Posts Tagged ‘test preparation’

24 Hours Until Your SAT or ACT Test? Ten Tips to get you Ready!

It’s 24 hours until your SAT or ACT test. Here’s what to do.

Standardized testing can be stressful & worrisome, but worry no more! Alexis Avila, Founder of Prepped & Polished, Tutoring and Test Preparation goes live on Mass Appeal Channel 22 NBC Springfield to tell us what to do the day before and day of your SAT or ACT Test.

Friday:

Pack all your stuff that you’ll need for tomorrow including:
5-6 Sharpened number two pencils
admission ticket
photo ID
calculator with fresh batteries
snacks and water
sweatshirt
Know how to get to the testing site.
In other words, don’t get lost or may start the test late. If necessary, plug the address into your GPS and drive from your house to the test site.
Eat an enjoyable meal and relax.
Feel free to catch an EARLY movie or watch a movie at home. Don’t go to a late movie or a party.
Don’t cram.
Don’t cram the night before the test and do a bunch of SAT or ACT practice test sections. Cramming will fry your brain and stress you out. Instead, do some leisure reading or memorize some math formulas to keep your mind sharp.
Rest and Get to Sleep early.
Get to bed a little earlier than you usually do so you can relax your mind and body and give yourself plenty of energy going into tomorrow morning’s test.
Saturday:

Wake up early.
By waking up early you give yourself ample time to get into your morning routine. Plus you’ll wake up in a good mood and stress-free knowing you not you already packed your backpack the night before!
Eat a good breakfast full of protein and carbs.
Don’t eat fried or high sugar foods! Instead, a protein and carb enriched breakfast will give you sustained energy over the course of a four hour test. Pre test breakfast suggestions include:
Two scrambled eggs with whole grain toast, and glass of OJ
Steel cut oats with skim milk topped with berries
Whole grain toast with a thin layer of peanut butter and sliced bananas
Do a couple of easy math problems while eating breakfast.
Doing some math in the morning will wake up the brain and keep you sharp.
Leave for the test site early.
If you get to the test site late you may wind up in the worst seat, or even worse, may miss a section of the test.
For a test break snack, eat dark chocolate.
A dark chocolate bar is a really good thing to have if you feel like you’re in a slump. It gives you a burst of energy without the crash.

24 Hours Until Your SAT or ACT Test - Ten Tips to get you Ready

What was your biggest takeaway from these tips about SAT/ACT test? Do you have any questions for Alexis Avila?

Post your comments below:

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January 18th, 2016
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ACT, Featured, SAT, Television, Test Prep, test preparation, Test Preparation Tips
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Daniel C. (Wellesley, MA)

“I wanted to drop you a note to thank you for all your work with our son during the recent months in preparation for the ISEE.   He felt good about the test—there were certainly some difficult patches, but he weathered it all and he said he completed all of the sections in time (a fact that alone suggests that he made some good progress over recent months) and he thought he did pretty well.  There is little doubt in our mind that your work with him was of great assistance to him both in terms of fundamentals—as you know, he has not yet studied at school much of the mathematics that was on the test, so your work with him gave him a fighting chance on a lot of that material—and in terms of boosting his personal confidence.  Hopefully, he does well—but we of course shall see.   Thanks very much for all your help.”

February 4th, 2014
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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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Five Theater Program College Application Essay Tips

Essay Expert for College Theater Programs gives College Application Essay Tips By Rosie Colosi, Essay Expert, Prepped & Polished, LLC

You brush past the curtain as you walk onstage, the floorboards creaking as your nervous feet propel you forward. You feel the heat of the spotlight as it hits your face. Your throat dries and your palms sweat as you prepare to sing. You open your mouth and…and…

If you are applying to a theater program, this scenario probably strikes excitement instead of fear in your heart. You yearn for a life upon the wicked stage and desperately hope to gain admission to a top-notch program that will equip you for a successful career in NY or LA.
But before you see your name in lights, you need to see your name on an acceptance letter.

You must go through the regular college application process, score well on your tests, and complete a performance audition. And of course, you must write an essay convincing the admissions committee that you are the next Kristin Chenoweth or Norbert Leo Butz.

Hate writing? No problem! Here’s the pot of gold at the end of Finian’s rainbow: The audition skills you have acquired on your theatrical journey will help you in your essay writing process. Read on…

1. Pick the right song
If you’re an alto, you wouldn’t sing “My White Knight” from Music Man for an audition. If you’re a tall leading man, you wouldn’t sing “Make ‘Em Laugh” from Singin’ in the Rain. You would choose a song that suits your voice, personality, and appearance. Do the same thing with your essay. Pick a topic that is important to you, that means something, that tells the reader who you are. You know how voice coaches are always telling you to “sing what you love”? Well, write what you love. It’s that simple.

2. Practice, practice, practice
You would never audition for a lead in the play after listening to your audition song once, right? You’d listen to the song, find the sheet music, sing it in your room, and maybe even rehearse in front of a coach or friend. Incorporate those good habits into your writing process. Don’t submit an essay you typed in a hurry one afternoon. Allow ample time to write, revise, edit, adjust…then share with a writing coach, a trusted friend, or a supportive teacher. Outside perspectives will help perfect your ideas.

