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Test Prep: PSAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT and more


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....just as a "scintilla" is a small spark that can catch on and become a burst of flame, so mastery of critical thinking in one subject area can spark an intellectual liveliness....


Our central paradigm is the belief that each learner is different; each possesses unique talents that will serve him or her well during the learning process, whether the goal is to obtain a perfect score on a standardized test or to master the art and craft of the English language. We value instinctual mastery over superficial mimicry.


During the course of private online tutoring sessions, we progressively and precisely track and evaluate the efficacy and comfort level of different methods. Through this process, we are able to pinpoint the best practices for each client and therefore produce significant results, from increased scores on standardized tests to a newly kindled passion for a particular academic subject.

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Tutoring Packages

If you are interested in any of the services below, please use the contact form to inquire for details.

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Test Prep

We offer both fixed and customized courses for the PSAT, Digital SAT, and ACT. We offer customized courses only for the GMAT, LSAT, GRE, SHSAT, and other tests. The cost for a fixed course is $2,600; the cost for a customized course is variable.

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Subject Tutoring

This type of tutoring occurs on a long-term, continuous basis (at least one semester) at a flat rate of $1,000/month.

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We practice ETHICAL admissions essay guidance; this means that we will offer written comments, suggestions, and meetings to teach you how to enhance your own voice and demonstrate your verbal skills. Prices vary (and can be prorated) based on need and on the number and condition of the rough draft of the essay. For high school students, the package for all Common App essays and supplements (with an unlimited number of suggestions/meetings/colleges) for a single admissions cycle is $2,500.



Co-Founder/Test Prep Tutor

Sakina Fakhri is an experienced educator and tutor of standardized tests for students of all ages. She received her B.A. in English literature from Northwestern University, and upon graduation co-founded an elite secondary school in Cairo, Egypt, where at the age of twenty-one she became the founder, chairperson, and teacher of the newly created English Department.

Upon returning to the U.S., she acquired her M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought at New York University and then worked as a classroom instructor and private tutor. For several years she taught SAT, PSAT, and SHSAT test prep to middle school and high school students in Brooklyn. From 2006 through 2009, she worked as a classroom GRE instructor for Powerscore, an elite test preparation company that sent her to teach at prestigious universities in cities all over the country. She has since worked at several tutoring centers in Manhattan, teaching for the New York State tests, the SHSAT, the SSAT, the ERB, and the ISEE.

Beyond the teaching of the tests, Sakina has spent some time writing them. She worked as a content developer for the GMAT/LSAT/SAT at Knewton, a rapidly expanding educational start-up in Manhattan. There, as one of Knewton's lead writers and editors of academic content, she wrote practice test questions and course content for Knewton's online GMAT, LSAT, and SAT courses. Sakina was invited to review Barron’s 3rd edition SSAT/ISEE test preparation book and has contributed SAT Reading practice content for books by The Princeton Review.

Sakina’s own test scores include a 99th percentile on the GRE and a 97th percentile on the GMAT. Her knowledge of the LSAT is both deep and comprehensive: during her time at Knewton, she personally wrote, edited, or reviewed answer choice explanations for every Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning question in 66 official LSAT exams. In the area of youth tutoring, the vast majority of middle school students that Sakina tutored successfully gained admission to elite New York specialized or private schools, such as Stuyvesant and Horace Mann. Her tutees have been admitted to schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Brown, Columbia, Emory, Duke, MIT, and NYU.

Sakina's first short film, The Word Trader, debuted internationally in 2013 at the Cannes Film Festival in France and was later an official selection at the Manhattan Film Festival. She is the co-founder of Lazuli Literary Group, co-editor of AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought, and author of the novel The Speech of Flowers and Voiceless Things. Sakina is committed to writing in all of its forms, and believes that, given enough time and enough creativity, nothing should ever have to be said in quite the same way twice.

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If you are interested in a course or academic service, you can e-mail me at or leave a text message at

847-970-2506. We will discuss your needs and devise a customized plan, after which we will finalize scheduling and payment.

Customized courses (not listed above) are also available at the rate of $150/hr. If you or your student needs specialized academic assistance for homework, coursework, writing assignments, or anything else not listed above, please contact us to inquire.

If you're contacting us about test prep tutoring, include information about your target test date, most recent practice test scores, and which prep books, if any, you have already used. In the subject line, please let us know which course you are interested in.

If you're contacting us about an admissions essay, please include your application deadline.

All courses are private (one-on-one) and conducted online, with the exception of the SAT Summer Intensive group course (enrollment currently closed).


Any questions are welcome! We understand that the testing process can be complex and convoluted, and we are happy to help in any way we can.

TEXT: 847-970-2506

Thanks for inquiring about Scintilla Tutors! We will be in touch shortly.

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"As a graduate of Staten Island Technical High School and a freshman at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, I’d like to give much credit to Ms. Fakhri for my accomplishments. I attended her classes at Kings Tutorial, where I prepped for the SHSAT and SAT. Her teaching style is very organized; she breaks down the basic structure of a test which helps create a simple guide for students to study from. Thanks to Ms. Fakhri’s teachings and strategies, it was easy to predict what types of passages and questions would appear on the exam. I was able to achieve a score of 579 on the SHSAT, 780 in SAT Reading, and 800 in SAT Writing under her guidance. Outside of standardized testing, she was also a great help with college essays. Ms. Fakhri is more than just an excellent teacher; she is an extremely compassionate and meticulous individual."

Ashley D., SAT (NYU Stern School of Business)

"As a mid-career adult who is studying for the GRE, I have had difficulty finding a tutoring program that meets my needs. Sakina has exceeded my expectations as a tutor; she is focused, encouraging, flexible and patient. Her devotion to my success is obvious. Not only has she helped to increase my score, but she has also increased my confidence. As an educator, I hold high expectations for teachers and tutors. Sakina utilizes best practices in teaching; she is clear, provides a model and feedback, and allows multiple opportunities for practice. She is not only an effective tutor, she is a strong teacher. I would recommend Sakina to anyone looking for a tutor, young and old."

Erin S., GRE (elementary school principal)

"It’s hard to describe how Ms. Sakina has left an indelible imprint in my life experience. On the professional level, she was the first to teach me critical analysis and persuasive writing. The application of her lessons has always extended beyond the class room. I can never forget how her literature class has taught me to analyze personal situations from different perspectives. Moreover, her enthusiasm was an essential source of motivation to all of her students. I'm currently teaching undergraduate students at the Arab Academy in Egypt, and I wish I can inspire my students the same way Ms. Sakina has always inspired us."

Mai M., highschool English literature (valedictorian at Mokatam Language School, Cairo, Egypt)

Home: Our Testimonials
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