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PRAXIS Preparation

I am currently tutoring three students for PRAXIS I test.  Although it can be challenging to help students prepare for an exam while they are enrolled full time and have many other teaching certification to-do's to tackle, PRAXIS I prep should not be discounted.  When I first meet with my students, I encourage them to purchase the ETS Praxis book to use during our lessons.  It can be procured for a reasonable price online, and I tell them it is the best resource to give you insight into real test questions since it is published by the makers of the PRAXIS!     The most important part of PRAXIS I prep is the study calendar.  First, I use Microsoft Office to develop a daily study calendar for the students from the present time until the day they take their exam.  Each day, I pencil in a combination of a few practice questions, vocabulary building, news article review, practice test simulation, etc.  I coach them in downloading... read more

Reading Tip!

Hi there! This is my first blog post! I thought I would test this out before I post regularly... It comes with the tutor profile, so why not?! I just want to give my number one piece of advice which has been true for every standardized test I have come across, no matter what grade level. I wish I had known this or understood this concept when I was growing up - I was always a good student, but maybe I would've been better! Here is the scenario. You're faced with this gigantic passage and you see that it's something incredibly boring. Immediately, your brain shuts off as you attempt to crawl your way to the end of it. You also feel the pressure of the clock, so instead of reading the passage, you kind of end up skimming over it. Then there are all these questions and you have no idea where to begin because you didn't absorb a single thing you read, so in a panic, you start guessing, even if those guesses mean penalties (on certain tests). Sound like you? Here is... read more

Preparing for Test Day: Practice Test Tips

One way you can be very well prepared to tackle your exam is by taking practice tests. You probably already knew this. However, here is something you might not have known. The best way to do the practice tests is to replicate real testing conditions as much as possible. In other words, wherever you take a practice test, try to make that space feel like the testing environment. This is very much the same philosophy as the "train as you fight" theory used by the military. it does them no good to practice their combat techniques in ideal conditions because they will not have those ideal conditions when they have to implement the techniques. In the same way, taking long breaks and doing only one section per day will not prepare you for the real testing environment. Here are some tips to help you create your own test-taking environment at home: *Get your parents to assist by planning with them when you need your home to be quiet. Make sure siblings are all in agreement... read more

Writing for the standardized test

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

Knowing the equation can solve your standardized writing woes

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

What to Expect From Tutoring Sessions

Ever wonder what happens during tutoring sessions? If you’ve never hired a tutor, you may not know what tutors can do to help. This article will take some of the fear out of the tutor hiring process by helping you understand what you should and should not expect from tutoring sessions. What Tutors Can Do. In a previous article, I listed several basic things tutors should do (see my article titled “Are you getting your money’s worth from tutoring?” from November 5, 2012). Some examples are gather student’s academic background information and have a long – term plan with goals for their students. But, what services can tutors provide? How much is “too much to ask”? The short answer is that tutors can help students, professionals, and military candidates learn knowledge and skills they do not have. However, this definition includes many possibilities. Will tutors help my child with their homework? Will they also teach or re-teach material they should have learned... read more

Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth From Your Tutor?

Families hire tutors for a variety of reasons. In general, though, tutors help students and professionals learn some skill or information. So, how do you know whether you are getting your money’s worth from tutoring? Here are five areas you can use to grade your tutor. 1. Communication. Tutors should communicate a lot! Tutors should conduct a background interview before starting lessons. They should gather information about student strengths and weaknesses, academic background, learning styles, and schedule information at a minimum. You can feel confident that they know what they’re doing if they do this. They understand that you need to know their students before teaching them anything. They may also use the information to write a learning plan listing several long – term goals for the student. Tutors should also talk with parents or adult students after each lesson. They should meet with parents at the end of the session to summarize student progress and preview... read more

Top 3 Study Habits

A student, young or older, must have organization skills in order to stay on track. Color coding notebooks or dividers can help with organization. Every week or so a student needs or reorganize his/her information. Secondly, use review sheets from teachers to study what he/she wants you to know. Look in your text, if you have one, or go to the teacher's web site and get the information off of the web. Write, rewrite, and have a member of your family or a friend to verbally ask you questions and see if you know the materials. The questions you did not remember lets him/her to review the material some more. Thirdly, always use other reference material, extra credit worksheets, ask for help if you do not understand. It is very hard to pass a quiz or test if a student does not understand the material. If a student is not close with a teacher, he/her might want to ask another teacher for help. A student must dedicate the time to study in hopefully in a quiet place.