3. Hit all the right notes
It’s every performer’s worst nightmare: prepping to sing a glorious, operatic high note…but a clunker comes out of your mouth instead. To prevent that, we aim to sing right in the center of the note, we set specific breathing patterns, count note values—and all of that’s even before we add emotion. Similarly, the mechanics of grammar, spelling, and sentence structure must be on point in your essay. Misspelling a word in your first sentence can be as detrimental as singing that clunker, so do your homework on your writing mechanics—don’t just rely on spell check.

4. Be confident
You might shout to the rooftops that you’re best singer that ever lived. Or you might downplay your talent to strangers. Find some middle ground between these two extremes. Your essay should tell your dream college that you’re pretty awesome, but bragging will rub the panel the wrong way. It’s a fine, fine line between Kate Monster and Lucy T. Slut (I’m not being crude; it’s an Avenue Q reference!), so balance confidence with humility.

5. Keep breathing
You can’t sing unless you breathe. And you certainly can’t write unless you breathe. The college application process can get hugely stressful and overwhelming, but hyperventilating never helped anyone. A little dose of butterflies in your stomach can be a good thing for performers, and you may get similarly excited and scared about college, but channel that energy into your work. Do a few breathing exercises from your voice lessons before you sit down to write. Seriously. Some extra lip trills never hurt anyone…and they might even help you write your way into Carnegie Mellon.

Rosie Colosi, college essay expert and creator of Write With Rosie, earned an M.A. in English Lit from Boston College and a B.A. in English Lit from SUNY Geneseo. She has written 12 nonfiction books for Scholastic Inc., and she has performed on stages from Alaska to Athens. Most recently, she played Mrs. Claus in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes in New York City.

Are you applying to theater schools? How is your theater program essay coming along?

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September 10th, 2013
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5 Tips for Students Who Struggle with Executive Functioning

Executive Functioning and Study Skills Tutor gives Executive Functioning Tips By Adam S., Executive Function & Study Skills coach, Prepped & Polished, LLC

What is executive functioning?

Executive functioning (EF) is a series of mental processes that utilize our past experiences to make informed decision about present and future actions. Students who have EF related learning disabilities can face difficulties with:

• General organization
• Planning and time management
• Multitasking and prioritizing
• Shifting focus
• Asking for help

Contact Us for Executive Functioning Tips

Ways to Cope with EF related learning disabilities
Fortunately, there are behavior-based strategies to work around these challenges. These strategies are like anything in life- successful execution is going to take lots of practice, and it’s important not to get discouraged if at you first you don’t succeed. It’s about progress, not perfection!

1. Use your Resources: Ask for Help, Early and Often
• Most schools have resources to help students overcome learning challenges, but students have to advocate for themselves. These resources usually include free counseling and tutoring, and reserved “quiet places” to do homework and take exams.
• Apply for extra time for exams- this will usually require an assessment by the school, and/or a doctor’s note, and can grant students the right to extra time on exams, the ability to use computers for written exams, and the ability to take exams in a quiet environment free from distraction.

2. Get to Know Your Professors
• Introduce yourself to your teachers at the beginning of the semester- be upfront about any concerns you may have about success in their course, and the fact that you face some learning challenges. Talk about flexibility in regards to deadlines- most professors will be willing to work with you. It’s better to discuss these issues up front, because if you wait until the day before your big project is due, the professor is going to be less inclined to work with you, and assume that the student is just lazy or making excuses.

3. Make Easy-to-Reference Checklists
• Utilize flashcards to make sure that you’re prepared each time you leave your dorm. Bullet out everything you need to take with you for class each day, or for club meetings, or sports, and tape those lists on your mirror, or by your door. Do a quick check before you head out the door each day.

4. Use Tools to Stay Organized
• Utilize large, easy to read visual planning tools, like wall calendars and daily planners, and check them several times a day. Write due dates on your calendar and planners, so that you’re always aware of approaching deadlines.
• Don’t forget to schedule time for transitions (walking to class, catching the bus, etc.)
• Use a watch with multiple alarms to set reminders for different activities and to keep track of time. For example, if you want to spend 30 minutes working on a particular assignment, set two timers, one to alert you at the half-way point, and another to go off when time is up.

5. Break Your Work up into Manageable Chunks
• Don’t try to tackle big projects all at once!
• Always ask for written instructions if possible.
• Break large projects into smaller pieces, and assign a timeframe to each piece. (It’s better to overestimate how much time you’ll need!)
• Work backwards from the due date; if the assignment has 4 pieces, and each piece will take about 2 hours, you need to allot 4 different homework periods to working on each of those elements, and then probably another 2 hours block to make edits and revisions. That means you need to start the project at least 6 days before it is due, and you should probably give yourself even more time, just to be safe.

Consistent application of these strategies over time will absolutely contribute to success in college level academics and beyond. Remember, although it may seem to take longer at first, taking the time to be prepared and organized will ultimately save you time and headaches in the long run.

Do you struggle with executive function? How do you better your executive function skills?

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Adam holds a B.A. in History from Boston University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Adam has been working as a private tutor since 2009, helping students with executive function and study skills coaching, standardized test prep, college application and essay writing, English language and writing development, study skills and executive functioning. He’s worked with students from diverse backgrounds, from high school to college graduate programs, both domestic and international. Adam honed his own time management skills in college, where he juggled a full time and a part time job while also attending to his own full time studies. Adam is an Eagle Scout, and a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor society. Adam plans on returning to school to pursue a Master’s in Education, and in his free time is an avid trail runner. em>

September 4th, 2013
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To Stand Apart in College, Engage

Writing Tutor for study skill developmentBy Meagan Phelan, Writing Tutoring Instructor, Prepped & Polished, LLC

Imagine you’ve made your college football team. Years of practice in high school and grueling summer training paid off, and you get the chance to play—even to start. When you step out onto the field though, you listen halfheartedly to the quarterback’s calls, sprint just enough to avoid breaking a sweat, and steer clear of tackles.

