SAT Test Prep Course – 2400 Expert

SAT Test Prep CourseThere's no doubt Shaan Patel is a smart guy and he has a lot of credibility creating an SAT Test Prep Course; he scored a perfect 2400 when he took the course! Patel pitches his growing SAT test prep course business, 2400 Expert, in Shark Tank episode 716. Shaan used his success on the SAT, and the fame that came with it, to get into USC undergrad and Medical School.

Patel didn't have a lot of advantages in his education. He grew up in his parents' low-budget motel in Las Vegas and attended Las Vegas public schools –  one of the worst school systems in the country. Nevada has such poorly rated schools, you'd be hard-pressed to find a decent private school anywhere in the state. Las Vegas schools have all the ills of a big city school system: high drop out rates, lots of teacher turnover, poor overall student performance, and – in some schools – a lot of gang activity. It's not what most would consider a breeding ground for bright young minds.

Overcoming Odds

Patel overcame all this and sought his own way to boost his less than stellar SAT scores. When he discovered his methodology, he got a perfect 2400 score! While in school, he “wrote the book” on getting a perfect SAT score. This got him all sorts of media attention and even an audience with President Bush in 2007. It also gave him the opportunity to create and grow an SAT Test prep course. When the business started to take off, he took a leave of absence from medical school to pursue his entrepreneurial endeavors.

This lands Patel in the Shark Tank, seeking an investment to grow his business. Patel isn't wasting the opportunity, either. He's mounting a huge social media push to get his episode to be the highest rated Shark Tank in history. Patel is also giving away $100,000 worth of books, online courses, and in person SAT test prep courses to viewers who connect with him before and during the show. He's also hosting a live, online viewing party. It's safe to say, Mr. Patel is maximizing his exposure!

My Take on SAT Test Prep Courses

Some readers may not know it, but I am a licensed teacher in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I don't live there anymore, and I don't teach because my online businesses are too lucrative and take up too much of my time. I did teach an SAT Test Prep course while pursuing my teaching degree, and I'll give you one secret to raising your SAT score for free: DON'T ANSWER questions you can't figure out! That one tip can help raise your score 50-150 points.

I have some pretty strong opinions about the SAT and standardized testing. I think they are ruining education. We are raising generations of children who are taught to perform well on tests without using a lot of critical thinking skills. Standardized testing and preparing/practicing to take tests in general takes up way too much time in the typical public school curriculum. It's a function of how school effectiveness is measured by the Federal government. If students do well on tests, the school is deemed as high performing. Unfortunately, doing well on a “fill in the dots” test doesn't make for a good school or a good student. I could rant on this subject for pages and pages, but let's just say I am not a fan of standardized tests, in any form.

SAT Still Counts

That said, many colleges look to the SAT and other standardized tests as a measure of student achievement. Some colleges, including Harvard University, are eliminating the SAT and other similar tests from their acceptance criteria. (Patel applied to Harvard but didn't get in BTW) There are many arguments for and against the SAT. Some view it as a measure of broad knowledge, others think it's a culturally biased and unproductive exercise. Whatever end of the spectrum you are on in regards to your views of the SAT, the SAT test prep industry is a big one.

I remember parents shelling out $800 to take the course I taught. With 20-25 students per class, that's a lot of money! My company had 20-30 classes going on each month – they make a pile of dough! Patel probably does very well for himself, too. He offers books, online courses, and in-person SAT test prep classes in 20 major cities. People shell out $599 – $799 per class (depending on whether it's online or in-person); he also offers private tutoring for $1500-$5400! Weekend review “camps” run $400. Patel certifies his instructors and they must score very high on the SAT or ACT to even be considered for employment. While Patel's courses seem expensive, they are in line with other test prep courses out there and he offers a 100% money back guarantee if scores don't improve.

Despite my disdain for standardized testing, I don't think the SAT test prep industry is going anywhere until the test is abolished completely. There will always be parents willing to pay to give their kids a competitive advantage. Patel has his perfect score as the best testimony for choosing his company over others, so he has a great competitive advantage. I think he will do very well.

Do Sharks Pass the test and Invest?

In the video previews, it looks like the producers are painting Patel as an “arrogant genius.” While he may be arrogant, he does have bragging rights that come with a perfect score. Whether he'll play well with the Sharks is another story.

When I first looked him up, he didn't have nearly 20 cities in his test prep empire – he was just selling his online programs. What I know from working in the business is the money is in having as many classes in as many communities as possible. If Patel can prove his business model is “duplicatable,” he will field offers.

Patel has a poll at the bottom of his webpage asking whether he go a deal and with which Shark. 43% of respondents think he gets a deal with Mark Cuban, 19% think he gets no deal. The rest of the Sharks round out the survey. I think Cuban is the only Shark that would invest in Patel and I believe he does. The rapid growth, plus the $100,000 giveaway indicate an infusion of capital from SOMEWHERE, and I think it's the Shark Tank!

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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