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1-4-2015 Happy New Year! As I begin this New Year, I am pondering what this year will bring. So I asked myself several questions: 1) How can I maximize my efficiency so my students get the maximum benefit? 2) How can I streamline the process of learning so the learning curve is greatly reduced? 3) How can I increase my communication efficiency so that my students not only grasp a concept, but retain the knowledge and put it into practice immediately. These are questions that demand answers. As anyone who examines my profile can attest, my main focus is on teaching the ASVAB test. A majority of my students have successfully passed my course and successfully passed the ASVAB test and are now in the military. Getting these students to pass the ASVAB is a daunting task. Why? well to begin with much of the prior learning that they (should) have attained has been forgotten by the time they come to the test. The most common... read more

As you may know, I am a big fan of the well-known author and brain specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen. He mentions in several of his books that Physical Exercise is good for the brain. I have read of research studies that showed a clear correlation between IMPROVEMENT in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity (for example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores). Maybe we should schedule PE before all math classes in our schools. What do you think about that idea? This morning I read an online article on the myhealthnewsdaily site, entitled "6 Foods That Are Good for Your Brain," and another article about how Physical Exercise helps maintain healthy brain in older adults too. The second article, "For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout" was found under Yahoo News. The remainder of this note is quoted from that article: Regular physical exercise appears to... read more

Some free online courses are available through www.alison.com. ALISON stands for Advance Learning Integrative Systems ONline. They offer free courses if you are able to study on your own online in a wide variety of subjects. These are perfect for preparing you for an exam in a topic that you are weak in or in need of a refresher course. They also have courses and diploma programs for professional development.

I was wondering what other tutors are doing with ASVAB tutoring. I would like to specialize in this but so far all I do is use practice questions from other sources.

Tutoring is expensive. But, there are several factors that relate to cost besides here-and-now price. It is the ultimate (sometimes long-term) bottom line that you need to calculate to determine if hiring a tutor is cost effective. But, what does "cost effective" mean? One way of looking at the term "cost effective" is to determine if the value you receive in return for your investment is larger than the investment. For example, if tutoring sessions cost you $100, but you passed an employment test that allowed you to earn an extra $0.50 per hour; then you would see the return for the money that you paid for the tutoring in less than two weeks (based upon your increased hourly rate of pay). Tutoring with that kind of pay back would be cost effective, and the monetary benefit would be easy to calculate. Other pay backs for tutoring might not be as easy to calculate, but equally substantial. For example, if tutoring costs you $200 but enables you to increase... read more

This afternoon, I found myself writing to one of my ESL students: ______________________ Hello, XXXXXX--- 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 office... read more

Your brain has “cheats” and shortcuts to make it work more efficiently, just like some video games! There are things students can do to “glitch” their brains so they soak up information like a sponge. All of these “cheats” are things we should do to keep our brains healthy to ensure they keep working at maximum capacity throughout our lives. This article lists four brain “cheats”, how they help students learn, and a brief explanation of why they work. Brain “Cheats” When I started playing video games in the 1980’s, gamers were nothing like they are today. The Internet (GASP!) didn’t exist. We couldn’t look up articles or videos on how to finish the hard sections of the video games we played. Some gamers did learn “cheats” anyway: ways to get advantages you could use to make it easier to finish all the levels. For example, the cheat for “Space Invaders” on the system I played had (Atari 2600!) was to hold down the “reset” button while turning your console on to get 99 lives... read more

I was asked this question recently by several mothers about which book (singular, not plural) they should get for their sons for their upcoming tests. To both of them I replied: "Get the Princeton Review edition of the book." And while I believe this to be the CORRECT answer, this answer unfortunately is misleading because what I actually want to say is, "Get ALL editions of the book." For example if there is a Barron's version, a Kaplan version, a Princeton Review version, etc. etc. of AP Chemistry, then I would advise the moms to get ALL of these books for their sons (assuming of course that they'll read them). The reason is because one book doesn't have enough practice problems. From experience, after reading the first test preparation book or textbook, the student will have a rather hazy outline of the subject material. Books 2-5 make the outline clearer. Most students don't begin to really understand the subject until around Book 7. And that's the reason... read more

Most people fall into step with a learning pattern without realizing exactly what happened to them. This random and arbitrary process serves maybe 80% of us well enough since our educational system doesn't expect much out of our learning abilities. Our educational system ignores most of our talents and abilities, and focuses upon a narrow subset of what we are capable of achieving. So, we get along by skating past the really important talents and skills that would enable us to soar, excel and express our abilities. Our schools reward most of us into becoming complacent learners. But, for others, the kinds of learning our schools demand fall outside our learning zone. There seems to be a mismatch. For these folks (and for anyone who wants to learn more effectively) learning by using their strengths is crucial. In fact, learning by using your strengths is the only efficient way to learn. Learning by remediating your weaknesses is a frustrating time-waster. Learning... read more

Ken B., known as "The Best Little Tutor In Texas", has just surpassed the 400 hour tutoring mark in Houston, Texas! What makes Ken so good and popular in Houston? It is because of his diverse background and of being able to do the following: mathematics, statistics, chemistry, physics, computers, and computer programming. He can help a student in many many different areas. Ken does both high school and college and does regular, honors, IB, PAP, AP, etc... All that is quite a talent. Ken says that the subject most tutored in the past several months is statistics, and the reason for that is that most teachers use the 'dump' method...they 'dump' a copious quantity of power point files onto the student but the teachers do not really teach how to 'do' the problems...he has seen the same trend with other subject areas, and this is most unfortunate for students taking the classes...so, if you need to get on top of your mathematics and science courses (except of biology), then Ken... read more

