Category Archives: Test Prep Tutoring

Knowing What to Study for the ACT is Half the Battle

A qualified test prep tutoring service can help you study for the ACT. A high ACT score is needed to get into the best colleges.

A qualified test prep tutoring service can help you study for the ACT. A high ACT score is needed to get into the best colleges.

To know how to study for the ACT, we must first look at what the ACT is made up of. Tear it apart, and tackle each component one by one. The ACT is made up of 5 sections. Here is a closer look at each of the components and what it entails:

English

This section comprises of 75 questions and you will have a total of 45 minutes to complete it. There will be 5 text passages and 15 questions will be tested for each passage. This works out to about 30 seconds for each question, so you will have to be quick about it. There are two sub categories on the ACT English test – standard English and rhetorical skills. The mean score for this section is roughly 21. To get a shot at higher ranking universities, the score to aim for is between 30 and 34.

Mathematics

The math section is made up of 60 questions and you have 60 minutes to complete it. It tests you on grades 9 to 11 math. You may use an approved calculator for this section, so make sure that your calculator is approved and in good working condition. Since the bulk of the questions will be about algebra and geometry, it is useful to brush up on these skills before the test. Similar to the ACT English test, the average score is 21, but in order to be considered for the top ranking universities, you will need to score between 30 and 34.

Reading

This section may sound like an easy section but you should not take it lightly. There are 40 questions in this section, with just 35 minutes to complete. There will be 4 passages for you to read and 10 multiple choice questions after each passage. All passages are in the form of a prose, so there will be no need for you to interpret any poetry. There are 4 main categories for the passages – social studies, natural sciences, prose fiction and humanities. Much like the previous two ACT sections, the average score is 20, but in order to into top ranking universities, you will need to score much higher than average.

Science

There are 40 multiple choice questions in this section. You have 35 minutes to complete this part of the test. The 4 main categories tested are biology, chemistry, physics and earth sciences. This ACT test is mostly about scientific reasoning, so there will be no need to remember all the content details. There will be 7 passages, and you will have to use the data presented to address 5 questions, do a research summary with 6 questions, and use 1 conflicting viewpoints passage to complete 7 questions.

Writing

This is the only non-multiple choice section of the ACT test. It is also an optional test that will earn you 2 additional scores. This section is a bonus for those who attempt it and do well; however, it does not affect your composite score. The purpose of this test is to see if the writer is able to stay focused on a particular topic as well as support arguments with facts and examples.

Our test prep tutoring service can help you prepare for the ACT. Contact us today to meet with a qualified tutor in your area.

Preparing for the GRE

Preparing for the GRE does not have to be a nightmare. Expert tutors can help you organize your time and prioritize exam content.

Preparing for the GRE does not have to be a nightmare. Expert tutors can help you organize your time and prioritize exam content.

The GRE is a test for a candidate’s readiness for undertaking graduate, and business studies programs. It is quite popular and is used in many countries that conduct their courses in English. The GRE also is a popular test internationally for another reason. The U.S. is a very attractive destination for higher education so a lot of students internationally take this test. A companion test, TOEFL or the test of English as a foreign language is almost always taken by these students seeking admissions into graduate programs in the U.S. Although you can take the SAT or ACT for undergraduate college admissions, the GRE is the only test for admissions into graduate school. Like the SAT, the GRE too has specific tests in a few subjects; it is the general test that is used by college admission teams. However, the importance attached to it does vary from school to school.

The latest revision of the general test was developed in August 2011. With the current version, generally now known as the “revised general test”, you have the option to skip questions. If you feel the need and have the time, you can change answers. It is also possible to answer questions you want to answer first. That flexibility can help reduce some of the stress of taking the test.

Getting Organized

The official GRE test site provides several tools for test preparation, including a mobile app. The mobile app will help you continue to prepare on the go, if that becomes necessary. For the GRE, you are scored on the following criteria:

  1. Verbal reasoning
  2. Quantitative reasoning
  3. Analytical writing

The GRE site offers advice about the general test, its scoring methods, and how best to answer questions. There is one important consideration if you want to score higher. In each of the three sections, if you do well in the first part, you will be presented with a tougher set of questions in the second part. That may seem unfair at first glance. But this provides you an opportunity to score higher. If you do poorly on the first part, the second part will be easier but the ceiling of your score will be lowered. Thus, your preparation strategy should be to answer the first part of each section well. Otherwise, by the time you complete the first part, you already have a much lower score than you want.

From this standpoint alone, your preparedness needs to be very thorough. A lot of help is available and where you are located is not a constraint on the availability. You can test prep help whenever you need it. Check out our private test prep tutoring service here.

