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... read more
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I assume you already know these two exams, so how to pick which one to take? The Best Option (only apply to those who still have a lot of time to prep for the test ex. Freshmen, Sophomore, or Junior who has nothing else to do): Take both test. Do the practice tests (only the ones that are very close to real one) and see which one you score higher. And then, choose the one that you scored higher! Otherwise SAT -- if you are more into English ACT-- if you are more comfortable with math and science In addition, because SAT is more of a "reasoning" test that tests your ability, it is more tricky to most students. And for ACT, it is more a straight forward test that test you on certain required topics. But in conclusion, you have to study for it before you take the actual exam. You have no idea how many students mess with these serious exams and ruin their chances of getting into dream colleges. If... read more
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... read more
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... read more
I'd like to rant, if I could, about the test prep industry, specifically as it relates to the SAT and the ACT. THEY LIE. They give their students "practice tests" that aren't real practice tests! They make up their own "SAT" or "ACT" and train their kids on that and it makes me so mad, because they have no idea how to model such a test! It's like training someone how to spike a volleyball and then telling them that they're going to do great on their basketball game on Saturday. LIES, I TELL YOU!! And THEN, they tell you that all you need to do in order to get ready for the test is study. Study math. Study grammar. Study vocab. That is nonsense. These kids also need to learn how to wake up at 7:00 in the morning and sit down for a 4-hour test on a Saturday after they couldn't sleep at night because they were so nervous. They need to know what to expect when they get to the test center; they need to know exactly what the directions say so that... read more
Be Prepared! The night before, collect: plenty of sharpened #2 pencils an eraser 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 calculator your admission ticket your identification directions to the testing center tissues medicine (if necessary) disposable earplugs (if you find the background noise of people coughing and fidgeting distracting) (https://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-test-day-checklist) (http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/taking/) 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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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.
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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? A.... read more
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... read more
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".
The best way to learn and study for tests is to use technology. Websites like StudyIsland give you a chance to run through subject matter sample questions, at 10 or 15 or 20 at a time. Studies show that repeated scores averaging say 80%, result in a most probable 70% on the actual quiz, test, exam taken. The good news is you can practice online until you have command of the topic. As your average goes up so does your probable quiz, test, exam score go up. The bad news is that it costs to use Websites like StudyIsland. As a tutor I have my own access which I will let you use while I am tutoring you.
In their book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney share an amazing amount of information about willpower, or self-control. One interesting point they make is that a number of studies have shown two particular lessons concerning human willpower: “1. You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. 2. You use the same stock of willpower for all manner of tasks.” So your supply of willpower is fixed and is depleted by any number of activities – studying, exercising, dieting, being patient with others. What conclusions can we draw from this as it relates to studying and test preparation? First of all, if you are involved with a rigorous test prep program, do not also attempt to start a new sport, learn a new language, and begin writing a novel all at the same time! When people make big changes in their lives or undertake new projects, their efforts are undermined when they try to make... read more