Groza Learning Center

SAT/ACT Test-Prep Guide For Parents And Students

SAT/ACT Test-Prep Guide For Parents And Students

Is your college-bound student stressed about the SAT and ACT? It’s no wonder! Scoring well on these exams is an essential step in the journey to landing their dream college. U.S. universities respect both exams equally, and colleges use these scores to compare applicants before offering admission.

Although the tests cover similar content and are often used interchangeably, they are structured differently and emphasize distinct subject matter. At Groza, our recommendation is for students to take the SAT and then the ACT practice test to see which one they feel the most comfortable with. After both practice tests are completed, the student should compare their scores and focus on either the SAT or ACT. Depending on the child’s learning and thinking differences, one test may fit better than the other!

We know you’re busy and that preparing your child for these exams can feel overwhelming. Let our talented teachers remove the stress and guesswork! Our SAT and ACT Prep classes begin with practice tests to diagnose areas of strength and weakness and determine your child’s benchmark score.

This article discusses the important differences between the SAT and ACT while laying out a guide to help your student prepare for either one of the tests.

Comparing The SAT/ACT Exams

Universities widely accept the SAT and ACT exams, and both remain popular choices despite the fact that many colleges are opting to go “test-optional” or test-blind in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite this fact, reports indicate that within the last decade, an increasing number of students are electing to take the exams in preparation for their college admissions. Furthermore, many states still require completion of the SAT or ACT, and how well a student performs on these tests can be a critical factor in submitting a competitive application.

Outlined below are some of the key differences between the SAT and ACT.

Total Test Time3 hours 15 minutes (without writing and breaks included)3 hours 40 minutes (writing and breaks included)
Sections• Reading Section: 65-minutes allotted to answer 52 questions

• Writing and Language Section: 35-minutes allotted to answer 44 questions

• Math (No Calculator) Section: 25-minutes allotted to answer 20 questions

• Math (Calculator) Section: 55-minutes allotted to answer 38 questions

• English: 45-minutes allotted to answer 75 questions

• Math: 60-minutes allotted to answer 60 questions

• Reading: 35-minutes allotted to answer 40 questions

• Science: 35-minutes allotted to answer 40 questions

• Writing (optional): 40-minutes allotted to answer one essay; does not affect your overall score  
Scoring Equivalencies1600-1570
Cost to Test$60 (writing included) $70 (no writing)$52

If your child is a natural writer and enjoys literature, language arts, and verbal communication, they’ll probably prefer the ACT; while students with a penchant for mathematics tend to prefer the SAT. The math section on the SAT is split into a calculator and non-calculator assessment and includes a formula guide. The math portion contributes to around 50 percent of the student’s final SAT score. Read Thinking About College? Your SAT Prep Guide for more information on taking the SAT.

The ACT, on the other hand, has one math section that permits calculator usage. This portion accounts for about 25 percent of the student’s final overall score. It also includes an independent science section.

And don’t forget to check the testing requirements for the colleges your child is interested in applying to!

Students who prepare for their exams with a tutor will experience lower test anxiety because they have had the advantage of learning content, tricks, strategies, critical thinking, time management skills, and have taken plenty of practice tests. At Groza Learning Center, we understand how frustrating it can be to ensure your child is adequately prepared to get into the schools of their choice. Our world-class  Test-Prep Program can guide them towards their academic hopes and dreams!

Studying for the SAT/ACT

Is your student ready to begin preparing for the SAT and ACT? Then this section of our blog is for them!

Here are six tips that every SAT/ACT test-taker should know:

1. Register Early!

Don’t delay your registration. The sooner you sign up, the greater your chances of getting a seat at your preferred test center. We recommend registering at least three months before the test date.

2. Familiarize Yourself With the Structure and Content

The various sections of the SAT and ACT assess different aptitudes and subject areas. It’s essential to become familiar with the actual content and how the questions will be presented. Each exam has unique question styles and formats — get comfortable with them ahead of time, so you’re not thrown off while testing.

Working one-on-one with a tutor, like the ones we offer at Groza, can ease your mind, and ensure you’re well prepared. 95% of our students get accepted into the school of their choice!

