This MIT Grad Is Making SAT, ACT Prep Cheaper


Efficiency is near and dear to Rose. During his MBA, he knew he wanted to start a company. So to be as prepared as possible, he completed 12 internships — sometimes doing more than one at the same time. “I basically crammed startup internships into every nook and cranny of the MBA program,” he says.

He had worked at Duke University for three years, teaching engineering design. The moment he knew he was going to leave to get an MBA, he started looking for internships.

“The moment you get your acceptance, but you aren’t in school yet, you should probably quit your job and get a new job,” he says. “Since you’re leaving, your job needs a new person anyway, and you’re about to start school, so what you need is experience. Experience usually comes in the first months of a job, not the last.”

In the six months between deciding to get an MBA and actually beginning the program, Rose says, you can fit in two new jobs of three months’ length. Then there are summer internships and internships during the school year, as well as working as a teacher’s assistant.

That’s what Rose did, and each experience exposed him to new ways that startups are run. Put together, the experiences helped him to create a template for Testive. “When you start a company, you have a lot of really big problems, and a lot of small problems,” he says. “And you don’t want to spend time on the small problems. So having worked at a lot of startups, when I have little questions, I don’t have to figure it out from scratch.”


For high school students interested in using Testive, Rose has three main pieces of advice: Plan when you’re going to take the SAT or ACT, make sure you have time to spend 100 hours studying for it, and practice.

He says it’s important to plan out a test-taking calendar that allows students to take the exam at least three times, keeping in mind that they are not allowed to take the test back to back in any two consecutive months. “You don’t have to take it three times, but you should plan to, because it’s very important. If you don’t score the way you want, you want to have time to take it again,” he says.

Rose’s second piece of advice — to spend 100 hours studying — is something he acknowledges few people can motivate themselves to do. “90% of people can’t do it. They need help,” he says. “So if you’re in that 90%, you need to figure out where to get a coach. It doesn’t have to be a Testive coach, it just needs to be someone who can hold you accountable.”

Finally, Rose suggests a four-step process to help students work through practice problems. Step one is to do the practice problem. Step two is to figure out what you did wrong. Step three is to figure out what you should have done differently.

And step four is to write it all down.

Most people do the first two steps, Rose says — but if a student were to do all four, success is almost assured.


In the long term, Rose says, he hopes Testive’s approach of using technology to make human interaction more valuable will help people find a better way to learn. Eventually, he says, the company will seek to employ its study tools in arenas beyond ACT and SAT prep.

Short term, Rose says, his goal is to grow the business. Testive is still small, but they’re planning to scale up operations soon — and as they grow, he says, they’ll get even better and more efficient.


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