Schedule for ACT Crash Course:
Lesson 1: Test Basics, ACT Reading Strategies
Lesson 2: ACT Reading Question Types
Lesson 3: Difficult ACT Reading Passages
Lesson 4: Punctuation and Sentence Structure Errors (Basics, Commas, Apostrophes, Run-Ons)
Lesson 5: Grammar Errors (Verb, Pronoun, Modifier, Comparison, Coordination)
Lesson 6: Rhetorical Skills (Strategy, Organization, Style) and Essay
ACT English/Reading Basics: Scored out of 36
Reading Section: (35 minutes) 40 Questions
English Section: (45 Minutes) 75 Questions
Sentence Structure 24%
Rhetorical Strategy 16%
Rhetorical Organization 15%
Rhetorical Style 16%
Writing Section: (30 minutes) 1 essay prompt Scored out of 12 and combined with English score
1 point given for each...
It's the fall season, which means students are back in school! Don't let the rush of new classes and uniting with friends stop you from preparing for upcoming college entrance exams. Seniors, this is your last chance to improve your scores if you want to start college next fall, and, Juniors, get a jump start on some awesome scores with test prep tutoring and at-home practice tests.
Helpful Hint: Set aside 10 - 15 minutes a day for SAT and ACT words and definition quizzes -- it will pay off in a big way!
I remember how nervous I was during every major test in my life. The SAT, AP Tests before undergraduate school. Then there was the dreaded GRE required for admission to graduate school.
Fast forward: my master's degree test involved a full day of writing (with no notes or books). My doctoral exams involved a full day of writing, three times a week for one week (also with no notes or books). Talk about torture! And then there was the faculty review ... whew!
But you know what? I needn't have been nervous and neither should you, because "testing" begins the minute you walk into the classroom door. If you pay attention in class, do your homework, stay focused (you can always "play" later), take good care of your mind and body -- exercise a little to relieve stress and stay healthy -- and create a peaceful environment in which to study a little bit every day during the school week, you should be able to retain information and write to the best of your...
Hey folks, I am sure many of you have plans of going to college or finishing up that last hectic year of school. Well with these endeavors comes not only tests and quizzes created by books and your professors/teachers, but you also have to take nation and statewide test in order to pass and/or qualify for a position in a higher learning institute. Such tests include the SAT, ACT, MCAT, etc. What you want to remember about taking these tests is that these tests are testing you ability to locate small mistakes and easy to miss information. They also want you to understand this material. You have to be prepared for these easy to miss situations. For example, I am sure you all have done a math question, felt like you did it perfectly correct only to find out that you actually got it incorrect. Furthermore, the answer you got appeared as one of the answer choices! Or you were on the right track to answering correctly, but made a simple...
Aaah...the the most feared, loathed, avoided tests of the century: the PSAT, SAT, and ACT.
I am here to tell you that you should not let these tests overpower you. A bad first score is not enough to tell your potential. You are capable of improving leaps and bounds, perhaps hundreds of points.
Take my younger brother, for example. He took the PSAT his freshman year with no prior exposure to the test and received a 153. He was not happy with his score, so I told him he would have to practice greatly to improve.
With my help tutoring him in math and writing, he was able to improve his SAT score to 1820 his sophmore year. That is a 290 point increase! Using the big blue SAT practice book, he took many practice tests to help him get comfortable with the test format. I went over the questions he got wrong, so he could learn from his mistakes and not make the same mistake the next time. The SAT Question of the Day was another helpful tool he used that was...
As the school year ramps up again, I wanted to put out a modified version of a Memo of Understanding
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memo_of_understanding for parents and students. It seems each year in the rush to get through the first weeks of school parents and students forget the basic first good steps and then the spiral downwards occurs and then the need for obtaining a tutor and then the ‘wish for promises’ from a tutor. Pay attention to your child’s folder or agenda book. A student is generally not able to self regulate until well into high school. Some people never quite figure it out. Be the best person you can be by helping your child check for due dates, completeness, work turned in on time. Not only will this help your child learn to create and regulate a schedule, it prevents the following types of conversations I always disliked as a teacher ("Can you just give my child one big assignment to make up for the D/F so they can pass"; "I am going to talk to...
The night before, collect:
plenty of sharpened #2 pencils
a small pencil sharpener (in case your pencils break during the exam)
a watch (you cannot rely on the proctor and there may not be a wall clock or it may be on the wall behind your seat)
your admission ticket
directions to the testing center
medicine (if necessary)
disposable earplugs (if you find the background noise of people coughing and fidgeting distracting)
It may be helpful to collect these items in a clear plastic (Ziploc) bag that you can grab and go in the morning. If you have to search for these items in the morning, you are likely to forget something or become frazzled.
