Archive for the ‘Tutoring’ Category

Episode 78: Jackie Stachel, Helping Kids Overcome Executive Function Challenges

Alexis talks to Jackie Stachel a senior executive function coach of Beyond Booksmart, a quality academic coaching company that helps students learn valuable executive function skills.  Jackie earned her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Boston University.

On today’s episode Jackie shares some of the struggles students face with Executive Function issues and enlightens us with strategies for those wanting to overcome their executive function challenges.

Episode 78, Jackie Stachel, Helping Kids Overcome Executive Function Challenges

For more information, visit: Prepped and Polished.com.

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What was your biggest takeaway from this article? Do you have any questions for Jackie Stachel and Alexis Avila?

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July 9th, 2015
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Episode 71: Ten Best Private Schools from around the World

On this episode of The Prepped & Polished podcast, Alexis Avila lists ten of the top private schools in the world.

  1. Wycombe Abbey
  2. Phillips Academy
  3. Le Rosey
  4. Berlin Brandenburg
  5. Lundsbergs Skola
  6. Nyborg Gymnasium
  7. Gilgen
  8. Branksome Hall
  9. Canadian Academy
  10. Kilkenny College

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ep 71 private schools

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June 16th, 2015
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Episode 64: Julia Wojnar, How Students Can Unleash Their Public Speaking Presence

On episode 64 of The Prepped & Polished Podcast Alexis talks to Julia Wojnar, Founder of Unleash Your Presence, a Public Speaking coaching firm. A natural performer and speaker since a young age, Julia helps students and professionals break down speaking prep into manageable pieces from start to finish. On today’s episode Julia shares her best tips for any student getting ready for any type of public speaking engagement, from classroom presentations to those dreadful college interviews.

Some of Julia’s words of wisdom:

  • If you want to rock your presentation or interview front load your work AKA Prepare in advance
  • Do mock interviews before you go into a college admissions interview
  • Try not to be funny and instead focus on your strengths
  • Make sure your PowerPoint presentations are more visual than text heavy

ep 64 Julia Wojnar

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May 15th, 2015
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Five Tips to Beat Summer Brain Drain – Infographic

In recent years the summer brain drain phenomenon has been at the forefront of parents’ minds as their children start summer vacation. What exactly is summer brain drain? In a nutshell, it’s a term that describes the knowledge a student can lose over the course of the summer if they’re not actively stimulating their mind. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to beat the summer slide. Here are five to get started with:

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Beating brain drain is simple; keep the summer fun and interesting. With these tips your child will have a summer to remember and they’ll be prepared to head back to school in the fall.

Five Tips to Beat Summer Brain Drain: Click here for Infographic (PDF).

What was your biggest takeaway from this reading infographic? Do you have any questions for Alexis Avila?

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May 13th, 2015
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Five Tips to Beat Summer Brain Drain

In recent years the brain drain phenomenon has been at the forefront of parents’ minds as their children start summer vacation. What exactly is summer brain drain? In a nutshell, it’s a term that describes the knowledge a student can lose over the course of the summer if they’re not actively stimulating their mind. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to beat the summer slide. Here are five to get started with:

Sun

 

  1. Keep reading
    Whether your child focuses on their summer reading list or is enthralled by the latest YA trilogy, keeping books in their hands is a great way to keep their mind active and practicing their reading and critical thinking skills all summer long.
  2. Take a screen breakIt’s too easy for kids to fall into the TV, video game, and computer cycle. Help your kids rev up their imagination by taking tech breaks throughout the summer. Without a screen at hand, kids can practice their imaginative play, problem solving, and unleash their creativity on any number of activities.
  3. Get your hands dirty
    Starting a garden with your kids is a great project that uses plenty of brainpower. From researching what plants to grow, to calculating the cost of seeds, to learning how to cook new recipes with your veggies, this is an immersive experience that encourages an active mind and body.
  4. Explore your local museums
    Museums are an easy way to expose your child to something new during the summer months. Research what’s in your area and make a list of what museums you’re going to visit this season; from local historical societies to internationally renowned art galleries, there are more out there than you think! Plus, many museums feature free family days and discounts for students.
  5. Write it all down
    Encourage your child to keep a written record of everything they do over the summer. Whether it’s a blog or a personal journal, reliving their new experiences through writing helps to further their learning, and keeps their writing skills fresh.

