When planning to train for any kind of test preparation, most people assume that the best strategy is to gradually schedule more frequent tutoring as they get closer to the test date. This makes no sense. Think of the mind like a muscle. In this analogy, the first few weeks of training are slowly more strenuous, it's true. However, once you have built the foundation of skill, it's a matter of practice to increase ability in existing skill. Practice only makes perfect if you have that foundation. Otherwise, you are simply practicing your mistakes. As with any marathon, you want to perfect your skill, practice like crazy to build stamina, and then back off as you get closer to the event to ensure you are rested and ready.
Test prep works in exactly the same way. Instead of cramming before the test, leaving yourself wired and tired, distracted and unable to focus, the best...
It's not controversial to aver that procrastination is bad. Most would agree without giving it a second thought.
But what about procrastination is so harmful, and why do we procrastinate when we readily agree we shouldn't?
When I talk about procrastination, I'm talking about delaying an important task despite knowing we will suffer as a result. Why would we do this? The problem seems to have its roots in an inability to manage emotions, and from an overweighting of short-term benefits over long-term costs.
In a landmark 1997 study, Dianne Tice and Roy Baumeister rated college students on an established scale of procrastination, then tracked their academic performance, stress, and general health throughout the semester. Initially the procrastinators reported lower levels of stress, presumably because they were enjoying more pleasurable activities in lieu of the work they should have been doing. By the end of the semester, however, the procrastinators earned lower...
It's fairly likely that you've heard someone talk about "mindfulness." It's less likely that you know exactly what mindfulness entails, and even less likely that you've heard of Ellen Langer, the "mother of mindfulness" in Western academia. In fact, even if you Googled mindfulness you'd find credit for its popularity in the West given to a man named Jon Kabat-Zinn. Langer's name doesn't appear anywhere on the first page of Google's results, so you probably wouldn't learn that she earned her PhD and began her line of research around the same time as Kabat-Zinn, and that the groundbreaking nature of her work led her to become the first woman tenured in the Psychology Department at Harvard in 1981. Her research has had profound effects on how we think about everything from aging and mental health to decision-making and learning. So even if you don't know her name, it is likely that in one way or another you are familiar with some of her research. The focus of this...
Many people think of tutoring as a remedial endeavor, but that really isn't the right way to think about it. The fact of the matter is that classroom instruction can never be tailored to individual students, which means that learning is rarely optimal. By necessity, teachers must teach to the middle of the class. The teacher's pace, style, and goals are geared to the class as a whole, not specific students. With private tutoring, on the other hand, lessons can be specifically tailored to the individual student. For students who plan to take the ISEE or SSAT - tests that inevitably include material students have never encountered before - starting early is important. The goal of enrichment tutoring is to ensure students have a strong foundation in the core knowledge areas that will determine how they do on these tests.
When a student is not excelling in a core subject, it is often because the class is moving too quickly, the teacher's style is out of sync with the...
Marshaling the cognitive resources and committing the amount of time required to earn good grades and high test scores takes effort. The rewards from these achievements are often delayed, while the rewards from having fun with your friends, playing video games, interacting on social media, watching tv, etc. are more immediate. What strategies can you use to help overcome this mismatch?
In the framework explored in this paper, the authors propose that the decision to delay gratification is mediated by two systems: a "cool" cognitive system, and a "hot" emotional system. The more the hot system dominates, the more likely you are to succumb to temptation.
Thankfully, as we get older, the cool system matures and thus makes it easier for many of us to delay gratification. We are most vulnerable to the hot system when we are young. You’ve probably seen the marshmallow experiment in which young children are placed in front of a table with a marshmallow...
You might wonder what emotion has to do with learning, and why I am writing a blog about sleep and emotion. If you think about it, though, how you to react challenging situations - the emotions you feel, and the cognitions, physiology, and behaviors that accompany them - can have a profound impact on how you learn. Indeed, emotional reactivity can have a profound impact in multiple domains, but in this blog we will focus on its impact on learning.
Modern neuroscience is not necessary to understand that sleep is fundamentally important. However, it increasingly allows us to understand why that is the case.
Andrea Goldstein and Matt Walker reviewed the literature on sleep and emotion and make a compelling case for the causal role of sleep in optimal affective brain function. For our purposes, I want to focus on the overarching theme of how sleep deprivation diminishes effective emotional reactivity.
When people are sleep deprived for even one night, functional...
When you're studying before a test, the question of how to allocate your study time inevitably arises. What should you study first? Where should you spend the most time? Janet Metcalfe and Nate Kornell designed three clever experiments to find out.
In the first experiment, participants were allowed to choose how to allocate their study time. They were tasked with learning English-Spanish word pairs of varying difficulty (easy, medium, and difficult), under three different timing conditions (5s, 15s, or 60s). In each trial, one pair from each category appeared and participants could choose where to spend their study time. The most important takeaway from this experiment was that, under tight timing conditions, allocating study time to the easiest items was the most effective strategy.
However, Metcalfe suspected that advantage would shift to medium items if participants were forced to spend the bulk of their study time on them. So, in Experiment 2, participants...
During the school year, many of the students I work with have jam-packed schedules replete with extracurriculars, sports, and demanding classes. Adding test prep into the mix can complicate schedules even further. So why not take advantage of the time students have off during the summer to get ahead, so that when school resumes they won't have a heavy additional workload to worry about?
There are many reasons why summer classes benefit students. One of the most obvious relates to what is known as the "summer slide." Most students lose about two months of grade-level mathematical proficiency over the summer. In fact, in a
meta-analysis of 39 studies that examined the effect of summer vacation on academic achievement, researchers found that summer break was detrimental for both math and reading skills, and that the amount of deterioration increased with grade-level.