Tips on Balancing a Job and Preparing for the GED Exam

Getting your GED expands your job opportunities. Tutoring can help you pass the exam the first time you take it!

Getting your GED expands your job opportunities. Tutoring can help you pass the exam the first time you take it!

Taking the GED test is an important step for many who did not complete high school.  Passing this test certifies that your “General Education Development” is equivalent to a high-school senior who graduates through a traditional school system. For people whose education got interrupted for any number of reasons, they can obtain this equivalency and pursue further studies or career goals. Most employers and colleges consider the certificates based on passing of GED to be an equivalent of high-school graduation. The GED test is designed to test the capability of a candidate in Math, Reading, Writing, Social Studies and Science. Taking practice tests and then following up with study of the material equivalent to the school curriculum is the best way to get ready for it.

GED 2014 Version

GED tests have been revised several times since they were first made available. The last revision was in 2002 to bring it up to the latest standards in schools. Prior to this, it was found that a large majority of the test takers look at it as a means to access higher education. Only about 30% of the test takers considered GED certification as a means to better employment. This is contrary to expectations on which this test was introduced. It was thought a candidate with an education equivalent to a high school graduate will help open up employment opportunities. This test is expected to be revised in January 2014. It is being redesigned to better test for college preparedness. More importantly, the test will not be on paper any more but will be taken interactively on computers. This is a significant change for test takers.

Preparing for the GED

People planning to take the GED are those whose high school studies have been interrupted. They will have some catching up to do depending on how long they have been out of the school system or when their home schooling stopped. It is possible they may not be familiar with computers the way school students are. So, in addition to preparing for the Math, Science, Social Studies and the reading and writing, they must catch up with computer usage very quickly. If you are already using a computer on your job, this process will be much easier for you. The computer training does not need to be extensive. You simply need to be able to use the computer sufficiently to answer questions timely. The best strategy is to take online practice tests.

If you have a job, it is recommended you develop a study plan. You will need to balance the demands of your test prep with the time you must spend on the job. Whether you are brushing up and adding to your subject knowledge or preparing for the practice tests, private tutoring can help you score higher on your test. We offer private test prep tutoring here to students who want to pass the GED test the first time they take it. Contact us today!

Tutoring and College Admissions Planning for Students with Learning or Other Disabilities

One-on-one tutoring can help students with disabilities get into college.

One-on-one tutoring can help students with learning or other disabilities get into college.

Planning for admissions by students with disabilities needs to be completed in two phases:

a)    Choose colleges to apply to by reviewing how they provide support to students with disabilities.

b)   Ensure the paperwork necessary for disability accommodation for students with disabilities is completed and the necessary permissions are obtained.

Typically, colleges accommodate student disabilities as much as possible. Tests such as the SAT and ACT (GED is due for a revision in 2014 when it too will be considered a college preparedness test) accommodate disabilities by extending additional time and allowing special services. Common disabilities include:

a)    a learning disability

b)   attention deficit/ hyperactivity  disorder

c)    visual or hearing impairment or other physical disorders

d)   certain psychological disorders such as mood anxiety disorder or some other persistent illness

College-Related Issues

When considering going to college, students with disabilities and their parents may consider the disabilities a handicap. However, that is not necessarily the case. In their drive for enriching campus life, many colleges look to include people with various challenges, including those with disabilities. Allowances in qualifying grades and scores on college preparedness tests may be made. Thus, it is to your advantage to acknowledge disabilities during the application process rather than hide them. Students can offer this kind of information in the “additional information” section and even discuss the effect of these disabilities on their grades and competitive exam scores.

The support system available at your target institution should be evaluated. It is important that they have a coordinator to look after the needs of students with disabilities. More importantly, you need to consider their retention and graduation rates.

Documentation Needed and Accommodations by the Testing Services

The SAT, ACT and GRE and all such testing services provide accommodations to students whose disabilities are properly documented. The disability must be proven to exist and be documented by authorized personnel. The accommodations take various forms. For example, you can get extra time up to 50% and 100% more than the time given to average test takers. Providing an isolated or less crowded room for an AD/HD challenged student is possible. A reader or a scribe may be permitted depending on the disability. Question papers in regular font size and larger ones are available. In case of a computer-based testing, the display can be adjusted to allow for larger fonts for those who need them. The ADA or the Americans with Disabilities Act provides access to testing centers for wheelchair-bound students.

The testing authorities of SAT or ACT will issue a letter authorizing the accommodation. They ensure for every individual case that the accommodation did not provide any undue advantage to the students with disability compared to regular students. They also make sure accommodations do not alter the tests in any way. Testing under altered conditions must measure the same capabilities the test is supposed to measure for typical candidates.

