by Erica L. Meltzer | May 4, 2022 | Blog, General Tips, Grammar (SAT & ACT)
Although but and however have the same meaning, they are punctuated differently when used to join complete sentences:
- but follows a comma and is not followed by any punctuation
- however follows a period or semicolon and is followed by a comma
Correct: An increasing number of people at the company bike or take public transit to work, but many employees still prefer to drive.
Incorrect: An increasing number of people at the company bike or take public transit to work. But, many employees still prefer to drive.
Correct: An increasing number of people at the company bike or take public transit to work. However, many employees still prefer to drive.
Correct: An increasing number of people at the company bike or take public transit to work; however, many employees still prefer to drive.
Incorrect: An increasing number of people at the company bike or take public transit to work, however, many employees still prefer to drive.
On the surface, the fact that these two words must be punctuated differently might seem odd—the kind of persnickety little rule that tends to give grammar a bad name. However, it actually exists for a reason. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Jul 29, 2018 | General Tips
The Native Society, an online platform for innovation and entrepreneurship, recently interviewed me about my experience founding The Critical Reader as part of its NativeAdvice series.
From the interview:
How did you get into the industry?
In 2008, I was tutoring a student for the Writing section of the SAT. I didn’t want her to use up all the questions in the Official Guide, and so I went to the bookstore looking for additional practice material. I looked through the standard offerings and was pretty shocked at how poorly they reflected the actual test. I’d already written practice questions for a bunch of independent companies, but until then, it had never occurred to me that I could write my own materials. But as I looked through the guides on the shelves, I thought, “I can do so much better than this.” (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Jul 11, 2018 | General Tips
Every now and then, I’ll get a plaintive email from a student who has been diligently prepping for the SAT or ACT for months but can’t quite seem to get their test-day scores to match their practice test scores. Often, they’ve worked through my books and don’t seem to have any problem applying the concepts when they take practice exams. When it comes to the real thing, though, they just can’t seem to make everything work.
This is obviously a very frustrating situation: the fact that these students are able to score well when the test doesn’t count suggests that they’re capable of scoring well when it does count – but in some ways, that just makes things worse. The goal seems so close, yet so far away. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | May 19, 2018 | Blog, General Tips
If you’re just starting to look into test-prep for the SAT or ACT, the sheer number of options can be a little overwhelming (more than a little, actually). And if you don’t have reliable recommendations, finding a program or tutor that fits your needs can be a less-than-straightforward process. There are obviously a lot of factors to consider, but here I’d like to focus on one area in which companies have been known to exaggerate: score-improvement.
To start with, yes, some companies are notorious for deflating the scores of their diagnostic tests in order to get panicked students to sign up for their classes. This is something to be very, very wary of. For the most accurate baseline score, you should use a diagnostic test produced only by the College Board or the ACT. Timed, proctored, diagnostics are great, but using imitation material at the start can lead you very far down the wrong path. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Sep 20, 2016 | Blog, General Tips, The Mental Game, Tutoring
After my recent post discussing why it’s not a good idea to treat real SATs or ACTs like practice runs, a tutor wrote to ask me to weigh in on the ACT’s score-deletion option and its effect on the test-prep process. In truth, I probably should have covered it in my earlier post, but since I didn’t (mea culpa!), I’m going to discuss it here.
So first, for those of you who aren’t familiar with ACT scoring policy, the ACT takes the concept of score choice to a level beyond that of the SAT. Most colleges will allow you to select which set(s) of scores you want to send, but a few holdouts — including several Ivy League schools — still require you to send all of your scores. If you take the SAT, you do in fact need to send everything; however, if you take the ACT, there’s still a back door into score choice. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Sep 19, 2016 | Blog, General Tips, Parents, Students
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 that devotes equal time to both probably isn’t the best option.
Do you have problems with particular types of questions, or are your mistakes all over the map? (more…)