students on stairs

Karen Berlin Ishii: Premier One-to-One Tutoring

Karen Berlin Ishii: Student and Parent Testimonials

Jan 9, 2017

I've attached Jack's latest SSAT score, and as you see, in four weeks time he went from 55% to 67%. We are very pleased, and I wanted to thank you very much for all of the work and guidance you gave that enabled Jack to achieve this. I know he wasn't always easy to work with, but it paid off, and we are very grateful to you as a result.

Best regards,
- Dan    Jack's dad. Jack was accepted to 4 of the 5 schools to which he applied, including his first choice, Suffield Academy.

Dec 14, 2016

We just got L...'s Dec 10th ISEE results back! He made a huge jump from the diagnostic test he took in the Spring! All thanks to you and Margaret, and L...! We are very proud of him.

Thank you for all your help on this! Hope you have a really wonderful Holiday Break in Boston!

C...     L...'s mom

On Mar 15, 2016

R... got into Miami Country Day!! Thx you so much. You were amazing!!

Best, A...    R...'s mom

Dec 22, 2016

Thank you so much, I hope you have a happy Hanukkah and new year! I have heard back from nine of my schools and haven't received a no yet! I was accepted into University of Tampa, Texas Tech, Auburn University, Quinnipiac, Purdue University and Drexel University; I got wait listed at Florida State, Fordham, and Tulane University. I think that I am leaning towards Purdue and Drexel as my top choices.

Thank you again so much for all of your help I wouldn't have got to this point without you, it has been truly incredible learning from you! Happy Holidays!

- Russ

Aug 19, 2015

Hi Karen,

I hope you are doing well and have had a great summer so far! I know it's been a long time since I have emailed you (entirely my fault!), which means that I haven't told you that I will be going to Harvard in the fall :)

That previous sentence still blows my mind, mainly because I can't believe they accepted me and I can't believe I'm lucky enough to be able to actually attend the university, thanks to my parents. I wouldn't have even gotten to this point without the help of all my teachers, especially you.

Thank you so much, Karen, for all your help these past couple of years, from ACT/SAT test preparation to college essay help. Your invaluable advice regarding crafting essays not only helped me so much with the writing sections on the ACT and SAT, but also helped strengthen my college essays and overall application. I don't know what it is about my application that caught their eye, but those test scores and essays sure must have helped :)

Anyways, thank you again for everything, and I hope to stay in touch with you. I'd love to tell you about any cool research/activities I hope to be doing at Harvard very shortly!

Sumi M.     Sumi was accepted to Harvard, MIT, University of Chicago and University of Pittsburgh (where she was offered a full tuition scholarship).

Aug 19, 2015

We as parents also wanted to thank you for the awesome help and guidance you provided to Sumi throughout the college application process. Based on her lessons with you, she not only received great scores in SAT and ACT but has also become a much stronger writer in general.

Thanks again for your invaluable coaching and guidance.

- Sumi's mom

Nov 18, 2014

I received my scores. You helped me improve in English from a 25 to a 31. And in Reading from 27 a to a 32. I just want to thank you so much! You're an amazing tutor and I learned so much from you while having so much fun.

If you ever need a reference or if there is anything my mom and I can do, please just reach out to us.

Thank you so much!!!

- Maria

Nov 18, 2014

Karen !!!

I love you !!!

Thank you !!!

You are amazing !!!

She couldn't have done it without you.

- Maria's mom

March 12, 2014

Working with Karen for the SAT was one of the best decisions I ever made, raising my score almost 100 points in both the Writing and Critical Reading sections

Ben S.     Ben chose to attend the University of Miami and is now in medical school.

Mar 30, 2013

We were very pleased with the results you helped Andrew achieve.

Andrew is graduating this May from George Washington, magna no less, and plans to go on to medical school after a year off. He has managed to do extremely well in all his science courses and has an A- average in his majors of chemistry and biology.

Thanks again for getting his SAT scores up in the reading/writing area! It really made a difference in his getting in to GW where he has done very well and been extremely happy.

