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About Us

Meet Brilliant Prep

Ratnakar Poduri

Ratnakar Poduri, Co-Founder and CEO of Brilliant Education Group, is a teacher, author, and engineer with a mission to help students advance their lives through education. He knows how important solid SAT and ACT performance is to a college career, having aced the tests himself. After earning a Master of Science in Mathematics from Indiana University, he spent 17 years teaching and 17 years in management consulting at Hewlett Packard, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Accenture. Using a comprehensive approach that goes far beyond the basic materials found in typical test prep, he has personally prepared 1100 students to follow his example on their SATs/ACTs.

Robert Schombs

Robert Schombs is the Co-Founder and COO of Brilliant Education Group. He is a graduate of Cornell University, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Master of Arts in Science and Technology Studies. He has been teaching students for almost twenty years and has taught SAT, ACT, math, chemistry, and writing. He tutored for the Princeton Review and designed and taught a writing course at Cornell. He began teaching SAT and ACT classes in 2004, and in 2011 he started Reason Prep, a test prep YouTube channel that has been viewed for almost 10 million minutes.

Murli Manickam

Murli Manickam is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, and Strategy Advisor for Brilliant Education Group. He has spent 25+ years in executive and management positions for Global 50 firms and startups. He uses his experience as an entrepreneur and startup consultant. His successes earned interest from multiple global technology conferences where he is invited to present white papers. He has spent years as a mentor, teacher and coach for higher education students at places like Blinn College. He has held board and advisory roles at companies like Cliqr (Acquired by Cisco), Innowera, RCI, Pinnacle Seven and others. He has a heart of technology and mind of business, which is reflected in all his ventures. He earned his MS in Computer/Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

More About Rob

I’m Rob, Co-Founder of Brilliant Prep, creator of these videos, and your test prep tutor.

Also pictured is my beagle, Mr. Pibb. He didn’t help with the site that much, but maybe he’ll star in one of my videos one day.

This section is for you to get to know me a little bit. I’ve written it in an FAQ format, so let me know if you have any other questions for me to answer!

Where did you go to school?

I graduated from a public high school on Long Island in 2002 and then attended Cornell University, where I got a BA in Chemistry in 2006. I stayed at Cornell to finish a Master’s in Science and Technology Studies.

How long have you been tutoring?

My tutoring experience goes back all the way to high school, where I peer tutored students of all ages in math and science. My professional tutoring career started in college when I worked for the Princeton Review teaching SAT prep classes for three summers.

During graduate school, I designed and taught my own First-Year Writing Seminars. These are basic writing courses that all incoming freshmen must take. The course I created was called “Science and Nazism.” You can check out the syllabus here.

In 2010 I started tutoring SAT, math, chemistry, and writing full-time. The videos and site came a year later, and I’ve been working on this project ever since!

What did you get on your SAT/ACT?

I took the “Old SAT” in 2001 when there were only two sections – Math and Verbal – and a perfect score was 1600. The one and only time I took the test – with no preparation whatsoever – I was lucky enough to score a 1410 (710M, 700V). That was good enough for me, so I didn’t retake it.

When I joined Princeton Review, I went through a pretty rigorous training program to ensure we understood the material and could teach it effectively. After actually learning how the test works and how to beat it, I consistently scored 800s on practice SAT sections. This experience also paid off for my own education: I scored a 1540 (800M, 740V, 99th percentile) on the GRE, the SAT-equivalent for graduate admissions. I give much of the credit for that score to my prep training for the SAT. And today I regularly race through sections with ease.

I never took the ACT in high school, but I typically score 36 on all sections of real practice ACTs.

All this aside, what I scored then or how I do now doesn’t matter as much as the skill of my teaching and the quality of my videos. I hope that the huge number of free videos and prep materials provide the evidence you need to make that judgment.

What is your teaching philosophy?

