Did you take the SAT on Saturday? Are you freaking out about how confusing it was, and feeling like you had no idea what you were doing? Never fear; many people take the SAT's multiple times, and if you get a little tutoring help in between (from yours truly) you can radically improve your score on the second go-around. Here's the remaining test dates for the 2013-2014 school year: November 2 December 7 January 25 March 8 May 3 June 7 I recommend you start studying for the SAT at least one month in advance, longer if you plan on going it without a tutor. If you'd like to work with me for the November or December test cycle, send me an email ASAP. The sooner we can get to work, the higher your scores will be!
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Here is an overview of my 5 BEST TIPS for realizing your highest potential on the SAT: Read and Write Daily- Do not read just fluffy stuff from internet sites or think that your emails constitute all the daily writing you need (join a writer's group and keep a journal). Most importantly, read thoughtful, intelligent articles from reputable sources (like the Wall Street Journal) on a daily basis on topics that stimulate your thinking and challenge your vocabulary. This is the best approach for long-term improvement in reading and writing. Study High-Frequency SAT Vocabulary Lists- There are many of these word lists obtainable on the Internet. The problem is that you may not retain the words using a crash-course study approach. This won't be helpful for long term unless you pace your study of the words and see words in their context. I recommend a 7 day study approach. Study 30-50 words each day for two days in a row using flash cards, review the list of... read more
One topic which can be transformational for students preparing for standardized testing, especially logical-mathematical students who are underperforming on the writing SAT, is formally learning English grammar. A large proportion of writing MC questions in particular focus on the sequence of tenses, and tense sequence errors or unintentional tense shifts can greatly harm submitted writing. The English language does not have a "past tense". It has multiple past tenses which are non-identical and which all have their uses. Working with a tutor on grammar can be a great help to the student who is not well served by whole-language and literature-centric approaches to English class (i.e. the students most likely to seek SAT verbal but not math tutoring in the first place).
Very interesting article for parents of younger students about likely changes to the SAT in line with Common Core curriculum alterations. Please note that all of this is INFORMED SPECULATION at this stage, not an absolute plan, so if you are a junior/senior or the parent of one, prepare for the SAT as expected. However, parents of younger students seeking enrichment should take note. http://www.iecaonline.com/blog/2013/09/18/preparing-students-for-a-new-era-of-admission-testing/
I find that the majority of points lost on essays seem to be for argument construction, not for basic writing skills. My opinion is that if a test taker spends enough time crafting his or her argument, the essay score will be higher. So to help my students prepare for the writing portion of the SAT we spend most of our time outlining arguments, rather than actually writing essays. Most SAT help books suggest 5 mins for outlines, then 20 mins for writing. I encourage my students to do closer to 10 mins for outlining, in order to solidify their arguments. How to prepare for the SAT essay? Here's a fun, interactive way to "get set" to write. Estimate 10 minutes per question. Choose a writing prompt (use an old test, or look up prompts online). 1 min: Have the student write out his or her opinion (yes or no), thesis sentence, counter argument, and general outcome (progress, societal good, etc). Minutes 2-10: Have the student number... read more
The SAT messes with your head. Don't feel embarrassed, it messes with everyone's head. It's designed to. The SAT is a test of your critical reasoning skills, meaning it's actually far more about logic and figuring out the correct course of action than it is about actually knowing the material. This is nowhere more evident than on the Math section. The SAT Math trips up so many students because they expect it to behave like a math test. The truth is, the SAT Math is about figuring out how to answer each problem using as little actual math as possible. It's all about working quickly, and the questions are structured such that they conceal the quick logic and context-based route behind the facade of a more complicated math question. They're trying to psych you out; to make you think the problem is harder than it is. In math class you're taught to be thorough, to show your work and not leave out any steps. On the SAT, it's not only possible but downright preferable to... 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 talk to the principal... read more
My cousin once asked, "Where do you get your confidence?” Before I had time to consider the idea, the response came out, "I've made mistakes, and I'm not afraid to make mistakes in the future.” In public speaking, writing, and publishing; the speaker or writer must be confident. Confidence builders for me always include preparation. Here are ways I prepare to write and to present. Brainstorming. The first step is good old-fashioned brainstorming. I prepare by thinking about the topic. What do I know? What do I want the audience to know after I'm done? How will I go about finding information for the content I do not know? while driving is one of my favorite times to ponder a topic, the audience, and the purpose of the writing or presentation. I call it TAP. Once I've considered the topic, audience, and purpose (TAP), the majority of planning is done. The second step includes drafting. I choose to outline presentations and use paragraphing of thoughts for longer written... read more
Are you sitting by the pool with your feet up every day? Working a summer job to pay for penny candy and movie shows? (Yes, I know penny candy costs a dollar now.) The summer is closer to being over than you think. Now would be a good time to start studying for the SAT or any other test you have coming up in the fall. You do not have to study all summer long, but get into the practice of doing one hour per day of intense studying and then, when the test comes around, you will be all the more ready for it. Studying even a little bit adds up. It is like going to the gym or practicing for the big game. The more you do it, the greater your chance of success. Now is a great time to start. So what are you waiting for?