Preparing for the test is important. Students must follow the actual conditions. For example, students who need a scribe or a reader should work with one during the preparation phase. Tutors at Educational Tutorial Services can help students with disabilities prepare for tests. Learn more about our private test prep tutoring here, and call his to schedule an appointment with a qualified tutor.

How Online Tutoring Helps All Students

Online tutoring can accelerate learning for all students, including those who are behind in school.

Online tutoring can accelerate learning for all students, including those who are behind in school.

In-person tutoring by a competent teacher can benefit all students. Students get personal help from an experienced teacher in a non-threatening environment. Stress due to peer pressure is very low. Online tutoring is a practical alternative that provides nearly the same environment as in-person tutoring. In fact, many students find interacting with the tutor over the Internet even less threatening than if a tutor was physically present. Studies have shown students are able to improve grades through the right type of online tutoring. Many students also reported improvements in self-confidence in the process.

Growth of Online Tutoring

There is another aspect of the online tutoring growth phenomenon for you to consider. According to a well-known white paper by Cherie Mazur, online tutoring is a student retention and remediation solution. Student enrollment in college increased by 34% over 2000 to 2009, yet some 60% students joining community colleges needed remedial courses. This is where online tutoring can easily help students in need. Students can opt for college admission preparation programs available through online tutoring services. They can get remedial help in reading and math even before admission to a college. With the growth of online tutoring, parents are realizing the advantages tutoring offers their children.

Benefits Across the Board

The offerings available through these online tutoring sites are numerous. You can simply seek help for homework, improvement in reading, writing and math skills, subjects like physics, chemistry, social science, languages and so on. The academic levels may be K-12, college level, or preparing for tests such as GRE, GMAT, SAT or TOEFL. The best tutoring companies have veteran teachers available to work with any student, regardless of their need or knowledge level. You can get short-term assistance or coaching in a regular course on a specific subject. Compared to in-person tutoring, online companies offer virtual presence of a teacher. With technology solutions available today, tutors are able to interact with the student in realtime. Tutors can guide the student every step of the way as he or she learns the concepts and starts using them.

Benefits for Gifted students as well as Students with Special Learning Needs

It is not often that you can access a learning framework that is beneficial to students across the board. Gifted students are able to satisfy their special knowledge needs with the guidance of a tutor who has knowledge beyond the regular curriculum. Any questions that arise in pursuing these additional concepts are easily resolved through the intervention of the tutor. Combined with the access to knowledge provided by the Internet, there are no limits to what students can learn. Students with learning disabilities and other disadvantages can have custom-designed coursework to achieve learning goals. A tutor is there to guide and provide support as necessary. For the large majority, in the middle, a tutor can help clarify any questions, ensure the concepts get deeply ingrained in their minds and satisfy their curiosity on any issue related to the curriculum.

Online Tutoring: Advice for High School Students

Online tutoring can benefit high school students in many ways, including preparing them for college.

By the time you reach your junior year of high school, you should be giving some serious thought about college. While not everyone is cut out for college, your ability to earn more over an entire lifetime is directly related to achieving that college degree.

Unfortunately, many high school students are simply not prepared. More than one-quarter of high school students who took the ACT in 2012 fell short of college prep standards in the four areas deemed critical by the ACT, and 60 percent of high school students fell short in two of those areas.

The Demands of College Prep

Let’s face it: college entrance requirements are becoming more competitive with each passing year. With such pressure on you, it may be downright impossible to keep up with everything that the life of a high school junior or senior demands. That’s where online tutoring comes in.

A lot of the academic struggling you might be facing could be the result of failing to grasp some of the concepts being thrown at you in class. Another aspect may be the demands of extracurricular activities or a part time job. Even the extra paperwork involved with all of those college applications may prove to be too much. Online tutoring can help with some of these issues, helping you with study skills, reinforcing the academics learned in school, and basic time management.

How Online Tutoring Can Help

Online tutoring is just like hiring a private tutor, except you work online with your tutor, who may be hundreds of miles away. The flexibility of online tutoring means that you can add this service to your already busy schedule, getting the help with what you need, when you need it. Your tutor can help you improve your grades, raise your GPA, and even help you do better on those ACTs or SATs. Higher grades and test scores may just mean the difference between getting accepted into your first choice, or having to settle for your second (or third or fourth) choice school.

To be honest, the academic study skills that you develop now, while still in high school, will translate into college success. Online tutoring can help ensure that you are comfortable with college-level work, proficient in the skills you need, and the habits of successful students everywhere.