Obviously the best way to get a sense of my teaching style is to watch my videos, but that won’t explain why I make the videos the way I do. I aim to create videos that are both to-the-point and thorough. It’s a balance that I constantly have to rethink and rework. If I don’t explain enough, the concepts and strategies will be hard to follow. If I explain too much, the video will drag and fail to highlight the most important points. In general, I lean more to keeping the video moving along rather than explaining every little detail. For example, I generally don’t  work through every step of an algebra calculation, assuming that you will a) do it yourself and b) understand what I left out and why. It makes more sense to keep the videos moving and answer questions later instead of boring 99% of the audience with information they know or could figure out easily.

My teaching philosophy with my online students starts with being open to learning myself! While I’m tutoring students, I learn about their strengths and weaknesses, what aspects of the tests give them the most trouble, and the most efficient and effective ways to overcome these hurdles. I am constantly probing and testing students to find their baseline, and I use what I learn to improve their learning experience and test results.

What are your interests outside of the SAT/ACT?

I’m fascinated by how humans learn to think and how we can improve our ability to solve problems. I’m super interested in education outside of the limited focus of the SAT & ACT: how to teach critical thinking, creativity, and reasoning skills not only to students in the K-12 system but also to adults who want to continually renew and expand their abilities, a necessary task in our dynamic, global, 21st century economy.

I also love reading widely, playing and watching ice hockey, and losing at Magic: The Gathering Arena.

How about your personal life?

I live in New Jersey with my wife Kaitlyn, my sons Robert III and Nathan, and my beagle Mr. Pibb.

Have any questions? Contact me here!

Leave a question or comment!

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89 comments on “About Us”

  1. Shivam Siddaiya

    I wanted to schedule an hour of private tutoring

  2. Travis Dadzie

    Hi ! I recently got a 930 on my PSAT. With my SAT being next month, do you think it’s possible to achieve a score of 1300 on my real one ? I bought all your SAT courses, so what should I do ? Is it feasible ?

    • Robert Schombs

      If you put in the time & consistency (1.5 hrs per day average) over the next month, I do think you can make big gains. I can’t call your exact score, but boosting at least 150-200 points seems possible, if not more. But it all comes down to that consistency & effort.

  3. Irina zeltser

    Hello, my name is Irina and I am looking for a math tutor for my son Ryan in 10 grade. He’s struggling with math since the beginning. We had excellent tutor who would raise his grades from 50 to upper 90
    But he is not available anymore. Please let me know if you can help us.

  4. get

    i am an international student ,i have planned to take SAT on may and i got 3 months to prepare .is there any way that you can tell me to get 1500+ actually on my practice tests i got 1350+

    • Robert Schombs

      How to go from 1350 to 1500+ is not something that can be easily answered in a quick comment — in fact, how to do that (test by test, question by question) is covered in my videos & resources, so check those out for a detailed answer to your question!

  5. Muhammad Ikram

    Hi Rob! I am currently a junior in High School and I was wondering if I could get some help on the Verbal aspect of the SAT/ACT. I am scoring around 1500 currently with an 800 on the math section and a 680-700 in Verbal. I really want that score to go up and a friend of mine said that you really helped them out! I specifically need help with Old English and I was wondering if I could get some tips and pointers on how to properly tackle those specific passages. If I could get some pointers for those passages specifically, that would be great! Thanks a lot!

    • Robert Schombs

      Hi there — I don’t currently have anything written up & easy to share, re: History passages (though that’s something I intend on doing). The best way to tackle this would be to set up a one-on-one session (probably can be completed in 1-2 sessions) to discuss this further. More details here:


      If you’re interested, let me know!

  6. Keyan Li

    Hi Rob, I’m a student of yours in the past (2016-2017) . Lessons with you have been very helpful. I’m currently a 3rd year Chemistry major at UC Davis and hoping to go to grad school, I’m just wondering by any chance if you teach GRE verbal , or if you have any recommendations? Thanks a lot!

  7. Srini Ravuri

    Looking for some guidance for my daughter for sat English

  8. Jesutofunmi Anna Olokede

    hi, i got 1060 for the sat i took in may. I had 6 months to study, however i was lazy but beign a lst minute person i studied qite hard when the test was close, i though i had mastered all the techniques and was suprised to see such marks. i have no idea of what to start from and how to succed. MY goal is 1600, i know its crazy but its important. ur help will be deeply appreciated.