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 permitted... 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

        There is no greater joy than to help people learn and to share the knowledge that I have been blessed with.  On top of that…..knowing that I am helping this country’s future leaders and heroes achieve their dreams is like extra special.          On Monday evening I picked up the phone to hear nothing but excitement and satisfaction from one of my students…."I passed and got 18 points higher than what I needed to get"             Just earlier that day this student had called me panicking about getting news that he had to get a certain minimum score to even be considered.  He was frustrated, confused, and was agonizing over the fact that he just learned this.  I reassured him that he could do this and to not focus about what he had just learned. We went over some of his weaknesses over the phone (fractions, decimals,and... read more

I have never written a blog before... ever, so let's see if I can do this right! Last week has been an exciting and busy week. The beginning of the week started off with me taking the ASVAB cold turkey (no studying). Although I have no real intention of joining the military (I love my work too much!) I wanted to see what the ASVAB was like, and if I did well enough I thought I would offer myself as an ASVAB tutor. The test was about three hours long, and there was no way to make it any quicker. I finished each section, looked over the answers, and still had about 15 minutes to 20 minutes to spare after each section. I was concerned at first because I thought I was going through it too fast. After all was said and done my test was scored on the spot, and I landed in the 95th percentile! I imagine I could bump that up to the 98th if I studied for those electronic/mechanic questions. So needless to say, I feel quite comfortable tutoring for the ASVAB... the best way... read more

Sometimes tutoring inquiries can be frustrating! I've gotten a bunch of inquiries followed by no responses to e-mails. I have no idea what's going on. Also, I think another tutoring agency stole one of my potential students and lied to me about it! Ugh, frustrations. Anyway, my students are doing well and I am pleased. I don't have as many students as I would like right now, but that's alright. They'll come when they come. In other news, I might be gone this Saturday to Willow Grove Naval Air Base to do a pool event for OCS potentials. That will be fun (read: back breaking and embarrassing.)

I'm glad that my first post here is a success story. After many, many, many hours of tutoring sessions, Utpal has finally achieved his goal. As a hopeful Marine Officer candidate, this success story really hits home for me. Actually, he finished the tutoring a long time ago, before the New Year. I was so happy when he texted me to tell me that he got above the necessary AFQT score for the ASVAB. Utpal is so committed and devoted to service with the U.S. Army...it really was an honor helping to get him there. Even better was talking to him on the phone while he was at MEPS in New York and convincing him to become a Tanker. Attention students: MOS counseling is not included in the standard tutoring package. ;) Anyways, just a few days ago, I get a text from Utpal saying that he finally signed his contract and is now a part of the big U.S. Army family. Silly Utpal - thinking he's already a Specialist. Little does he know that he's just a private right now... I should've let him... read more

This post is for most if not all standardized exams. The number one issue I see with the majority of students who are preparing for these major and critical exams is that they do not spend enough time prepping. For example, obtaining a tutor a week or even three weeks before the test date is probably not going to do much to increase your scores, especially if you are meeting up with a tutor for only an hour or two per session, given your current score (pre-test). Here's my take. If you know that you will take one of these major exams (All High School AP exams included), please start months if not at least three months ahead of time. This is when you should start thinking seriously about what you need to obtain a 5 on most AP exams. What you should do is get a pre-test of how you're doing, thus you would know your strengths and weaknesses as it pertains to the test you plan to take. From here, I would work with the student to create a schedule to fit their time/financial... read more

The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a mandatory test that all military candidates must take before enlisting in any branch of the United States Armed Forces. The ASVAB currently contains 9 sections: -Word Knowledge (WK) -Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) -Mechanical Comprehension (MC) -Automotive and Shop Information (AS) -Electronics Information (EI) -Mathematics Knowledge (MK) -General Science (GS) -Paragraph Comprehension (PC) -Assembling Objects (AO) (New section as of 2002) Navy applicants also complete a Coding Speed (CS) section. There is no overall score for the ASVAB. When someone tells you that they received an 80 on their ASVAB, they're talking about their Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) percentile. Therefore, that person's score is 80 percent high than everyone else that took the test. The AFQT score is important because it determines whether or not you can join the military. The AFQT is made up of only... read more

You have educational goals. Next, you have a test to take. It's one of those big milestone tests for admission to college, such as the ACT, SAT, or GRE--or other standardized tests such as the SSAT, ASVAB, GED, or a professional licensing test. You want a tutor who works hard to get you ready. Help me be that tutor. Do these three things before our first session together. 1. If you have already set a date to take your test, tell me what it is. If you are not that far along yet, tell me the dates you are considering. This will assist me in developing a schedule for our sessions, and, if you'd like, I will suggest a study schedule for you for the time between our meetings. [PLEASE NOTE: It is far more effective to meet with you once a week for three months than three times per week for one month. Even when you are not studying for your test, your mind is preparing for it. Since your mind is busy in many other ways as well, it makes sense to give yourself ample time to fully... read more

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