3. Master Test-Taking Strategies

Test-taking is a skill in itself! Here are some vital tips that will help get you through the exam with a higher score and more confidence: 

  • Answer the questions you know first. Make sure you mark the questions you’re going to come back to later!
  • Never skip questions. There is no guessing penalty, so you’ve got nothing to lose by giving every question your best shot! Eliminate the answers you know are wrong, then select the best one. (P.S. Your “gut” response is usually correct.)
  • Ensure you fully comprehend the question before answering. Reread the question prompt if you need to; after all that studying, make sure you’re not subconsciously answering a practice question!
  • Write on your test booklet. You are free to write all over your ACT and SAT booklets. This can help you work through problems and track your progress.
  • Pace yourself, and budget your time wisely. Spend a few moments on the easy questions and no more than a couple of minutes on the difficult ones. The ACT and SAT consist of several timed sections; it’s easy to lose track of time while focusing on your test, so pay close attention to how long you’re spending on each question. Additionally, make sure you take plenty of timed practice exams, so you’re used to these conditions.

Taking the SAT? Read Three SAT Tips and Tricks You Need to Know.

4. Take Full-Length Practice Exams

Take full-length practice exams of the ACT and SAT to get baseline scores. Identify your weakest areas, and make sure to prioritize these subjects during your study sessions. Depending on the score you want to reach and where your baseline is, we recommend allocating one to six months of consistent test-prep time. Self-reflect and pinpoint how long and how often you’ll need to study.

Use SMART goals to breakdown the material and help you reach your desired score:

S — your goal should be SPECIFIC and well-defined

M — your goal should be MEASURABLE with specific benchmarks in place

A — your goal should be ACHIEVABLE within the allotted time constraints

R — your goal should be RELEVANT and results-bound, so it guides you towards your ultimate pursuit (college admission)

T — your goal should be TIME-BOUND and broken down into weekly study sessions

5. Set a Study Schedule (And Stick to It)

Set your exam date(s), then put a schedule in place. Consider how much time you will have to dedicate to focused preparation each week. To prevent burnout, break up your study sessions into 30 to 90-minute focused intervals. Schedule these sessions into your weekly calendar and devote yourself entirely to test-prep during these times. If your friends or siblings are also preparing for the SAT and ACT, form a study group to help hold each other accountable!

Groza’s preparation process will ensure you’re ready to achieve your goal score on test day:

  • Content — You’ll get a full understanding of the range of material and the nature of the test itself.
  • Strategies — We will help you adopt strategies to optimize engagement, time-management, and question-by-question approach.
  • Critical Thinking — You will absorb advanced reasoning habits and techniques for the test prep problems and questions through demonstration, discussion, and application.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice! — You will complete homework, test simulations, and corrections to reinforce skills and learn from mistakes. We want you to go into test day feeling empowered and confident in your abilities!

6. Get Some Extra Help

We know that test prep can feel overwhelming and intimidating. You don’t have to go it alone!

Partnering with an award-winning Test-Prep Program, like that one we offer at Groza, will help eliminate your study-induced stress. Our world-class educators lead our program and navigate students through the test-prep process to achieve higher scores and confidence. These instructors know the material inside and out and will teach you valuable time-management and study skills you can carry through life!

Test with confidence and score with tenacity!

We invite you to call our team today at (310) 454-3731 or click here to schedule a free consultation.

Is Homeschooling Right For Your Family?

Is Homeschooling Right For Your Family?

Homeschooling offers extraordinary benefits to families and has become an attractive option during this challenging time. About 3.7 million children are currently homeschooled in the United States — up from 2.5 million in 2019.

Many parents still oppose homeschooling, but research has shown that homeschooled students excel personally and academically. Students who once struggled in public school will often shine at home, and with that success, they are more likely to complete a college degree and become high-achieving adults.

But how do you decide if homeschooling is right for you and your family?

Only YOU can choose what’s best for your child. We recommend that you reflect on your vision for your child’s education and whether your family’s lifestyle is well-suited for homeschooling.

In this article, we’ll discuss five things you should consider before you decide to remove your child from the traditional school system.