Eat a substantial breakfast that will provide you with sufficient energy throughout the test...
After an absence due to the busiest part of the academic year, I am back in search of tutoring clients for the spring/summer. Before June 17, I will have hours available after school. As of June 17, my hours are much more flexible!
As the school year begins to wind down, I have noticed that many of the students I help have begun the journey of signing up for next years classes or, better yet, deciding where they will start the next chapter of their life in college. I began to reminisce on my Senior year of high school and how stressful that year was for me. It was so easy to become overwhelmed by all of the choices that (seemed to be) abruptly placed in front of me: what college should I go to? What should I major in? Should I choose a college close to home? Should I rush? Should I go to a college with all of my friends? Will I absolutely hate it?
I ended up choosing the wrong college and transferred twice until I finally ended up a college that I love! I say all of this to jump into the idea of NOT stressing about this time of year. Yes, I did say not to stress. College is a time of change. That change, no matter how terrifying it may seem, will take you on a wonderful journey that no one can plan for. If...
Do the terms "preposition," "verb," "article," and "modal verb" sometimes stump you? Typically, students are taught the word "preposition" in 1st grade. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that if I had seen that long word at the top of a worksheet in 1st grade, I would have skipped right over it, coding "preposition" as a long word that simply did not fit in my schema of the world.
Fast forward to middle, high school, and college, and I see that many native speakers often find one or more grammatical device or structure challenging. Grammar lessons learned in elementary school can easily slip from one's mind, leaving students to struggle when applying their skills to essay writing, earning them phrases such as "wrong modifier!" "run-on!" and "awkward!" splattered in red ink all over their graded assignments.
It is one thing to not remember rules of grammar correctly,...
IF I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice on how to be a better student, be more successful in school, life, etc, I would definitely tell myself that being involved in everything comes at a cost. It is better to find a few things that you like to do, do them well and often, than feeling stressed because there is so much on your plate at one time. Being a 'Jack of all Trades' it is natural for me to dip my toes in different waters- all at the same time, but that does not mean that I can give 100% to any of them at that time.
While I was able to get good grades (A- average) while in school, I was impressed by how much better I did- and felt about my work- the few times that I scaled back on my activities.
Another piece of advice that I wish that I could bestow upon my younger self would be to learn how to speak up in a group setting when someone is not fulfilling their part of an agreement. Now, this said, the best way to do this would be in a tactful manner-...
When interviewing a prospective tutor, parents should ask about the tutor's skills and experience, and find out if the tutor truly enjoys teaching. When the tutor feels enthusiastic about the subject, and communicates well, the student has an opportunity to learn to enjoy the subject too.
I recommend for parents to observe the first lesson to see the tutor's skills in action, and watch/listen carefully to future lessons when possible, to make sure the tutor has an encouraging, supportive attitude at all times. (Tutors should welcome and respond positively to the child's questions, and NEVER make the child feel "stupid," no matter what.) It is most important to have a safe and quiet place for studying, without distractions. I like to find a quiet table at a library, and work with students there. I welcome suggestions from parents, and I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching skills.
I would like to share with you, potential and current students, success stories of just a few of my Wyzant test prep students. As you can see, whether you start below or above the average exam score, these stats prove that "where there is a will, there's a way!" Way to go, Students!!
"A1" - ACT prep (18 hrs tutoring)
ACT composite increased from 19 to 28 (47%), up 17 points (189%) in English!
"A2" - ACT prep (20 hrs tutoring)
ACT composite increased from 27 to 30 (47%), up 4 points (15%) in English and 4 points (15%) in Science!
"F" - ACT prep (8 hrs tutoring)
ACT composite increased from 28 to 35 (25%), up 12 points (52%) in English!
"H" - ACT prep (10 hrs tutoring)
ACT composite increased from 22 to 28 (27%), up 12 points (60%) in Science!
"M1" - ACT prep (10 hrs tutoring)
ACT composite increased from 18 to 25 (39%), up 9 points (56%) in Math!
"M2" - ACT prep (8 hrs tutoring)
So, you have this big test coming up, it could be the ACT, SAT, MAP, End of Course Exams, or just a final and you are getting a little freaked out. Well, don't be. Here are some tips and tricks to taking a multiple choice test that work for any subject. Just realize that these tips and trick are not hard and fast rules, but just tips and tricks.