- Elaine M. parent

April 15, 2012

I got into and am going to attend Pitzer College. I am so excited! Thank you so much for all of your help.

- Eve

Eve, a student at The Bronx High School of Science in New York, studied with me for the ACT, raising her score in all sections of tha tests: English, Math, Reading and Science.

Mar 29, 2012

Thanks for all your guidance for Sumi's SAT test prep, her Writing and Reading scores have improved considerably since last year.

Sumi, a senior in Chicago, studied for her SAT with me via Skype. She scored a breathtaking 760 in Critical Reading, 780 in Writing and 760 in Math.

Feb 15, 2012

I'm excited to say that I got into NYU early decision 2!!!
I wanted to thank you for tutoring me for my SAT. My SAT was definitely the strongest part of my application, and that was definitely in large part due to the advice and tutoring that you gave me.

Thank you,
Jonathan Michaelson

Dec 14, 2011

Samara got accepted at Duke yesterday. We are super proud and wanted to share this with you. Thanks for your help and dedication in training her for the SAT's.

(from Samara's mom)

Samara, a student from Kampala, Uganda, studied for her SATs with me via Skype. She worked very hard and pulled her scores up, up, up in every section of the test: Math, Critical Reading, Writing and the essay. Samara attended and graduated from Duke University.

Oct 20, 2011

I'm applying to Hamilton College, which does a superscore. My SAT superscore went from a 1920 to a 1960. This was primarily because of how you helped me with the essay part. Thanks!

- Peter Duffy

April 15, 2011

I'M GOING TO BROWN! :D I also got into Emory and Brandeis ... I just want to say a huge thank you for helping me throughout the SAT process; in a short few weeks, you helped me enormously, as reflected from my increased CR score and also from my acceptance into Brown!


Myron, a student in Hong Kong, studied for the SAT with me via Skype. I was thrilled to learn that he will attend my alma mater!

March 14, 2011

I got accepted to Brooklyn Friends School! With a scholarship!!! It's amazing.
I couldn't have done this without you, thank you so much.

- Bianca

I tutored Bianca, an awesome home-schooled New York City student, for her ISEE test, focusing especially on building her math skills. Bianca has since graduated from Brooklyn Friends School and was accepted to Barnard College.

December 21, 2010

Hi! I just received my scores and I'm pretty happy!

740 in maths
710 in writing
630 CR!!

- Sacha

Sacha, a student in Switzerland who studied for his SATs with me via Skype, raised his total score by 150 points - wow!

Deember 1, 2010

Thank you very much for you help, advice and support to JC. He is doing great!

(from student's father)

I helped Jean Charles, a freshman at Columbia University from France, with editing his papers in his humanities courses.

Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 10:53:32 +0100
Subject: Accepted to first choice school!

I was overjoyed to receive my acceptance from Stanford, my first choice school.
I believe my SATs and music resume really helped me get in the door. Thanks for all of your expertise and support in helping me fulfill my dream.

Nicholas Steketee
Geneva, Switzerland

Nick, an exceptional student living abroad, studied math with Elena during a visit to the US, continuing by phone/email. I coached him on his SAT essay and helped him format his college application resume to best highlight his significant achievements. Nick was accepted to Stanford in Early Decision.

June 1, 2009

Thanks for the excellent advice for the essay section. It really helped me improve my score and taught me good techniques for solidifying good scores. I appreciated the very useful database of essay resources as well as practice tests and essay prompts. You taught me good techniques for critical reading sections and methods for vocab fill ins. I got fast, informative essay feedback and flexible meeting times, very helpful for overseas students. You did an excellent job communicating over long distance phone call.

- Nick Steketee, Geneva, Switzerland

May 31, 2009

In a classroom I would only have been able to learn overall techniques for success, but with my tutor I was able to learn what strategies fit me personally.

- Rose Mendelsohn, a junior at Brookline High School, MA. Rose aced her SAT with a 770 on Writing and an 800 on Critical Reading.

May 29, 2009

Anna liked Karen and her scores improved significantly after working with her. Karen's tutoring, in addition to bettering Anna's test scores, was a good experience for Anna.

