowing you to study on your schedule, wherever and whenever you have the time.

Classes or tutoring?

Again, why not both? Our focus is on expert, individualized instruction through either tutoring or small classes. Everyone agrees that 1-1 instruction is the most efficient, effective way to dramatically improve test scores. However, working in a group setting can be a great way to master content before getting into individual instruction and test reviews. Is a prep class right for you or your high schooler? If so, check our SAT & ACT Prep Class listings for South Riding for dates and fees.

Do you guarantee that my SAT/ACT score will go up?

Honestly, no matter what any test prep company says, there is absolutely no way that they will “guarantee” how much you will score or improve on the tests (please read all fine prints).  The “fine print” is a big one. Most of our competitors who offer these guarantees say something such as this:

Students must attend all program sessions, take all assigned practice tests, and complete all homework assignments. (examples: https://www.eprep.com/guarantee/all or http://www.y2academy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Y2-Study-System_Score-Guarantee-revised-01312018.jpg )

Because of the pressures of high school and other activities, even our best students have trouble completing all homework assignments on time, and rare is the student who does not miss at least one lesson. Tutoring companies that offer score-increase guarantees are counting on their students to not be perfect.

But it gets worse. If you read the guarantees carefully, most of them allow students to retake the class (and we stress class) for free. In other words, the student can sit in an otherwise empty chair and learn the same stuff that didn’t work the first time. Or if the student worked one-on-one, then the only choice is to take an SAT class, a seemingly less-effective form of tutoring than the one-on-one tutoring that the client paid for originally. And worse still, one of our competitors (go ahead, search around, it’s one of the biggies) says the following:

…you may repeat our Classroom Course at no charge other than a $200 administrative fee.

Score-increase guarantees send the wrong message. Scores do not automatically go up. There is no magic, score-increase pill that students can swallow. Every tutoring company (big or small) knows this. How much the score increases is more contingent upon your own hard work and talent, and the most that any academy can do is guide you in the right path with the right curriculum and instructors.

The best way that you can guarantee yourself a significant score increase is to:

  • Go to every class and fully engage yourself in all classroom activities.
  • Take every practice test as if it is the real thing.
  • Seriously try every strategy that is suggested; use the one that works for you and forget the ones that do not.
  • Our instructors repeatedly report that the students who make the most significant score increases (from 100-150 points each on math and verbal) are the ones who come to class with serious intent and focus.

Why is Delta Prep So Much More Affordable than Others?

Two words: low overhead. We do not have fancy decor or a cool marble front desk with zazzy lights, a cool vending machine, and a big screen TV. And we share space with Best Brains South Riding, which keeps our rent low. You don’t come here to relax in our chairs or lounge watching the big TV, do you? In fact, Delta Prep was started by the same guys who own Best Brains South Riding location. Make no mistake, we do make money, but we believe in Quality at an affordable cost. And here’s the amazing thing; While our tuition is the lowest in the industry, our tutors are typically one of the well-paid. (Don’t believe us? Call some of our competitors and pretend like you’re looking for tutoring work. Seriously, if you have the time, give it a try. Then call us. When the shock of our competitors’ high-margins wears off, you can even sign up for tutoring during the same phone call!)

Why Should I join Delta Prep?

We could tell you we have the best PhDs (just like every other tutoring company). We could tell you our curriculum is the most customized and the most effective (who wouldn’t say as much?). We could guarantee you’ll increase your score at least 1,000 points (and then follow that up with enough fine print to make you go blind). So what do we do differently? We take a long term approach of making your smarter, we do not employ 200-point-increase-in-a-week type schemes, we utilize a proven and effective curriculum (again see the first sentence), and we provide an honest, “small-company” experience that you can’t get with the other guys – and we do it for a heck of a lot less money (take a look at the reviews of our sister company Best Brains South Riding – same management as Delta Prep).


There is no short answer to this question. First, it’s important to know that the two tests are scored on a curve based on the normalized difficulty of the test. 80% of students typically do not see big differences between their SAT and ACT scores.

There are differences, however, between the two tests that may make one test preferable to the other for some students. Here are four questions that can help us make an informed decision:

  1. How does the student do in science classes (biology, physics, chemistry)? The ACT has a science section. It doesn’t really test science, per se, but students who excel in their science classes will probably be more comfortable with this section.
  2. Is math a strength or a weakness? Half of the SAT’s total score is determined by math, compared to only 25% for the ACT. Thus, math geniuses might go for the SAT. (But math geniuses are often science geniuses too, in which case it’s a wash.)
  3. Does the student typically finish tests early or late? The ACT is harder to finish in time. Slow workers should consider the SAT. (However, if you get extended time, definitely consider the ACT. Extra time is a greater advantage on this test.)
  4. Is the student an avid reader with a good working vocabulary? Most students find the reading passages harder, and the questions more difficult, on the SAT. Less-than-great readers should consider the ACT.

The current ACT has been around a lot longer than the current SAT (new in 2016). Tutoring companies have more information (i.e. practice tests) to base our curricula on for the ACT. Thus, in case of a tie, we recommend the ACT. Finally, some students might prefer to take a couple of diagnostic tests and compare percentiles. We’re happy to supply the tests and compare the scores. This is the safest approach, but the above questions typically direct the student to the correct test. But don’t worry. We take a long term approach and train students for both tests starting from 9th grade. When the time comes, students are prepared for both and they can take either or both.

When Should I Take the SAT/ACT?

We recommend taking the SAT or the ACT for the first time in August or October of the student’s junior year (summer after their sophomore year).


We do not offer refunds for purchased services. However, students are able to utilize any unused tutoring hours for related services or other sessions.

Scheduling of and payment for classes

Classes fill up on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pre-payment for group classes is required to hold your student’s spot. No credit balances are allowed.