This may sound absurd. Who would work so hard to make a team, and then disengage, once on it?
Tutoring and Test Preparation and study skill development

But the truth is, getting accepted to college is much like making a team and it is not uncommon for students to apply the same unenergetic approach to learning, once in the classroom. Perhaps this is because the opposite approach—an intentional, intellectually curious one—also takes hard work and practice.

When you get to college, be it this fall or in a few years, you’ll have a chance to take as much from your experience as your discipline will allow—and to stand out from among your peers in the process.

One of the best ways to achieve this is to think actively about what you’re reading when you’re doing work for a particular class. Read it aloud, if that helps, or break up the reading by tackling half a chapter and then asking yourself, “Why should I care about what I just learned?” Or, “How does this information advance what I knew about the topic?”

Chances are, if you can articulate the importance or novelty of the topic you’re studying, you are grasping the bigger picture. And if you are grasping the bigger picture, all the little details—the anecdotes in the chapters you’re reading, or the ones your professor will bring up in the classroom—will “stick.” You’ll be able to recall them later because they support an idea that’s familiar to you.

This kind of engaged participation is particularly key in the classroom; while your classmates may be tempted to snooze after a late night in the library, or text, if you can be disciplined enough to focus on the professor’s lecture, you’ll make your life much easier—and stand out. (I’ve personally had professors approach me and acknowledge that my attentiveness was noticed and appreciated.)

The more engaged you are in the classroom, the less you’ll have to fret about studying. That’s because staying engaged is a sure way to know what material the professor’s most excited about, including some of the deeper, more nuanced points that are likely to be incorporated on a test.

While your college classmates try to answer questions with filler material when in a pinch, you will be positioned to answer test questions directly, and again, to incorporate the subtleties that attention to the lecture revealed.

It takes effort to sit up straight, to hang onto a professor’s (most) every word, and to avoid distractions, but the benefits are a better relationship with that professor, a better grasp of the material, and more efficient studying. Though it could take time, you will also achieve recognition by your classmates as a leader.

Being engaged doesn’t apply merely to homework, reading, classroom presence and test taking. Students who stand apart also pay special attention to the notes and feedback professors take the time to write on their papers and projects. It might seem like extra effort to keep those materials and to take the time—amid all else you have on the go during college—to “study” those pieces, but adding them to your study repertoire will help you identify your weak spots, to avoid them going forward. In this way, you can make progress without the professor having had to call you out on your repeat errors, a process which can be discouraging.

As you go through all this, remember the instruction that ties it all together, the glue in the engaged student’s skeleton: Ask questions when you don’t understand. Whether it’s a professor or a teaching assistant, or even an older student pursuing the same major, find someone you can sit with and pepper with questions. And stand ready to do the same for the younger students who will follow you. Not only is this process important for an engaged collegiate experience; it’s one you’ll see over and over again in every aspect—investing, home maintenance, parenthood—of life.

Meagan Phelan holds an M.A. in Science Writing from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and a B.A. in Biology from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa. She has freelanced as a science writer and is a Fulbright Scholar. Meagan is the Science Press Package Director at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

What other ways can you engage in college? Any other tips you’d like to share?

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August 19th, 2013
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Six Insider Tips to Attack and Master the ISEE Sentence Completions

Prepped & Polished History Tutor for Online ISEE Test Prep to help you with Online ISEE Prep By Terri K., ISEE Test Prep Instructor, Prepped & Polished, LLC

The ISEE has a Verbal Reasoning section that contains 20 sentence completions. These questions are designed to test a student’s vocabulary and reasoning ability. Each sentence completion item consists of a sentence with one missing word or pair of words followed by four potential answer choices. The student is the “detective” who must decipher the clues and select the correct word or pair of words that most appropriately completes the context of the sentence (keeping the sentence clear, logical, and consistent in style and tone). Sentence completion questions are arranged in order of difficulty from easiest to hardest. (Tip: Sentence completion questions come after synonym questions in the ISEE Verbal Reasoning section, but you can choose to do these questions first if you find them easier to answer).

Here are some tried and true tips and elimination strategies that will help you to more quickly attack and master the 20 sentence completions, since you only have approximately 30 seconds for each question:

1) A Strong Vocabulary: First and foremost, a strong vocabulary is an essential skill for the ISEE sentence completions. The best way to prepare and to strengthen vocabulary is to read all types of material as part of your daily routine. Take the time to look up unfamiliar words that you encounter and to make flashcards. Making connections with words helps to remember them (include definition, sentence, root, history, and even a picture, synonym or trigger word as a memory aide).

ISEE Test Prep :  Online Tutoring Services for Online ISEE Prep

2) Look for Familiar Word Parts (Roots, Prefixes): Knowing roots of words is a great aid in figuring out correct answers. Again, looking up words in the dictionary and adding roots to your flashcards will make a huge difference. For example: the root MOR (or MORT or MORS) means death in Latin. Now, even if you do not know the definition, you can more confidently guess the meaning of words such as mortuary (dead bodies are kept in a mortuary), mortician (prepares dead bodies for a funeral), immortal (cannot die). Other common roots are sub (under as in subterranean or submarine), extra (beyond – as in extraterrestrial), terra (Earth – as in terrain), geo (earth, ground as in geology), mar (sea as in maritime), anima (spirit as in animated), mal (bad as in malevolent).

