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A recent article has been circulating, courtesy TheVerge.com : http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/13/12890050/adblock-plus-now-sells-ads ;   Adblock-Plus is a paid program that claims to remove all online ads from your computer browsing experience.   Now, they are shifting to selling ads through their program to Advertisers.   If this seems backwards, it is!    The marketplace is full of these software programs - some we come across regularly: System Mechanic, DriverUpdates, etc.   Don't install any programs that you don't absolutely need to get your work done - And even for THOSE programs, be sure to buy and download from reputable sources   -Ryan P.  5-Star Rated Tutor in the San Fernando Valley 

Have you ever looked at online computer ads, or the shelf at the local Big-Box Retailer, and said "They Don't have exactly what I want/need!" - If this is the case, a Custom Built Computer may be the right solution to the problem.   The 1st step in a Custom Build is determining the exact client's needs. In my "Daily Driver", I knew I needed 4 Monitors in a 2x2 Configuration. This particular graphics setup is a fairly limiting criteria when it comes to buying a graphics card.    Instead, the less expensive option is the use 2x Graphics cards, with 2 outputs each. The prerequisite for this setup is a Motherboard with 2x PCI-E Slots.    This is just one example of why every custom build Must have an experienced advisor.    If you want the pride of building your own Computer, you can hire me for product selection on the front-end, usually about 1 hour with a shared Newegg.com or Amazon.com Wish List,... read more

Cancellations: 1) If the student/guardian gives more than 6 hours notice of cancellation before the start of the lesson, I will not charge you for the lesson. 2) If the student/guardian gives between 1-6 hours notice of cancellation before the lesson, I reserve the right to charge 50% my rate for the lesson length. 3) If the student gives less than 15 minutes-1 hour notice of cancellation, I reserve the right to charge for the entire lesson at the full rate. 4) If the student gives less than 15 minutes notice of cancellation, does not show up at all, or does not show up by 20 minutes after the start of the lesson time, I reserve the right to charge double the full rate for the lesson. 5) If I, the tutor, miss a lesson without more than 1 hours notice of cancellation, the student reserves the right to request the next lesson of equivalent length for no fee.   Tardies: 1) If a student is 15 or more minutes late, I will charge for the entire length... read more

Today's post is just a quick good luck wish to all who are taking the ACTs tomorrow morning!  Don't forget, you can always take them more than once, so if you're  not happy with your scores, feel free to contact me for some tutoring so you can improve for the next one!

I always tell my students to bring a highlighter to the test.  By highlighting key ideas in a paragraph, it improves their focus, helps them overcome test jitters, and makes it easier for them to answer the questions that follow.  I also integrate time management skills into their lessons along with building their reading comprehension and vocabulary skills, and ensuring that they understand complex sentence structure. I also emphasize the need for preparing for the SAT or ACT several months in advance.  Don't wait until you are 3 or 4 weeks away from the test to start your preparation.

The answer section is a great way to get that quick help on a single question.  However, when students and parents post questions that seem incomplete, it makes it difficult for us tutors to provide help.  Students and parents who post their questions on the section should read what they write, and check for any information they have left out before submitting the question.  This includes formulas and equations that are missing variables, operators, and appropriate parentheses (I've seen this happen a lot).  Posting incomplete questions prevents you from receiving the answers you need.   Please note:  The title of the question is not meant to carry too many words in "title" field.  Leave any detailed descriptions of the question in the "detail" field when posting. 

This example illustrates how to use WSS to determine an appropriate number, k, of clusters, the following example uses R to perform a k-means analysis. The task is to group 620 high school seniors based on their grades in three subject areas: English, mathematics, and science. The grades are averaged over their high school career and assume values from 0 to 100.   # The following R code establishes the necessary R libraries > library(plyr) > library(ggplot2) > library(cluster) > library(lattice) > library(graphics) > library(grid) > library(gridExtra) > library(cowplot)   # Import the CSV file containing the grades > grades<-read.csv("grades.csv", header=TRUE, sep=",") > grades<-as.data.frame(grades)   # Let's take a look at the structure of the dataset > str(grades)   R output: 'data.frame': 620 obs. of 4 variables: $... read more

Michael spent the following amounts of time building a bookcase: drawing up the plans: 2 hours cutting wood: 1 ½ hours assembling the bookcase: 2 hours Sanding and sealing: 3 ½ hours   What is the ratio of time spent cutting the wood to total time spent on the project? 1:9 1:6 1:5 3:7   Solution: We need to find two pieces of information in order to solve this problem: Time spent cutting the wood Total time spent on the project We find that it took 1 ½ hours to cut the wood from looking above at the information provided in the question. Next, find the time the entire project took by adding up all the times. We get 9 hours to complete the whole project. Now we solve our problem by doing the following steps: Our ratio is: time spent cutting wood : total time spent of the project We plug in the numbers to get: 1 ½:9 We multiply each term of the ratio by... read more

For those of you who are Spanish tutors, there is an app called Spanish Dict, short for Spanish Dictionary. It is a free, great app for your Smartphones for yourself as well as for your students whom you tutor.