 

Beating brain drain is simple; keep the summer fun and interesting. With these tips your child will have a summer to remember and they’ll be prepared to head back to school in the fall.

 

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May 6th, 2015
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Podcast Episode 51, Five Ways to Get Your Children Hooked on Reading

Five Ways to Get Your Children Hooked on Reading

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The Prepped and Polished Podcast is an educational and inspirational show that offers tutoring and test prep tips as well as interviews with celebrities and leaders in education. It is hosted by Alexis Avila, founder of Prepped and Polished LLC, a tutoring and test prep firm for K-college.

Are you struggling to get your child to read? The Prepped and Polished Podcast is here to help. On today’s Tutoring Tips episode Alexis shares his “Five Tips to Get Your Child Hooked on Reading.”

Enjoy, Thanks for Listening and remember at The Prepped and Polished Podcast, We Empower You to Take Control of Your Education!

Five Ways To Get Your Children Hooked On Reading

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March 16th, 2015
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5 Ways to get Your Children Hooked on Reading

In the age of digital entertainment, it can be difficult to get kids excited about the quiet joy of reading. But don’t lose hope! Here are five easy ways to get your children to keep books in their hands!

Five Ways to Get your child hooked on reading

1. Let them choose: It’s tempting to help your child pick out books to read, but children are more likely to read a book that they’ve chosen themselves. By picking the book, they’re expressing their interests and taking ownership of the decision to read that particular title. So hold off on lengthy recommendation lists and instead let your child lead the way when it comes to book selections.

2. Bring a book to life: For many children who are used to viewing stories on a screen, it can be a difficult leap to get engaged in the imagination of reading. Give them a helping hand by bringing an aspect of their chosen book to life! For example, if you’re reading the book together, act out the story with different voices for different characters. If your child is older, discuss the book over dinner.

3. Try a series: You know that moment when your child’s favorite television show ends an episode, and they just have to know what happens next? The same is true for book series! The wild success of Harry Potter is perhaps the best example of how excited children are to follow a story through multiple books, making this approach an easy way to get your child to keep reading.

4. Make a reading routine: So your child has chosen their book, you’re discussing it at dinner, and they’re hooked on a series – but you’re still not seeing them actually sit down to read each day. Here’s where making a reading routine comes in handy! Help your child pick a dedicated time to read each day, such as before bedtime, or while waiting for the bus. It can take time to make the routine stick, but once it does, your child will be reaching for their book without even realizing it.

5. Be a role model: As children develop, they model their parents’ behaviors and habits. While a teacher may instruct a child to read, actually seeing their parents read can be more a more effective motivator. The more often a child sees a book in your hands, the more likely they are to have one in theirs.

Every child is different, so don’t be afraid to try multiple approaches until you find what works best. It can take time, but getting your child hooked on reading is always worth the effort!

 

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January 24th, 2015
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The Night Before Your Exam: How NOT to Stress Out

Executive Function and Study Skills Tutor suggest about test prepBy Jordana F., Study Skills and Executive Function Tutor, Prepped & Polished, LLC

It’s Thursday night, you’ve just finished dinner and all you want to do is go upstairs and watch some T.V. But you can’t. You have a huge exam tomorrow! You know deep down that you know the material and that you’ve studied as much as humanly possible, but still have a pit in your stomach saying “I should study more!” What do you do in these situations? Is it better to over study? Or is watching your favorite show the way to go?

If you’ve given it your best shot, the answer is…Go watch your favorite show! Over studying can create anxiety and be counterproductive to your test preparation. Walking into an exam feeling jittery, nervous and anxious is never a good idea. These feelings can get in the way of your success on the exam. Another idea that will help you with those pre-test jitters is to avoid talking with your friends about the test. Facebook yes. Sharing instagram posts Ok. “What did you get for number 3?” No! From personal experience, it is a bad idea to get together with friends, the night before an exam; it fosters an environment filled with anxiety and fear.

It’s also very important to recognize when you’re feeling nervous or anxious. When you start getting that “pit” in your stomach, or your thoughts start racing, it’s important to take a breath and realize that you are feeling this way. Once you are able to recognize the feeling, you are better able to control it moving forward.