3) First Step – Read the sentence to get overall meaning; cover up answer choices until you find the clue(s) in the sentence: Mentally fill in the blank(s) with your own answer that makes sense. Then, find the answer choice that is closest in meaning to your own answer. You might be surprised to find the exact word that you had in mind. Select that as your answer. If the word you thought of is not a choice, look for a synonym of that word. Eliminate any that are definitely wrong; it is often easier to eliminate wrong answer choices than to pick the right choice. If you still have choices left, guess among the remaining possibilities. Sometimes it is enough to know that the blank requires a word that means something good (positive) or something bad (negative). Note: To assist you in finding the right answer among the answer choices, one-word answers are listed alphabetically and two-word answers are listed alphabetically by the first word.

Example:
Always ——-, the journalist actively questioned the relevant viewpoints on both sides of the issue.
(A) enigmatic
(B) ignoble
(C) impartial
(D) partisan
When reading this sentence, you might recognize that the journalist is fair and unbiased. “Impartial” (choice C) is a synonym for fair.

4) Signal Words: There is almost always a word that obviously points to the correct answer. These signal words are clues that can aid you in figuring out what the sentence actually means.

– Support Signals – look for words/phrases that indicate that the blank continues a thought developed elsewhere in the sentence (examples: and, moreover, in addition, furthermore). A synonym or near-synonym should provide the correct answer. Example:
Mr. Jones is an intelligent and ——– teacher: his knowledge is matched only by his concern for his students.
(A) caring
(B) experienced
(C) unusual
(D) original
(choice A) caring is the answer, a synonym for concern.

– Contrast Signals – look for words/phrases that indicate a contrast between one idea and another (examples: but, although, however, even though, despite)
Example:
Although much of the worst pollution has been ——- in the United States, traces of many toxic chemicals still ——-.
(A) discussed . . . escape
(B) eliminated . . . persist
(C) exaggerated . . . remain
(D) foreseen . . . arise
(choice B) is the correct answer. “Although” is the clue that indicates a contrast and signals you to look for words with opposite or different meanings (eliminated, persist).

– Cause and Effect Signals – look for words/phrases that show that one thing causes another (examples: because, since, for, therefore, as a result, due to, though).
Example:
Because Martha was naturally ——-, she would see the bright side of any situation, but Jack had a ——- personality and always waited for something bad to happen.
(A) cheerful…upbeat
(B) frightened…mawkish
(C) optimistic…dismal
(D) realistic…unreasonable
(choice C) is the correct answer. “Because” is the clue that indicates cause and effect. Note: The word “but” indicates a contrast between Martha and Jack’s personalities.

5) Take One Blank At A Time: Double-blank sentences can seem daunting, but they are actually easier because they supply more clues. After you read through the entire sentence for meaning, insert the first word of each answer pair in the sentence’s first blank. Does it make sense? If not, you can eliminate the entire pair. Next, check out the second word of each of the remaining answer pairs. Both words must make sense when used together.
Example:
The skydiver was ——- to survive after his parachute operated ——-.
(A) unable…perfectly
(B) anxious…instinctively
(C) surprised…adequately
(D) fortunate…improperly
(choice D) is the correct answer. It is the only choice where both words make sense.

6) Eliminating/Guessing: Even if you can’t eliminate any choices, you should guess. There is no guessing penalty on the ISEE. Never leave a question blank. Of course, eliminate before you guess using the strategies that you have learned. On sentence completions, you are looking for the best answer, so use the clues that must be there, in order for the question to have one answer that is better than the others. If you only have a minute left and you are not yet done, fill in all remaining sentence completions.

Summary – 6-step strategic plan to answer sentence completion questions:
– Read the sentence to get the overall meaning.
– Look for clue words that show how sentence parts are related.
– Use the clue words to anticipate the answer based on the relationship indicated.
– Read the answer choices and select the best one.
– Check your answer by reading the sentence with your answer choice in place.
– If you still cannot determine the best answer, eliminate answer choices that clearly do not make sense. Then guess from among the remaining answer choices.

Which level of the ISEE are you getting ready for? Did you find these tips helpful?

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Terri graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Connecticut, with a dual degree in Education and English. She has 15 years of teaching and tutoring experience as a licensed teacher (Grades 5-12). Terri works with students from elementary school through college, and serves as an incredible resource when it comes to preparing for standardized tests (SAT, ACT, SSAT, ISEE, MCAS). em>

August 15th, 2013
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Five AP US History Insider Tips

Prepped & Polished Ap History Tutor By Steve R., AP US History and SAT Subject Test Instructor, Prepped & Polished, LLC

The AP United States History exam is a challenging one, and it can be intimidating to study for. Here are five tips to help you figure out where to start, and to help you put things in perspective as you try to tackle this test.
The exam consists of 80 multiple choice questions (for which you have 55 minutes to complete) and a free-response section. This section consists of two essays (about 70 minutes to complete both) and a Document-Based Question, or DBQ (about 60 minutes to complete).

1. Focus on the 19th and 20th centuries
Over 80% of the multiple choice questions are likely to be on the period of 1790-1980. Only a few questions will deal with American history post-1980, and a chunk will deal with 1789 and before. If you’re prioritizing your study time, don’t expend too much energy on the colonial period.