1. You will be fully responsible for your child’s education.

From selecting the curriculum to arranging extracurricular activities, you will be in charge of planning and executing all aspects of your child’s education. Many parents choose to homeschool their kids because of this level of customization and academic influence — but it’s important to consider your own motives for homeschooling.

2. It will drastically affect your schedule and day-to-day life.

While sitting at a desk with your child all day isn’t a requirement of homeschooling, it is a significant time investment. Working parents may have trouble providing the supervision and support that a homeschooled child needs. Bringing in private tutors and instructors is a great way not only to manage your time, but to ensure an experienced educator oversees your child’s schooling! If you’re looking to supplement your child’s education, consider partnering with Groza for access to high-quality tutors and instructors.

3. You don’t have to be an expert or have a background in teaching.

It’s a common misconception that the best homeschool parents are experienced teachers. There are plenty of excellent resources to help guide and teach curriculum — and as a parent, you’re already the most important educator in their life! Many great programs require only your supervision.

4. Lack of socialization won’t be an issue.

Another common misconception about homeschooling is that your child will be isolated and not properly socialized. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, homeschooled children participate in more high-quality socialization and tend to avoid bullying situations. Study results have found that homeschoolers display fewer antisocial traits than their peers in public schools.

The trick is choosing and designing a program that stresses both academic and social achievement. This only takes a little creative planning. Start by enrolling in the National Home School Association, and sign your child up for group classes, youth clubs, team sports, and other extracurricular activities. This will give your child plenty of opportunities to make friends with similar interests while exploring her athletic and creative abilities.

5. You don’t have to schedule and micromanage everything.

One of the hallmarks of homeschooling is its flexibility. While it’s a good idea to design a program that’s well-structured and offers a stable routine, you don’t need to worry about scheduling out every detail. Instead, spend time each weekend making daily lists of important activities and lessons — mark items of high priority, and, if another task doesn’t get finished, simply move it over to the following school day.

Additionally, daily planning can be a great learning experience for older kids in organization and goal-setting. Provide them with a planner and guide them through the process of keeping track of important tasks and planning out their work week.

Speak with the Team at Groza — We’re Here to Help!

We know transitioning to a homeschooling program can feel overwhelming and scary, but don’t settle on your child’s future by letting that influence your decision. Reach out to our highly qualified tutors and homeschooling professionals to discuss your children’s goals and your vision for their future.

We invite you to call our team today at (310) 454-3731 or click here to schedule a free consultation.

Overcoming Learning Gaps In Your Child’s Education

Overcoming Learning Gaps In Your Child's Education

Have you lost sleep worrying about your child’s academic future? Rest assured that you are not alone!

The past year and a half have left many parents scrambling, anxious about their children, and questioning the traditional brick-and-mortar school system.

As the pandemic surged and families adapted to the “new normal,” the educational system had faced unprecedented challenges. Schools fought to mitigate learning disruptions by providing remote education; parents adjusted to having their children at home, where they attended classes through computer screens. Many parents found that the online curriculum was severely lacking, making it difficult for their children to progress or even keep up.

Consequently, parents watched as their children fell through the cracks and were left further and further behind. Although most schools have reopened across the United States, the Delta variant continues to threaten communities and strain families and the educational system.

Pandemic-related learning gapswill likely take more than a single academic year to fix, but with the right tools and approach, you can help your child not only catch up but thrive. Yes — your child can fall in love with learning with the help of qualified teachers, an engaging program, and your continuous support.

It’s more important than ever that children have a complete and well-rounded support system in place. If your child is struggling with learning gaps and has fallen behind, consider these four strategies to help ease her way back.

1. Help Find You Child’s Learning Gaps

Since learning gaps are reflected differently in each child, the best way to close them is by caring for the student’s specific needs. “One-size-fits-all” should not be part of your vocabulary when it comes to your child’s education and goals.

Good teachers will use multiple types of assessments to understand where their students are struggling and how they can offer them the best tools and support. As a parent, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with your child’s curriculum so you can observe as they work and help address any noted strengths and weaknesses. Many subjects, such as math, build off the previous lessons, making it difficult for a child to progress or even keep up with her classmates and coursework when they have gaps. As the class moves ahead, they fall further behind exponentially.

