Silver Chips Online

Blair partners with SAT prep program

Ivy Insiders to offer Blazers affordable standardized test preparation

By Anika Manzoor, Online Managing Editor
July 2, 2007
Blair has partnered up with Ivy Insiders, a series of SAT prep courses run entirely by Ivy League graduates and students to offer Blazers SAT and ACT prep classes. Blazers will be offered special discounts for the program, whose partnership with the school was spearheaded by 2006 alum Jody Pollock. Classes will begin at Blair on July 21 and continue through August.

Blair and Ivy Insiders have been linked through the School Partners Program, which offers reduced prices on the Ivy Insider courses for Blair students. In addition, the Ivy Scholars Program provides financial aid for needy students.

The course is taught in a two or four-week session, which is approximately 15 hours of lecture focusing on critical reading, math and writing and four full-length practice exams. Students can choose the Touchstone SAT Course (which will cost Blazers 350 dollars, 100 dollars less than the regular price) or the Personal SAT Solution (650 dollars for Blazers, 200 dollars less than the regular price).The latter includes small study groups of no more than five students and an analysis on individual student progress.

The courses were designed four years ago when a group of students at Harvard University created the program to prepare high school students for the SAT and ACT tests inexpensively and efficiently. Since then, Ivy Insiders has been involved in over 150 communities, though its partnership with Blair marks the first time the program has been brought into Montgomery County.

According to Pollock, Ivy Insiders has been thus far been extremely successful in improving test scores nationwide. "The program has delivered average SAT score improvements of over 300 points per student results that outpace traditional test prep companies like Kaplan," Pollock said. Kaplan, which charges up to twice the amount of Ivy Insiders, has an average score increase of 140 points per student, according to IvyInsiders.com.

Pollock joined Ivy Insiders when Nick Green, founder of the program, began recruiting for summer branch managers at the University of Pennsylvania, where Pollock is a rising sophomore. She felt that her knowledge of the SAT would be helpful to other students and is thrilled about starting the program at Blair. "[It is] a pretty exciting opportunity," Pollock said. "The SAT isn't really a test of intelligence it's a test of how well you know the SAT. I did pretty well myself, so I knew I could use my experience with the SAT to help other students beat it as well."

At Ivy Insiders, instructors utilize the "SAT game theory" in their lectures, a tactic not used by standard test prep companies, according to Pollock. "What [the game theory] translates to is that we break down the SAT as if it were a game to be beaten," she said. "Instead of drilling 500 vocab words into your head, we focus on teaching the most useful strategies to attack each area of the test."

Pollock, who will be instructing and managing the program at Blair, spoke with former Blair principal Phillip Gainous, Assistant Principal
Patricia Hurley and a number of other Blair administrators for their approval. Blair PTSA President Dave Ottalini hopes that many Blair students will take advantage of this program. "Students are always looking for an edge to help them get the best possible score on the SAT," he said. "Ivy Insiders is offering one option for Blair students and they don't have to go any further than Blair for the course. The more we can do to help ensure all Blair students who want to get into college can, the better."

For more information, visit IvyInsiders.com or email Jody Pollock at Jody_Pollock@ivyinsiders.com.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/7644