2. Practice DBQs
The Document-Based Question will ask you to interpret 10-15 documents and answer a question based on your prior knowledge and those documents. Be sure to practice interpreting documents before you take the AP exam. Be sure that you’re an expert at determining the APPARTS of an historical document (APPARTS stands for Author, Place and time, Prior knowledge, Audience, Reason, The main idea, and Significance). Doing well on the DBQ will really bump up your score.

3. Don’t stress out about getting every multiple choice question right
Although doing very well on the multiple choice section will really benefit your score, having outstanding free response and DBQ essays will ensure an excellent score. The essays are graded on a scale from 1-9. These essays, especially the DBQ, are weighted heavily in your score. For instance, consider this: if you average a 7 on your essay questions, you can still receive a 5 on the AP exam if you answer only half of the multiple choice questions correctly (averaging a 7 is tough but doable). Do plenty of practice essays in preparing for the AP exam, and always think about how you would put what you’re studying into an essay.

Contact for AP US History Test Prep from Ap History and Online SAT Tutor

4. Best prep books: Kaplan and Barron’s
As I mentioned in my post called Five SAT US History Insider Tips, the best test prep books for AP United States History are Kaplan and Barron’s. Just like for the SAT Subject Test in U.S. History, Kaplan’s study guide is comprehensive, and Barron’s is very readable. Both will be great for making PERSIA charts, which I explained in the previous post as well.

5. Answer every multiple choice question, even if you have no idea
Unlike on the SAT Subject Test in U.S. History, there is no penalty for wrong answers on the AP U.S. History exam. Even if you have absolutely no idea, mark an answer to each and every multiple choice question. There’s no down side to doing so, and who knows, you might guess right!

Steve R. holds a B.A. from Brandeis University, where he majored in History, African and Afro-American Studies, and Politics. He earned departmental honors in History, and his senior thesis, Black Jesus in the Twentieth Century, was published in 2011. He currently works at Brandeis University in Development and Alumni Relations, where he helps to run many of the University’s Annual Giving programs. Steve has experience tutoring AP, SAT, ACT, United States history, and writing, and he has helped students with their college admissions essays.

Are you taking the AP US History Subject Test? Any questions or additional tips you’d like to share?

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August 8th, 2013
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Episode 7: Josh Ochs, Keeping Teens Safe on Social Media

Prepped & Polished Interview with Teen Social Media Safety Expert Josh Ochs

On this episode of Prepped & Polished Radio, I interview Josh Ochs, best-selling author of “Light, Bright, and Polite”. Josh lectures social media safety to schools, parents, and teens nation-wide.

Tutoring and Test Preparation

Josh graduated from the University of Southern California; He is the author of the bestselling book “Light, Bright And Polite” & public speaker teaching families to be safe online and combat cyber bullying. Josh lives in Santa Monica, California.

For more information, click on our other article, Social Media and College Admissions.

Transcript (PDF)

Full Word-for-Word Transcription

Announcer: Recorded live.

Alexis: Hello and thanks for joining us for the Prepped and Polished
Radio Show. I’m your host, Alexis Avila, licensed guidance
counselor, private tutor and founder of Prepped and Polished
LLC, Tutoring and Test Prep in beautiful South Natick,
Massachusetts.

The Prepped and Polished Radio Show is your educational insider. Our
show is brought to you by Prepped and Polished LLC, where I’m
the principal educator. To learn more about our firm, please
visit preppedandpolished.com.

Thank you to everyone who’s listening to the program. We appreciate
you taking the interest and the information we bring to families
and educators across the globe. For future shows, upcoming dates
and ongoing relevant education news, please join our Facebook
community by searching for Prepped and Polished and clicking
Like, and you can follow us on Twitter, @Preppedpolished.

Joining our show today is Josh Ochs. Josh is an Amazon.com
bestselling author of “Light, Bright and Polite”, a social media
safety and training book for corporations, schools, parents and
teens. Josh lectures nationwide teaching families and students
to be safe online and combat cyber bullying.

As a student at Arcadia High School, Josh was voted Most Friendliest
out of almost 1,000 students in his senior class. Josh graduated
from University of Southern California, and after living in
Hermosa Beach for several years, in May 2009 Josh ran for
Hermosa Beach City Council. He was the youngest person on the
ballot.

We’re delighted to have Josh on our show today. He’s going to share
with us his experiences becoming an expert on social media
safety and give us a few tips along the way about how we can
keep our social media profiles light, bright and polite. Before
we start I just want to make sure our listeners have our contact
info.

Our email address is radio@preppedandpolished.com. If you’d like to
submit a question at anytime, you can use that email address.
Often our listeners will have questions as they’re listening or
afterwards. We always appreciate hearing from our listeners, so
you can email us again at radio@preppedandpolished.com. Josh,
are you there on the line?

Josh: I am.

Alexis: Thank you so much for joining us. How are you today?

Josh: Hey, I’m well. Thanks for having me. It’s so nice of you,
Alexis. I really appreciate it.

Alexis: Sure. Sure. So, I had a chance to look at what you’re doing
online, your LinkedIn, your Instagram, your Twitter, and I’ve
got to say you have a really great-looking profile. It’s light,
bright and polite, at least to me. Is that your intention?

Josh: Thank you. Yeah. It is, indeed. I believe that if you’re going
to tell people to do something, you better be doing it yourself
and be a good example of it so it’s easier to explain to people.