We were all very pleased with Anna's score's on her latest ACT. Her scores in English were excellent. Quite a jump! Thank you very much for all your guidance!! Her English scores are really strong now.

- Katherine Adams, parent of a Brookline High School junior who studied with Karen for the ACT and SAT

May 29, 2009

I liked the way she taught me. She used analogies that I could remember, like when you're on an Easter Egg Hunt you find the easy ones first. I used the technique she taught me.

- AA, a Brookline High School junior

May 28, 2009

Karen was very clear and communicated well with me and Deane. My son's scores improved tremendously from the PSATs.
Thanks for your help.

- parent of a Needham High School, MA, junior who raised his scores tremendously:
from PSAT Critical Reading 46 and Writing 55 to SAT Critical Reading 570 and Writing 590!

May 28, 2009

I appeciated the fact that Alex came home with homework and was willing to do the homework. Also, I enjoyed the fact that Karen kept me informed about Alex's progress.

- Elizabeth Maria Kugell, parent of a Brookline High School junior

May 30, 2009

Thank you so much for your help, it definitely made a difference in taking the test!

- Emma, a Brookline High School junior

May 25, 2009

Hi, Karen,

Emma can report her scores to you, but she did very well. Not sure she'll take them again. But most importantly thanks for all your help. It really made a difference!

- Emma's mom

Date: Tue, 26 May 2009
From: "D A"
To: "Karen"

Hi, Karen,

I don't know if Joey responded to this. He got 720 (writing) and 640 (critical reading). He was pretty happy!! (So am I) You've worked wonders, as usual...Thanks for all your work and support.

- Dorothy A, parent of a Newton South HS junior whose older brother also made great improvements in his SAT scores and college application essays working with Karen.

Dorothy's son made HUGE progress in his SAT Critical Reading and Writing, over 100 points improved in each section over his first practice test. His transformation into a self-confident ace star was a joy to behold!

May 24, 2009

I loved my tutor and my scores saw a 250 point increase! On my PSAT, my writing section was scored at a 490. After studying with Karen, my score was a 740. Although it needs to be said that you MUST DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Overall, the lessons were very worth it. Loved the one on one attentions rather than a large class.

- Sara Harr, a junior at Brookline High School Sara was accepted to and graduated from American University.

December 10, 2008

Brooke learned the strategy in taking the test and learned more about each subject and looking at the whole picture to answer precisely and quickly. ... It was great and I will sign my next child up with Karen Ishii. Brooke gained 300 points when taking the SAT's a second time....

- parent of a Southborough High School, MA, junior whose daughter prepared for the SAT with Karen

October 28, 2008

Tutoring with Karen was wonderful!

Being prepared with the books, binders, note card holder, and eraser at the first lesson made preparation much easier. This kept me enthusiastic rather than stressed out if I had to buy the supplies. Also, learning unique strategies greatly increased my comfort when taking the SAT's. I was more confident because I knew what to expect and how to use the things I learned in tutoring during the test. Flashcards also helped me memorize the challenging vocabulary words which had negatively impacted my test scores prior to tutoring. Tutoring not only helped me with the SAT's, but also with my English classes. I was able to recognize grammar errors and improper sentence structure that I had never noticed before. Also, writing became easier when we practiced writing the essay prompts.

I improved my scores by 300 points, all due to Karen.
Thank you so much, I couldn't have asked for more!

- Brooke Kemper, a senior at Southborough High School, MA

November 26, 2008

I'm pretty glad with how i did in the reading and writing sections. I got a 600 in my reading section and 590 on my writing section. Thanks for the help and the 600 helped me qualify for a few scholarships so thanks for everything.

- Nahed, a senior at Catholic Memorial High School, MA

October 31, 2008

You gave my daughter the tools she needed to improve her score. You showed her different ways to approach some of the questions on the SAT and how best to answer them. It was innovative and different. She loved the technique that was used to study vocab words!

My daughter is so pleased with an increase of over 100 points!

You definitely know what your are doing and you know how to teach and prepare students for the SAT. There were so many skills she learned that were helpful for the SAT. You were able to tune into her difficulties and help turn them around. It worked because she did her homework and used your methods. Thank you so much!