Laying the Proper Foundation

It might not seem like a big deal right now, but success in school can make all the difference in your future. Getting good grades in high school can translate into getting accepted into the right college environment, which eventually could mean the difference in the type of career you have. Online tutoring could just be the best weapon you have now for ensuring that your future is everything you want it to be.

Private Tutoring Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Tutoring can help students who feel overwhelmed. By reducing stress and anxiety, students feel more confident and will perform better in school.

Tutoring can help students who feel overwhelmed. By reducing stress and anxiety, students feel more confident and will perform better in school.

Before taking a test, it is common for students to feel stressed. To help students deal with stress, parents often seek the help of private tutors. Private tutoring has been shown to help many students overcome feelings of panic and extreme anxiety often associated with test prep and test taking. Students who are tutored privately are able to walk into the classroom feeling more confident and relaxed and they will also generally perform better on exams.

Getting Optimal Results

Private tutoring is typically spread across several sessions. A private tutor needs to start off by finding out how much the student knows and what areas are causing the student the most trouble. This information will allow the private tutor to structure the lessons and sessions in a manner that will help ensure optimal results.

Before starting a session, the tutor also needs to ask the student about different aspects of the subject material. The tutor encourages the student to do more than simply try and memorize the topic that is being taught. The student is encouraged to understand and apply the knowledge that they have gained. Understanding and applying the knowledge gained will help the student do well in their essay exams.

Use of Practical Tests

To help the student reduce or even eliminate stress and anxiety, the private tutor must make use of practical tests. These tests help the tutor get a feel of how the student is going to perform when the examination day arrives. The tutor must also be ready to use strong measures such as simulating real tests. They may also time the student. Timing the student helps to ensure that student learns to not take up more time than is allowed to complete the test. These simulated situations help to make the students feel more relaxed. The more the student practices, the more likely it is that he will do well o his tests. Private tutors must work on the premise that it is possible to make the student learn as well as remember information.

Understanding Poor Performance

Stress can make students perform poorly on tests or homework assignments. Stress does not have anything to do with understanding or knowing the subject. The anxiety that a student faces before a test is often more about meeting teacher and parent expectations. Students worry too much about disappointing their parents and teachers. This makes them worry more about test grades rather than on the test itself.

Stress can cause blackouts and it also makes the student forget all that they have learned. Simulated tests can help the student break free of the stress they are feeling. Private tutoring provides an environment that is safe and conducive to studying and learning. Private tutoring will help the student deal with their stress while preparing for an important test.

Private tutoring also ensures that the student is not put under extra pressure. In fact, private tutoring offers practical and suitable recommendations to aid the student. These recommendations will make it easier for the student to review the subject material. The best part is that private tutoring makes the student feel more relaxed and confident about passing their exam.

Preparing for the GED the Right Way

Passing the GED exam requires strong study skills and preparation.

Everyone deserves a second chance. That is why the General Educational Development (GED) test exists, the only high school equivalency exam recognized in all 50 states and Canada. The GED is actually five tests, measuring knowledge in social studies, science, mathematics, reading and writing. All of the tests are multiple choice, except the writing test, which requires an essay.

Because the total exam takes over seven hours, test takers may approach the GED with some anxiety. However, just a few simple study tips can have you ready for the GED in no time at all.

Become Familiar With the Exam

Because there are seven sections, make sure your studying covers all of the areas. Look over not only what the test covers, but how the exam is structured. Becoming familiar with the exam will help reduce test anxiety and boost your confidence before you sit down to take the real thing.

Review Different Prep Books

Your local library or bookstore should have several different GED prep books. Try looking through a few of them to see which ones may prove helpful to you. Not every book will be useful for every individual, but one or two should provide a fair amount of information that can help you prepare.

Find a GED Prep Class

The web is a great resource for finding a GED prep class in your area. Some GED prep classes can even be taken online, allowing you to work from the convenience of your home and at your own pace. Instructors who are familiar with the GED exam can help you strengthen the areas where you require more study, which will increase the chance of you passing on the first try.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take the Exam More than Once

You know the old saying: “If at first you don’t succeed…” Hopefully, you’ve prepared enough to pass the first time. If, however, you need to take the GED exam more than once, don’t let it get you down. Consider the first try to be practice, and concentrate on the areas where you did not do as well as expected. Nothing in life ever comes easy, why should the GED be any different?

Practice, Practice, Practice.

There are lots of practice versions of the GED exam available. Work through the practice questions without timing yourself, just to get comfortable with the format and material. Then try a few timed runs to see if you are ready. Practice does make perfect, and the better prepared you are, the more confident you will be at exam time.

