Prepping For SAT, ACT

Jon Guyett and David Mireles
Owners of SAT Preparation Course

Please tell us about your business. David: We offer individualized services in a classroom setting for test preparation for college entrance examinations, which includes the SAT as well as the ACT.

What is the importance of the SAT? David: It’s one of the main gatekeepers for college entrance, especially for four-year universities. It is one of the criteria for admission.

Jon: Also, if you do well on the SAT, you qualify for scholarships. Your score really does make a difference.

What is the difference between the SAT and ACT? Jon: The ACT is like a sprint. It’s testing direct content knowledge, but you have to really be able to solve quickly. ACT also has a science component. The SAT is more logic and reasoning and is more like a marathon – it’s a three-and-a-half-hour test with 10 different sections.

David: You can take either one for most universities.

What are your educational backgrounds? Jon: I am self-employed as a math tutor. I taught at Kula High School for six years after being a substitute teacher for Kilauea Elementary School for two years. I’ve been a math tutor for four years. I work with high school and middle school students with general math, algebra and geometry, as well as SAT preparation.

David: I’ve been teaching for 23 years, primarily English, at the high school, secondary level. I’ve taught in four different countries including the United States. I currently teach at Kapaa High School.

How did you start this business? David: Jon and I had working experience together while I was at Kula for awhile. We noticed the need for individualized test preparation for college examinations. Since Jon is a math expert and I knew him primarily as a colleague, I knew he was qualified to teach math and since I’ve been teaching English for quite awhile, I thought it’d be a really good mesh for us to get together.

Why did you start this business? Jon: I really saw that a lot of students aren’t even aware of what the SAT test is and when they look at it, they’re so overwhelmed, they don’t really know how to go about it. We know that students are very intelligent, but without practicing for it and understanding what it’s about, they’re not as successful taking the test. We want to see the keiki of Kaua’i become successful and be able to go off to college. We thought this would be a great opportunity to reach as many people as we could to make them aware of what the test is all about; give them strategies on how to be more successful and to help them learn the content and also teach them tricks of the trade.

David: The passion is helping Kaua’i students to obtain a quality post-secondary education through college testing.

How many times do you meet? Jon: We meet for six, three-hour sessions.

When should students take the course? David: It’s strongly recommended for seniors to take it in the fall and recommended for juniors in the spring.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? David: I’ve had students who have attended prestigious universities such as the University of California, Berkeley, and Dartmouth College. I also find it rewarding just seeing a student light up and improve their scores dramatically.

Jon: I have to second that. It’s really wonderful to see students come in with this trepidation and we can work with them and build their confidence and see them glow. I feel like we’re almost like life coaches in a certain regard and, to me, that is the biggest satisfaction. By the time they finish our course, they’re ready to take the SATs.

Deadline to register is Sept. 13; classes start Sept. 14 at Kapaa High School