- Rita B., parent of a junior who prepared for the SAT with Karen

November 2, 2008

(from Karen's Feedback Page)

What did you like best?

- good experience.
- flexible.
- affordable.
- improved test scores.
- essay help was on target.

- Kathleen O., parent of a junior at Westborough High School, MA, who did SAT prep and worked on her college application essays with Karen

August 13, 2008

The tips that you gave me, especially on the writing and reading helped me a lot on the test.
I would like to say thank you for everything...

- Christopher Naga

Chris prepared for the TOEFL exam with Karen.

March 25, 2008

Karen is a lively tutor who has the resources and experience to help propel her lucky students to success. She follows up with emails to the parent(s) so that there is complete parental involvement. Her manner is highly professional yet gentle and friendly. Karen's rates are very reasonable and she accomplishes a lot in a little time. She brings a wealth of knowledge and defined goals to the lessons.

- Emily Stein,

Emily's son Natan studied for the SAT Writing section with Karen, and brought his already excellent scores up to 760 in Critical Reading and a perfect 800 in Writing!

March 10, 2008
Re: Feedback on SAT prep with Karen

She gave me very useful strategies for test taking and she was very hospitable and helpful. The tutoring helped bring my scores up considerably.

- PG, a senior at Brookline High School, MA

(He certainly did bring up his scores - he went up 80 points in Critical Reading alone!)

15 Jan 2008

I found Boston Academic Tutors through an internet search; I was impressed with Karen from the first time we spoke on the phone. My son worked with Karen last summer to improve his SAT and ACT results - he made amazing progress: his scores improved dramatically and his confidence soared. He is now deciding between acceptances from his top two college choices! Karen's encouraging and supportive manner motivated my son to have the discipline to stick with summer studies and it was also a pleasure for me to work with her. She was exceptionally organized, totally reliable, a great listener and always positive. We feel that we made a friend and an ally. We can't imagine a better tutor and enthusiastically give Karen our highest recommendation!

- Joy R., Boston summer resident

December 17, 2007
Re: Feedback on SAT/ACT prep with Karen

My daughter really enjoyed her tutoring experience with you. I think what she liked most was your energy - and organized approach - and enthusiasm and clear expectations for her to succeed. She is a very self-motivated young woman, and would have spent the time studying for the test anyway, but your direction made her studying more focused and useful.

I really appreciated your willingness to meet less frequently or for shorter periods of time so that we could make the most of her lessons while saving a bit of money as well.

We just found out she was accepted to her first choice - NYU's School of Nursing. Other letters should arrive some time this week. Thank you, Karen!

- LF, Watertown

November 29, 2007
Re: SAT Prep with Karen -

I got to learn the whole "workings" of the test, all of the little tools to help ... I think that it helped me a lot to understand the SAT.

- Blair Piper, a junior at Brookline High School

From: Evana Maggiore,
To: Karen Berlin Ishii,
Subject: RE: Feedback on your SAT/ACT prep and/or college applications guidance with Karen
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007

Hi Karen

We were pleased with Jacquie's experience with you and feel that SAT (660 writing, 620 reading) and ACT (31 reading 29 writing / 28 composite) scores reflect that.

Thanks & Happy Holidays

Evana Maggiore

- Jacquie, a senior at Dana Hall School, MA, studied for the SAT and ACT with Karen

Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007
Subject: Thanks!
To: Karen Ishii

Hey Karen!

Just wanted to tell you about my scores... I went from a 540 to a 660 on Critical Reading, and 580 to 600 in writing. ... I just wanted to thank you so much again because I am sure that I wouldn't have gotten here without your help... - NB

November 25, 2007

Karen was understanding and willing to adapt to my needs. She was focused during our time together but without pushing me to the point of extreme stress.

I had a really great time and I know that the tutoring helped my SAT score.

- NB, a senior at Brookline High School, MA, who prepared for the SAT and ACT with Karen

November 25, 2007

Karen was able to hone in on our son's needs and address them quickly with a no-nonsense yet respectful manner. She had a good understanding of his learning style and was able to tutor him accordingly. Our son felt understood and supported and that support showed up as good SAT scores.

