Update: new SAT books are now available

Update: new SAT books are now available

Announcement: the new editions of The Critical Reader (4th ed.) and The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar (5th ed.) are now available. Please note that orders placed through thecriticalreader.com will have longer-than-usual shipping times (expect approximately 5-7 days for delivery) for the next couple of weeks, until the new editions are stocked at our storage/shipping facility.

If you need the books urgently in the meantime, please order from Amazon: the reading book can be found here, and the grammar book here. (As of 9/20, the books do not appear to be consistently appearing at the top of Amazon searches even when the exact titles are entered, so we recommend that you use the links provided here to navigate to them.)

The ACT English book is now projected to be released by the end of next week (by 9/27). Unfortunately, there have been some delays involving the cover and proof shipping, and the book cannot be released until physical proofs have been checked.

To reiterate: if you are a student or parent who has recently purchased the current editions, you do not need to purchase the new ones as well. Tutors/companies may find it helpful to keep the updated editions on hand, however.

Interview with a tutor: Tanya Lesser

Interview with a tutor: Tanya Lesser

Bio

Tanya has been tutoring for 25 years. In college, she first pursued a major in math/science;  however, she missed the humanities and made the switch to history.  She also trained to teach and tutor the GRE and  SAT CR and M for the Princeton Review.

After earning an education degree and a teaching certification, she pursued a 10 year career teaching reading, interpretation and writing in social studies classes, including AP US History.  She continued to tutor math on the side and in Ridgewood, she worked as a teacher’s aide in Chemistry, Geometry and Alg 2 classes.

Tanya and her husband moved to Ridgewood (her hometown) with their two children and  started The Ridgewood Tutor in 2012. She took official SATs at local high schools and earned an 800 in CR, a 790 in Math, and an 800 in Writing over the two times she took the test in 2015.

Strong scores don’t always necessarily translate into good teaching–that’s where those ten years of teaching have helped her develop the necessary planning skills.  She has organized lessons for the SATs, ACTs and GREs from wonderful resource material that she hand-picked after much trial and error.

Educational/certification details: National Board Certified and state certified in social studies education by NJ and NY,  she also holds a Masters Degree in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Good to know: Tanya gives presentations featuring SAT and ACT tips several times during the year at the Ridgewood Library. Check out the home page of this site for upcoming presentations, or follow her twitter feed (which also features general college prep retweets).

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Update: new SAT books are now available

Announcement: updated editions of the SAT reading & grammar books, and the ACT English book, are coming in September

Announcement: I realize this is coming on the late side (long story involving proofreaders, How to Write for Class, and the Random House permissions office), but I am planning to release updated editions of my SAT reading and grammar books, as well as my ACT English book. 

Now, before you get your knickers all in twist over which editions to buy, here’s what you need to know:  (more…)

“How to Write for Class: A Student’s Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Style” is now available!

“How to Write for Class: A Student’s Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Style” is now available!

I’m happy to announce that my first foray into non-test-prep grammar is finally available on Amazon and The Critical Reader.

How to Write for Class: A Student’s Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Style is a comprehensive guide to the concepts students need to know to write effectively for school. Although there is some overlap with the SAT and ACT grammar books (and tutors/parents who remember the pre-2016 version of the SAT grammar book will see some familiar material), it is not aligned with any particular test and covers certain concepts in significantly more depth. Rather than treat grammar as a series of rules to be memorized, it emphasizes the logic behind the English language as well as the relationship between grammar and meaning, and provides answers to burning questions such as “why can’t you end a sentence with a preposition?” (spoiler alert: you can).

The approach taken in the book is also based on the observation that students often find it challenging to apply rules studied in isolation, or in terms of overly-simplified examples, to the more complex sentences they want to include in their own writing. As a result, How to Write for Class makes use of numerous examples from actual student papers, and walks students through the process of constructing the type of sophisticated but grammatically coherent statements that will raise their academic writing to the next level.

Click here to read a preview.

Whole language and the art of “making meaning”

Whole language and the art of “making meaning”

I found myself stuck at home sick today, and unable to do pretty much anything other than lie flat on my back on the couch, I inevitably ended up trawling the internet and somehow found myself on Retrospective Miscue, a blog run by various members of the whole language community (including Yetta Goodman, wife/collaborator of Ken Goodman, the founder of whole language and one of the figures discussed in the article by Marilyn Jäger Adams I posted about recently.)

As I read through the posts, I couldn’t help but notice what seemed like a rather idiosyncratic connotation of the term “making meaning,” and it occurred to me that what scientists and, well, most educated adults understand by it is fundamentally different from what the whole-language crowd—or a certain segment thereof—mean. The two groups are not simply having a theoretical debate; they’re living in two separate universes, one of which is based in reality and the other of which is not. (more…)

Yes, the GMAT does test “so that” vs. “so as to”

Yes, the GMAT does test “so that” vs. “so as to”

Thank you to Soph Lundeberg at Soph-wise Tutoring in San Diego for calling this to my attention.

Soph wrote:

The following Magoosh blog claims the GMAT will not test “so as to” versus “so that,” and furthermore, the two are idiomatically acceptable.

 

 

The solution for #150 is on page 302. Erica’s solution says “All of other options are idiomatically unacceptable” but does not have any further explanation for why A, “so as to escape,” is wrong, whereas the longer construction, “so that she could escape” is correct. If two constructions are acceptable, “shorter = better”, right? 

 

I checked the Magoosh blog post, which claimed that the GMAT would never ask test-takers to choose between “so that” and “so as to,” and something really did not sit quite right about it.” There was just no way I would have bothered to put “so that” and “so as to” head to head in a question unless I’d actually seen the GMAC do so first. (more…)