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The tests and scores that can help you gain admission to more selective colleges are changing. I see this as a tutor; though I am not an expert in educational statistics, I cobbled together some data that illustrates current trends. Starting in 1926, the SAT pioneered standardized college admissions tests. It provided valuable objective measures of academic potential. The SAT greatly improved equality in college admissions: in the 1930’s and 1940’s, selective colleges were reluctant to take excellent students from smaller unknown high schools because their risk of failure was higher. The SAT also reduced reliance on interview performance and social connections in admission decisions. Colleges gained experience at balancing test scores and grades with indicators of creativity and unusual achievements. In the 1930’s, about 10% of college-age Americans (about 25% of high school graduates) attended college. Because academic potential, finances, and personal preference... read more

Many students have an unnecessary fear of word problems (such as those found in the Arithmetic Reasoning section of the ASVAB). However there are some tricks that will help you quickly translate the words into a math problem. A LOT of word problems can be solved using CROSS-MULTIPLICATION The first step is to re-state the problem in this way: " ________ IS TO________ AS ________ IS TO ________ ." Here's a simple example. Example 1) If 3 pounds of onions cost $0.90, how much will 10 pounds cost? Step 1 - Reword this as "3 pounds is to $.90 as 10 pounds is to ?" Step 2 - Write this as a cross multiplation problem: 3/.90 = 10/x Notice I replaced "IS TO" with a division sign, "AS" with an equal sign, and "?" with x. Step 3 - Now cross multiply and solve: 3*x = .90 * 10 3x = 9 x = 9/3 x = $3 * * * Here are some more examples. Notice the variety of problems that can solved with cross multiplication... read more

In a previous blog I talked about setting up customized payroll in QuickBooks. At that time I mentioned that in order to complete the process, it was necessary to set up the necessary Payroll Items. QuickBooks uses Items to control how transactions are recorded in the Chart of Accounts, but Payroll Items are a separate menu item under the Lists menu.   The purpose of this blog will not be to discuss the details in setting up Payroll Items. It will be to simply outline this feature of the software. Setting up a Payroll Item is a two-step process. First, the Item must be created in QuickBooks, and second, the Item must be customized so transactions using it are directed to the correct account in the Chart of Accounts. There are six types of Payroll Items using the EZ Setup feature: Compensation (such as wages, salaries, bonuses, and commissions) Insurance Benefits Deductions (such as health, dental & vision insurance, and HSA deductions) Retirement... read more

Tutoring is always fun when the student gets to make activity choices as we go along. I make tutoring fun by planning activities that strengthen the Reader and that makes them interested. Tutoring is fun with social praise and teacher input that motivates them. Tutoring sessions are fun when you know the student wants the end of session token reinforcement. Tutoring can be even more fun if you have some surprise end of session token reinforcement, like candy or small prizes that go with the holiday season or with the mastering of a certain goal at the end of a school year.

In mathematics, word problems have been known to pose challenges for elementary school students, middle school students and even some high school students. In addition, a vast majority of students also have difficulties with solving problems with fractions. If we mix a word problem with a problem with fractions, then we end up getting an even tougher problem to solve. How can we expect those students who have not yet mastered language to make meaning of word problems? Let's dive right into a math word problem which will illustrate this.    Problem: Tashira has a piece of lace material that is 3/5 yard long. She used 2/3 of the material to make a quilt. How much did she use to make the quilt?   When a student reads this problem one of the questions she/he may ask is, "Where do I start?" The student may have difficulty with translating the word problem into its mathematical representation. The next difficulty is that if the student decides... read more

In my experience with elementary level students, I am constantly amazed by these kids imagination. However when it comes to math i find myself frustrated that their minds wander so much. Sometimes i want to just be like, "Super man and unicorns are not a part of math! pay attention!!!!" Reality is, that just doesn't help. I began trying to revamp my ways of teaching so that super man could join us in our lessons. I found that using examples that incorporate the child's imagination works wonders. They being to laugh and enjoy themselves when I am tutoring them and the best part is....THEY PAY ATTENTION! The fun examples also help them to remember math concepts when they go to take their tests. It is a win win for everyone. A basic example could be "superman already saved 4 people last week but this week he saved 5 more people from a burning building! So how many people has he saved?" We have taken a basic 4+5=9 math problem and made it fun for them. Sometimes... read more