In these cases, it’s necessary to backtrack with your child and address these weak areas, or “learning gaps,” so your child can continue building her skills with confidence. Keep in close contact with her tutors and instructors to ensure you’re all on the same page and working together in your child’s benefit!

2. Take the Time Work Through Your Child’s Learning Gaps

Personalization is the key to helping your child overcome learning gaps and unlocking their full potential.

Children thrive when they’re taught according to their pace and preferred learning style. When a teacher, parent, or tutor makes a child their primary focus, they can address gaps in their education and help deliver coursework in a way that gets the very best out of them.

Every child has a different learning style or modality:

Visual Learner – sensitive and insightful

Auditory Learner – expressive and communicative

Kinesthetic Learner – uses hand and body movement

We invite you to take our free learning style assessment. We hope this tool will help illuminate your children’’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can help them overcome any learning gaps and ensure their academic and personal development stays on track.

3. Never Underestimate the Value of Reading

Reading significantly benefits a child’s education as well as her social and cognitive development. Children can build phonetic skills while reading silently or aloud with someone else and developing language comprehension/reading fluency.

So, spend time reading with your child every day. Choose books that excite and challenge them. This will not only give you insight into areas that may need improvement, but it will enrich your time together and allow your child to learn in an exciting, engaging way.

At Groza, we passionately believe every child should have the chance to reach the highest level of education and confidence. Opening their imagination and traveling through a book’s pages is simply one way to get there!

4. Practical Ways to Help Your Struggling Child

This historic time hasn’t been easy on families. Children have been cut off from friends and family members while their worlds were upended. They were faced with uncertainty, unpredictability, and a new way of living day-to-day.

Whether your child attends traditional or private schooling, you can continue to ease her struggles by:

  • instilling confidence and encouraging a growth mindset,
  • reading books they enjoy and that challenge them,
  • stimulating active learning outside of her coursework,
  • discussing age-appropriate current events,
  • maintaining open communication channels with her instructors and tutors,
  • providing positive feedback and reinforcement,
  • and taking an active role in her schooling and academic goals.

You’ve Got This — and Groza Learning Center is Here to Help!

Too many students stumble along in the educational system while losing self-confidence and never reaching their very best. At Groza, we empower our students with a love of learning through engaging and exciting educational experiences. As our students progress, we carefully monitor their unique learning plans and patterns, paying special attention to how they effectively engage and what inspires them.

Don’t settle on your child’s future — we invite you to call our team today at (310) 454-3731 or click here to schedule a free consultation.

Thrive Quiz Completion

Thrive Quiz Completion


You are a

You are a Visual Learner

If you are mostly a VISUAL LEARNER, you learn best by seeing. That means that looking at words or

pictures works great for you. When thinking back in your memory, you probably see the words on a page or

images from events. Sometimes, just hearing something out loud doesnt get it all the way into your brain.

As a visual learner, you are usually neat and clean. Do you often close your eyes while you recall

something? That might be because you are trying to see the information! You may have difficulty with

spoken directions and may be easily distracted by sounds. You are attracted to color and to spoken

language (like stories) that is rich in imagery.


Here are some things that visual learners like you can do to learn better:

  • Sit near the front of the classroom. (It won’t mean you’re the teacher’s pet!)
  • Write down lots of notes in your own words and refer back to them while studying.
  • Rewrite information over and over again to help you memorize.
  • Draw diagrams and maps to connect ideas.
  • Use lots of different color highlighters to color code and flashcards to learn new words.
  •  Try to visualize things that you hear or things that are read to you.
  • Write down key words, ideas, or instructions.
  • Make sure your study and homework space is free from distractions – don’t let your siblings walk through while your working, and leave your phone elsewhere.
  • Box, circle, underline, or star information that is important so you can easily see it on the page and in your mind’s eye later.
 Remember that you need to see things, not just hear things, to learn well.

Share Your Results:

How are the Top 20 Nationwide Universities Responding to COVID-19?