  9. saloni

    I got a 1020 on the March 2019 SAT (510 math and 510 Reading&Writing). I want to get a 1300 for the next one I take which is in June. Can you please provide some ways that I can improve in all of the sections?

  10. Anonymous

    Hello Rob,
    I recently took the ACT and got a 26 on it, which is lower than what I usually get when I do my own practices (29-30). I might have just gotten stressed. My scores were 25 English, 28 Math, 27 Reading, 23 Science, and 8 Writing. How do you think I should study? I’m going to be taking the ACT again in June, so I have 2 full months left to study.

    Thank you.

  11. Anonymous

    Hi Robert!
    First of all, I would like to give you a huge thank you! Your SAT grammar course helped me improve my grammar section from getting around 12 wrong to only getting around 2 wrong. You have helped me so much and I want to thank you. Second, I recently took the SAT and there was this one question that bothered me and was wondering if you could help me figure out the correct answer. Here it is:
    Scientists have long believed that dogs can live for longer periods of time.
    Scientists long believed that dogs can live for longer periods of time.
    Which is correct (the other two choices were wrong 100%)? I personally picked the second one because it was more concise and for some reason sounded more correct.

    • Robert Schombs

      Thanks for the kind words!

      It depends on the context — the main difference between these sentence is tense. “have long believed” is present tense. “long believed” is simple past. So we’d have to see the sentences around it. If the rest of the paragraph is present/past, that will tell you.

  12. zhen

    i am going into 11th grade. i wonder when is too late to take sat, so i have time to apply for college.

    • Robert Schombs

      Usually the last chance to take the SAT is October or November of fall in senior year, though I recommend taking your first one well before then, in most cases March of junior year.

  13. Ishika Maheshwari

    Currently I am a junior in high school . I started to prepare for the SAT summer of 2017 , it was clearly not a set routine I had. Once school started in September 2017 I totally lost the complete thought of SAT. I have been trying to get back to the routine since January 2018, and it has been a huge struggle for me. And just to say I am not a high AP, honors, or academic student. I am at the basics ever since I started school in Kindergarten.
    So I really need some helpful tips to get it done . Because this coming fall I will be a senior and will be starting with those college apps and I need SAT scores. And I need them to be great . Because my parents are expecting high of me and they are very worried too.
    Please contact me back on my email . Thank you so much ! Looking forward to hear back from you soon 🙂

  14. Michael Theriault

    Interested in you working with my son via Skype or internet. Harrison has watched a number of your videos and I would like an expert like yourself to assess his strengths and weaknesses
    Do you have an opening.


  15. Amolak Plaha

    I recently took my second sat and got a lower score on it. I don’t understand what went wrong in my preparation but I really need your help!

  16. Min Hein

    Hi Rob
    I tried sending my ACT essay to your email  rob@reasonprep.com to be graded, but it said that the email is invalid. Can you please help me? Where else can I send the essay?

  17. Beyza Caglar

    Hi Rob! Could I please have your email? I tried sending you a message, but I think it didn’t send because the loading sign didn’t stop.

  18. Akshay tiw

    Hello Rob your fb group is amazing , but can you make one on Google plus .



    • Robert Schombs

      You’ve got plenty of time, that’s the good news! Most students do the best work on the ACT in 11th & 12th grades.

      Your best option at this point is to work with my ACT courses, more info here:


      Once your daughter gets closer to 11th grade, then tutoring might be helpful, but for now just working with the video courses should be a good start.

  20. Brad

    I know the material but I’m running out of time. When I do it on my own I get great scores but when I actually take it I get scores 6 points below. Any suggestions?

  21. Anikait Singh

    For the free ACT English PREP, Would you have any resources where we can practice what we have learned.

    Anikait Singh

  22. mohamed

    sorry, but you could tell us when you will finish the new sat course for writing

  23. Joel

    Hi! Are you still working on the articles for “How to Achieve from 21-36 in math?”

  24. Avneet

    you’re amazing!

