What’s it like designing the curriculum that supports our students during the test prep process? We talked to Emily Lubejko, Director of Test Prep and Tutoring Curriculum, about her experiences and what advice she has for students who are just getting started.
Hi Emily! Thanks for talking with us. To start, tell us: how did you get involved in education?
I’ve been interested in education ever since I was young and wanted to be a kindergarten teacher! My very patient younger sister sat through many games of “school” where I made her read and do handmade worksheets. That led me to study Elementary Education in undergrad, a Master’s degree in ESOL, tutoring with Private Prep, and eventually, becoming the director of the Test Prep and Tutoring Curriculum team.
What can you tell us about your team?
Our team is just the best! I feel so fortunate to work with a team of all-stars. The team is made up of subject specialists: Abbey for math, Devon for secondary school admissions and history, Kyla for grammar, Mike for science, and Tehya for reading. They bring creative ideas for projects, and we think about how we can keep improving our materials for students and tutors.
Have any advice for students who are just starting the test prep process?
Set reasonable goals and work toward them consistently. The test prep process is not one-size-fits-all, and it’s a marathon not a sprint. At times, it may feel long and tedious, but keep looking ahead to where you want to get and building on your knowledge. In the end, you’ll be able to look back at those weeks where you didn’t want to study your notes or finish that section and realize that working through those moments brought you to where you wanted to be.
Time to fess up: do you ever get bored of taking the ACT/SAT?
Honestly, as a bit of a test prep nerd, I like taking the ACTs and SATs as they’re released! Not so much because they’re really fun, but because it’s exciting to see the trends and think about how I can best prepare students for them. I took a real SAT in person recently, and it really gave me renewed empathy for the students who have to get up early on a Saturday and sit through hours of testing. But, as I often tell my students, it’ll be worth it in the end.
Is there anything you would like parents to know about the test prep journey?
It’s important to trust the process and view the tutor as your partner. Test prep isn’t about quick results; it’s about building strong foundations so that the test scores can improve over time. We find that the process works best when everyone does their part: the tutor brings expert knowledge and strategy, the student stays engaged and offers their best work, and parents reinforce the tutor’s expectations, even outside of the lesson. Keep the tutor in the loop on what they don’t see at home. Let the tutor know that you trust them but are ready to support your child!