A testing role: Getting students past the 'doubts and fears' of standarized tests

When Vince Kotchian teaches test prep, his biggest challenge often is getting his students to overcome their understandable doubts and fears.

Instructor Profile: 
Vince Kotchian, Test Preparation

“I like to portray standardized tests not as a hardship, but as an opportunity to build valuable life-long skills,” said Kotchian, who instructs a UC San Diego Extension course on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). “The tests aren’t perfect, but it’s a cop-out to say they don’t measure anything worthwhile.”

He specializes in a number of important prep tests, including SAT and ACT — none of which are especially easy, no matter how prepared you happen to be.

“You’re not going to find a lot of people out there who like taking standardized tests,” said Kotchian, author of several test-prep books including two in the “For Dummies” series. “But they’re necessary for admissions in today world.”

As a tutor, he regards his goal as two-fold.

“First, I do everything I can to get my students ready to take the test,” said Kotchian, who’s also a volunteer tutor for foster kids and refugee families in San Diego. “Plus, I always say, Don’t treat the test as a one-off. Treat it as an opportunity to expand your vocabulary and your reading, writing and logic skills — all of which will help you in the future.”

For Kotchian, test prep is a full-time job, one he’s been doing for six years. After graduating from Boston College with a degree in English Literature, he first went into real estate. Upon relocating to San Diego in 2007, he had a revelation: As a strong test-taker himself, he could become a professional tutor.

“I realize it’s a bit of a niche,” he said, “but for me it has become a fulfilling career.”

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.

What's your story?

Share your accomplishments, advice, and goals for a chance to be featured.