I have been involved education as long as I can remember. My parents were educators. They helped start a school, were on the board of another, and were founding board members of the North Dakota Home School Association. I started teaching at the age of
thirteen, as a volunteer. I have taught professionally, for over fourteen years. I have coached soccer. I co-founded a school and taught a wide array of subjects there for three years, including Latin, Rhetoric, General Science, and History. For nearly twelve
years, I have been an education consultant, tutor, and mentor.
I am prepared to tutor students in all subjects through high school, and I am well-versed in ACT and SAT preparation. I also do some college-level tutoring, particularly in English, Writing, Study Skills, and other humanities-related subjects. Feel free to
ask for more details. I tutor adult students in a variety of subjects, and I have also had success in the past working with students who have a variety...
Back in the day, where you wanted to go to college dictated which standardized test you took. Colleges in the midwest generally required the ACT, while those on the coasts wanted the SAT. These days, the score conversions are commonplace enough that most
colleges will accept either one. So how do you choose which one to take? Well, there are a few differences to keep in mind.
Most of the differences between the tests are matters of format. The SAT is comprised of ten sections ranging from 12 to 35 minutes each. The sections alternate between reading comprehension, math, and writing, and the whole test begins with a 25-minute timed
essay. One of the ten sections is an “experimental” section, which is not scored as part of your test and is a chance for the test-makers to try out new ideas on a group of students. The ACT, in contrast, is four 75-minute sections, one for each subject. The
ACT does not include an essay, but it does include a “science” section...
A few good questions and thoughtful answers can make tutoring an actual learning process. This is substantially different from cramming sessions, emergency sessions to pass a class and homework 'completion'.
I ask parents and students (where it is age/capacity appropriate) to explain their goals and expected outcomes. This question serves three significant purposes for the student and myself. (1) Is the student interested in learning or in getting by? (2) Does
the student have commitment/perseverance or are they looking for an easy out? (3) Setting realistic expectations for outcomes.
If the student is not interested in learning and will not be committed, I am not the correct tutor for the job. There are tutors who specialize in cram sessions.
Setting expectations appropriately prevents surprises from happening to ardent wishes. An example of expectation setting is explaining to parents the following examples and being clear on this information: (http://talk...
Schedule for SAT Crash Course:
Lesson 1: Test Basics, Sentence Completions (singles and doubles), Short Paragraphs
Lesson 2: Long Passages (Narrative, Expository, Persuasive)
Lesson 3: Double Passages, Difficult Passages, Essay
Lesson 4: Grammar Basics (Voice, Parallelism, Continuity, Conciseness)
Lesson 5: Verb and Pronoun Errors
Lesson 6: Modifier, Comparative, Idiom, Confused Word Errors
SAT English Basics
Reading Section: (70 minutes)
Sentence Completions 19 Questions Worth 30%
Reading Passages 48 Questions Worth 70%
Writing Section: (60 minutes)
Grammar: Worth 70%
Identifying Sentence Errors 18 Questions
Improving Sentences 25 Questions
Improving Paragraphs 6 Questions
Essay (25 minutes) Graded from 2-12 Worth 30%
1 point given for each question answered correctly. -¼ point for each question answered incorrectly. No points for unanswered questions.
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!
Well, the new school year has started, and that means SAT test dates are fast approaching. In fact, the first one is this coming weekend. To anyone taking the SAT on Saturday, good luck! Remember to get a good night's sleep on Friday!
If you are thinking about applying to college in the next few years, it might be time to schedule an SAT date! Remember, you can retake the test as many times as you need to, so don't be afraid to schedule an early date.
Also, remember that the big SAT Redesign will be kicking into effect in the Spring of 2016, so if you are in the class of 2016 you may want to start your testing early, to make sure you have time to retake the current style of test and not have to relearn everything
for a completely new test the following year.
This semester's SAT test dates and registration deadlines are as follows:
October 11th – Registration ends September 12th
November 8th – Registration ends October 9th
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,...
Normally, an equation has a single solution when it contains only one undefined variable. For example, take the equation 3x + 7 = 19.
3x + 7 = 19 [original equation]
3x = 12 [subtracted 7 from both sides]
x = 4 [divided both sides by 3]
This is one case of a larger trend in algebra. As I've already said, you can solve an equation for one answer when it contains a single variable. However, this is derived from the larger rule that you can solve a set of equations where there are as many
distinct equations as there are variables. These are called simultaneous equations, and occur any time that two equations are both true over a certain domain. In the more practical sense, this is what you should do if an exam asks you to solve for a value
and gives you two different equations to use.
To solve simultaneous equations, we can use three strategies...
The first thing you should know about studying for the SAT is: You can’t. You don’t know exactly what material is going to be on the test until the day you sit down and open your booklet. You will never be able to predict exactly which questions will be
asked and precisely what you must know in order to get all of the questions correct.
So if you can’t study for the SAT, how are you supposed to do well on it? Practice. You can learn the
types of questions that you’ll be tested on, and you can practice answering questions from past exams.