Don’t get me wrong, it is Ok to review the night before. However, you should set a time limit. One hour? Half hour? Whatever the limit is, stick to it! After you are done, close your book and place it in your bag so that it is out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Here are five tips that I have found most helpful when trying to stay calm the night before an exam. Good luck! (You don’t need it though ☺ )

5 Helpful Hints for Keeping Calm the Night before an Exam:

1. Deep breathing: Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.
2. Place your books in your bag so you are not tempted to reach for them.
3. Create a studying time limit- When you’re done, be done!
4. Watch your favorite mindless T.V. show, or read a fun magazine or book or put your headphones in and play some of your favorite songs on iTunes
5. Exercise reduces stress: Go for a walk with your dog, or go for a run

Jordana holds a B.A. in psychology from NYU, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2006. She went on to receive a master’s degree in school counseling from the University of Southern California in 2010 and continued on, receiving her second masters degree in mental health counseling from Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf School of Psychology in 2013. Jordana worked as a guidance counselor at Beverly Hills High School, helping students with their college essays. Jordana’s interests include study and organizational skills, time management, and executive functioning coaching.

Are you stressing out before your exam? Which of Jordana’s five tips do you need to practice the most?

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January 9th, 2014
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Executive Functioning Building Blocks: Effective Note-Taking

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Adam S. Executive Functioning Coach and Tutor of Prepped & Polished, LLC in South Natick, Massachusetts teaches you how to take effective notes in class.

1. Show up to class on time and be prepared
2. Stay organized- use three-ring binder and other tools to organize notes

Tutoring

3. Use technology-computers could improve the quality of your note-taking
4. Review-repetition is the key to learning new material

Transcript (PDF)

Full Word-for-Word Transcription

Hey guys. Adam S., here with Prepped & Polished South Natick,
Massachusetts. Today, we’re going to talk about an essential academic
skill: Effective note-taking. The most important part of note-taking is the
simplest, easiest thing you can do to boost your economic performance, and
that is quite simply show up, be present in class. This is easy in high
school and middle school when your parents make you go and you don’t really
have a lot of choice. By the time you get to college, no one tells you what
to do and your teachers aren’t going to chase after you. The easiest and
probably the best thing you can do to boost your score is just to make sure
that you show up.Being present is more than just physically being there, it means making
sure that you’re there, prepared to learn. Make sure that you get up early
enough, that you’re awake and you’ve had something to eat. Make sure you
get to class 5 to 10 minutes early to make sure that you have time to get
setup, and that you’re not rushing in when the teacher’s already started
talking. Make sure that you sit near the front so that you’re away from the
distractions of your classmates and you’re able to hear everything the
teacher says and see anything the teacher might write on the board. Make
sure you do any homework or reading the night before the class. It’s a lot
easier to learn new material if you’re already familiar with it.

The first step to effective note-taking is making sure that you’re
organized. I think 3-ring binders work great. Just use a different binder
for each class. It’s a good way to help you organize all your notes, all
your handouts, and keep everything in one discrete place. Then when you
start taking notes, make sure you date your notes so you can organize them
when it comes time to study for the test. Label what the teacher’s going to
be talking about. If the teacher changes topics, change labels and come up
with subtopics to help you keep track of where you are in the class. As you
sit through class, listen to what the teacher’s saying. If your teacher
repeats something more than once or writes it up on the board, it’s
important. Chances are it’s going to be on the test; make sure you write it
down.

Also really important: If you don’t understand something, ask questions.
The only dumb question is the question that you don’t ask. Teacher’s there
to help you understand the topics that you’re going over, and the only way
she or he knows that you don’t understand something is if you ask for help.
If a teacher isn’t able to answer your question during class, approach them
after class or show up early and approach them before class. Make sure you
get the help that you need.

If you’re having trouble keeping up in class, there’s a few different
technologies you can utilize to improve your note-taking. First, if you
can’t keep up with what your teacher’s saying and feel like you’re missing
out on some of what is being said and unable to write it down, try bringing
a recorder to class. You can sit there and record everything the teacher
says and then play it back later at your own pace. Additionally, computers
can be a useful asset. If writing is too much of a challenge and you can’t
keep up, you can bring a computer and try typing your notes. Just make sure
that you’re actually typing notes and not looking up Facebook when you
should be paying attention to what the teacher’s saying. Additionally if
you qualify for special accommodations, make sure you talk to your school’s
academic resource center to see what accommodations are available. It could
be that you could get a copy of the teacher’s notes, notes from an official
note-taker, or recordings of the teacher’s lectures. If you do qualify for
note-taking, don’t only rely on someone else’s notes because you might not
understand everything they write. Make sure you continue to take your own
notes.

