How to Cut Your Math SAT Prep in Half

Aha moment in math

Aha moment in math

Five Steps to Aha !

I’ve distilled the five most essential steps, to help you arrive at the correct math solution.

Try these critical solution strategies when you practice math:
1. BACKsolve the Answer Choices (Use the answers given.)
2. PIN Numbers (Plug in a number that you have chosen.)
3. Read carefully; UNDERLINE what the question is asking.
4. DIAGRAM the Question
5. Eliminate 2-3 answers, then guess. (Eliminate answers that are too large, off the scale.)

Master these steps well.  Your brain may receive an AHA.

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Cut Your SAT Grammar Rules in Half

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 Cut Your SAT Grammar Rules in Half

SAT Grammar has you down?  Take heart.  You CAN dramatically slash your study time, providing you know how to sort rules.  The following common error categories were identified by the most skillful SAT test gurus.

The first four categories of errors appear the MOST frequently on the SAT.  The rest appear in descending order of frequency. Our recommendation?  Learn the first four categories thoroughly before you embark on the SAT Writing test.

First, refer to the Collegeboard Book for basic explanation of each error type.  Then, go to another  well-known source for a sharper understanding.

Errors in Grammar, by Category

1) Subject-Verb Agreement

2) Verb Tense

3) Pronoun Case

4) Antecedent Pronoun (Pronoun Agreement)

5) Adjective vs. Adverb

6) Parallelism

7) Prepositions

8) Faulty Comparisons

9) Comparatives vs. Superlatives

10) Double negatives/Double positives

11) Word Pairs

12) Noun Agreement

13) Relative Pronouns

14) Coordinating Conjunctions

15) Usage

16) Redundancy


Outstanding, well-known sources for grammar and writing

 

Product Details

Newly revised, 2011, version of this world-known classic.

Ms. Meltzer has created additional SAT writing tests for you to test your understanding of grammar.

 

 


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How to Increase Reading Speed by 200%

How to Increase your Reading Speed by 200%

BRAIN.colorful
The vast majority of my students want to be able to read faster and to skim. It’s not just the strong students who want the secret of leaping through lengthy AP school assignments. All students feel trapped by the length of the ACT reading, and wonder if skimming could help.

So how can you increase your reading speed in just 20 minutes, by at least 200%? Tim Ferriss, N.Y. Times Bestselling author of The Four Hour Work Week, gives a simple but effective way to boost your reading speed. With Ferriss’ permission, I’ve reproduced his method.

1. Two Minutes: Using a pen or finger, trace under each line as you read as fast as possible. Reading is a series of jumping snap shots called saccades, and using a visual guide (pen/finger) prevents regression.
2. Three Minutes: Begin each line focusing on the third word in from the first word, and end each line focusing on the third word in from the last word. This makes use of the peripheral vision, which is wasted in margins. For instance, even the highlighted words in the next line are your beginning and ending focal points, the entire sentence is “read,” just with less eye movement.
In this sentence, you would only focus on the third word in from the first which is “a” and the third word in from the last which is “decided”. The remaining words would be picked up by your peripheral vision.
Don’t underestimate how much you can read via your your peripheral scope.
Ex: “Once upon a time, an information addict decided to detox.”
3. Two Minutes: Once comfortable indenting 3-4 words from both sides, attempt to take only two snapshots per line on the first and last indented words. Practice doing this for at least two minutes.
4. Three Minutes: Practice reading too fast for comprehension but with good technique (the above three techniques) for five pages prior to reading at a comfortable speed. This will heighten perception and reset your speed limit, much like how 50 mph normally feels fast but seems like slow motion if you drop down from 70 mph on the freeway.
Finally, speedometer your reading. You can calculate your reading speed by counting the number of pages read in one minute. If you initially started at 1.25 pages/minute, and then read 3.5 pages/minute after training, that’s a 280% increase in speed.

 

Try it and let me know at this site if it works!

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January Applications Due Soon!

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Seniors – January Applications Due Now!

Only a few more days to get your final college applications in!  Here are two vital essay sources to check out:

For stellar ideas, superb style, and roll-up-your-sleeves advice:

— What it Really Takes to Get into the Ivy League By Craig Hughes

— On Writing the College Application Essay: The Key to Acceptance and the College of your Choice by Harry Bauld

Six Weeks to Success: College Admissions Secrets and Strategies, by Ashley Baker

 

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SAT v. ACT: The Great Debate, pt. II

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Come Join the Debate for 2014

– Major differences between these two well-crafted exams?