Test Optional Universities



Recently, the College Board announced that they will not be administering at home SAT exams for the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, due to COVID-19 the capacity for in person examinations has been extremely limited.  These factors will prevent thousands of students from taking the SAT exam. Furthermore, the at home ACT testing option will not be available until late fall or early winter.

In light of this, is reporting that nearly half of all four year universities in the US, including the top 20, have gone test optional for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. Of these top 20 universities, some have stated that they will be test optional for only the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, while others, such as California Institute of Technology, have stated that they will be test optional for a two year period.  Although students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores, many schools, including Columbia University, strongly suggest submitting them as it can be a valuable addition to a student’s application.

Test Optional vs. Test Flexible vs. Test Blind:

Even with universities going test optional, there are still three categories in which a school can fall under. The first is a test optional college, where students decide on whether or not they want to submit test scores with their application.  The majority of test optional colleges will consider SAT or ACT scores, but will focus on a student’s essays, GPA, and recommendations. The second type is a test flexible college, which allows students to submit other standardized tests in place of the SAT or ACT.  For example, Advanced Placement tests and SAT Subject Tests. Lastly, the third category is a test blind college. These colleges will not consider test scores, even if students submit them.

Test-optional schools:

– Brown University

– Columbia University

– Cornell University

– Dartmouth University

– Duke University

– Harvard University

– John Hopkins University

– Massachusetts Institute of Technology

– Northwestern University

– Princeton University

– Rice University

– Stanford University

– University of California Los Angeles

– University of Chicago

– University of Notre Dame

– University of Pennsylvania

– Vanderbilt University

– Washington University in St. Louis

– Yale University

Test-Blind Schools:

– California Institute of Technology

In place of the SAT or ACT, college admissions will be based on:

– Ability to handle challenging courses throughout high school;

– Commitment and effort in pursuing other challenging learning experiences;

– Community involvement;

– Extracurriculars (clubs, sports, activities outside of school);

– Letter of Recommendation from a teacher in a specific field (for example, a math teacher for students interested in STEM);

– Other standardized tests (AP, SAT Subject, state exams)

In conclusion, many universities have acknowledged that students who find themselves limited in the activities they can pursue due to COVID-19 will not be disadvantaged in the application process.

For more information about the College Admissions Process and SAT or ACT Test Prep
Call: (310) 454-3731
Groza Learning Center

Planning for Long Term School Closures

Planning for Long Term School Closures 1

By now your head is probably swirling with all the information about the Novel Coronavirus.  It’s important to stay updated and informed but it’s equally important to stay calm, take deep breaths, and plan for the future.

On March 17th Governor Gavin Newsom stated … that public schools across the state, many of which are already closed until early April to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, may stay shuttered for the rest of the school year.

“Let me be candid … don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week, please don’t anticipate in a few weeks,” Newsom said, acknowledging that “6-plus million kids in our system and their families need to make some plans.”

“I would plan and assume that it is unlikely that many of these schools, few if any, will open before the summer break,” the governor said.

At Groza Learning Center our experienced education specialists are ready to support and guide your family during these unprecedented times.  We understand that this is a very stressful time for parents and children.  Many children are self-motivated and will be able to keep up with their curriculum, however, there are also children who will require more direction, structure, and guidance in order to ensure continuity.  We can create, customize, and implement a long term learning plan for your child.

We are offering online tutoring and test prep using video conferencing with an interactive whiteboard and screen sharing. Sessions will be held in-center today, March 2oth for those previously scheduled.  However, as of  11:59 pm, we will be closing in compliance with the “Safer at Home” ordinance. We will continue to keep you updated and informed.   We are here to help and are easily accessible, call or email us with any questions or concerns.  Let’s work together to ensure our kids are given the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive.

Warm Regards,

The Groza Learning Team

Updates on Standardized Test: Reschedules and Cancellations:

SAT – March 28th & May 2nd SAT & SAT Subject Tests are canceled. Click here for updates.
AP Exams – Still as planned. Additional information will be posted by March 20th. Click here for updates.
ACT – April 4 test date rescheduled for June 13, check here for updates on future dates.
CAASPP, PFT – State Assessments have been suspended, click here for more information.
ELPAC – Waiting for further CDE/ED guidance, click here for more information.





