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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!

It's time to look ahead and plan your weekends.  You can still register for the September test this week.  This information is found on the ACT website.  Do you need a course of study to get ready for the ACT?  I offer personalized study plans to motivated students, so that you can get going the right direction, on your timeline, even if you decide not to use a tutor.   Test Date: September 13, 2014 Registration Deadline:  August 8, 2014 (Late Fee Required):  August 9–22, 2014   Test Date: October 25, 2014 Registration Deadline: September 19, 2014 (Late Fee Required): September 20–October 3, 2014   Test Date: December 13, 2014 Registration Deadline: November 7, 2014 (Late Fee Required): November 8–21, 2014   Test Date: February 7, 2015* Registration Deadline: January 9, 2015 (Late Fee Required): January 10–16, 2015   Test Date: April 18, 2015 Registration... read more

You can take a free ACT test through this link: http://www.4tests.com/exams/examdetail.asp?eid=13.   It is very good to understand your starting point, and only then to make the decision if you need a tutor or not, and for which of the modules.   You may take this free test and score badly - don't be discouraged! Scoring low may be because of the time pressure (to respond very quickly) or because of anxiety on taking tests.   When you take the test you can learn about what's in the way of getting a high score that will get you into your dream college: - is it test anxiety and skills to take a test? - is it that you can respond correctly but you need more time?  - is it that you don't know how to respond to bunches of questions? Then identify if it's geometry or algebra or grammar, or what is it you need help with.   You can now see how much info you can get from taking a test at home! And if you did well, congratulations,... read more

Summer is the best time to start studying for college/career entrance exams. Since there is no school and homework, you will not feel overwhelmed when it is time to study. Studying for just an hour a day, 5 days a week, will increase your chances of getting a higher score and you will still have time to enjoy the summer. Alternate subjects weekly. Familiarize yourself with all the subjects on the test. Purchase a test preparation book to get question examples. By the end of the summer, you should have done every problem in the book, including the practice exams. If you need additional help, ask your tutor. Study with others. You will be more motivated to study this summer if you are involved in a study group. Find students that are taking the same exam. Ask your tutor to for a group study session. Knowing that there are other students with the same goal as you can help your study sessions be less stressful. Know your calculator. If a calculator is... read more

Should I take the ACT or SAT? The quick answer is that there is no universal answer. Students should take the test on which they score higher. For many years, I had to assure parents that the school their child was considering actually did accept the ACT. I had to send parents to admissions websites where the clear black letters explained that “either ACT or SAT scores are acceptable” and even then, these same parents were cowed by the received wisdom of other parents, who heard from someone’s grandpa’s uncle’s sister who 5 years ago worked in admissions at Dartmouth, you know, that they preferred the SAT. How much things have changed. Now some students are hearing from the student grapevine that the ACT is not just a better test, but the preferred one. Again, we have to step in to intervene. We understand why there may have been this swing. ACT has worked hard for years to overtake the SAT, and in 2012, they did. Awareness of the ACT test has crested, and... read more

The “silly mistake” is quite possibly the most mischievous and irksome of the math demons. It is a sly beast that lurks in the deepest recesses of your mind, emerging only periodically to sully your scores in a most disturbing way. Because of its crafty nature, it is able to lull you into the false belief that your thorough understanding of mathematic concepts will keep you safe from its clutches. But, as I’m sure you know, “silly mistakes” afflict even the most soundly prepared students. What exactly constitutes a “silly mistake?” Here are some common examples for standardized tests: Misreading the question (or failing to read the entire instructions) Filling in the wrong bubble on your answer sheet Making a slight arithmetic error Incorrectly copying down the original problem Turning a negative number into a positive number (or vice versa) I don’t care who you are, what your educational background is, or where you go to school… you have been... read more

ACT Prep - The Friday Before Test Day For those of you taking the ACT in the next couple days, your fastidious and dedicated preparation routine is coming to an end. Whether you studied five hours a day for three months, two hours a day for one month, or merely crammed the last week and a half, it doesn’t matter anymore. All of that is immaterial now. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and exhale. Release any lingering rumination about what you could have done, should have done, or might have altered within your study routine. Let. It. Go. It’s nearly game time, and the only thing left for you to do is get yourself ready for the big test. Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of students preparing for both the SAT and the ACT. For some reason, I routinely encounter students possessed by the urge to study relentlessly the day before the test. This is NOT advisable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the likelihood that you will absorb anything... read more

Having worked with hundreds of test-takers on standardized exams over the years, I have tutored students of all abilities and levels of commitment to their studies. Most students want to know how many hours of tutoring are necessary to achieve the results they desire. While there is no single number of hours uniformly required for all students, for all exams, I do recommend as a rule of thumb that you spend as many hours working on your own as you have spent working with your tutor. To maximize the benefit of working with a tutor for a standardized test, it is necessary to implement, and then practice, the strategies you've learned on your own. Ideally, a student matches the time spent studying independently hour for hour with the time spent tutoring (similarly, university courses typically advise a minimum of one hour of study for every hour spent in class). It is to your advantage to meet with your tutor frequently, and early, enough that the tools you acquire to succeed... read more