– My most compelling reasons to take the ACT

– And some compelling reasons to take the SAT

– My hottest recommendations for self-prep books

 

Come join SAT/ACT Expert Theresa Michna for a lively discussion. She will share some down to earth tips based upon her ten years experience of coaching hundreds of students . Join us for an insider’s view of these high-stakes exams.

Jan. 16th, Thursday    7 p.m.

The Village Center
Larchmont Public Library
121 Larchmont Avenue, 10538

Call Larchmont Library to make a reservation today!

914-834-2281

 

 

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Ready, aim, fire, on Grammar!

Ready, Fire, Aim!

Do you sometimes feel you don’t even know where to aim, when it comes to grammar? Feel overwhelmed by the number of rules you must learn?

Just slow down a minute.  You can learn to break any large task into smaller pieces.  Then proceed to learn each part well from an expert.  Who’s an expert?  Learn about the types of grammar errors, as collated by Erica Meltzer.

Erica Meltzer, one of the most prolific SAT writers and researchers, has categorized all errors from actual SAT exams.

If you’d like more in-depth explanations of these rules, along with extensive exercises, please consider ordering a copy of The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar.

 

Error-Identification Categories

1) Subject-Verb Agreement

2) Verb Tense

3) Pronoun Case

4) Antecedent Pronoun (Pronoun Agreement)

5) Adjective vs. Adverb

6) Parallelism

7) Prepositions

8) Faulty Comparisons

9) Comparatives vs. Superlatives

10) Double negatives/Double positives

11) Word Pairs

12) Noun Agreement

13) Relative Pronouns

14) Coordinating Conjunctions

15) Usage

16) Redundancy

Note: while other kinds of errors (e.g. misplaced modifiers) may occasionally appear, they are extremely rare and are therefore not covered here. Although you can expect to find errors from a number of categories included in each section, the first four categories (Verb and Pronoun Errors) generally appear most frequently. It is therefore recommended that you take some time to familiarize yourself with the kinds of sentence structures in which they appear. The remaining categories are listed in approximate order frequency.

Some other well-known sources for grammar and writing

 

Product Details

Newly revised, 2011, version of this world-known classic.

Ms. Meltzer has created additional SAT writing tests for you to test your understanding of grammar.

 

 


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Voted Top Ten Tips on SAT

Voted Top Ten Tips on the SAT

It’s October, help! As a tutor, I’m always looking for ways to help my students slash through their SAT prep time. So I spent the month of Sept., looking for the best ideas tested by dozens of tutors from across the U.S. Stellar tutors such as Stacy Lott and Erica Meltzer win hands down!

Here’s a brief summary of Top Ten Tips, often used by my own students in Westchester:

Critical Reading:

1) Fill in the Blank Vocab Questions: Jot down the words that you think are the right ones (don’t look at the answers). You must WRITE DOWN THE WORD (not just air write it in your head). Then, find the word from the multiple choice answers that best matches your meaning. CROSS OUT the wrong answers by putting a line through them.

2) On the “backwards questions” in the Critical Reading section, circle the NOT or EXCEPT word to remind yourself that you’re looking for the “backwards answer.”

3) The more excited you are to read the Critical Reading passages, the better you will do. Attitude is everything in life.

4) For main idea questions — The thesis is usually the last sentence of the first paragraph.

(Thanks to Stacy Lott for Critical Reading)

Writing:

5) Try to cross out prepositional phrases and get the sentence down to the bare bones. Frequently used Prepositional Phrases: Of, to, In

6) Do you know what a “Dangling Modifier” is? (Don’t feel badly if you don’t. Check out Erica Meltzer’s blog to see full explanation.)

7) Read Erica Meltzer’s EXCELLENT BLOG and PWNtheSAT’s great dangling modifier explanation and examples. Also check out verb-subject agreement and parallelism. Spend a few hours before the next SAT to figure these out. They comprise up to 25% of the English exam!

Math:

(These ideas, shared by Ms. Lott)

8) Turn things back to y = mx + b when it’s written differently.

9) Make sure you know what you are solving for. Circle or write down what they are asking. AFTER you solve the problem, and BEFORE you look at the answer choices, RE-READ the question to make sure you know what they are asking for. (Common error here).

10) Judge your question –  Does your answer match the difficulty of the question? (Medium questions have medium – not easy – answers). In other words, if you’re agonizing over question #3, you’re probably overcomplicating it; and if you got question #20 very easily, be suspicious. Your answer is probably not right. This is an obvious but CRITICAL evaluation I have shared with my students.

Students – Be brief, be savvy, aim for the bull’s eye of the question!

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Using Play to Foster Test Prep

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How can play enlighten the world of test prep?