Many times I work with sophomores and juniors in high school...
Hi! I'm Jennifer J., B.S., MEd, JD, PHD ABD WyzAnt Tutor
In my blog I will tell you everything you need to know about the "start-to-finish" process of preparing and taking the SAT and ACT exams. that will get you into the college or university of your choice.
Some Background About Me:
I teach classes and tutor privately for the PSAT, SAT and ACT. I have taught these test preparation classes since 1999. I taught for Princeton Review, and then started my own business, Pathfinders College Preparatory. Since then, I have amassed my own collection of actual SAT tests, answer sheets, practice material, etc. I work with anywhere from one to four students at a time. I will tutor you privately in your home or at another location.
Commonly Asked Q & As:
Below are some commonly asked questions and answers about preparing for the SAT, the PSAT, and the ACT exams:
I have several students who would be glad to read more, if they have books recommended to them that are 'interesting'. I'm compiling a list of books for different grade levels, and would appreciate any recommendations from tutors or parents.
My immediate need is for books for an advanced 5th grader, and a 9th grader who is only interested in sports and the Odyssey!
Also, I have an ESL student who likes interesting non-fiction. Who can recommend something that is good for a college-age student? Maybe a business book, or a biography?
Thanks for joining this conversation.
Well, it is the time of year when the frenzy and buzz of talk about classrooms, teachers, textbooks, pencils, folders, and schedules begin. Some of you might be thinking past this year and onto high school or even college, or perhaps you have already signed your child up for the SSAT, HSPT, SAT or ACT test. Now is definitely a good time to start preparing for those tests. In general, students need a lot of practice before taking any of the official tests. The SSAT and SAT tests students on concepts that they might not have learned yet, such as Geometry, or vocabulary words that are beyond the scope of their classes and reading assignments in school. These tests are difficult because students also need to learn some test strategies and approaches to do well on the exams.
My advice: prepare early! I have seen students improve greatly over 4 - 6 weeks with steady and consistent practice. By increasing vocabulary, critical reading and quick calculation skills, students will often double...
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...
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...
One key to success when you are preparing for your standardized test - or any test, for that matter - is to use visualization exercises. This may seem unscientific, and perhaps it is, but it is a techniques used by athletes, business professionals and successful test takers the world over. Many of my students have benefited from this type of exercise, saying it helped them settle their minds and focus on the test.
The technique is to imagine how good it will feel after the test, knowing that you did your very best. Think about walking out of the test center, your head held high, with the knowledge that you did your best. That is a great feeling to imagine, no?
In addition, make plans to do something fun after the test. This could be having lunch with friends, going to see a movie, maybe playing a pick-up soccer game, or even just relaxing. Whatever it is you do to celebrate, make concrete plans to do that after the test. This way, you will be looking forward to the test day...
Have you scheduled a time to take one of the standardized tests listed in the subject line? Are you thinking about signing up to take one of them? Have you taken one already, but have decided to take it again in the hopes of getting a higher score? Have you taken one of the tests, and found the experience so rewarding, you plan to sign up and take the same test simply for the enjoyment? (If you’re in the latter category, I’d seriously examine your core values ; < ).
Regardless, if you must take one, and nearly everyone does that plans to enroll in a college, university, professional school, or private school, here is a suggestion that I haven’t read about in any of the testing prep manuals or on any of the websites devoted to improving one’s score on these tests. And that advice is to beware of the “positive I’m correct about this answer ‘rush’”
This phenomenon may occur on the multiple-choice segments of these tests because, of course, you want to finish and get out of...
My wife is worried about me because I was tutoring in my dreams last night.
I'm a new tutor to this site. Within the past few days, I've been working on getting certified in as many subjects as possible. These are all of the subjects I'm certified to tutor in on the website. Most of the subjects are in math or science. Some are in English topics as well like in reading and writing, etc. I also am certified to tutor to prepare for a lot of standardized tests and a few common computer software programs people use. Please read my profile if you need a new tutor in the Hillsboro or Portland area!
The new school year beckons - be it middle or high school, college or post graduate study. Fall college visits, applications and essays are also just around the corner.
Get a jump on what you or your child may need in terms of support for specific academic subjects, computer skills, standardized tests (SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, ACT, ASVAB, GRE, etc.). I look forward to continuing my track record of success with students to assist them in maximizing their potential and achievements.
This afternoon, I found myself writing to one of my ESL students:
I am imagining you and your dog having a fine time at the cabin as I write this.
I bet you are in the cabin as well. In the first sentence at the cabin is correct, just as you would say "I am at home" rather than
in home. It would also be correct to say "I'm in the house" rather than outside in the yard.
When you are at home, the yard is included. When you are in the house, the yard is excluded. With
cabin, the same word is used both ways. When you are at the cabin, the exterior property is included, but when you are
in the cabin, it is excluded.
By the way, while you might be in your yard, you would be on your property.
Preposition problems are common to all but the most advanced English language learners, including many native speakers. After sending my student this email, I realized the word
The best way to study for the SSAT/ISEE is to take a diagnostic test before you begin studying. Score the test so that your areas of apparent strength and weakness are clear. Then, go to work in your areas of weakness. If your area of weakness is word knowledge, study vocabulary religiously every day. There are a number of good books on vocabulary development which I use when I tutor SSAT/ISEE students. Analogy questions can be broken up into various types of analogies, and when the type of analogy is uncovered, it is much easier to make a match. It is important to practice, practice, practice, analogies. Reading comprehension is another important part of the test. Find the shortest paragraphs and answer those questions first. Always read the questions before beginning to read the paragraph. Most of the answers can be found in the paragraphs themselves, and eliminating answers that don't belong at all will give you a better chance on finding the correct answer. The essay portion is...