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FAQs
 
Inquiring minds want to know…
 
General Tutoring
Test Prep College Planning
 
General
   •     What services do you offer?
  IST offers one-on-one tutoring in all core academic subject areas and foreign languages; SAT, PSAT and ACT test prep for college-bound students; test prep for private school entrance exams, AP exams and state exams (HSA/MSA); college planning assistance to domestic and international students; and professional licensing exams for adults in various industries.

Additionally, we offer customized program and curriculum design; and training and professional development for public, private and corporate entities.
   
   •     How are you different from other test prep and tutoring companies?
  We offer FREE* diagnostic assessments and initial academic consultations.
We begin with diagnostics designed to assess each student's strengths, weaknesses and learning style(s).  Next, we create a custom academic program that is personalized for the individual student's needs, whether in a one-on-one or small group setting.

We take a vested interest in meeting the individual needs of our students.
Our academic team spends considerable time analyzing the student’s performance and specific learning challenges and needs prior to creating an individualized plan. All tutoring sessions are taught exclusively by humans; not computers. Students are matched with tutors who are experts in the respective subject matter, who are genuinely are excited about the material, and who have the demonstrated ability to engage students at all learning levels. One-on-one instruction actually means that there is one tutor working with one student, in a contained tutoring room, versus an open space where several other groups working at once.

Our test prep instructors bring more to their positions than just high scores. 
They also have the rare ability to make what is typically very dry material very interesting by making relevant connections to what students already know, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Additionally, instructors are trained to use the personalities of the IST Learning Legends to assist in engaging various learning styles.  Through diagnostic assessments administered at key intervals, instructors set incremental goals and then challenge students each time to exceed them.

We reward our students for success!
Students enrolled in the SAT course can earn Incentive Bucks™—one dollar for every point (up to a maximum of $150) that exceeds the combined test score goal set at the end of each session.
   
   •     Who are your tutors and instructors?
  While other companies may limit their instructional staff to certified teachers, we seek talented professionals from such diverse fields as law, engineering, computer science, medicine AND education. We require a minimum of a college degree in a related field, mastery of subject matter, demonstrated ability to engage students at all learning levels and a state and federal criminal background check. Following hire, tutors and instructors receive extensive training on IST’s instructional methods and subject and or test-specific curricula. Additional training from Master Tutors continues on a weekly basis thereafter as tutors interact with students.
   
   •     Where is IST located?
  IST is headquartered at 9701 Apollo Drive Suite Suite 221, Largo, Maryland 20774. We are Metro-accessible (Largo Town Center) and conveniently located off the Capital Beltway, approximately 15 minutes from Washington, DC.
   
   •     What are IST’s office hours?
  Office hours are Monday through Thursday 12:00 - 9:00 pm and Saturdays 10:30 am -3:30 pm. We are open year-round and most holidays, including school breaks.
   
   •     What are the payment options?
  Preferred forms of payments are check and all major credit cards.
 
Test Prep
   •     What tests do you offer?
  Tests include, but are not limited to: SAT/PSAT, ACT, private school entrance exams, AP exams; state exams (HSA/MSA) and professional licensing exams (teaching, real estate, medical fields). Both small group classes and one-on-one tutoring are available. Visit more details about IST’s test prep services here.
   
   •     What is included in tuition for the SAT course?
  Our six-week course includes 30 hours of interactive instruction, three diagnostic assessments with score reports, 1000+ practice questions and all course materials.
   
   •     How do you measure progress?
  We administer diagnostic assessments at key intervals in each course of study. Each SAT, PSAT and SAT diagnostic is accompanied by a detailed report that analyzes the student’s overall performance and highlights strengths and weaknesses in each content area.
   
   •     What is a typical score increase on the SAT?
  To date, our students typically increase their scores by 150-260 points on the actual SAT. Some students have increased their score by 300 points!
   
   •     What if my student’s scores don’t increase, do we get our money back?
  We encourage our students to succeed from the very beginning and at every stage during our courses. We like to think optimistically, which means that we do not offer money back if scores don’t increase. Instead, we reward students WHEN their scores do increase.  We reward our students for success! Students enrolled in the SAT course can earn Incentive Bucks™—up to a maximum of $100 for exceeding their combined test score goal set at the end of each session. 
 
Tutoring
   •     What subjects do you offer? What grade levels?
  IST provides customized one-on-one tutoring to students in all academic core subject areas and foreign languages in grades 2-12, at all levels.
   
   •     How do you determine what my student needs?
  Prior to the first session, each student takes a diagnostic assessment designed to help our academic team determine your student’s strengths and weaknesses. The student is then assigned to an expert tutor who specializes in the respective subject matter(s) and who is best suited to meet the student’s individual academic needs
   
   •     Can my student be tutored in more than one subject?
  Yes, though if the student needs more than two subjects at once, we will create a schedule that will minimize the potential overload and stress factors.
   
   •     How are the sessions structured?
  In addition to keeping the student current with the material in his/her regular classroom, we also use sessions as a time to close any gaps in foundational concepts. Between sessions, we rely on parents to ensure that the student completes any tutor-generated assignments and to keep us abreast of the student’s progress in school. If requested by the parents, we will also communicate directly with the classroom teacher(s) on the parent/student’s behalf.
   
   •     What is a typical grade increase?
  Our goal is to help your student move at least 2 grades up (e.g., “D” to “B” ) within a realistically defined timetable agreed upon by the team at IST, the student and parent.
   
   •     My student has a learning disability. How will you be able to work with him/her?
  We do not let students see their diagnosed learning challenges (we do not use the word “disabilities”) as impediments. Rather, we encourage them to see the process of working through their challenges as a realistic goal with measurable outcomes. While the steps may be smaller (“baby steps” versus “giant leaps”) for many students, the road to success is still open to them, regardless of the learning challenges they face. IST’s approach to instruction focuses on developing appropriate study and retention strategies, in addition to course content. Where possible, your student will be assigned a tutor who has experience working with students with the specific learning challenge.  Your student will be held to the same academic standards during the tutoring sessions, which include IST homework and supplemental assignments. Parents must make available previous cognitive assessments (for example: WAIS-III), results and diagnosis of any other achievement tests related to the specific learning challenge.
   
   •     How do I keep track of my student’s progress during tutoring?
  We communicate student progress to parents within 24 hours of the session through a detailed report that includes information about the student’s overall progress, the specific material covered, the student’s understanding of the material (and how this was assessed) and any tutor-generated homework assignments. We are always available to discuss any questions or concerns following your receipt of the report.
 
College Planning
   •     What types of services do you offer?
  Parents can choose from a menu of services to help students and parents reduce the stress of navigating the college admissions process. Our expert consultants provide assistance in the following areas, either through hourly consultations or comprehensive packages:
   
 
composing a realistic list of colleges and universities for application—“safeties,” “likelies” and "reaches"
completing applications and all supporting materials
working with high school teachers and guidance/college counselors on application-related requirements
scheduling standardized tests
   
   •     Can you help us find money for college?
  While we do assist students with completing scholarship applications and essays, we refer clients who are seeking funding and financial aid sources to one of our partners in education who specializes in this area.
   
 
 
 
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