Maintain Motivation and Secure Success

How can you avoid stagnation, the resulting lack of motivation, and falling short of your potential? By initially and consistently putting in the work to see consistent gains. With the SAT and ACT, ironically, the students who burn out from prep are typically those who do less prep. Why is that?


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The best motivation is success. If you see consistent progress and success, you are likely to keep working at something or even work harder at it. But, of course, the reverse is also true: a lack of progress deflates most people’s motivation, thereby making it even harder for them to succeed. Success creates a virtuous cycle that begets more motivation and more success; stagnation creates a vicious cycle that decreases motivation and decreases the probability of achieving one’s potential.

For example, if a student is below a 30 on the ACT or a 1370 on the SAT, then they almost always need more than 1 hour per week of tutoring in order to see consistent and significant score gains (otherwise the rate of new knowledge gained is only slightly faster than that of old knowledge lost, and progress is unavoidably slow). There’s a visual demonstration of this at the bottom of this page. Students who get less prep than they need are most at risk to lose motivation – it is very hard to keep working hard if they are not seeing significant results.

Effect of Breaks

That includes students who take breaks. When a student takes a break, they typically yo-yo: 1) They increase in skill and knowledge, 2) They take a break and lose both skill and knowledge – as we all do when we are not practicing something, and 3) They resume prep and increase in skill and knowledge again. However, sometimes they only increase back to or slightly above their previous level of skill and knowledge, so they receive the same score or only slightly higher on the next test. This lack of visible progress makes them feel like their time and effort was wasted. But it wasn’t the time and effort that didn’t pay-off. It was the break and loss of skill and knowledge that diminished the impact of their earlier efforts.

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Students who do sufficient and consistent prep almost always see significant and consistent gains. And what effect do significant and consistent gains have? They motivate students and lead to even more significant and consistent gains. A virtuous cycle. As a result, our students who do consistent prep have 50% higher score increases than those who take breaks. In summary, taking breaks = paying more and taking more time to get the same results (and increasing the chances a student will lose motivation and not get the same results).

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Notice that, when doing prep, both groups improve at the same rate. But, with four breaks, the prep time doubles in order to receive the same score increase. Thus, if students do sufficient and consistent prep, it actually takes them half as much effort and half as much prep to achieve the same result.


If you want to succeed, set yourself up for success: make sure you put in enough time and do so consistently to make sure that you will see positive results. And then use those positive results to motivate you toward your potential. If you stay the course, you can and will succeed.

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Visual demonstration of how to reach your potential


Margie B.
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I can’t thank david for all his hard work and getting my son the score he was aiming for!! Summit prep is an unbelievable place to get your kids ready for their college prep Act and SAT courses!!! Thanks again for making this year end with a bang!!
Thomas S.
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The entire experience from start to finish was excellent. The process was clearly outlined and understood. Scheduling was a breeze and our teacher come not have been more flexible.
Georgia B.
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Eva was wonderful. With her help I was able to get into my top school and receive and scholarship. I loved her help and spending time studying.
Jeanine L.
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We were lucky enough to be referred to David at Summit Prep! My son enjoyed working with David as he felt that he really helped him prepare for the ACT. He explained concepts covered on the test as well as the test itself. My son felt confident taking the test and did so well that he only had to take it once!
Ben H.
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David helped me improve my SAT from a 1480 to a 1570 over the course of about 2 months. Each session made me feel more and more confident.
Jill B.
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Eva took on an almost impossible task and seriously worked a miracle! We found out we were moving, and our son had to take the ISEE exam asap. From his practice test to the exam, his scores went up exponentially. We give her 5 enthusiastic stars!
Rachel F.
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My twins have had a wonderful experience with Summit Prep preparing for the ACT. David is extremely knowledgeable and connects individually in a very relatable and helpful manner for each student. I highly recommend Summit Prep!
Janice B.
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All three of my children have used Summit Prep for their test prep and, I believe, reached their full potential as a result of the outstanding guidance of David and Ryan. His ongoing support went above and beyond. Many thanks!
Kwesi A.
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My son just got accepted into MIddlebury!! He could not have gotten a better tutor than Eva!!! She is the best!
Arlene S.
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Summit Prep are professional, enthusiastic, encouraging and most importantly successful in helping our son achieve his goals. We would strongly recommend using David and his team and want to convey our thanks for all of their help!

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