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About me

My name is Joe McGovern, and I've been a test prep professional since 2006. I have also been:

  • a math and science teacher
  • a vice principal
  • a wilderness therapy instructor
  • a personal development seminar leader
  • an actor and documentary filmmaker
  • a professional soccer player
  • a soccer coach
  • an ultra marathon runner

I obviously like challenging myself, which is why I make a good SAT / ACT teacher. Just like I see my challenges as opportunities rather than insurmountable obstacles, my students learn to see the SAT or ACT the same way: as an exciting challenge and an opportunity to learn and grow.


My Test Prep Philosophy

The SAT and ACT are incredibly demanding. To do well a student has to have learned and retained:

  • sophisticated reading comprehension skills
  • a comprehensive understanding of the rules for English usage and mechanics
  • the ability to recognize and produce effective writing
  • material and skills from Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry, Probability and Statistics
  • advanced creative problem solving skills

That's a lot of material. Still, I believe that the SAT and the ACT are incredible opportunities - opportunities for students to learn skills and material they either never learned in school or didn't learn at an advanced or sophisticated enough level.

I believe that the best way to prepare students for the tests is to emphasize skills and material over tricks and tips. I do teach strategy, but when students are struggling in an area of the SAT or ACT, it is far better to help them work on the skill they're missing or learn the academic material they're missing than to teach them a trick that won't address those holes in their learning.

My mission is to help students get their highest possible score on the SAT or ACT, feel proud of what they've accomplished, feel confident with their new knowledge and skills, and have fun in the process.


Models and Pricing

I usually need 10 weeks to prepare a student adequately for their first SAT or ACT test date. Here are your options:


Traditional Tutoring (10 weeks)

I work with students from all over the world using Skype and an online white board. Each tutoring session is 1.5 hours long and costs $240 ($160/hr). In between sessions, students are expected to do 1-2 hours of homework. Traditional tutoring includes unlimited free practice tests.


Customized Online Course (10 weeks)

More advanced students have the option of enrolling in my online course instead of tutoring sessions. Here's how it works: I give each student personalized assignments that address their specific needs, and then I hand grade those assignments. That's where they get the instruction that traditionally happens in the tutoring session - in the feedback I give them on their assignments. Each assignment along with its corresponding feedback is $120 - half as much as a tutoring session. For students who can learn through reading my instruction instead of hearing it, this model is incredibly convenient, effective and affordable. The customized online course includes unlimited free practice tests.


School Subject tutoring Skype Sessions

People often ask me if I support students with their classes at school. I have limited availability due to my test prep commitments, but I do tutor High School math and science. Contact me for availability.


$ (Variable)

I believe that all students deserve high quality SAT/ACT prep. To that end, there are a limited number of need-based scholarships for students in underserved populations. Contact me for details.


Upcoming SAT / ACT Tests

Here are the test dates for the SAT and ACT for this school year.


2019:  October 5, November 2, December 7
2020:  March 14, May 2, June 6

2019:  September 14, October 26, December 14
2020:  February 8, April 4, June 13, July 18 (not offered at testing centers in New York or California)


Keep in mind that I need about ten weeks to prepare a student adequately for their first SAT / ACT test date.




“We were looking for an ACT tutor for our son Dominic, and Joe was recommended by a college consultant. We could not have been happier; not only did our son enjoy working with Joe, but his patience and tutoring techniques dramatically helped our son go from a 24 to a 30 on the ACT.”

– Damian Valdivia, parent


“You have done what may be the most remarkable job I’ve ever seen from one ACT administration to the next. You have helped a kid who is often challenged with academics, whose mind is usually out on the soccer field when his body is in the classroom, become engaged in preparing for a crucially important test. He was beaming ear to ear last night, as were his parents.”

– Jeff Levy, College Admission Counselor


“Joe is a truly gifted tutor. He worked with all three of my children, bringing to the table his range of intellectual knowledge, sense of humor and unique abilities to connect to my kids. It is a rare moment that you can trust someone with your children like we felt we could trust Joe. We are extremely grateful for his help and support and the difference he made in our family's lives.”

- Betsy Goodkin, parent


"Joe tutored our two sons on the ACT. Danny earned a near perfect 35 and is now a Sophomore at Williams, and Charles just scored a 34. Both boys learned a great deal from Joe, really enjoyed their sessions with him and only needed one sitting for their tests. We’ve recommended him without qualification to many parents and kids. You’ll be thrilled with him as a tutor and a person."

- Becky Goodell, parent


Let's talk about your student!