  25. Anghel De Las Casas

    Rob I studied since late January to take the March sat but I only got a 1710 I’m planning to take it again in June I have about two months to study for it do u think ii have enough time to raise my grade to a 2100 or above

    • Rob

      It’s possible, but it all depends on the quality of practice in addition to the quantity. You’ll want to make sure to study consistently – an hour or so every day will make much more of a difference then cramming occasionally (doing 5 hours on a weekend or something like that). You’ll also want to spend time reviewing all of your work carefully – just doing tons of practice sections without proper review or analysis will just reinforce bad habits. Feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss this further!

  26. Anah Lewi

    Hello Rob,
    I am really want to enroll and become a member, but my parents want to be sure your site is credible. Is there anything you can do?

    • Rob

      Feel free to contact me directly by e-mail and I can answer any questions you might have – and if we need to chat by phone or Skype to answer those questions, we can! I also recommend showing them my Youtube channel & the comments from other members & buyers on my site. I guess that’s the best I can do to prove my authenticity 🙂

  27. Allison

    Hi Mr. Rob!
    You helped me on another thread design an SAT prep schedule, and I just wanted to thank you. I really admire your willingness to help us students succeed. I am definitely going to follow your advice!

  28. XinyiGuan

    Maybe I will take one GRE test at the end of this year or maybe next year.

  29. Asfand Yar

    Hey! Will the SAT Chem help me for AP Chem?

    • Rob

      Not directly – there is some overlap, but AP Chem goes into more detail on the topics that SAT Chem only touches on (especially equilibrium, acids & bases, and reaction rates).

  30. Ting

    Hi Rob so I take the sat practice test from the official sat book An I got 1022 without the essays, now how should I study in order to get 2000+? I am taking the sat test in May

  31. XinyiGuan

    hi Rob!

    Will you do the GRE prep in the future?

  32. R

    Hi Rob,

    I am in 9th grade and would like to improve my analysis essay writing in English. Would you be willing to critic my writing and help improve it to make it an A+ writing?


  33. Manasvini

    What was the lowest and highest point increase in any of your students on the SAT? Put another way, what was the best and worst scores of your students? And the average point increase?

    • Rob

      Very sorry for the late reply! I just noticed this question now (5 months later!).

      I’ve had students all throughout the scoring range. Some students have started around 1200, others starting in the 2000s. I’ve had students go from 1400 to 1900 and other students go from 1900 to 2200+. While my materials & instruction can take some credit for these gains, there are other factors that lead to their success as well.

      However, other students don’t improve much or at all, and there are a lot of reasons for that as well. Sometimes I could have done a better job reaching the student effectively, so I learn from my own mistakes; other times the student didn’t have the commitment to improve and work hard, and no amount of tutoring will help that situation!

      I don’t calculate averages because the number is essentially meaningless and pretty much only useful for marketing purposes. A 100 point increase may not sound like a lot, for example, but it’s actually a significant jump if you’re moving from 2000 to 2100 compared to 1500 to 1600. No student is “typical,” so I don’t aggregate them in that fashion 🙂 I let the quality of my video materials and instruction, as well as the feedback from students, guide my practice.

  34. Hi

    Hi Rob, this is the first time that I will take the sat, my goal is 2000+ and I am going to take it in May, I know that I have time but I really need a high score for the university that I want to get in and I don’t know from where to start studying it, I have like a first in the Cambridge exams.

    • Rob

      It’s great that you’re starting early!

      I suggest going here: https://reasonprep.com/how-to-achieve-from-1500-to-2400/

      And downloading the Study Guide for 2000, 2100, and 2200. Use this to prepare for each section.

      Other tips:
      1) study consistently – do a little (1 hr or so) every day instead of cramming intermittently
      2) make sure you review every question you do to make sure that you understand the concept & strategy to answer it.
      3) Only use real practice SATs – no third party materials (e.g. Kaplan, Princeton Review)

  35. Ganbat

    Hi Rob,
    I am outside of States, and I’m willing to enroll your online tutoring, but do NOT know how to pay the $99 for reasonPrep.I have a credit card, not PayPal !