Natalie Rusk, of MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, Mass., has spent more than 20 years studying learning and creativity.  She has found that play is more than fun and games.  Much of the remarkable research of this group is geared to teaching children to grow into creative thinkers.  But, hold on —  students preparing for standardized tests can also benefit from this research on creativity.

What have we learned about play?

Play teaches us to relax, explore, connect with problems and each other.  It also teaches resilience.  When a child plays, she may fail, and then revises. My painting didn’t work out.  I’ll try again. Resilience is a vital part of problem solving.

How do we bring play activities into students’ lives?

1. Choose a craft.
Knitting has experienced a recent wave of popularity. In addition to being creative and fun,  it develops math and strategic skills.  It requires you to visualize where the collar or edge of the sleeve will appear.  If you make a mistake in counting stitches, you must re-do it.  But when you complete a scarf or mittens, you feel creatively satisfied.
Sewing or measuring curtains for a room is craft.
Similarly, sewing things for your room is creatively satisfying.  It also promotes measurement, estimation, and resilience. Many SAT math questions are actually two dimensional sewing problems!

2.  Plan a meal.
Can you double or triple a recipe?
How much will the ingredients cost?
All of these strengthen rigorous math skills tested on both SAT and ACT.

3.  Plan a camping trip.
Camping is ideal for planning and estimating.
How large a tent will you need?
How much food to bring?
For drivers, how much gas will you need for the distance?
How long will it take to prepare the camp site meal?

4. Build a small project.
Make a bookcase, a shelf, or just hang 4 or 5 pictures in a group.
All require good estimation and measurement, and problem solving skills.

5.  Participate in Boy Scouts, Community Groups, 4-H, Religious Groups, and plan a project.
The project could be making small cars, planting gardens, racing cars, making kites, or just ordering pizza and  desert for a group gathering.
These activities strengthen estimation, measurement, and problem solving skills.

You get the idea.  Opportunities abound to create your own project or hobby.

Bringing play into our everyday lives has a multi-dimensional impact on learning and creativity.

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Applying Early Admission?

Early Admission deadlines can be as soon as November 1. 2013.

Many guidance counselors are requesting students to have their college essays (including supplementaries) completed by September.  That means that August is prime time to craft a winning essay that will showcase you as a stellar candidate.

I’ve scoured dozens of sources to help you with ideas, superb style, and practical how-tos:

— What it Really Takes to Get into the Ivy League By Craig Hughes

— On Writing the College Application Essay: The Key to Acceptance and the College of your Choice by Harry Bauld

Six Weeks to Success: College Admissions Secrets and Strategies, by Ashley Baker

Go ahead, make August a sizzling month for college essays!

 

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How to Increase Your Reading Speed by 200%

How to Increase your Reading Speed by 200%
The vast majority of my students want to be able to read faster and to skim. It’s not just the strong students who want the secret of leaping through lengthy AP school assignments. All students feel trapped by the length of the ACT reading, and wonder if skimming could help.

So how can you increase your reading speed in just 20 minutes, by at least 200%? Tim Ferriss, N.Y. Times Bestselling author of The Four Hour Work Week, gives a simple but effective way to boost your reading speed. With Ferriss’ permission, I’ve reproduced his method.

1. Two Minutes: Using a pen or finger, trace under each line as you read as fast as possible. Reading is a series of jumping snap shots called saccades, and using a visual guide (pen/finger) prevents regression.
2. Three Minutes: Begin each line focusing on the third word in from the first word, and end each line focusing on the third word in from the last word. This makes use of the peripheral vision, which is wasted in margins. For instance, even the highlighted words in the next line are your beginning and ending focal points, the entire sentence is “read,” just with less eye movement.
In this sentence, you would only focus on the third word in from the first which is “a” and the third word in from the last which is “decided”. The remaining words would be picked up by your peripheral vision.
Don’t underestimate how much you can read via your your peripheral scope.
Ex: “Once upon a time, an information addict decided to detox.”
3. Two Minutes: Once comfortable indenting 3-4 words from both sides, attempt to take only two snapshots per line on the first and last indented words. Practice doing this for at least two minutes.
4. Three Minutes: Practice reading too fast for comprehension but with good technique (the above three techniques) for five pages prior to reading at a comfortable speed. This will heighten perception and reset your speed limit, much like how 50 mph normally feels fast but seems like slow motion if you drop down from 70 mph on the freeway.
Finally, speedometer your reading. You can calculate your reading speed by counting the number of pages read in one minute. If you initially started at 1.25 pages/minute, and then read 3.5 pages/minute after training, that’s a 280% increase in speed.

 

Try it and let me know at this site if it works!

Leave a comment