Veritas Prep ACT Instructor Interview

Q&A Session with Veritas Prep ACT Instructor Jonathan Er

We at understand how important it is that you do your best on your upcoming ACT.  We also know that many of you would like the opportunity to pick the brain of an expert ACT prep instructor.  Well, we essentially did that for you.  We developed 10 questions for a Veritas Prep expert ACT instructor and the responses we received from Jonathan Er, the Veritas Prep expert ACT instructor, were extremely insightful.  His insights will without a doubt help you succeed on the ACT, and they will give you an idea of what a Veritas Prep ACT instructor is like and how dedicated they are to your success.  Below is a short bio of Jonathan and then we get right into the Q&A session.

Jonathan Er, Veritas Prep ACT 36 Instructor
ACT Score: 36 (+ SAT Score: 2400)
Completed Instructional Hours: 200

Jonathan Er Short Bio –

Jon was born in Niagara Falls, Canada and grew up on both sides of the border. In high school, he was a National Merit Scholar, National AP Scholar, and class valedictorian. After a memorable sojourn in upstate New York, he moved to the city to attend Columbia University, where he currently studies political science, philosophy, and English. Jon volunteers on campus as an academic tutor and college admissions coach. Devoted to sharing knowledge and helping students succeed, he is excited to further these pursuits with Veritas Prep. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, sampling food trucks, and watching Jeopardy!

1. What was the one thing that attracted you the most to being a Veritas Prep ACT instructor?

High standards, from the quality of the curriculum to my fellow instructors. Veritas Prep courses cover all the material but also at a very deep level. And we strive for significant increases, if not great scores, with all our students.

– Jonathan Er

2. What sets apart the level of ACT instruction that Veritas Prep offers compared to other ACT prep companies in the market?

The Veritas Prep program is fully comprehensive, including ample opportunities for practice with real ACT questions—perhaps the most crucial aspect, which is sadly missing from other programs. The instructors are all 99th-percentile scorers who have acquired years of experience working with the test. A lot of us are also current undergraduate or graduate students, so we have a real love for learning and teaching.

– Jonathan Er

3. What motivates you to be an ACT instructor?

It’s an easy way to have an outsized impact on other ambitious students. A great score opens up a world of possibilities in terms of better colleges and bigger scholarships. Also, the test has a slightly undeserved reputation as something of a necessary evil. I show students it’s not all that horrible, and it doesn’t have to be forced either. Studying instills productive habits and a positive mindset for college work and beyond.

– Jonathan Er

4. If you had to narrow down to one thing that primarily helped you achieve your ACT score, then what would it be?

Considerable practice followed closely by rigorous review. Doing problems is essential but of limited use if you don’t take the time to go over them—to examine why you got something wrong, and even why you got something right—and this is where an instructor can be extremely helpful. The practice-and-review routine improves the rate of correct responses as well as the rate of completion, both of which are critical for a time-intensive test like the ACT.

– Jonathan Er

5. Is there a common misconception of the ACT or of what is a realistic ACT score?

On the East Coast the SAT is emphasized while the ACT is overlooked, and the situation is reversed in the West. Colleges are usually fine with either test (although you should confirm with specific schools), so you shouldn’t feel that you can only take one or that you must take one over the other. However, I do think the ACT is better aligned with what is taught and assessed in most high schools and that it should receive more attention where I’m from.

– Jonathan Er

6. How do you personally ensure that students who are struggling end up with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful on the ACT?

No two students approach the ACT with the same set of skills or the same grasp of concepts. If anyone has difficulty with the lesson, I try to find out what knowledge we share, and then I steadily build on that while maintaining flexibility in my explanations. I also regularly communicate with my students so I can track their progress and address issues or concerns as they arise.

– Jonathan Er

7. It’s well known that Veritas Prep offers extremely high quality prep courses across the board, but what is the one ACT prep course that you feel is most beneficial to students, and what separates it from the others?

When I was an independent tutor and before I had heard of Veritas Prep, I created an ACT course that lasted 36 hours, as does, coincidentally, the flagship ACT 36 course (mine was also structured in twelve 3-hour sessions). I found this is just enough time to cover all the material, discuss a variety of strategies, review homework, and solidify good habits for test day. Within each class it’s just enough time to go in-depth and make reinforcing connections to other lessons while staying focused throughout. There’s definitely not a wasted minute.

– Jonathan Er

8. In your professional opinion, why is taking an ACT prep course so advantageous for test takers as opposed to self-prepping or just relying on their high school instruction?

No matter your high school curriculum, the ACT will ask something that is unfamiliar (and more likely many things) in an unfamiliar manner. For example, reading is tested in a literal and systematic way that does not require the finely honed interpretative skills from your English classes. Similarly, science is tested in a literal and visual way that does not require the fondly remembered content knowledge from your science classes. Not to mention the entire test is a speed trial. An ACT prep course will efficiently fill in all the conceptual gaps and provide strategic shortcuts so that you can perform at maximum capability.

– Jonathan Er

9. What is the largest ACT score increase you have seen?

The largest score increase I’ve seen is 8 points.

– Jonathan Er

10. If you could give three pieces of advice to future ACT test takers, what would they be?

1) Practice and review. You (and your instructor) should seek a proper balance between learning material, practicing questions (as many real ones as possible), and reviewing whatever time permits

2) Be specific. The ideal study session, anywhere from 30-90 minutes long, should exclusively deal with a single test subject, perhaps revolving around one problem set or one tricky concept. You should set goals that are verifiable, often in quantitative terms, such as how many questions you want to answer and review, how many terms you want to learn, etc. And you should be intent but realistic about reaching your target score, which can still be flexible (hopefully upwards!)

3) Learn to stop worrying and love the test. You have to take the test to move onto bigger and better things. Accept this so that you can start to prepare as thoroughly as possible. Loving the test does not mean that you must live and breathe ACT, although this would be helpful. It does mean that you ought to be serious about the challenge it presents, and it certainly means that you ought to be interested during the test itself. Some ACT material is not the most appealing, but if you can convince yourself that the rules of T-ball and the subtleties of longitude are fascinating, then you’ll be primed to retain more of what you’re reading, which is always beneficial (after all, you have to read in every section). Finally, if you plan on grad school, chances are that the same techniques and thinking will be relevant in another round of tests down the road. This is just the first of many opportunities.

– Jonathan Er

Post Q&A Session Thoughts

We really hope that you enjoyed and will benefit from this great Q&A with Jonathan Er, Veritas Prep ACT 36 Instructor.  If you are interested in purchasing a Veritas Prep test prep resource, then click here to visit our Veritas Prep test prep review page where you can read more about Veritas Prep and search all the test prep options they have available from our sidebar search function.  If you’re still unsure about what prep course to purchase, then check out our ACT prep course comparison page where you can see how Veritas Prep stacks up against the competition.

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