Alexis: Definitely. Absolutely. So why don’t you start us off by
telling us, what does light, bright and polite mean for families
and kids?

Josh: Yeah, great question and I think that’s really the cornerstone
of everything we’re going to talk about today. There are three
things that are most important that tweens and teens need to
think about. Tweens being eight to 12 and teens being 13 to 18.

First, everything that they post on social media, they need to make
sure it’s three things: light, bright and polite. Light means,
make sure it’s positive and it’s fun. It all comes back to, “Is
this something that’s kind? Am I going to say something that’s
nice to others?” and so on, so kind.

Then, bright means, be smart. Think before you tweet, think before
you post this picture on Instagram, “Is this is the right thing
to do?” Then, last and the most important one is polite. Polite
means, are you proud of this when your parents, teachers, your
coach, your principal or dean sees it tomorrow or the next day,
because they will.

Everything on social media eventually does become public, so you have
to ask yourself these three questions, “Is this something that’s
light, bright and polite?” Then, if it is, then feel free to go
ahead and send it.

Alexis: That makes so much sense because everything has repercussions
today. So that’s fantastic. What are the top three ways families
and kids can be safe on social media?

Josh: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I’d say the first and the
biggest way, and this is really a key takeaway is, a lot of
people think that there are privacy settings when you get deep
into the tech and all that stuff. I would like everybody to
think for just a moment, step back for a second and ask
yourself, “Well, do I really need even need to worry about all
this technology and being up late at night worrying about how my
child is posting?”

I teach a lot of tweens, teens, parents and young professionals, if
you live a life that is light, bright and polite and that’s all
you post – and you think before you post anything, and you’re
somewhat kind, smart and polite in all that you do – you won’t
have to worry about any of the technology or any of the changing
privacy settings, or anything else. I think that’s really key
takeaway number one and probably the biggest key takeaway.

Live a life that’s light, bright and polite and then you’re set.
Number two is keep in mind that if you have dramatic friends and
they tag you in something, not only can they get in trouble and
be sent to the school office or detention, but if you’re tagged
in it, there’s a good chance you’re going to be called into the
office as well.

So, be a good friend. Be vocal with your friends and teach them that
they need to be light, bright and polite in social media as
well. Then, the last and I think the biggest tip is, if you ever
get upset about something, call somebody. Call your BFF. Call
your parents. Call your teachers. This is what these people are
there for. Or text them and say, “I want to chat right now.”

Get it over the phone, a one-to-one conversation. Don’t post that on
social media. Call your best friend if you’re upset. Those are
just a couple of the tips. Always keeping it light, bright and
polite, making sure your dramatic friends are always very safe
in what they’re posting and tagging you in, and last if you’re
ever upset or dramatic, just call a best friend instead of
posting.

Alexis: Wow. Those tips are invaluable for today’s youth. It’s amazing
what you’re doing. What would you say is the biggest careless
mistake you see kids doing on social media these days?

Josh: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I’d say there’s a lot that
tweens and teens, anywhere between the age of eight to 18 these
days, they really don’t know a time where social media hasn’t
existed in their life. So, if we try and jump into the seat with
them and say, “Let’s walk a mile in their shoes,” a smartphone
is something they’ve grown up with in a way.

So vocalizing their daily activities and their frustrations is
something that every teen and tween feels totally comfortable
doing. So I’d say one of the biggest careless mistakes is… Let
me speak to families and parents for just a moment.

Families and parents, you really need to consider talking with your
teens and tweens about what is good and what is bad to post on
social media. It’s very, very important that they have a clear
understanding of what’s going to work and not. So talk to them
about being light, bright and polite, how to be kind, how to be
smart and especially how to be proud of everything they post.

Talk to them as well about what the consequences will be,
“Consequences look a little something like this.” A big careless
mistake is when you don’t think about the consequences, your
child, your teen or tween can’t get into that perfect school,
that college. Or perhaps they can’t get into the associated
student body as president or they’re not on the varsity football
team. Anything can happen.

Or especially, once they become a young professional they can’t get
that dream internship, which is really big on a start to their
career. So that’s one of the bigger careless mistakes. I
encourage a lot of parents to start having that conversation
with them and teach them, “This is a dramatic post and this is a
good post.” Let kids post, but teach them how to post in a
positive way that’s light, bright and polite.

Alexis: Yeah. That’s a huge tip for these kids. Because in this job
market, why would you want to blow everything away by just
venting your frustrations? That makes so much sense.

Josh: Yeah.

Alexis: So, Josh, what is one tip for any of us who want to make our
online profiles more private or safe?

Josh: Yeah, good question. Very good question. I’m going to answer
that with two parts, Alexis. Number one, I think it’s really
important for people to realize that nothing is private and
safe. So live a life that’s light, bright and polite. You’re
going to be better off in the long run.

I publicize a lot of my stuff because I realize that I have to live
this life. So I make everything light, bright and polite. I have
a lot to say, and have a lot of fun with it. So, it’s a good
example. You guys can go and research and see some of the stuff
I talk about. You can have a lot of fun and still be light,
bright and polite and safe on social media.

So, first you realize that nothing is private. Be light, bright and
polite in all that you do because eventually it will be
publicized. Second, it’s important that you realize that every
post you make eventually will be a billboard, and it will be
found by people that you don’t want to see it – your teachers,
your parents and if you own a company, your clients someday.

Everything is being archived. So even if you are about to graduate
high school and go into college, that college can see everything
that you post. So make sure it’s not too private. Make sure it’s
not too dramatic.

