Starting SAT/ACT prep? Ask yourself these three key questions

1) Where am I?  This does not just mean “what is your score on your first-ever practice test?” It means considering why you’re starting where you’re starting, and what that reveals about your strengths and weaknesses — factors that will in turn affect what type of prep is best for you. If your overall score isn’t where you want it to be, where are the problem spots? Are your math and verbal score/skills comparable, or do you have a big gap between them? If the latter, a class...
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When guidance counselors give bad advice

A few years ago, I was contacted by the mother of a former student who wanted me to tutor her younger son, a rising junior, for the ACT. I’d been pulled in to work with his older brother very late, after he’d already taken the test a ridiculous number of times (five, if I recall correctly), and by the time I got to him, he was convinced that he would fail yet again and never wanted to look at another ACT again in his life. This time, his mother...
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Seven deadly types of tutoring

As I’ve written about before, a number of students I worked with came to me after finding themselves unable to make sufficient progress with other tutors. When I first met with one of these “second-round” students, the conversation usually went something like this: Me: Ok, so tell me about what you did with your other tutor. I just want to get an idea where we should start. Student: Ummm…. (S)he, like, gave me tests to do, and then we went over them. Me: Did you...
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My top ACT English strategy tip

I realize that announced in my previous post that I was planning to focus on general issues involving tutoring and test prep for a little while, but given that the first ACT of the school year is two days away and that I’ve somehow managed to overlook posting this particular tidbit, I think this is a more urgent.  Just to be clear, this is a post about strategy — if you don’t know the actual grammar, or you have difficulty understanding when to use different types of transitions, it...
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The one thing an SAT/ACT English tutor should never say

It’s back to school time… which is right about when high school juniors and their parents often start to think about prep options for the SAT or ACT. In recognition of that fact, I’m planning to devote the next few posts to issues involving tutoring and classes: what to know, what to ask, and how to decide which option is right for you. While there are many factors to consider when choosing a tutor, there are a handful of warning signs that should cause you to...
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The Complete GMAT Sentence Correction Guide is now available on Amazon!

The Complete GMAT Sentence Correction Guide offers a thorough review of every major grammar concept tested on the GMAT as well as extensive practice sets and strategies for identifying correct and incorrect answers more quickly and easily. To help students apply their skills to the test, the book also features 150 GMAT-style multiple choice questions accompanied by thorough explanations. The book can be found on Amazon here, or on The Critical Reader Books page.  For a preview, click here. (And for a really condensed preview, check out the Complete GMAT Sentence...
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Why are colleges really dropping their SAT II requirements?

According to the Boston Globe, the number of selective colleges requiring applicants to submit SAT IIs is in decline: In the past year, Amherst College, Dartmouth College, and Williams College all have dropped the subject test requirement, taking a lead from Columbia University, which announced the new policy this spring. Duke University and Vassar College also no longer require the tests, often called SAT II. The shift occurs amid a larger discussion in higher education about the value of standardized testing in admissions. Some colleges, especially...
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The Complete Guide to ACT Reading, 2nd Edition, is now available on Amazon!

At long last, the second edition is available. In addition to all of the content from the first edition, the book features an additional chapter devoted to paired passages, as well as practice tests updated to include paired passages. Note: if you purchase the book through this site, you will automatically be sent the second edition. If you’d prefer to go through Amazon, you can find the book here.