By Paula Ebben


BOSTON (CBS) – For high school students and parents SAT and ACT time can be extremely stressful. And test prep with private tutors or classes can be expensive. So MIT grads started an online course and their materials are free.

Alyssa Loessi is a Brookline High School senior who didn’t settle for low SAT scores – she turned them around.

“When I got my PSAT score I felt really bad because it was below average but now I’m like I was really high up in the ranks for SAT scores.”

Alyssa Loessi’s story is like a lot of high school kids – disappointing scores at first that improve with study and test preparation.

“I went up 410 points which is crazy,” she says.

How did she do it? Her dad researched a Boston company called Testive.

“If you think about the difference – 400 point increase that takes you from medium schools to medium and really good schools,” Ed Loessi says.

CEO and co-founder Tom Rose – an MIT grad – says Testive takes a hybrid approach – test prep technology with a human touch.

“The Testive App is based on top of algorithms developed at MIT which increase learning speed,” CEO Tom Rose says.

“I was a high-priced tutor and I was making $500 a session and it started to occur to me that a lot of what I was doing was really repetitive and not necessarily delivering on that value,” Rose says.

What he delivers now are SAT and ACT questions that automatically adapt to the right difficulty and in the right subjects for each individual student.

Rose adds, “Just like lifting the right weights at the gym the student learns faster.”

Testive is free because the company makes money matching some students up with online tutors who video chat with them for up to 30 minutes a week.

“Making educational resources freely available is really important because that levels the playing field and it makes sure that everyone has access to the same tools,” Rose says.

While the Testive system is free online, their coaches cost between $300 and $400 a month which is roughly half of the typical SAT or ACT tutor.

“The human tendency is to focus on areas that you’re strong at so it’s important to have a guide of some kind tracking strengths and weaknesses and pathing people toward weak areas,” Rose says.

While Alyssa had tremendous success, the typical Testive student improves their SAT score by 150 points and plus four on the ACT.

Paula Ebben

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