The SAT isn’t designed to trick you; its purpose is to determine your aptitude for (“a natural ability for”) reading, math, and writing. The test is scoring how good you are at these crucial subjects on a scale from 200 to 800.
This test is more about knowing how to answer the questions than the answers themselves. Whether you’re narrowing down choices for a reading sentence completion, setting up a math equation,...
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...
You may have heard that the Scholastic Aptitude Test is being redesigned, with a new version being introduced in 2016. The testing company that creates the SAT has said that they will strive to make the test more relevant and more reflective of the content
that high school students cover in their classwork. Therefore, there will be a reduced need to learn obscure words that are rarely ever used in speech or even in writing, like the word "tyro." I doubt whether anyone uses that word other than in learning it
for the SAT.
One might ask, why after all these years, has the SAT administrators and developers decided to change the test? Didn't they know that they were asking the "wrong" questions 20 years ago? Didn't they consider how they were causing undue stress and anxiety
among students taking the test over the years (and we are talking about a huge number of students)! How many? About 3,000,000 each year...
As parents of rising seniors plan standardized testing schedules for the summer and fall, one very important standardized test for most highly selective colleges sometimes gets forgotten: the SAT Subject Tests. The majority of the nation's highly selective
colleges and universities require or strongly encourage students to take 2-3 of these tests to demonstrate their subject knowledge. The actual content is unlikely to be much of a cause for concern for students who are competitive for these colleges, since
it is likely to overlap with an AP course, but students should still make time in their schedules to take the tests if they wish to aim high in their admissions. Now is the time to check websites of your preferred colleges to see whether they require or advise
the SAT Subject Tests, and whether they have any specific guidance for which subjects they would like to see. As general advice:
If only 2 tests are required, they should preferably...
Practice is the key to SAT mastery. No matter what preparatory course you take, what tutor you hire, or what study guides you purchase, all of your resources are for naught if you don’t devote significant time and effort towards practice exams.
Knocking out a healthy load of practice tests is particularly important for standardized exams. Why? Because standardization means that the test makers (a.k.a. the College Board) are bound by an obligatory adherence to consistency. As such, from year to year,
while the precise questions vary, the core subjects and concepts are constant. Moreover, the style of questions is uniform. Translation: the more questions you see, the fewer curve balls can be hurled your way. With enough practice, you can familiarize yourself
with the majority of possible question types, which will (1) improve your test taking abilities and (2) bolster your confidence come test day.
Another reason why practice tests are so important is that they...
Given all the publicity around the new SAT, families need to be aware that it is NOT being implemented immediately. If your child is currently a rising senior, he/she will still be taking the old SAT this summer or next fall. I will update my profile
to reflect New SAT when it becomes an issue, but for the coming testing season, the SAT we all know and either love or hate is still with us.
Nailing an 800 on the math portion of the SAT can be a tricky feat, even if you are steadfastly familiar with all of the requisite formulas and rules. A difficult problem can overwhelm even the most prepared individual come test day. Time constraints,
test surroundings, and the overall weight of the exam can unnerve the most grounded students.
So what do you do when panic strikes and your mind draws a blank? How do you re-center yourself and charge forward with ferocity and confidence? What you do is this: write everything down from the problem. This is the most important part of the problem solving
process. As you peruse the question, write down the pertinent data and establish relationships by setting up equations. This exercise will help you see solutions that were previously difficult to decipher.
As you work on practice tests and sample problems, you must work diligently to form a solid habit of writing down important bits of information as you plow through...
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...
A few weeks ago I posted an article about the impending SAT redesign and the changes that have been announced. I mentioned at the end of that article that I'd be posting another one soon with my thoughts on the redesign, once I'd had time to think more
about them. Well, this is that article.
Overall, I think the motivation for the redesign is good – that the College Board's heart is in the right place and they're acknowledging some of the very real problems that the current SAT has. I'm very happy with their partnership with Khan Academy as well.
I'm happy to hear that they acknowledge that students really do need some kind of prep help for the SAT, and that if they're going to force every student who wants to apply to college to take it, they should be offering free prep help for everyone who wants
it. Not everyone can afford a private tutor, and money should not be a limiting factor in every student's ability to thoroughly prepare for the test. (That said, I am...
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...
As students prepare for standardized tests for college admission, "Vocabulary" suddenly becomes an important subject. Both the Writing and Critical Reading sections of the SAT reward a strong vocabulary. I try to emphasize to students that having a college
(adult) level vocabulary will continue to reward them far beyond a one-day test.
Studying SAT related vocabulary books is certainly worthwhile in the weeks before a test day, but I would like to reach out also to students who are still a few years away from college entrance concerns. The best way to build a rich and useful vocabulary
is to read books, magazines, and newspapers that are well-written (e-books and online sources definitely count!) When you read great writing you will not only improve your vocabulary but also your writing and your critical thinking.
Your reading can and should be varied. Admittedly, I do love literature that has been relevant to...
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...