The Musings of Your English Tutor

10 Quick SAT and ACT Test Tips

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1.) Pay attention to SAT and ACT registration deadlines. Registering late may result in extra fees. Past a certain date, students can no longer register.

2.) Begin to prepare using Official College Board and Official ACT released tests at least 3 months before.

3.) Understand that each test has its own testing strategy; it’s wise to know what they are.

4.) Make sure you arrive early on test day. Don’t eat anything heavy or out of the ordinary for breakfast.

5.) Do not cram and burn yourself out the night before.

6.) Understand the directions for each test. Leave room for little surprises on test day.

7.) Relax- the tests can be re-taken. However, remember this as a way to reduce anxiety. You should still definitely try your 110% best!

8.) Practice vocabulary and math via smartphone apps; delete Instagram and Facebook for a while and flip through formulas and new words on your downtime instead!

9.) Try your best to get a decent night’s sleep the day before.

10.) Engage a study buddy or tutor to keep you accountable for test prep!


I am an experienced SAT and ACT Test Prep tutor in Dallas, TX. Need a tutor? Contact me today!

Posted 40 weeks ago

Parents of High School Students: Take Heed

If your student has entered the latter years of high school, you may have heard words such as “SAT,” “ACT,” “AP Exams,” and “SAT Subject Tests” casually thrown around. What is this and why hasn’t my son/daughter talked to me about it, you wonder, as panic slowly rises in your throat. Fear not- let me give you a quick run down on the what and why and when of these ultra-important exams:

The SAT is a test that students take before applying to college. I encourage prep in the 9th grade. Students usually start taking it their junior year. High scores mean better colleges, better scholarships, and ample opportunities. You want your student to ace this test.  Dates the test is administered varies; you can see upcoming schedules HERE.

The ACT can be taken in lieu of the SAT or in addition to it. Some students score higher on the ACT. The difference between the two is that the SAT contains 3 main subject areas and an optional essay (reading, math, and writing) and the ACT contains 4 and an optional essay (reading, English, science, and math). Have them practice both- see how the student feels. Again, higher scores equal more opportunity.

AP Exams are taken at the end of junior and senior years. No, students are NOT required to have completed AP courses before attempting an AP Exam. They can study for one using the designated College Board AP Exam book. If the student scores high enough, they will receive college credit. Students save not only money, but an entire semester as well.

SAT Subject Tests vary from English to Biology to Chemistry and more; generally, these tests are specifically requested as a part of the application process at some universities, especially the really competitive ones. ALL Ivy League schools will request that students submit SAT Subject Test scores. The College Board (the creators of the AP Exams, Courses, SAT and SAT Subject Tests) have study guides for each SAT Subject Test.

Still kind of confused? I consult frazzled parents during the college admissions process; contact me for further information. I’d love to help you!

Posted 56 weeks ago

May 5th, 2016

SAT Subject Tests, ACT, SAT, AP Exams...What's the Difference? A Quick 5 Minute Breakdown

High school juniors and seniors have many opportunities to maximize their time in school before entering college. Along with these opportunities come a barrage of exams. I'm sure you may have heard these terms thrown around more often if your student is in his/her 11th or 12th year. I'll explain the purpose of each test below:

SAT: The SAT is a test that students take before applying to college. It can be taken anytime; I've had students as young as 13 take it, just to see where they are at. That is NOT the norm, so do not be alarmed. However, I'd suggest preparation by 9th grade; students should start taking the test in their 11th year. Their score on this test will boost a student's chances of getting accepted into competitive universities. Needless to say, a good score is very important. 

ACT: Usually, the ACT can be taken in lieu of the SAT. Some students simply score better on it than they do the SAT. Same guidelines above apply. The difference between the two is that the SAT contains 3 subject areas and an optional essay (reading, math, and writing) and the ACT contains 4 and an optional essay (reading, English, science, and math). Unless your student's desired school particularly requests one test over the other, then you should encourage the student to take both tests and see where they score higher. 

AP Exams: AP Exams are taken at the end of junior and senior years. Contrary to a popular yet misguided belief, students are NOT required to have completed AP courses before attempting an AP Exam. They can study for one using the designated College Board AP Exam book. If the student scores high enough, they will receive college credit. 

SAT Subject Tests: These tests vary from English to Biology to Chemistry and more; generally, these tests are specifically requested as a part of the application process at some universities, especially the really competitive ones. ALL Ivy League schools will request that students submit SAT Subject Test scores. The College Board (the creators of the AP Exams, Courses, SAT and SAT Subject Tests) have study guides for each SAT Subject Test. 

Still kind of confused? I consult frazzled parents during the college admissions process; contact me for further information. I'd love to help you!

G.A. 

April 8th, 2016

Why Do So Many Students Struggle with Reading and Writing?


As an English tutor, I get this question all the time. I've of course had my fair share of students who hate math, but when I sit down to think about it, the more I realize that many students draw a blank when it comes to reading comprehension and basic essay construction. 

