Standardized tests are a challenge for gifted students as well as just the normal student. The first thing to reassure yourself: They have nothing to do with how smart you are, just how well you take a test. Even the Law SAT, which I had to take in two different states, was silliness itself with multiple choice law questions. (Wouldn't that make an interesting crime show!) So I work from 1st-hand experience, as well as a long time teaching, to set timelines, goals, practice exams, and reviews, so that the week of the exam there is no anxiety, and you do your best because you are confident and not flustered.
Worrying about scores/grades only leads to fear and to 'seizing up'. My students get a plan, backwards from the day of the test to today. And my last student who took the exam again increased her score by 30 percent after 3 lessons. Remember: all of the reading questions are basically the same. The fun and challenge is to work them out, and then ace whatever comes your way.
Lucky me: I took two bar exams because I moved states (and passed both). In addition to my own experience, I have advised colleagues and friends on bar exam strategies. Also, I have taught bar exam reviews on taxation and on negotiable instruments. In addition, I taught law school courses in: legal writing and drafting, taxation, intellectual property, and appellate advocacy.
My JD is from an accredited law school; practice with a law firm in criminal and civil procedure, and actual criminal and civil trial work. Also clerked for circuit court. I have also taught at Hamline Law School.
Last year, I was voted a Member of the College of Teachers, which recognizes the top educators in the United Kingdom. I have been teaching K-6th students starting in the '80s, in piano performance. My love of teaching continued with expanding into: special challenges, reading and writing, general subjects, art, and even speaking to be understood. I wrote several plays and musicals, especially for challenged children. Most recently, I have been at the lead in introducing Open Education Resources to the world's poorest children, which provides free resources to schools around the world.
I have a BA with honors, and honors certificate from the University of Missouri. I also hold a JD and a post graduate degree in English at the University of Cambridge.
I taught and tutored throughout my career, including undergraduates at Cambridge (NOT Harvard; that's the 'new' Cambridge). I also taught persuasive, as well as creative and good old-fashioned essay writing.
My published writing includes arts reviews, satire, law reports and travel writing.
I've taught ESL/ESOL at the University of Cambridge to Japanese university students (male and female) to Russian employees of a British company, to general (all sorts of primary languages) classes and one on one. My skill with teaching opera singers other languages with vocal exercises, gives some fun to learning the tricky English sounds.
Grammar is the backbone of excellent communicating. With excellent grammar, your audience knows exactly what you are saying; without it, your audience stumbles on vagueness, ambiguity, and therefore your communication loses its effectiveness. And, despite some critics complaints, it is not inflexible. The language is always changing. The key is to understand all the rules so you can write what you intend, and intend what you write.
"Literature" is a broad category; once upon a time, it meant fiction. Now, everything from poems (I wrote my first poem at age four) to journalism (I've published reviews, articles and travel writing) to blogs are considered literature, and are up for grabs if you want to analyze and to appreciate writing. I've taught the best of the best, Shakespeare, at Cambridge University (UK), as well as the other great writers. Sound boring? I bet you dollars to doughnuts that you have used expressions from Shakespeare and did not even know it. Why not learn 'the source'?
To begin: The LSAT is a miserable test with ridiculous questions. That having been said, best to work with someone who has excelled at that and other standardized tests, and helped others to understand the 'tricks of the trade'. In addition, after surviving law school, I had to take two separate state bar exams, and passed both. As a law professor, I taught first year writing and reasoning. One of my tutees graduated first in her class. I rest my case.
From speeches for the mayor of St. Paul, to student essays to signage for Target (yes, someone has to proofread all those '40 percent off' signs), my beady little eyes have caught and corrected thousands of pieces of writing. I've even corrected spelling of a sign in a book shop! (I received a discount on my book). Raised by parents who insisted on the rigours of proper language, I feel confident I can help you overcome grammar, syntax, and, of course, spelling, issues. Oh, and if you are applying to a British company/college, I 'speak' British, too.
Once upon a time, 'reading' was limited to set of Great Books, and set texts. While many of those books are indeed 'great', reading now encompasses science fiction, biographies, video games, on-line, and texting, with its own special language. The challenge for anyone learning English is to get the basics down, and then to develop a strong vocabulary. English is a brilliant language because it absorbs new terms and new ideas every day. I was raised bi-lingual (French), and also have learned several other languages, so I appreciate the challenges and the rewards of learning any language.
The rigour and time limits of standard tests take a disciplined and level-headed approach to learn how to read/think in a way which brings the best benefit. Not only have I taken too many standard tests (including the law SAT), but I have had success teaching the process to students.
The SAT is a test of close reading and, therefore, it is a test of details. Do you know your rules on all the parts of speech? Do you have a clear idea of what 'matching number' and 'tense shift' are? I have worked with students to review, to understand, and to identify quickly and efficiently the answers to test questions. Also, I am available in summer as well as throughout the year for students taking the autumn test. In addition, with me, you will finally understand what all those rules mean, which will hold you in good stead at the university.
At University, my friends would telephone me to ask how to spell a word (before computer spell-checks, which are not always reliable). I have learned several languages, and taught students in their own language and in English as a second language. I consider spelling a starting point for expanding vocabulary and improving grammar, which leads to excellent writing.
I have been an actor in music and dramatic productions in high school and university, as well as having my own works performed. At Cambridge University, I taught a course, Shakespeare in Performance. For seven years, I was the senior theatre critic for WCAL (NPR) radio, and also wrote reviews for magazines and newspapers.
Reading, writing, speaking, and listening at a very high level in English is how I speak, and how I succeed in teaching others. As a multi-linguist, I empathize with the frustrations of learning the subtleties of a foreign language and bring all my experience teaching both American and British English to all my students.
I still remember the first word I could recognize: "at"! And, that excitement continues today, as I learn new words (I speak 5 languages) and teach new words to students from 5 to 55. I greatly believe you have to make friends with your dictionary, and you have to keep a notepad of words not recognized. Then, at lessons, we zip right through them. Several of my students, who once thought of words as 'boring', are competing in spelling bees. And loving it!
I am a published writer of satire, travel writing, law (intellectual property), and years of arts reviews, both written and on air for National Public Radio. I have taught Legal Writing to first-year law students, and edited my Alma Mater's alumni magazine.