I specialize in teaching essay structure and style. When I began tutoring, I had a vague idea that I'd work with college students like the friends for whom I'd proofread during university: young Americans who've grown up in a public school system which emphasized group work over individual learning, and who therefore never got a chance to develop their writing skills. I've certainly worked with students from a background very much like this. However, I've also had the pleasure of building a strong ESL clientele. At this point, I've spent enough time with ESL students to have made some observations about the nature of ESL learning and the way it is discussed. I'm certainly no expert, but by now I am a reliable dilettante. I speak with the authority of firsthand experience. From that vantage, I'd like to address one mistake which is frequently made in conversations about ESL learning. It is a very serious mistake and I have to believe that it muddles teachers' thinking considerably... read more

A couple of weeks ago, my younger daughter came to show me an article her teacher had discussed with them at school. The article was about growth versus fixed mindset and their implication in education. The comparison between these two different concepts showed how someone can change the mind patterns towards one that is capable of anything without limitations! It was such an inspiring and life changing information and it taught both me and my daughter to remember this concept next time we think we are not good at doing something! Carole Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation describes it in simple words: "In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand... read more

Encourage your students to read each passage carefully once.  Then read it again before reading the test question one.  After reading test question one, reread the passage if the answer doesn't come to mind right away.  This reading each passage three times can increase the number of correct answers when trying to get all of the comprehension questions right.

Description The introductory paragraph of a paper or writing should capture the reader’s attention and engage their mind. You should always approach your papers expecting a reluctant or busy reader. Your job is to relate to them, give them useful information, and intrigue them to capture their interest. The first sentence of an introduction can be thought of as “the hook:” The sentence that grabs the mind of your reader. Approach Ask yourself: Who is reading this paper (your audience)? Is my reader sympathetic or opposed to my view? What personal experiences or interests will my reader have? How can I relate to the topics or things that my reader would care about? What was the most interesting or unexpected fact that I learned? Tone of Paper The tone of your paper should determine the hook sentence that you use For creative writing, you have more flexibility For informative writings, the tone may limit the options you have   Devices Creative... read more

I know that when it comes to boosting one's vocabulary when preparing for one of the standardized tests, some students memorize long lists of words.  Some use flashcards, and others might use mnemonic devices--like associating a word with an image.     That's fine if memorization doesn't bore you, but let's face it. Learning those words by "rote" might help you identify a few on the language section of the SAT, ACT, or GRE, but you'll most likely forget them a week after the test. You also might be someone that hates the practice of memorization.   If you want to improve your vocabulary and really learn new words in context, the best thing is to be a reader, and if you've been reading challenging books throughout high school, that is definitely helpful.  But in the short term, try studying from the book 1100 Words You Need to Know.  This book teaches you vocabulary inductively.  In other words, you're first presented... read more

The greatest gift that any teacher or tutor can receive is a student who succeeds. I tutored a girl in Chemistry for the NYS Regents during the months of May and June. She recognized that she was going to need help if she planned to pass the regents at the end of June. We worked on anything from classwork, homework, review book work and reference table helps. I gave her tips and strategies to help her in her quest. She emailed during the summer and told me she passed and earned the highest score in her class. Her score was very close to mastery level and that made me very happy. When the school year started in September, her teacher gave her an award for her overall improvement in the class and her score on the regents. I was extremely proud that I played a part in that.

You won't pass the exam because you are listening to people who took the exam 5,6 or even 20 years ago. The advice most of my students get is "just take a lot of questions,don't read the book" That is a sure way to fail,yes there are some people who can just take a lot of questions and "game" the exam but they are the ones you were always envious of in school, they looked like they weren't trying and still aced the exams. Almost every single student of mine says that is the advice they get from their supervisors. I have even heard of a few getting yelled at because they were reading the book. Some of those people took the exam in the 90s,when the exam questions were drastically different and the Vendors were actually helping write the questions on the exam. FINRA (formerly NASD) ended that practice a long time ago and there may have been some lingering questions from the "good ole days" they are pretty much gone now. This is not your father's... read more

I published this article on my blog and I believe that it will help students, tutors and parents alike so I decided to re-blog here.  Time management is such an important skill! The article published by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension entitled “Thirteen Timely Tips for More Effective Time Management” proved to be very beneficial as well as the Time Management Quiz. They highlight the importance of prioritizing, goal setting and eliminating distractions. I found five time managements tools that can help us achieve our goals. StayFocusd – This is a Google Chrome extension that blocks you from going to time-wasting sites. It works like a timer, and asks you to set the maximum time you want to waste on your customized time-killer sites before they’re blocked. This tool would be perfect for parents to use with students who go to school online. It would help them to keep their kids on track and not chatting on twitter or posting photos on Instagram. This tool... read more

