Posts Tagged ‘exam’

5 Ways to Get an ‘A’ in School

It’s almost time for grades, but you’ve got a few weeks to bump up those scores! Alexis Avila, Founder of Prepped & Polished, Tutoring and Test Preparation showed us 5 Ways to Get an A in School

Tip 1: Pay attention in class and take notes. Taking notes helps you stay focused and not lose attention. Also arrange your notes in a question format. ie. What is Mendel’s law of segregation? Why did James Madison write the federalist paper? etc… And answer concisely. Then before exams cover up answers and try recalling them. This will keep you on top of content. If you need to refresh your notetaking skills, I suggest taking a summer notetaking course.

Tip 2: Get on your teachers good side
I’m not saying put an polished apple on your teacher’s desk each morning. That could hurt your grade! Instead do the following 4 things:
Come to class on time
Come to class with a positive and enthusiastic attitude
c) Come to class prepared (do your homework)
d) Always ask questions in class. Try to ask at least one every day (even if you’re shy!). This keeps you engaged and prevents you from losing focus. Ask questions even if you think they are “stupid.”
* bonus tip, go to your teacher’s office hours from time to time. This will show your teacher that you care and want to do well in class!

Tip 3: Always do your homework every night no exception! (do all the reading + the problems) Homework allows practice and most of the learning happens on your own. This also allows you to ask questions in class on stuff you don’t get. Also learn to LOVE to do your homework by setting up incentives for homework completion. Get yourself a snack if you finish your math HW on time. Finish that big project due Friday? Then treat yourself to a Friday night movie!
*Keep in mind, if you’re a slower learner, you will have to put in time and half or double time toward your homework to get an A. So reserve enough time in your schedule to get your homework done!

Tip 4: Prioritize those items in your class that count the most! A lot of times it’s easy to spend 10 hours writing an essay that counts for 5% of your grade and only studying 3-4 hours for an exam that counts for 20%.
Usually exams count a lot, so I recommend preparing for exams at least 1-2 weeks in advance. Remember, proper planning is key to an A.

Tip 5: Eat healthy, sleep well, exercise, and do fun things. Getting As in school requires a lot of work and sometimes it can become overwhelming. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle and enjoying life will help you get A’s without all the stress!


What was your biggest takeaway from these tips about 5 ways to get an “A” in school? Do you have any questions for Alexis Avila?

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SAT Prep

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January 18th, 2016
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Featured, Television, Tutoring
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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?

Post your tips/comments below.

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January 9th, 2014
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Children and Adult Well-Being, Featured, Test Preparation Tips, Tutoring
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David R. (Belmont, MA)

“First, Alexis is a gentleman. He is organized, thorough and diligent in both his preparation and plan execution. Without hesitation I am pleased to recommend Alexis Avila to your son or daughter preparing for the SAT’s. My only advice, if possible, would be to retain Alexis early so he has the proper time to fully execute his plan. We are most appreciative of his efforts on behalf of our son. Aside from positive results, I feel Alexis refined our son’s preparation approach for taking any examination and instilled confidence. Thank you, Alexis”.

April 20th, 2011
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Carmen B. (Woburn, MA)

“I am pleased to provide my strongest possible recommendation for Alexis Avila. Alexis has worked with my oldest son and is currently working with his brother preparing for the SAT exam. Both children are good students attending boarding schools (Milton Academy and Lawrence Academy) but have had difficulty with standardized testing. Alexis provided the boys with a practical understanding of the tests and taught useful strategies for both the SAT and ACT. My oldest son showed significant improvement of his scores as he worked with Alexis and is now attending Lawrence University, which was his first choice. In addition to providing quality study tools and strategies, Alexis was able to adapt to the boys busy athletic schedules ensuring they completed the full course of study in time to make an impact on their test performance. The boys both felt very comfortable with Alexis and more confident taking the tests after working closely with him. I plan to have my younger boys work with Alexis and feel the investment was worth the benefit to my older children.

April 20th, 2011
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Reality Television SAT Essay Topic, Good or Bad?

Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished talks about the recent controversial SAT essay topic about reality television.

He thinks that while the topic may appear at first glance biased only to those who habitually watch reality television, it is still a broad enough topic where virtually any high school student can properly answer the question.

Test Preparation

Transcript (PDF)

Full Word-for-Word Transcription

Hi, everyone. Alexis Avila, here; Founder of Prepped & Polished, LLC.
Students who recently took the March SAT got a curveball when they opened
up their test booklet and saw Section 1, the essay, was a topic about
reality television and how whether or not it damages society.After that test, parents and students were calling me and saying, “How
could the SAT pick such as trifling topic such as reality television?”
While it may have been disadvantageous for students who don’t habitually
watch reality television to have received that topic, the truth is, the
topic itself is really about society and your reflections about how society
. . . what you think about society. That is a very common SAT question all
of the sudden.Basically, you have to approach your SAT topic, in this case a reality
television show and how it damages society topic, the same way you do any
SAT essay. You’re going to write an introduction and state whether you
agree or disagree with the topic, set forth your examples, and then have a
conclusion. The SAT essay graders are going to grade you on your writing
style, whether you were able to successfully adapt to the essay, and write
in a cohesive fashion. Business as usual; you don’t know what to expect on
the SAT essay, but have a game plan and you should be fine.

I’ll talk to you soon.

Was the reality television SAT essay topic a good or bad question? How would you have answered this SAT essay question?

Post your tips/comments below.

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March 31st, 2011
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SAT Essay Writing
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