Why a vocab app isn’t enough if you want to ace GRE verbal

A couple of times in the past few months, I’ve had chance conversations with people who were either preparing for the GRE or had recently taken it.  Inevitably, the subject turned to preparation for the verbal section, and both times, the GRE-taker in question lit up when they mentioned using an app to study vocabulary. As one of them enthused, “it’s like a game! You get to compete against other users and everything.”  I admit that my familiarity with GRE vocab apps is limited, but when I had...
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How to write those pesky “why this college” essays

Ah, Christmas break… A whole week to sleep late, hang out with your friends, and stuff yourself with leftovers. Unless, of course, you’re a senior trying desperately to finish your college applications. Even if your main essay is done, you might still have a bunch of supplements waiting to be done. And if that’s the case, then chances are some of those supplements include the perennial “why this college?” question. In some cases, you may not be able to answer entirely truthfully (I needed another...
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The new administration, Common Core, and the new SAT

Reuters’ Renée Dudley has come out with yet another exposé about the continuing mess at the College Board. (Hint: Coleman’s “beautiful vision” isn’t turning out to be all that attractive.) This time around: what will happen to the new supposedly Common Core-aligned SAT if Common Core disappears under the incoming, purportedly anti-Core presidential administration?  As Dudley writes: The Core’s English Language Arts standards call on students to grapple with important readings, including hallowed U.S. documents such as the Declaration of Independence and works of American literature....
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Why you shouldn’t always trust college essay books (just say no to community service trip essays)

If you’re a senior still in the throes of writing your college essay, or if you’re a younger student/parent of a younger student trying to get a jumpstart on the college admissions process, you may be in possession of book entitled something like 100 College Essays that Worked, or 50 Successful Harvard Essays. In general, I have no particular bone to pick with such compilations. I think they often provide a helpful glimpse at a variety of topics, styles, and structures that successful applicants have used...
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The Chaos Curriculum and Learning Disabilities

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a colleague who teaches high school, and she told me about a recent incident that had left her thinking. One of her students was enrolled in a dance class (in-school) that was holding an open house, and the student invited my colleague to attend. As my colleague watched the class, she became aware that the atmosphere was one of calm and focus. The students were disciplined and respectful, yet the teacher and students seemed relaxed, and the students...
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The College Board’s new accommodations policy – a sharp change of direction

After my recent post about the College Board’s announcement that students already receiving accommodations in school would automatically be granted equivalent accommodations on all College Board exams beginning on January 1st, 2017, I started wondering whether/how the test-taking population receiving extra time, etc. had changed in recent years.  As I was browsing the web searching for information, I came across an interesting 2006 article by Jed Applerouth of Applerouth tutoring.  Written just after the previous round of changes to the SAT (2005), the article details the effects of the College Board’s...
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The College Board is making it easier to get extra time (but who will really benefit?)

The College Board has announced that beginning January 1, 2017, students who receive accommodations in school will automatically receive equivalent accommodations for all College Board exams (PSAT, SAT, SAT II, AP).  According to the Washington Post:  Early this year, as more states began to adopt the SAT or the ACT as a required test for high school students to take, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division began to look into complaints that the testing organizations were too stingy with accommodations to eligible students, Education Week reported. In a...
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Update: top new SAT and GRE vocabulary lists now available (online and PDF)

Over 500 must-know GRE words, arranged in groups of synonyms, both online and as a PDF.  And for a preview of the forthcoming GRE Vocabulary Workbook, click here.  For the SAT, pairs of commonly confused words tested on the Writing section, plus over 100 key vocabulary words for passage comprehension (compiled from released College Board exams). View online or as a PDF.
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