Tutors Hold Key to Higher Test Scores, for a High Fee

June 1, 2005

The New York Times

by Hope Reeves

"'My job is not to teach a student a trick to getting a high score; my job is to make the knowledge theirs so it becomes a part of them... I view standardized tests not as a number that gets you into college but as a tool that prepares you for the rest of your life. When, not if, my students learn the 3,000 to 4,000 words for the SAT verbal section,' Mr. Fisher added, betraying a determination his students must quickly pick up on, 'those words become a part of their life, something they can use forever.'"

"'Even though he's a lot smarter than I am, he never made me feel that way,' [one of Mr. Fisher's students] said. 'He was so laid-back and patient, I instantly felt comfortable with him, and my score kept going up... He knows the LSAT inside and out.'"

"'I got the feeling he really enjoyed his work and liked helping these kids,' [one student's mother] said."

"Mr. Fisher glows when he talks of the mental gymnastics he must perform, confessing that his favorite part of the job is when a student gets really stuck. It is then, he says, that he gets to exercise his creativity. How to get this technique through to this kid? How to break down a complicated concept so each part is small enough to digest? That's what excites him."

"'You can't imagine how rewarding it is to see a kid finally get it,' [Mr. Fisher] said. 'They get that giddy feeling. You can see it on their faces, and half the time they wind up walking out of my office so distracted they forget their coat.'"

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