Archive for the ACT Category

Servers Who Refuse to Write Down Your Order

Posted in ACT, SAT, SHSAT on August 3, 2014 by Steve

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How many times has this happened to you?  At a family function 6 to 10 of you are sitting at a round table when the server comes over to take the drink and salad order.  He or she politely listens to everyone with hands behind the back.  Not writing anything down!  Amazing you think– this person has a steel trap memory.  She can probably tell me that I was born on a Tuesday 55 years ago.

Ah, but then the food comes.  Uncle Bob asked for a lemon in his drink and got a lime instead.  You wanted dressing on the side with no onions but not surprisingly, your salad is smothered with both dressing and onions.  Yuck!

What does this have to do with test taking?  Great question.  Many of my students try to figure out complex (and sometimes simple) math problems in their head.  Many times this will result in sloppy mistakes and even worse– a blank test booklet makes it impossible to re-check your work should you have extra time!

As soon as I see this, I tell them the above waiter story which they can all relate.  I also tell them solving a math problem is not like enjoying art at a museum.  Math is a systematic step by step logical progression.  Yet many like to solve a math problem by tilting their heads, sizing up the shape or pattern and filling in a blank as enjoying some piece of abstract art.

Math is not abstract art.  Math is precise. Math is not subject to interpretation.  There can be no debate about the correct answer.  Don’t try to be cool while solving math problems.  This is not Jeopardy where you must buzz in before your opponent.  You will not impress me and you will certainly not be impressed with your score if you continue to juggle things in your head.

 

 

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Back to School

Posted in ACT, SAT, SHSAT on August 26, 2013 by Steve

Summer is winding down and for most High School Seniors this means revving up ACT Prep (for late Sept) , SAT Prep (for early Oct) working on your first essay draft for college applications, getting your program card, and setting up a meeting with your guidance counselor–  WOW!

For those coming up from middle school this means adjusting to life as a High School Freshman. For Sophomores and Juniors this means keeping up the same expected standard of excellence.

Enjoy the last passing days of summer and get mentally prepared for the tasks ahead.

Where Can I Get In With My SAT Scores?

Posted in ACT, SAT, SHSAT on February 24, 2013 by Steve

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What You Should Be Doing Now

Posted in ACT, SAT, SHSAT on February 23, 2013 by Steve

High School Juniors registered for the March SAT should be completing one practice test per week until test day.  There are 2 weeks left–  So, a minimum of two practice tests should be completed, scored and reviewed.

Those taking the May SAT should be arranging tutors and/or SAT prep classes as well as ACT prep classes.

High School Sophomores should be focusing on their grades, their after school community service, their vocabulary and their reading skills.

Thinking Fast and Slow

Posted in ACT, SAT, SHSAT with tags on January 6, 2013 by Steve

As I was reading Thinking Fast and Slow by Princeton Professor and Nobel Prize recipient Daniel Kahneman, I came across the following mental exercise on p. 44

A bat and ball cost $1.10

The bat costs $1 more than the ball

How much does the ball cost?

If you answered 10 cents, you used your intuitive mind.  You were too lazy or you rushed through the problem by trying to figure this out off the top your head.  You did not “work to find the answer”  You did not want to invest the time to write down a simple equation or check your work.  If you answered 10 cents then the total cost would be $1.20 (.10 for the ball, $1.10 for the bat)

You should have made a simple equation x+x+1 = 1.10. Solve for x gets you .05.  Checking your work the ball is .05 and the bat is 1.05 for a total value of $1.10.

Why is this important?  Because the test makers will always fool the student who rushes.  The student who rushes will always fall for the trick answer because he and she refuses to take a few extra seconds to think things through.

Be Thankful

Posted in ACT, SAT on November 25, 2012 by Steve

Be thankful for riding out the storm.  Be thankful for learning things–new vocabulary words, the ability to write creatively, problem solving skills, thinking outside the box.  Be thankful for the personal growth which comes with learning.  Be thankful for preparing to become college ready.  Be thankful for the opportunities which will be presented to you in the coming year.

Be thankful that we live in a country which allows us to learn and to improve ourselves.

Are Your Priorities Straight?

Posted in ACT, SAT, SHSAT on October 15, 2012 by Steve

Many students fail to see the big picture. They claim they have “no time” for SAT prep. Amazingly, they have time for practice, games, rehearsal, recitals, shows, driver’s ed, the mall, the movies and hanging out. How is this possible? Priorities! If there is time for play, there certainly is time for work. Allocate some of that play time for study time. If you do your work early on the weekends when everyone is asleep, you won’t be borrowing from time with your friends. Every Saturday and Sunday morning wake up early and prep for an hour. Start ten weeks prior to test day. That’s a full 20 hours of prep in addition to any private tutoring or prep class. Everyone can do that math!