Hey everyone! I just recently graduated from Stanford University this June and I will be home in Arizona for the rest of the summer! If any of you need tutoring help in SAT, ACT, or a variety of Math, Science, and Verbal subjects feel free to contact me! I try to make our tutoring sessions as productive and fun as possible, while ensuring that you reach your academic goals! I am also open to helping you navigate your college or carer goals! Let me know if you would like to work with me! Best, Jayce
Well, school is out and the beach is calling! If you are a high school senior or the parent of one, you know that studying is probably not high on anyone’s list of preferred activities this time of year. But, if you are taking summer classes, need to do some catch-up on basics, complete summer reading and writing assignments for AP courses, or want to get serious about SAT test prep, now is a good time. The last year of high school is filled with great activities and a lot of excitement, but there are also expectations to master the three Rs before they hand out diplomas to the Class of 2014! This summer, consider tutoring if you need the extra boost that comes with 1:1 individualized instruction and coaching. If you’re not considering tutoring at this time, think about planning ahead for the next school year. And don’t forget, the SAT testing dates are fast approaching: the deadline to register for the October 5 test is September 6! Wishing you all a happy summer! --Laur... read more
Greetings Wyzant community, prospective students, fellow tutors: I have just returned from my studies abroad and am ready to begin teaching again. Please take a look at my profile. My education ranges from my Masters in Physics, to my undergrad degrees in physics, biology and music. I just completed the coursework for a masters program in peace and conflict resolution as well. Aside from know knowledge and experience teaching, I think I possess a very good ability to understand the different ways students learn. This helps me to engage with them in a way that is most effective for them. Not only does it help to comprehend the material for the subjects they are learning but it also helps them to develop a wisdom and intuition for further (creative) learning and a strategic approach towards test taking. I'm looking forward to working with all of you. Don't hesitate to contact me for any reason...
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 they don't spend time reading... read more
Just like learning a new language, every year students try to learn CBS: College Board Speak. The College Board is the name of the company that creates the SAT. In order to make gains on the SAT, one may have to try new ways of learning. One of the best ways to learn a language is to create an immersive experience by surrounding yourself with speakers of that language, by traveling to an area in which the language is spoken for an extended period of time, or by attempting conversational level fluency prior to learning the written language. Ways that have worked for me and for students I have helped in the past are the following: SAT words on a shower curtain, flash cards wallpapering a bathroom or bedroom wall, and 30-60 minutes of sustained work daily for a prolonged period of time. Just doing to prolonged work won't help all students because some students need a multi-sensory approach to learning. In my classes, I reach students of all learning styles using color-coded... 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) 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. Do not eat a stack of pancakes as it will make you sluggish. Eggs or some protein is a good option. Hydrate yourself so you will not become thirsty... 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
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.
This area is for students or parents, especially those that are willing to put forth the effort to learn more, and be a better student, to achieve more ;-) To help my students I normally assign them 5 new words a day. Whether they open a physical dictionary or go to the links below, the important thing is that they learn and use new words. Tools ------ dictionary.com - a handy resource with access to multiple dictionaries in one place, especially if you don't have one in the home. worddynamo.com - great website that will send you (after you sign up for free) an email of a quickie multiple choice test of new words. It's a fun way to learn! khanacademy.org - Khan's academy - this is the best resource I've found both for kids and parents. You can sign up your little learner, no matter the age, and they can go out there at any time. - they have all sorts of subjects for free, your child can go at their own pace, and it's a marvelous place to learn with videos online,... read more