I recently responded to a question on WyzAnt's “Answers” page from a very frustrated student asking why he should bother learning algebra. He wanted to know when he would ever need to use it in the “real world” because it was frustrating him to tears and “I'm tired of trying to find your x algebra, and I don't care y either!!!” Now, despite that being a pretty awesome joke, I really felt for this kid. I hear this sort of complaint a lot from students who desperately want to just throw in the towel and skip math completely. But what bothered me even more were the responses already given by three or four other tutors. They were all valid points talking about life skills that require math, such as paying bills, applying for loans, etc., or else career fields that involve math such as computer science and physics. I hear these responses a lot too, and what bothers me is that those answers are clearly not what this poor student needed to hear. When you're that frustrated about... read more

http://www.langlab.wayne.edu/new-fltc/html-files/chinese_audio%203rd%20edition.htm   Wayne State University has posted the audio of both the textbook and workbook on this website. You can find the workbook audio if you scroll down.   I like these recordings because they're so short and slow. You can download them on your phone and listen to the pinyin pronunciation and dialogues again and again. Learning the dialogues is like learning a new song. Before you know it, you've already known the music by heart!

Does this look familiar? SOLVE IF YOU ARE A GENIUS! 99% OF PEOPLE WILL GET IT WRONG! 8 = 56 7 = 42 6 = 30 5 = 20 3 = ? No doubt every time you've seen this on Facebook, it's followed by thousands upon thousands of responses, each indignant that other people are getting the wrong answer. Generally there are two or three different numbers that keep coming up, with nobody able to see how anyone else could have gotten a different answer from their own. I hate these things. These things are designed to be vague. There is no answer, or rather, there are an infinite number of answers. The crux of the issue here is that they don't define the rule. So these things are basically a weird way of presenting a function. You remember functions from my previous blog post, right? Well, essentially what this thing is saying is “you take 8, do some mystery function to it, and... read more

When I first took the CBEST test, I went in without preparation. I past the writing section the first time; the other sections I scored just below 41. Since most test takers write extensively, they will pass the write portion of the test. However, there are test takers that struggle with writing and placing their ideas in written form. Back to Basics The CBEST test, you are given two essay prompts: The Writing test consists of two essay questions. One of the essay questions asks examinees to write about a remembered experience. The other question is designed to elicit expository prose that will permit writers to demonstrate their analytic skills (CBEST, 2013). You are only given two pages for each essay, so your writing must be concise and articulate. Recall the five paragraph essay: the introduction, one paragraph; the body, three paragraphs; the conclusion, one paragraph. Remember, you are not writing a thesis or dissertation, keep it simple. Most CBEST study guides... read more

While I, as a writer, very much enjoy the act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, more likely), I understand not everyone is as inclined. In fact, writing can be a very tedious task if you're not invested in your writing, whether an inbox full of emails that need responses or a 10-page paper. But I have a few quick tips that will hopefully make writing more fun for everyone! Write to a soundtrack. Now, this tip may not be for everyone, as some people find it very hard to focus with any kind of distraction. But I find that music playing softly in the background while I type away takes some of the pressure of what I'm doing, as I'm less likely to track the minutes I spend staring at the same sentence if I have a song giving my work flow and momentum. Pick whatever music you like, but I suggest nothing too catchy that you'll be tempted to stop writing and have a karaoke break. I have a playlist of music without words, which doesn't have to be all classical... read more

Did you Know: We can use generators/coroutines in place of multi-threading? Most of us don't think twice about the simple for loop or how it works. Why should we? Is there anything behind it? How does it work? Let's take a look behind the scenes. Python's for loop is really a for each loop (for each element in collection). msg = "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" If we want to traverse the string above to produce each letter one by one, we simply treat this string like any other sequence in python. for letter in msg:     print letter 'T h e q u i c k b r o w n .... lazy dog... Outcomes our string one letter at a time to the standard output. So what is the for loop actually doing for us? Just as you would assume, as if we were to consume an iterator manually. iterator = iter(msg) iterator.next() T iterator.next() h iterator.next() e ...iterator... read more

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