If you look at anything on your Facebook profile – here’s one of the
biggest key takeaways that we’ve had – make sure that you can
use your Facebook profile as a resume to get into college and to
get that internship. It really is important. They’re going to
find it anyways. There are a hundred ways to get access to your
Facebook page.

It will become public. I can’t reiterate enough. “But, Josh, I have
it set to private.” Regardless, we still have a lot of ways, and
admissions officers and people at schools are so good at this.
So you need to make sure you’re proud of every photo on your
Facebook page, your Instagram, every tweet, every snapshot,
because a snapshot lives on past video. When you think it
expires, it actually goes a lot further.

So make sure that you realize nothing is private, and once you
realize that go back to everything you’ve posted and say, “What
should I take down?” A key takeaway there is go to a loved one,
family member or a good friend that will be honest with you.

Instead of privatizing your Facebook page and really trying to lock
it down, ask a friend, “Hey, friend, will you please be brutally
honest with me and tell me what five photos I should remove from
my profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,” whatever it is.
They will come back and they’ll give you those five photos and
they’ll be brutally honest because they care about you, and you
should seriously consider removing those.

I’ve actually had people do that with me. Even though I live a light,
bright and polite life, I still have had some photos that some
of my friends have said, “Hey, Josh, you’re a great guy and
you’re awesome. But these photos could be misunderstood.” I
went, “You know what? That’s a really good point,” and I took
them down. So I think that’s the best way to make your profile
photos private and safe.

Alexis: Wow. This is fantastic stuff. I mean, it applies to adults as
much as kids. So, Josh, tell me a little bit about what the
future holds for your company media leaders.

Josh: Yeah. So we’ve got a book coming out next year that’s going to
be “Light, Bright and Polite for Families and Kids”. It’s going
to help a lot of families to be more safe and smart on social
media. That’s going to be a tactical way to show kids how to be
kind, smart, and polite in all that they do so they’re proud of
everything they do.

Alexis: Wow. Well, please let us know when it comes out. I’m sure I’m
going to find out, and if you can come to Boston, we’d love to
have you.

Josh: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Alexis: Well, thanks Josh. I appreciate you coming on, taking some time
out of your day to share with us today. This wraps up our show
today with Josh Ochs, Amazon.com bestselling author and public
speaker. Please visit joshochs.com, J-O-S-H-O-C-H-S.com to learn
more about Josh’s social media safety trainings and to find out
when Josh may be coming to your city.

You can purchase Josh’s book, “Light, Bright and Polite”, by going to
Amazon.com and typing in “Light, Bright and Polite” into the
search bar. Thank you for joining us on the Prepped and Polished
Radio Show.

Is your online profile light, bright, and polite? Do you have any follow-questions for Josh?

Post your tips/comments below.

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August 6th, 2013
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Children and Adult Well-Being, Featured, Podcast, Radio Interviews
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7 SAT Tips For Teens

Josh Ochs of Media Leaders interviews Alexis Avila Founder of Prepped & Polished, LLC in South Natick, Massachusetts. Alexis list his favorite seven tips for teens preparing for the SAT Test.

Tip 1: Take Advantage of Free SAT Material on the Web
Tip 2: Buy the Official College Board Study Guide
Tip 3: Understand the SAT Format
Tip 4: Don’t spend too much time on Sentence Completions
ACT Science Tips and SAT Tips and Strategies
Tip 5: Skip around a little on the math fill-in section
Tip 6: Wake up early Saturday morning for two months
Tip 7: If you get stumped, circle the question, then move on

Get our SAT E-Book, FREE!

Transcript (PDF)

Full Word-for-Word Transcription

Josh: Hello and welcome to Media Leaders. In this video we want to
show you seven SAT tips for teens. I’m honored to have Alexis Avila, the
founder of Prepped and Polished with me today, Alexis welcome to the call.

Alexis: Thanks for having me Josh.

Josh: Well it’s an honor to have you here. Let’s jump right in to the
good stuff, you’re going to walk us through seven tips for people that are
taking their SAT. Can you tell us what you’re going to teach us?

Alexis: I’m going to teach you how to take advantage of free stuff so
you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for tutoring. I’m going to tell you
about buying a key book for SAT. Walk you a little bit through the SAT
format. Talk a little bit about sentence completion, just some insider tips
on the math fill-ins. How to wake up early, you know really get primed and
ready. And also lay a cool strategy for an SAT.

Josh: Sweet. Walk us through the first one.

Alexis: All right. So SATs, you’ve got to take advantage of free stuff
out there, okay? There’s a lot of free stuff that you can study with. Khan
Academy.com, great videos to help you with problems that are found in the
old official college course study guide. CollegeBoard.org go to it
immediately, sign up for the question of the day, have it delivered to your
in box, SAT problem, free, again. Quizlet.com, you want to practice your
SAT vocab, you don’t have to buy books in the book store for that, go to
Quizlet.com, it’s all free. Free SAT vocab, practice and take quizzes.

Josh: Great resources. Walk us through the next tip?

Alexis: Okay. So you’ve got to buy the official college board study
guide whether you work with a tutor or independently. It has the most
realistic practice tests possible in this book, there’s ten of them. And I
recommend that you get through as many practice tests as possible. And make
sure that you time yourself when you take these practice tests. And if you
want to get explanations for the questions found in the SAT official
college board study guide, purchase Tutor Ted’s SAT Solution Manual, it’s
not perfect but it’s pretty much the only one out there, the only book out
there that actually has an explanation for each question found in the
official college board SAT study guide.