    • Rob

      You don’t have to use Paypal – the credit card will work just fine! Click on the “Add to Cart” button on the enroll page. You’ll then be provided with an option to pay with credit card without a Paypal account. Paypal will handle the payment processing, and you don’t actually need to have an account with them! There’s a video on the enroll page that shows this payment process if you have any questions, and feel free to contact me if you have any other concerns!

  36. linaadam

    hey Rob
    when i took the SAT test for the first time my score wasnt good at all my score was 1142 so can u help me by improving my score by telling me what to do, my coming test is in october and i really need your help.

  37. DJ


    This is DJ from S. Korea.

    I found your sample videos helping me a lot!

    If I become a member and pay 97 dollars?(correct me if I’m wrong). for how long can I have an access to all these videos?

    Thank you!

    • Rob

      If you join the Members Area, you’ll have access to the videos for an unlimited period! Pay the one-time fee and you’ll get access to the Members Area content (and any updates) forever.

  38. Brandon

    Rob , I’m currently a junior and was wondering if you tudor in person. I live in Staten island , NY.Please email me with further information whether you tudor in person or not.I have trouble focusing alone this is why i ask.

  39. Kush shah

    i did a practice SAT test and i got a 630 in math, 390 in C.R and a 51 in writing.

    plz email me as soon as possible on what i should do in order to do better on the SAT and what steps should i take in order to get a perfect score.

    also when i receive your email i will send you an essay to check.

    thank you.

  40. JennaBridgers

    Rob, random question, but when you have a raw score of 55.5, for instance, is it rounded up to 56? put another way, if I miss 2 questions and thus have .5 deducted, am I not penalized because they will still round up? I hope this makes sense!

    • Rob

      It definitely makes sense, and you are right! Your 55.5 would round up to 56. In fact, this means there are really only certain thresholds where getting wrongs affects your score negatively (beyond not getting the question right already, of course).

      0 wrong = -0
      1 wrong = -1/4, rounds to 0
      2 wrong = -1/2, rounds to 0
      3 WRONG = -3/4, rounds to -1 (here you lose your first point)
      4 wrong = -1
      5 wrong = -1 1/4, rounds to -1
      6 wrong = -1 1/2, rounds to -1
      7 WRONG = -1 3/4, rounds to -2 (here you lose another point)

      and so on.

      Thus, you lose that extra point when you hit -3, -7, -11, etc. In other words:

      0-2 wrong (-0)
      3-6 wrong (-1)
      7-10 wrong (-2)
      11-14 wrong (-3)

      This is why I believe that the -1/4 penalty isn’t as damaging as students think. If you are aggressive and smart with your guessing and get two extra questions right as a result, you’ll often more than wipe out any points you’d lose as a result of guessing incorrectly.

  41. wilma

    need assistance please for daughter 11th grade in California. Please email details to reach you by phone. thanks much.

  42. qussay

    Thanks a lot, really appreciate it. i am planning to become a member and was wondering, could i send you my score report and then tell me what i need most help in exactly ? Most appreciated !!

  43. Hamza Ahmad

    How to enroll for prep from Pakistan as my country is not listed in the payment process.

  44. Joel A

    Hi Rob,
    Fantastic Website!, It is going to make all the difference in the word to us.I have a Jr and Sr in HS. My Senior has taken the SAT twice. On the math and verbal he scored an 1170 then a 1150. He has taken the ACT once and scored a 24.. He will be taking the SAT again on OCT 5.and he needs a much higher SAT to compete for the scholarship. We plan to sign him up as a member tomorrow. Once again, thanks for all the thoughtful organization of all the material.

    • Rob

      Thanks for the kind words. When you sign up I can take a look at your son’s most recent score reports and give him some targeted advice about what topics to focus on over the next month.

  45. Alex

    Let’s hypothetically say I learn everything perfectly from your courses, will I get a 2000+?

    • Rob

      While I can’t make guarantees, if you do learn all the content and how to apply it on the SAT, a 2000+ would be certainly within reach!

  46. Bhagwat Patel

    How long membership good for? Forever? My daughter will be starting 9th grade and need to use your website for next three years.

    • Rob

      Yes, you’ll get a lifetime memberships, so your daughter will be able to use the site for as long as she needs!