Grown-ups, and why they're cool.

I lovvvve tutoring adults. In some ways, this surprised me. I'd taught high school English for six years before beginning work on my Ph.D., and I absolutely adored my high school students. I'm still close with many of them and attend their college graduation parties, weddings, and baby showers (where I promptly feel very old). It's only natural, then, that I get really excited when a new high school student signs up for tutoring. Since I began working at WyzAnt, though, I've had many adult students - and man, they are awesome. Adult students come to me with very clear goals. They've examined their lives and have decided to make a change. They make serious sacrifices to come to tutoring. They take notes, listen attentively, and do as much of the homework I assign as they possibly can. They bring awesome questions to our tutoring sessions. They learn as if they're sitting on a mine that will explode if they stop. There's nothing like the commitment of someone who has decided... read more

Because No One Wants to Study.

I get it. We're all busy, and when we're not busy, we don't want to use our downtime to study. Over the years of my own learning, I've found that the hardest step is just getting myself to sit down and work sometimes - I'd rather do a thousand other things. But studying doesn't have to be time-consuming. In fact, you can do it without taking time away from whatever else you have to do. Although "real" learning isn't memorization, we do actually have to memorize sometimes: vocab words, formulas, measurement conversions, or special right triangles. But sitting down for a long study session of these sounds about as exciting as cleaning public toilets. Fear not. I have three solutions that I share with all of my students. First, find your downtime. When are you doing a menial task that doesn't use any brainpower? Driving, washing dishes, vacuuming, getting ready in the morning - during all of these activities, my hands are busy, but my brain isn't. (Don't worry... read more

The Secret Life of a Tutor

Sundays are days to be lazy, to hang out with friends, to read books or swim in pools or play outside. Today is an exceptionally hot Sunday in early June. Since I got up, I've been holed up in my home office, working on tutoring. Even though I've spent the past nine or so hours (with breaks for shrimp tacos, diet Coke, and ice cream) working, I haven't actually had any students today. I realized that not many people are aware of the "behind the scenes" of tutoring (well, at least of good tutoring), and it's gotten me to think a bit about the concept of having an "hourly rate." Realizing that mine is one of the higher rates on WyzAnt, I thought I'd share a bit of the "secret life of a (good) tutor," so you might have a better idea of what you're getting for your money. Although I work very hard during our tutoring sessions to make them as productive and educational as possible, it's everything I do when you aren't around that helps me do that... read more

Calling all students

I'm new to this site and can't wait to help you. Got questions? I got answers! Whether you need some simple study skills and techniques or if you have very specific problems in a subject, I can help. Let me show you how all these subjects work together and are not isolated disciplines that you're never going to use. I'll show you the relevance of each subject and how they're all integrated. Learning is so much fun when you understand why you need to know.

A Success Story

I wanted to take a moment to share a recent "success story". Recently, a Student contacted me because he needed to pass a formal standardized exam, known as the "Praxis I". The Praxis tests are used by State Governments and Colleges of Education to ensure they bring only quality students into their programs to be trained as educators. My Student had unfortunately previously failed all 3 components of the Praxis test, and was now "under the gun", since a second failing score would have resulted in his expulsion from his School. In my home State, students must achieve a combined Praxis I Score of at least 522 to be eligible for School. The passing score for the Reading test is 176, the Writing test 173, and the Math test 173. The minimum score on each test is 150, and the maximum score is 190. It should be noted that this is a fairly difficult exam series; the median scores (175-179) are barely above the minimum passing scores (173-176). My... read more

Laura's Tutoring Blog

I am pleased to announce that I have joined the WyzAnt tutoring team! What a wonderful way to connect students with tutors. Today is my first day and I do not yet have any students. So, come and get your time slots before my schedule is full ... From Preschool to College (and beyond), I can supply your tutoring needs. Whether you need a refresher course for review, a crash course for a test, weekly help with homework, or just need to learn a new subject ... I can help! So, contact me, and "Let's get some work done!" -Laura

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