Josh: That’s super helpful. Walk us through the next one.

Alexis: Okay. Understand the SAT format, okay? This is what I do with
all my students to get them feeling confident and knowing what to expect.
First, section one and section ten are always the same section. Section
one, essays, section ten, short grammar writing section. The next level of
predictability is found in section eight, nine, and ten. Those are always
the shortened versions of the critical reading math, and like I said
section ten is also a short grammar writing section. Section two through
seven, not as much predictability but guaranteed in those sections your
going to find two critical reading long sections, 25 minutes, two math long
sections, 25 minutes, and one long, 25 minute, writing grammar section. And
then you’ll have one experimental section.

Also, know the nuances within each section, and learn how to pace for
them. So for example, the two long critical reading sections, one of those
long critical reading sections has eight sentence completions as opposed to
five sentence completions on the other one. So there’s a different kind of
pacing structure that you should learn. So that’s what I have to say about
the SAT format. I could go on forever about it.

Josh: That’s good to know. Take us on to the next one.

Alexis: Okay. Get to the critical reading. So don’t spend too much time
on those sentence completion questions folk. Why? It’s simple, it’s math,
there’s 19 sentence completions versus 48 reading comprehension questions.
If you get complacent and smug, and take your sweet old time doing those 19
sentence completion questions you’re going to have five minutes left to do
all that reading. You don’t want to be in that pickle. So trust your gut,
study your vocab, get through those sentence completion questions
relatively fast so you can have ample time to do the reading questions.
Scan the questions first when you at the critical reading, scan the
questions first, mark up the passage that answers the specific question on
the fly as you’re reading, it’s like an open book test. And the at the very
end, answer all the general questions, answer those last. It will make
sense because you can only answer general questions once you have the full
scope of the passage.

Josh: Wow, that’s really helpful. Walk us through the next one?

Alexis: All right. We’ll skip around, here’s a little insider technique
for you. Skip around on the maths fill in, the long 25 minute math fill in
section, where you have eight multiple choices and then ten fill-ins after.
Why? Because on the SAT you want to answer all the easy immediate questions
before you tackle the hard ones. Well the order of difficulty goes from
easy to hard, from one to eight multiple choice, and then they get easy
again. So I recommend that you do the first five or six multiple choice
questions, just take a quick glance at number seven and eight multiple
choice which are the hard ones, and if they’re too hard just circle them
and go right to those easy fill-ins, take care of those, and at the very
end go back to those last two multiple choice questions.

Josh: I love it. That’s really helpful. Very counter intuitive. Walk
us through the next tip?

Alexis: Yep. Okay. Well this is kind of like another tip, I really
believe that kids have to develop a routine going into the SAT. So I
recommend you wake up early for at least two months before, each Saturday
leading up to the test. Up to two months before that. The key is to build
your confidence. It’s to build a consistent study program if you want to
get your confidence going up. So you want to wake up early for two months
so you get used to doing SAT problems early in the morning. Again, now
while you’re waking up Saturday, I want you to eat a good healthy breakfast
devoid of fatty foods. Find a quiet study area free of distractions. Have a
nice stop watch so you can pace yourself. And waking up early means go to
bed early too.

Josh: So smart, very true. Walk us through the next tip?

Alexis: Okay. Stumped? Circle the question. The tip is basically this,
the SAT is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, which basically means that you
want to keep moving at a nice steady pace, you don’t want to cram and
agonize over question number one. If you can’t answer it you circle that
question and you keep moving. If you spend more than a minute on a problem
it’s probably a good indicator that you’re kind of going about the problem
the wrong way. You circle that problem and then you keep moving to the next
question. Answer as many questions as you can, and then at the very end
with a fresh set of eyes you go back to the questions that you circled
along the way, tackle those, that’s the way to go.

Josh: That’s super helpful. well walk us through what you’ve taught
us.

Alexis: Okay. well I basically taught you to take advantage of all the
free SAT material on the web, you know you don’t have to spend a gazillion
dollars on SAT preps, there’s a lot of free stuff out there. And if you do
spend a gazillion dollars on SAT prep, fine, but also take advantage of the
free stuff. Buy the official college board study guide, that is basically
the number one and number two key resource you can buy. Everyone uses it,
buy it. Understand the SAT format. I don’t know about you but I feel more
confident when I know what to expect going into game day. Understand the
SAT format. Don’t spend too much time on sentence completion questions,
because there’s more, the lion’s share of those questions in the critical
reading section are critical reading questions themselves. Skip around a
little in the math fill-in section. Take care of the easy and medium
questions first. And then wake up early Saturday morning for the next two
months leading into the test so you get accustomed to what it’s like to
work your brain with multiple choice questions early in the morning. And
finally, if you get stumped circle the question and keep on moving, the
test is a marathon not a sprint.

Josh: Wow this has been really helpful. Alexis, thank you so much for
joining us today.

Alexis: My pleasure Josh. I’m humbled. Thank you very much.

Josh: Thank you. And those of you that are watching this video, click
the links below this video and in the area below, and you can learn more
about Alexis and his company Prepped and Polished. Thank you everybody for
being a part of Media Leaders. Have a great day, and as always, keep it
light, bright, and polite.

Are you preparing for the SAT? Which tip do you find most helpful?

Post your tips/comments below.

 

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August 5th, 2013
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