It is already widely understood that parental involvement plays a substantial role in educational achievement, but determining the ideal level of involvement can be quite complicated. Fortunately for parents who wish to see their children get the most out of each tutoring session, a few simple strategies can make all the difference in fostering a positive learning environment at home.

The strategies that follow not only ensure that students achieve their educational goals and objectives through tutoring, but they also help students better understand the significance of the investment in education made by their parents — not to mention the importance of working cooperatively to maximize the return on that educational investment.

Develop a Supportive Partnership

It is important for students and parents to feel as though they are working together toward a mutually beneficial goal. Parents can foster this kind of supportive partnership by communicating with their child’s teachers and tutors to determine the ideal methods for reinforcing the subject matter at home. With everyone in agreement and on the same page, the home learning environment is far more likely to be consistently productive.

Of course, parents are always excellent sources of emotional support as well. Every student will encounter difficult concepts and will endure struggles at one point or another, and parents should make every effort to explain that the extra assistance offered through tutoring is something that benefits all students.

Set an Example and Hold Each Other Accountable

Acquiring a new skill or mastering an unfamiliar concept is difficult for everyone. Working alongside others as they try to master a new concept helps in revealing the normalcy of this struggle, so it is helpful for parents to demonstrate how enduring education-related struggles is always worthwhile.

Mastering a new math concept, for example, will serve as tangible evidence that there is a sizable payoff associated with overcoming any initial challenge. Students who observe their parents making an attempt to learn something new feel that their struggles are better understood, making it much easier for both parent and student to hold each other accountable in achieving their respective learning goals.

Set Realistic Goals and Objectives for Learning

Education requires a substantial investment of time and effort, and setting unreasonable timelines or performance goals only has a detrimental effect on the process. With the help of a tutor, parents and students should work together to determine a set of ideal goals and objectives that are both challenging and achievable. With appropriate expectations in place, students and parents will enjoy a home-learning environment far more likely to lead to significant learning gains yielding long-term benefits to academic performance.



As students return from winter break and begin to settle back into an academic routine, there is always hope that the holidays provided ample time to relax and recharge so that the new year kicks off with a renewed sense of academic motivation. Although a highly motivated student is much more likely to achieve performance gains than their less-motivated counterparts, enhanced motivation is just one way to boost school success throughout the year.

Families and students interested in discovering additional methods for ensuring academic success should consider each of the five strategies that follow, as each strategy is especially useful in the development of a comprehensive and results-oriented approach to improved performance across all academic subjects.

An Increased Focus on Competency-Based Learning

Competency-based learning encourages a flexible approach to education in which learning goals are specifically structured according to each individual student’s current academic strengths and weaknesses. In essence, this is a more personalized approach that emphasizes academic progress based on the unique needs of each student, resulting in a greater degree of success for those exposed to a competency-based learning style.

Improved Access to Relevant Technological Tools

Although technology has always played a critical role in education, current students have a greater need than ever before to be exposed to the most current technological tools. Improved access to these tools is especially helpful in developing the technological literacy necessary for success at institutions of higher learning as well as any future professional environment.

One-on-One or Small-Group Educational Settings

In the same way that competency-based learning emphasizes a highly personalized approach to education, the availability of one-on-one or small-group learning settings ensures that each student’s specific academic needs are properly addressed in a manner that yields measurable results.

Implementation of Specific Test-Taking Strategies

Simply mastering the content expected to appear on an upcoming exam will not necessarily guarantee a student will achieve a score that is reflective of their actual level of academic mastery. This is especially true in high-stress circumstances such as midterms, finals, and standardized tests. In addition to content mastery, students should learn how to implement a wide range of test-taking strategies that help ensure they perform to the best of their ability.

Consistent Academic Support From Multiple Sources

Students often perform at their best when they can count on the support of educational professionals as well as friends and family. Cultivating multiple sources of academic support — current teachers, tutors, family members, classmates, and others — ensures that a student always has someone to whom they can turn for academic guidance, which can have an obvious and significant impact on academic success.