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Shannon B.'s Resources

Blogs

Why is the TOEFL So Dang Difficult?

I’ve been asking myself this question for years. If I weren’t an experienced test-taker and an English teacher, I’m not sure even I could pass this Test of English as Foreign Language to gain admissions into a US college. At least not without lots of practice and help. Good grief. I can tell you SOME of what makes the test difficult: (To tell you all would require more time than I have... read more

Blogs

Sink or Swim – Can You Make It in Language Immersion?

YES YOU CAN! And it’s, hands down, the best way to learn a language. I thought I’d write this post in response to the news that six elementary schools in Metro-Atlanta will begin dual immersion language programs in Spanish, French and Chinese. http://www.globalatlanta.com/article/26210/schools-get-15000-for-language-immersion-programs/ Here are some tips on how to learn a language... read more

Blogs

"Success in College and Beyond Should be a Collaborative,” Says New York Times

As a follow up to my last blogpost, “Hiring Tutors and Finding Mentors “ ... I wanted to bring your attention to this NYTimes commentary “Advice for Smart Students Succeeding in College” written by Lionel Anderson , posted online at The Choice, NYTimes, April 22nd: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/advice-for-smart-kids-on-succeeding-in-college/?ref=education Anderson’s tips... read more

Blogs

Hiring Tutors and Finding Mentors

I don’t know about any of you , but I would love to find a mentor. Don’t get me wrong, I actually have a couple of mentors. But once you leave school, experienced, knowledgeable, and understanding advice givers are not so easy to come by. Most often, they’re VERY busy and, although mean well, aren’t available to guide someone with a lot of questions. The problem with that is ... you... read more

Blogs

Message To 2013 Grads: Lifelong Learning vs. Formal Education

School, or formal education, is a little bit like a game. Play it right and you will succeed. However, the skill set it takes to do well in life after school is quite different. Personal and business finance, effective marketing and selling, and networking, for examples, are not really taught in schools. So how does one get skills necessary for success in the game of life? Lifelong... read more

Blogs

Life Hackers

According to Wikipedia – yes, I know, not the most authoritative source - “Life hacking refers to any productivity trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method to increase productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life; in other words, anything that solves an everyday problem in a clever or non-obvious way might be called a life hack.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_hacking I... read more

Blogs

Learning a Second Language Depends on Your Short-Term Goals

Do you want near-native fluency? That’s a lofty goal to reach and may never be achievable depending on your circumstances (i.e. lack of time to study and/or lack of exposure to the target language). Why not settle for a specific level of proficiency that will best meet your short term goals? You can always improve to a higher level later. 5 Steps to Learning Your Second or Third (etc.)... read more

Blogs

“I should have it because I want it” Will Fail You in School and in Life

The most disheartening attitude I’ve ever come across in my friends, students, co-workers, and, even myself, is “I should have _________ (the grade, the job, the gadget, etc.) because I want it.” This outlook on life, otherwise known as a false sense of entitlement, ruins one’s ability to adapt to constantly-changing environments, to problem-solve and to overcome obstacles. Serious personal... read more

Blogs

SSAT (Middle/Upper Level): Changes to the Writing Section

http://www.ssat.org/ssat/test/test-prep-format.html For the 2012 – 2013 test year, Middle Level test-takers must pick one of two creative prompts; and Upper Level test-takers will choose either a creative or an essay prompt to which they must provide written response. Time allowed to take both tests is still 25 minutes. However, now test-takers have the option to respond to their prompts... read more

Blogs

Having Trouble Concentrating?

Find it difficult to sit still long enough to complete a boring assignment? Welcome to the club. Nearly every student I know struggles with concentrating at one time or another. There are as many reasons why as there are kids with concentration issues. For example, too many kids aren't taught early on how to discipline themselves in order to concentrate. The lack of the right encouragement... read more

Blogs

Critical Thinking Skills: What Are They and How do I Get Them?

Everyone knows that demonstrating the ability to think critically on tests and assignments and in writing is the way to your teacher’s or professor’s heart. But how do you do that when you don’t even know what critical thinking is? Although “critical thinking” is a much debated term, I would simply call it your ability to analyze a given issue or problem. Okay, great, you say ... so what the... read more

Blogs

A Gap Year is a Good Idea for Most

In the US, taking a year off, known as “gap year,” has become increasingly common. In light of the current economic downturn, some high school graduates are choosing to forego traditional academic degree programs and learn what it takes to be successful in a job or at a business now, rather than delay the development of these skills for four or five years or in the time it takes to finish college... read more

Blogs

AP Exams Are Just Around the Corner: Are You Prepared?

The 2013 AP Exams will be administered over two weeks in May: May 6 through 10 and May 13 through 17. Click on the following link for more precise dates: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/ap/about/dates For those taking the AP European History, AP US History, AP World History and AP English Language and Composition, the dreaded DBQ section is upon you! Are you ready? Rather... read more

Blogs

"Do I Need a Tutor?"

The answer is, probably, yes. And you're not alone. One of the best kept secrets in academic success is the use of tutors. Top performing students and test-takers are not born, they're created. Sometimes, they're lucky enough to have a parent, sibling, or a friend that can assist. But that is rare. Sometimes top-performing students have a natural inclination for academic learning. But that... read more