If you have friends in the same class as you, compare notes with them. Make
sure you didn’t miss something the teacher might have mentioned. Then
really important, when you get home at night and sit down to do your
homework, review your notes. Repetition is the key to learning new
material.

Those are the basics of effective note-taking. To recap what we talked
about: Number 1, show up, be present. Get to class on time and be prepared.
Number 2 is stay organized. Use 3-ring binders and other tools to help
organize your notes and use the tools that we talked about to identify
relevant topics and write them down. If you’re having trouble keeping up,
ask for help. If you can’t get help through asking, see if your school
offers accommodations and use technology; computers, recorders can all
really improve the quality of your note-taking. Finally, review. Repetition
is the key to learning new material.

That’s it for this time. Next time, we’ll talk about how to use these notes
and other materials to effectively study for a test. Talk to you then.

Are you struggling with your note-taking skills? Which of Adam’s tips did you find most useful?

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October 25th, 2013
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5 Tips for Succeeding in AP Chemistry

Jen L. AP Chemistry Tutor Prepped & Polished, LLCBy Jennifer L., AP Chemistry Instructor, Prepped & Polished, LLC

These tips consist of both important general knowledge and study strategies to help you succeed in AP Chemistry.

Tip 1: Get VERY comfortable with the Periodic Table

The Periodic Table is the most important reference for any chemistry student because it provides a LOT of information.
1. Learn the groups and their characteristics:
a. Focus on groups 1-8A… know what they are (metals, gases, etc). You don’t need to know very much about the B group transition metals in general chemistry.
b. Know how to find the number of valence electrons and bonds that an element can form by its group number.
c. If they exist as cations or anions and their charge. For example, alkali metals (+1), halogens (-1), etc…

2. Learn periodic trends:
a. Electron affinity, electronegativity, and ionization energy – right and up
b. Atomic radius – left and down
c. Know what these trends mean and try to apply them

If you take these things to heart, they will help you with nearly all aspects of chemistry – stoichiometry, drawing Lewis structures, molecular geometry, reactions, and much more. You can find more information in your textbook.

Tip 2: Know your variables and units

Before a test, review the equations you learned and make sure you know what each variable represents and its units. It is important to know what each equation can help you find.

For example, the ideal gas law. In order to solve for any of the variables, you will need to know that:

PV=nRT

P = pressure (atm)
V = volume (liters)
N = moles
R = gas constant = 0.08206 atm*L/K*mol
T = temperature (Kelvin)

If you use Celsius instead of Kelvin, or if you use the wrong form of the gas constant, your answer will be wrong.

Tutoring, AP Chemistry Tutor

Tip 3: Write out the information the problems give you

Whenever you have a problem that involves math, make sure that you write down the values that are given and their units. From there, if you are stumped, you can use that information to figure out the right formula to use, granted you followed tip #2.

Tip 4: Take notes in class and read your textbook!

Some may find reading the textbook before a lecture to be useful, but what I suggest is to:
1. Pay attention in class.
2. Take the best notes you can.
3. Go back to the textbook after the lecture and fill in your notes on areas you did not understand or areas that the teacher made emphasis on. This way, you get a general overview in class of what is important to learn/study, then after class you can focus on the important material rather than focusing on everything in the textbook.
4. Re-write your notes the week following up to the test. Not only will re-writing your notes make them neater and easier to refer back to, but it will also help the information sink in. During the test, you may be able to remember writing a fact down, or drawing out an important structure.

Tip 5: Practice, practice, practice!

Like anything else, practicing is essential for success. Before any class test or the AP exam, utilize any practice tests or study materials your teacher provides. If you feel you need more practice materials, you can ask your teacher, do the problems in the book, or look online. These materials will help you familiarize yourself with the types of questions that will be on the tests and save you some time during the exams.

Jennifer graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.S. in Biochemistry/B.A. in Chemistry double major. Throughout college, Jennifer worked as a student tutor, assisting over 100 students with coursework in science and mathematics. Jennifer has a passion for teaching and plans to pursue a career in education as a high school chemistry teacher. She currently works as a full-time chemist, and spends her spare time dancing, cooking, and learning.

Are you taking the AP Chemistry Exam? Any questions or additional tips you’d like to share?

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October 23rd, 2013
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