Franklin Report Report Card for Zinc Educational Services in New York City
★ Franklin Report Card
Zinc Educational Services
41 Union Square West Suite 602
New York, NY 10003
(212) 924-3040
Main Contact: Matt Bardin
Academic Tutors & Counselors

Services & Specialties
Superlative academic tutoring and test prep

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FR Review:
In the world of high-stakes, high-level test prep, Zinc stands out for its holistic philosophy. Founded by former teacher Matt Bardin, the company takes the radical approach of treating standardized testing as a learning opportunity, not just another hurdle to jump over en route to the Ivy League. Bardin preaches a methodology based on close reading comprehension, sharpened focus and time management—not shortcuts and tricks. Clients say the methodology works wonders for the all-important SAT and ACTs, and that it has the knock-on benefit of improving students in other areas. Tutors often work in person; however, many Zinc tutoring sessions take place online via video chat. This isn’t a business decision, says Bardin, but rather a method to eliminate unnecessary distractions. Parents we spoke with agreed, saying Skype-based sessions allowed their sons and daughters to focus on the subject at hand.

Bardin himself graduated from Princeton in 1987, then taught in New York City public schools for a few years before switching over to tutoring. He found himself dissatisfied with the shortcut-based methods being hawked at boutique companies, and began creating his own curriculum before striking out on his own in 2000 (the company was originally called Veritas Tutors). Bardin has a strong, well-articulated vision for Zinc, and he runs the business on principle: his staff of fifty tutors have been chosen not for their Ivy League bona fides, but their teaching ability. Prospective candidates go through a two-year mentorship program, and rely on coaching sessions to sharpen their methods. Most students come to Zinc for assistance with the ACT and SAT, but the company can help with subject tutoring, SSAT/ISEE test prep, and grad school admissions exams like GRE, LSAT and GMAT. Zinc also offers one-week summer boot camps as an alternative to weekly sessions throughout the school year.

With a high quality comes a high price tag. By Bardin’s own admission, Zinc’s services are not cheap, starting at $200/hour and rising to levels you might pay for a partner at a major law firm. However, references we spoke with were all extremely positive on the value, saying it was “worth every penny.” The company comes with great individual references, as well as some institutional recognition: Zinc partners with Trinity on the Upper West Side to offer test prep to their students. Those who expect the best (and can afford it) tend to find Zinc “an amazing company, much better than the competition.”

Representative Client Comments:
“My son feels his analytical and comprehension reading skills have improved significantly.” “In all the years we’ve worked with them, it’s been nothing but positive feedback.” “What I was most surprised by was how much my son improved in other subjects after working with his tutor. It wasn’t just test prep.”“My son has a very good relationship with his tutor and has made solid progress.” “I was skeptical of the video chat thing at first, but I found it made a lot of sense and worked really well.” “My son actually had a great time at the boot camp, as in, actually enjoyed studying for the SAT!” “There is sticker shock, but we were incredibly happy with the results. Couldn’t recommend Zinc highly enough.”

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