Our understanding of the relationship between memory and learning continues to improve. Why not benefit from the latest research by incorporating some of these findings into your own study habits? I help my students come up with creative ways to do this all the time, and wanted to share one of the more helpful summaries I've come across about what works and what doesn't.    Here are a few highlights: Link new information to things you already know Actively participate in your own learning Create both a visual and a verbal memory for the same information Whenever possible, study in an environment that is similar to the testing environment Spread studying out over several days, rather than cramming Avoid multitasking when learning difficult or dense material Review information you're trying to memorize right before you go to sleep Quiz yourself frequently to practice retrieving these memories, making them stronger in the process   You... read more

I have been on WA now for several months (granted, through the summer months to start with), and although there were plenty of jobs that I would have accepted, I applied to several, and no one takes me up.  It is for any age Science, math, chemistry, physics, and I will also help with composition, English, etc  I get no one.  I double checked what makes a good job application, etc.  I double checked my profile. So is my price too high?  WA has not suggested nor given any guidance on any of these things, so I am asking you all. Thank you.

Way back in 2010, one of my first blog post series on this site took the form of a five-part series on rules for effective time management.  For the next few Ellen's Choices, I've decided to go back through these rules and apply them to the world of preparing for the SAT (or any standardized test). So let's begin with Part 1: All-Nighters Are Evil Ellen’s Rules for Effective Time Management 1. Never pull an all-nighter. 2. NEVER pull an all-nighter! Seriously! I mean it. All-nighters are downright useless. Besides the fact that this concept breaks almost all of my other rules for effective time management in one go, all-nighters cause fatigue, stress you out, and just end up producing sub-par work. You can’t write well when you’re tired, and staying up all night studying just means you’ll be yawning all the way through the test the next day. If you haven’t learned the information on the test by the night before, you’re not going to learn... read more

I was just contact by someone in a city near me (25 miles) who would like just some phone conversation/tutoring for her French exchange student.  I told her that I would adjust the rate($15/hour) since all she is asking for is some pick-me up conversation in her native tongue, and a little help learning the American English. Would anyone else have some ideas for me about rate for phone conversational English/French? 

I mentioned this problem from one of my earliest blog posts with one of my students last week, so I thought I'd bring it back as this week's Math Journey.  Enjoy!   ~   The SAT messes with your head. Don't feel embarrassed, it messes with everyone's head. It's designed to. The SAT is a test of your critical reasoning skills, meaning it's actually far more about logic and figuring out the correct course of action than it is about actually knowing the material. This is nowhere more evident than on the Math section. The SAT Math trips up so many students because they expect it to behave like a math test. The truth is, the SAT Math is about figuring out how to answer each problem using as little actual math as possible. It's all about working quickly, and the questions are structured such that they conceal the quick logic and context-based route behind the facade of a more complicated math question. They're trying to psych you out; to make you... read more

No-Shows/Cancellations: 1) If the student gives between 1 and 3 hours notice of cancellation before the lesson, I reserve the right to charge 50% my rate for the lesson length. 2) If the student gives less than 1 hour notice of cancellation, I reserve the right to charge for the entire lesson at the full rate. 3) If I, the tutor, miss a lesson without more than 1 hours notice of cancellation, the student reserves the right to request the next lesson of equivalent length for no fee. Tardies: 1) If a student is more than 15 minutes late, I will charge for the length of the actual lesson plus a 50% rate for every minute late to the nearest 5 minute mark.  Exceptions will be made for students who provide reasonable advanced notice of tardiness (determined at my discretion). 2) If I, the tutor, am more than 15 minutes late without reasonable prior notice, the student reserves the right to request 50% rate for the length of the lesson.

I'm seeing more and more requests for assistance with writing. In my tutoring experience, students often need help developing key messages. What would you like a reader to know, learn, or remember? What are the main points to support your point of view, whether the message is informational or persuasive?   Another consideration for effective communication should always be the audience. What does the audience (or teacher) expect to gain from reading your paper, for instance?   Before you start writing, I recommend that you step back and look at the writing assignment (and requirements) carefully before proceeding. This will save you time and enhance your chances of providing a deliverable that is spot-on!    

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