One point I stress to students and parents alike is that reading and writing go hand in hand. Reading will make you a better writer; writing will make you a better reader. It's true. When you read numerous books written by different authors, you begin to understand how writing styles can vary wildly. Soon, you will begin to draw ideas from what you've read. Many don't realize how much of an impact reading has on their writing style. It's a significant one for sure. 

Writing makes you a better reader. When you let the creative juices flow by jotting down ideas and stories, you get a behind-the-scenes look at literary construction. You understand, from a personal point of view, what it takes to write something that will capture your audience. You become sensitive to reading comprehension; it's inevitable. When you go back and read a book, you realize that it gets easier to capture the author's purpose, style, direction. The words aren't as intimidating either- you've probably spent some time trying to find alternatives to some of your own vocabulary for your writing projects. It's a beautiful thing. 

Is your student not a fan of reading? Everyone has something they find interesting. Start with that. Minecraft? Many books are available. Coding books too. This generation has become one with the App. Embrace it by solidifying their interests with computer coding literature! Cooking, movies, sports...there's a book for that! Figure out what topic captures their attention the most, and encourage time at the library. E-books are wonderful as well. 

Till next time,


GA

Need a tutor? Miss Gabby's Private Tutoring provides in home tutoring sessions for students in Tyler and East Texas. Contact us today to ensure your student stays focused this summer with a bit of prep work for the upcoming school year!


April 2nd, 2016

Is Your High School Student Ready for College? Look Over These 5 Last Minute Details.

Hi! With the 2015-2016 school year coming to an end, deadlines for seniors in high school are also just around the corner. At this point all out-of-state applications should have been submitted- students should be awaiting a response from their chosen universities if they haven't received one already. 

1. Applying to community college or to a state school? You have a bit more leeway. Many have rolling deadlines; some colleges allow students to register until classes are filled. Make sure- call the admissions office to double check! 

2. Ensure you have completed the FAFSA. Even if students don't qualify for funding, the same application determines student loan eligibility. Many scholarships require that students fill it out too. 

3. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. You can use www.fastweb.com to quickly find some that may still be open for 2016-2017. 

4. Your students needs to register and take the SAT or ACT ASAP if they haven't already. You can find more info on deadlines HERE

5. Check to see if your student feels confident in taking an AP Exam, even if they aren't enrolled in AP courses. You can save tons of $$$ by having your student test out of college classes. More info HERE


Need a tutor? Miss Gabby's Private Tutoring is set to launch this summer in Tyler, TX and surrounding East Texas areas. More info coming soon. 



March 24th, 2016

How do I know it's time to get some assistance for my student? Is it really necessary? What if I already have a straight A student? How do tutoring sessions work, and what do they entail? 

Parents tend to ask questions like this whenever concern sets in. They usually call us when progress or report cards are sent home and kids' grades aren't where they should be. I advise parents I talk to that tutoring isn't beneficial only for struggling students; it's a wise decision to hire a tutor BEFORE the six weeks are up because prevention is key. Tutors, using your child's curriculum and assignment grades, can easily assess weak spots in your student early on. 

Low grades are an indication that your child isn't understanding the information presented to them, or directions, or both. We can help correct graded assignments that received a low score and target in on exactly what the student isn't grasping. Many don't realize this, but confidence plays a significant factor in a child's academic development. A private tutor helps students who may feel intimated by their peers because they know a tutor is there to help- not judge. Parents are pleasantly surprised when, after enough rapport has been built with the tutor, students receive a healthy boost of self-esteem!

Is your child already a straight A student? Then let's ensure they stay there. Many of the clients we currently serve have students who are exceptionally bright and gifted. One major reason why these students are consistently at the top of their class is because they dedicate time to tutoring. Much like an athlete who keeps fit through practice and exercise, intelligent students stay that way through practice and supplementation. Investment in your child's education NOW is key to ensuring that they understand how important school and good grades are. This mindset is critical as they advance in their academic career and helps shape a serious attitude towards school. 

Tutoring sessions are held at a minimum of 2 hours per week at a minimum of 1 hour per session. This is a general recommendation for students who are not severely behind. During the session, our tutors assist students with homework and revise subjects and lessons the students are learning at school. It is easy to keep track of the lesson plans because teachers use classroom websites to update parents on current assignments. If they don't use the internet to keep parents updated, most teachers will send home an outline of the current lessons. 

Even if students do not have homework, we provide supplementation through worksheets, activities, and fun, interactive educational games on either a laptop or tablet.  

Many view hiring a private tutor as a luxury, but Miss Gabby's Private Tutoring is firm in its belief that wealth should not determine academic success. It is for this very reason that we keep our prices affordable. While other companies easily charge upwards of $75/hr to $200/hr for standard help, and offer test prep monthly packages in the thousand dollar ranges, we keep our rates realistic for our customers. In addition, we do not sacrifice quality. Tutors are experienced individuals that range from bright, energetic college students to top teachers to intelligent professionals working in their respective fields. Our mission is very clear: To provide QUALITY tutoring to students that every family can afford. No hidden fees and costs. No contracts. Pay as you go. Quick, easy sign up!