I felt respected as a parent and included in the process because Karen kept me informed of his progress and homework assignments.

- Beth

Beth's son did SAT Prep with Karen in Spring 2007.

June 5, 2007

Thank you very much for your time and efforts to teach our son. Nicholas truly enjoyed your class. You have motivated Nicholas in very short time. He thinks you are the greatest teacher he has ever had! You really saved us! We are very pleased with the progress.

Karen gave our son the confidence that he needed to do well in SAT. We highly recommend Karen to all who are in need of a tutor.

- Akiko Sienkiewicz

Akiko's son studied for the SAT and ACT with Karen.

Date: Mon, 7 May 2007
To: Karen,
From: "R, Sarah M."
Subject: Here's my recommendation

I was so pleased to have my kids work with Karen on their ISEE examination prep. Karen taught them substantive material as well as test-specific tips and writing skills. She has a wonderful manner of teaching and adapted it to my children's different abilities, personalities, and learning styles. In addition to the test prep, she gave them steady reassurance, and called them before the exam to wish them luck! Karen gave my kids a huge boost in knowledge, test skills, and confidence.

- Sarah R.

(Sarah's two children both got into their first choice private schools.)

Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007
To: Karen,
From: "Guy Rordorf"
Subject: Re: ISEE Tutor

Thank you for helping the kids prepare for the ISEE. They had fun working with you which resulted in excellent test scores!

- Abby and Guy Rordorf

January 17, 2006

Karen Ishii tutored our daughter in preparation for the English portion of the SAT exam. During the weeks she worked with our daughter, Karen was very knowledgeable of what the student should know in preparing for the exam. She was able to give strategies to help with the memorization of the vocabulary found on the test. She had a lot of experience with teaching different types of students and was able to find ways to help a student once she got to know their learning style.

I would highly recommend Karen as a tutor and specialist in preparing students for the SAT exam.


Jayne Swanson

January 16, 2006

To Whom It May Concern:

Karen Berlin Ishii tutored my daughter Jennifer in preparation for the SAT (Verbal portion) which she took in Spring 2003. She guided Jennifer through the lessons of The Princeton Review's course, working with her to build vocabulary, skills in grammar and usage, and test-taking skills particular to this long test.

Karen was smart, efficient, patient, nice, and reliable. She came on time every time and was flexible if we needed to change a date or time. She had an excellent rapport with my daughter. And after the lesson was over, she would then take the time to discuss it with me, so that I could understand how Jennifer was doing, what she needed to do in preparation for her next lesson, points she needed to work on, etc. Since much of the work for this course required students to be very self-directed - taking timed 3-hour tests by themselves and doing a substantial amount of homework - it was very helpful to know what was on my daughter's plate for the coming week. Karen's teaching also had a good element of coaching in it: encouraging my daughter to take those practice tests, to do all the homework, to make her vocabulary flashcards and practice them. It was very helpful in motivating Jennifer to get the most out of her SAT study.

It is clear that Karen is dedicated to her students. She came to each session well prepared in the subject matter and how best to present it to our daughter. My daughter was very satisfied with Karen's teaching and was very pleased with her SAT results. (She is currently a sophomore at Tufts University)

I would highly recommend Karen Berlin Ishii as a tutor.


Marcia Brier
Principal, MCB Communications

Date: 10/04/04
From: Meredith A Haggerty,
To: Karen,

Dear Karen,

I'm sorry this response is so late. If only I hadn't gotten into such a good school and didn't have so much work! I'm not sure quite how to go about this, but I would like to thank you for all your help. The SAT II's are a horrible, stressful part of the college applications process, but with your help I felt more prepared, and therefore more relaxed and confident. I knew how the test would be formatted, and what my own weakness were. I finally learned how to study for an SAT II!

Thank you,
Meredith Haggerty

Meredith studied for the SATII:Writing test with Karen. In the fall of 2004, she matriculated at her first choice college, New York University.

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