by Erica L. Meltzer | Apr 15, 2017 | Blog, College Admissions, Parents, Students
The short answer: In terms of giving you a leg up on Ivy League and other highly selective college admissions, probably not.
The long answer: It depends.
The reality is that summer high school programs effectively function as cash cows for (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Apr 7, 2017 | ACT English/SAT Writing, Blog, Students
When transition questions are discussed in regard to SAT Writing/ACT English, they tend to be covered in two main forms.
The first way involves a transition placed after a comma in the middle of a sentence.
Version #1: The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in 1519 brought the fragrant vanilla flower—and its companion, cacao—to Europe. Vanilla was cultivated in botanical gardens in France and England, but growers were unable to collect its glorious seeds. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Mar 27, 2017 | Blog, Students
I realized after posting yesterday that I had buried the most practical information in the middle of what became a much longer-than-intended meditation/diatribe, so I’m re-posting the key information here in condensed form.
To sum up: since 2014, the AP English Language and Composition exam has NOT included questions directly testing knowledge of high-level rhetorical figures. So you know those questions that directly ask you to identify whether a particular set of lines includes, for example, oxymoron, antithesis, or syncope? They’re gone. (You may, however, see questions testing less technical terms, e.g., abstract language.)
But please note: if you are studying from exams administered before 2014, you may indeed see these terms.
For a description of the College Board’s revised stance on rhetorical terminology, see the 2014 Course Description, p. 2021. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Mar 8, 2017 | Blog, SAT Essay, Students
If you look at the SAT Essay scoring rubric, you’ll find in order to earn a top score of 4 in “Writing,” an essay must demonstrate “a highly effective use and command of language,” and “a consistent use of precise word choice.”
Those are lovely-sounding directives, but they’re also extremely vague. It’s hard to dispute that these are characteristics of good analytical writing, but what do they actually mean, and how can you put them into practice?It’s easy enough to memorize grammatical rules, but style is something that can’t be taught…right? (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Dec 31, 2016 | Blog, GRE, Students, Vocabulary
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 the first of these conversations, my immediate inclination was to double-check that the student knew that the GRE had changed a few years back — that the vocabulary section was no longer based on straight-up synonym and antonym questions but was rather focused on testing words in the context of sentences and short passages. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Dec 22, 2016 | Blog, College Admissions, Parents, Students
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 safety school, my parents are making me apply), but even assuming that you actually want to attend most of the schools you’re applying to, this question can be hard to get started on.
If that describes your situation, this post is for you. (more…)