Multiple Choice Test Taking Tips:
- Read the question before you look at the answer.
- Come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible answers, this way the choices given on the test won't throw you off or trick you.
- Eliminate answers you know aren't right.
- Read all the choices before choosing your answer.
- If there is no guessing penalty, always take an educated guess and select an answer.
- Don't keep on changing your answer; usually your first choice is the right one, unless you misread the question.
- In "All of the above" and "None of the above" choices, if you...
In working with students of various ages to improve writing skills, I have noticed three major things (small things, I might add), that make a HUGE different in writing: (1) creating a solid thesis statement, (2) utilizing various transitional phrases between thoughts and paragraphs, and (3) always bringing the reader/audience back to your main point, or thesis.
See the paragraph above? I used a solid thesis statement so my audience would easily be able to follow the organization of the paragraphs to follow. In order to create a strong thesis statement, one might ask, "What am I trying to accomplish in this writing? What is it that I want the reader to understand about the topic? What short phrase or thought can sum up the bulk of what I want to get across to the reader?" Answering these questions will lead you to the strong thesis you want to create, provide good structure and organization, and ultimately, improve your writing.
In addition to creating a strong thesis,...
It's the time of year when most high school students begin to think about applying to college! Well, probably after Christmas, but the time is close. No doubt though, part of your plans include taking or retaking the ACT. While there are a lot of study items released online and in a plethora of books, much needed one-on-one tutoring can make a huge difference in your understanding of concepts versus memorizing random grammar rules or 'tricks'.
Grammar, although not the most glamorous subject, is not as bad as you might think. There are several concepts that are tested on ACT, and after a few hours of preparation you can master them easily!
No matter what your goals for the test may be, sharpening your grammar and reading skills is essential to your success!
Worried about reaching your target for the ACT? Contact me today and schedule a session. I will be happy to help you achieve your goals!
Many people that excel in math and science do not do as well in writing and vice versa. My experience is that following a specific formula, typical to mathematical formulas and equations, can assist students in creating a great essay for standardized testing purposes.
Just as a chef would utilize a specific recipe for a delectable dessert, writers must have a writing recipe, or formula, to create a satisfying essay. In the classroom setting, I begin my lesson by showing my students an actual recipe that I use, including measurements and directions. Next, I show them the writing recipe/formula. It looks as follows:
Essay Writing Recipe
1 catchy starter sentence to get your audience’s attention
1 excellent thesis statement identifying specific supporting details
3 strong body paragraphs with elaborate information regarding thesis (above)
1 summarizing conclusion paragraph outlining supporting details
1 re-statement of thesis
*season with transitional...
Q. Where will we meet for tutoring?
A. We will try to find a suitable place that is convenient for both of us. Though I do travel to meet you, time and distance are important factors in making this work feasible and profitable for me, so I try to find locations that minimize my travel time, while also providing convenience to you.
Q. How will we decide on a time to meet?
A. We will try to find a suitable time that is convenient for both of us.
Q. When are you available to tutor?
A. It varies from week to week, but my general availability begins at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and ends at 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at 3:00 pm Saturday. Please contact me for my current availability.
Q. How long will each session be?
A. The session length can vary, depending on the subject, the student, and the schedule. Unless otherwise agreed, the session times will be two (2) hours each.
Q. Why do you recommend two (2) hours per session?
Which test to take or if he should take both tests is determined by what colleges he is interested in. Generally even the top schools in the Midwest are looking for high ACT scores, and writing the essay is a plus. The big schools on the coasts generally want the SAT. (Its essay is not optional.)
However, to maximize your investment you MUST investigate each individual school's expectations of its incoming freshman class. If both tests are indicated on the basis of what I've just said, then my counsel is to prep and sit for the SAT first, then the ACT.
You may even want to schedule one of each test before investing in paid test prep. It's enormously helpful to me to have that baseline already drawn.
On test dates occurring in December, April, and June, it's even possible to obtain a copy of the exact test and your students' answers. This request is called Test Information Release (TIR). You can request a TIR at the time that you register for the...
The above-referenced subjects include different-aged PreK-College student needs I have experienced at the beginning of each school year since Fall 2010, when I first began tutoring in earnest via WyzAnt, instead of substituting daily for lesser pay in 18 area elementaries in our school district. I am not including higher math (Grade 7 and above) in my math tutoring experience. I also have helped adults with ESL/ESOL, general and academic reading/writing/comprehension/test preparation as well as public speaking for different-sized audiences, sometimes at-the-last-minute before "the big presentation day".