Relax

Make sure you build some free time into your study schedule. Take a break, allow your mind to relax and come back to your studying when you are refreshed. Get a good night’s sleep before the exam and have confidence in your ability to pass. If you’ve studied and feel that you are ready, chances are that you will do well.

Managing Your Fear of the SAT

You need to study for the SAT if you expect to get a score high enough to help you get into the college of your choice. Expert tutors can help you with test prep.

You need to study for the SAT if you expect to get a score high enough to help you get into the college of your choice. Expert tutors can help you.

SAT can be quite the terror for students who are trying to get into college. There’s a lot riding on your SAT scores. Your future depends on it, so this is definitely not a test to take lightly. The SAT affects your college admission, and it may very well affect your chance for a scholarship.

This is not a test you can cram for.

The SAT covers a wide range of content and it is not a test that you can study for overnight. If cramming for exams is your forte, you might want to pick up a new skill called “studying a few months in advance”. The most ideal situation is for you to study consistently throughout the year, but we know that ideal situations do not always happen, so set aside 2 to 3 months before the SAT and go through all the materials you have been taught.

Know what you are up against.

As mentioned, the SAT is a massive test. It comprises of different sections which will test you on different subjects and skills. It is beneficial to know what the SAT is made up of. Go through each component to see what is required of you in each section. This way you can be sure of what you should be studying and what you should be leaving out. By dissecting the SAT, you are able to see which sections are your strengths and which are your weaknesses. From there, you can adjust your study plans accordingly.

Practice makes perfect.

As cliche as this may sound, practice does makes perfect. Attempt a couple of SAT practice tests and see which are the sections you are comfortable with, and which sections you need more practice in. Taking the practice SAT tests also can prepare you for the similar kind of questions you will be expecting on the real SAT test. Take this opportunity to manage your time spent on the tests as this will allow you to gauge the speed at which you should be going at in order to complete the test in the stipulated time.

Study hard, study smarter.

There are a bunch of SAT strategies and tips to help make your SAT less difficult. Remember these strategies and try to apply them when you are in doubt. Of course, these strategies and tips cannot replace hard work – they can only complement your knowledge. For example, if you are in doubt, you should not leave the question blank. If you leave it blank, it is a definite wrong answer, but if you tried to answer it, there is a 1 in 4 chance that it might be correct. Another strategy might be to use the process of elimination. Cross out the choices that you think are wrong, until you arrive at the least incorrect answer.

If you need help with your SAT test prep, contact us for private tutoring.

Ways Students with Learning Disabilities Can Improve SAT Test Scores

Students with learning disabilities may need extra help to study for college entrance exams. Your teacher and a tutor are great resources to consider.

Students with learning disabilities may need extra help to study for college entrance exams. Your teacher and a tutor are great resources to consider.

Studying can be quite a challenging task for all students because of reasons like lack of interest and short attention span. Studying is even more difficult when you combine the two reasons above with learning disabilities. Here are some tips on how students with learning disabilities can study better and hence, score good grades on big exams like the SAT.

Identify the Problem

The first thing to do is to pinpoint what the problem is. For example, the problem could be an extremely short attention span. If you know what the problem is, you can find the right approach to deal with it. If you spend most of your days studying but you are not getting the results you want, it could mean that you do not have the right study skills. Pay attention to yourself and find out what your problem is.

Organize Content You Need to Study

For exams such as the SAT, it is usually very taxing content-wise. There are a lot of materials and topics to study for. This can get very confusing and discouraging for a student with learning disabilities. The solution to this problem is to be very organized. List all the subjects and topics that are required for the SAT, and check them off one by one as you move along on your revision route. This way, you will feel like there is less clutter and things are more systematic.

Listen up!

Teachers are the experienced exam-takers. They are a great source for clues and tips for your big exam. More often than not, teachers may drop hints about important information on what to focus on and what to spend less time studying for. Try to pick out verbal cues from your teachers. Clues can be words such as “write this down” or “listen up”. When you hear your teachers say these verbal cues, be sure to write it down, mark it or flag the pages so that you know what you should be studying.

Don’t Forget the “Cheat Sheets”

Yes, there are cheat sheets available. They are located at the end of every chapter in your textbooks. These cheat sheets are called “chapter review”. Textbooks these days offer these review pages with questions you can answer. If you have trouble with chunks of texts in your textbooks, the important parts of the chapter will be highlighted in this review portion. Be sure to take note of what is mentioned in the review pages, and then go back to the chapter and read up on it again, this time, paying more attention to the new information you have just learned. The questions in the review sections are also helpful – they can help you see how much you have understood from reading the chapter as well as summarizes the entire chapter.