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

The following article takes well known anecdotal evidence and makes it much more real - as if it were a punch to the stomach or whack to the head. Do not let it intimidate you in the least. http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2014/03/06/why-your-sat-score-says-more-about-your-parents-than-about-you/?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost The issue is not about the money…..and this is the key point! It is not the actual tangible money - it is the BEHAVIOR of how people think and what they do which makes the largest difference. The issue is about EXPOSURE. Money can allow for wealthy families to have their children gain MORE EXPOSURE OVER LONGER PERIODS OF TIME to the material within the SAT and ACT. In reality, anyone can gain more exposure over longer periods of time. The idea of last minute test prep and cramming for these exams is where most families have it all wrong - even those with money. It is about the number of times... read more

For anyone that is preparing or thinking about preparing for one of the standardized 'high stakes' tests (you know which ones) -- the SAT, GRE, GMAT, ISEE, SSAT, and so on -- there's something you really should know about test development.   But first consider this. Wouldn't it be sensible for tests to discover what your strengths are and what you do well in?  Of course! But who said these tests or the test developers are sensible?  In fact, why should they be?  Here are two things test developers don't want you to know   1) Test developers usually (meaning not EVERY test is created this way, although most are) try to trick students into providing the wrong answer. Huh?    2) Standardized tests are intentionally designed so that many or even most students will not complete them within the given time limit.   Now why would these nice testing companies engage in these practices?  Select the best... read more

Yes, test stress is definitely an issue, and I don't want to be accused of adding to it.  However, in the spirit of cold, hard reality, this article from the Wall Street Journal on use of SAT scores by employers deserves some attention.  Whether you agree with this or not (and the HR department at Google has clearly decided to disagree, for example), there are still many big corporate employers who use the SAT as a convenient proxy for an IQ test, which relatively few Americans have ever taken.  Whether IQ is a good predictor of job performance is a whole other mess that you can put in a college essay if you've researched it, but which you really can't do anything about as a high schooler (or parent of one, unless you're also a Ph.D-level researcher in psychology or management science).   That said, when you break it down, the SAT has a lot in common with an IQ test, and that's worth knowing.  It's best not to really think about it as a test... read more

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

As a Language Arts tutor helping students prepare for and improve their scores on high-stakes tests such as the ACT and SAT, there are a strategies, study methods, tricks, and of course, loads of practice that I prescribe. Oftentimes, a student who's perfectly capable of getting a good score on these tests may lose out on precious points because of seemingly trivial oversights. Below are a few easy-to-implement steps that can safeguard a student's best score from being needlessly lowered: - Be regular in putting in study time. erratic and sporadic bursts of studying, followed by a lull, cause you to 'unlearn' important strategies that you may have picked up in the course of your studies. Put in regular hours of study to ensure that all the skills you learn are reinforced and become second nature to you. - Box it: loose sheets of paper, vocabulary words scribbled on random notepads, and textbooks strewn everywhere - having your study materials... read more

The SAT website, found at http://sat.collegeboard.org, has a "Question of the Day" section. They will send these to your email if you sign up, and so with that, one question a day, you're one question more prepared to go back to school.  The specific URL or the "Question of the Day" is http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day. Explore the website for even more practice opportunities!

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/

ACT www.actstudent.org/testprep/ www.princetonreview.com/college/free-act-practice-test.aspx ; www.mhpracticeplus.com/act.php ; www.kaptest.com/College/Getting-into-College/free-practice-tests-workshops.html phone apps: ACTStudent, ACT Test Prep TestBank,  SAT http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-practice-test http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-practice-questions www.princetonreview.com/college/free-sat-practice-test.aspx http://www.kaptest.com/College/Getting-into-College/free-practice-tests-workshops.html phone apps: College Board The Official SAT Question of the Day, Ace the ACT, The Princeton Review SAT Lite, Mind Snacks SAT Vocab, SAT flashcard review, Intelli Power Vocab GRE www.princetonreview.com/grad/free-gre-practice-test.aspx www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/ www.kaptest.com/gre/study-resources/gre-free-practice-test ; http://www.greguide.com/gre-practice-tests.html ; phone... 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

The clock is ticking, and the pressure is on. You have 25 minute to answer 40 questions, and it seems like each one is an obstacle. How can you possibly deal with all this? Prepare yourself well by getting expert help on test-taking strategies and practicing them over a period of two to four months. Private tutoring for the test you or your child need to get into a private high school, college, or graduate school will help you become confident and capable so you know what to expect when it comes time to impress everyone on the big day. There are many books, companies, and other solutions out there to help test-takers – which makes it feel almost as hard to know how to prep for an exam as it does just to take it! Find a one-on-one tutor who is truly devoted to helping people with personalized assistance, building on the tutee's strengths and weaknesses, so that by Test Day, they will have not only the skills they need but also the confidence of an old-time pro. Here... 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.

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