Category Archives: Academics

Of all the academic choices a student entering eight grade or high school must make, math course selection exerts the most influence on future choices. Some of the biggest considerations include the following questions: What should drive math course selection? How do grade level, accelerated, and gifted tracks differ? Can students change tracks in high school? What are the implications of math course selection for SAT and ACT scores? Should advanced math students choose calculus or statistics? What should a student, parent, or counselor consider when weighing the options? To clarify the process of choosing high school math courses strategically. I spoke to author and math expert Richard Corn. Richard Corn has helped hundreds of middle school and high school students with their studies in mathematics and with preparation for standardized tests. When students complained about the quality of the prep books sold by big box publishers, Richard decided to…

Read more

Far too often, we evaluate math ability in high schoolers solely on the basis of grades and level of math learned. A more accurate assessment of a student’s potential on challenging math tasks–including those posed on tests like the SAT and ACT–should consider mathematical maturity. For clarity on the link between mathematical maturity and test success, I turned to author and test prep professional Dr. Steve Warner. Dr. Steve Warner, Ph.D has two decades of experience in general math tutoring and tutoring for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, and AP Calculus exams. He has tutored students both individually and in group settings. In February 2010, Dr. Warner released his first SAT prep book The 32 Most Effective SAT Math Strategies, and in 2012 founded Get 800 Test Prep. Since then Dr. Warner has written books for the SAT, ACT, SAT Math Subject Tests, AP Calculus exams,…

Read more

As we’ve said time and time again, reading is fundamental. Well, we didn’t make that phrase up, but we love to spread it around. After all, reading enriching books at least a little bit every day delivers the kinds of benefits we all want for ourselves and our children: improved comprehension (which means more knowledge as well as better grades and scores) increased speed (which mean less time doing homework, more test questions answered, and greater productivity) advanced vocabulary (which means more sophisticated, persuasive communication) decreased frustration (which means reading becomes more enjoyable, which inspires even more reading) Plus, regular readers exhibit greater levels of happiness, community engagement, and mental health. What more could you want for your high schooler? We launched our Strategic Reading Club to provide the structure, direction, and discussion many teens need to engage in real reading on a regular basis. We’ve also revised the structure…

Read more

Teachers plant seeds of knowledge that last a lifetime. From all of our educators to all the rest, Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Assessment-oriented instruction, as I like to call test prep when I’m feeling particularly bombastic, usually follows utilitarian principles. Basically, if something works, keep doing it. Thanks to rich quantitative feedback loops, we can track in real time what allows either an individual student or an entire cohort to more quickly and accurately solve different types of problems. Couple the emphatic pragmatism of test prep with the fact that many practitioners have backgrounds in fields far outside of education and it’s no wonder that theoretical frameworks are rarely primary considerations in tutoring sessions. Nonetheless, educational professionals can learn a lot from educational theory and models, which is why I recently asked expert Erik Francis of Maverik Education to teach a group of test prep teachers about Depth of Knowledge levels.  As far as theoretical educational frameworks go, Depth of Knowledge certainly sounds rigorous. Cooked up by Dr. Norman Webb in 1997 to…

Read more

Those of you who remember the old RIF commercials will probably chuckle at the reference, but the statement is as true today as it was back then: reading is fundamental. Strong reading and writing skills lie at the heart of the best grades, most impressive SAT & ACT scores, and most enduring professional success. Just because someone knows how to read doesn’t mean she reads well. Reading is a skill-based activity that improves with focused practice. That means that students should know how to read properly and then internalize the right strategies by reading challenging level-appropriate texts on a regular basis (HINT: National Geographic may be level-appropriate, but People magazine never is!) The benefits of exceptional reading skills are almost limitless, but include many obvious and highly desirable advantages: increased reading speed (which mean less time doing homework) improved comprehension (which means more knowledge as well as better grades and…

Read more

6/112