Tag Archives: planning

The traditional academic year spanning from around Labor Day to well past Memorial Day feels like a marathon designed to test the endurance and focus of any participant (students and teachers alike!) Today’s high schoolers juggle so many academic, extracurricular, volunteer, family, social, and even work commitments that every hour in a week becomes scheduled far in advance. Adding insult to injury, college bound teens have to carve out time during the school year to take–and hopefully also prep–for SAT and/or ACT exams that are only administered from September through June. At least, that is, until now. The College Board may not elicit much praise from the teens who feel compelled to take the organization’s array of standardized tests, but who could complain about a new August administration of the SAT and SAT Subject Tests? I consider an August SAT the best news–and best option–we’ve received in a long time,…

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The College Board recently took to Twitter to remind students that reading for the SAT can’t be mastered in a single cram session: The Reading Test focuses on the skills and knowledge at the heart of education: the stuff you’ve been learning in high school, the stuff you’ll need to succeed in college. It’s about how you take in, think about, and use information. And guess what? You’ve been doing that for years. Every component of the SAT & ACT–from answering questions to managing time to avoiding careless errors–requires time to master. Just the sheer amount of math and English grammar a test taker must retain and synthesize suggests that proper preparation demands time. But, when you think about it, finally understanding how to use a comma can be a matter of minutes or hours, rather than days. Much of the content tested on the exams consist of rules and…

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If you’re planning on taking the SAT or ACT this year, you’re in luck; tests are offered just about every month of the academic year and even during one lovely summer month. Picking the right date—and prepping for it–demands advance planning. But failure to plan typically leads to lots of stress and minimal success. So which test dates are you targeting? Jan 21, 2017 – SAT — This was the last January SAT date, which will be replaced going forward with an August SAT administration. Feb 11, 2017 – ACT — This is generally a good test to target, but there are no test centers in New York for the February ACT. Mar 11, 2017 – SAT — This is an excellent test for juniors to target. Apr 8, 2017 – ACT — This is an excellent test for juniors to target and one of the most popular of the…

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The impending holidays often fill adults with that peculiar sense of dread that creeps up when days of celebration require weeks of preparation. But even post-Santa teenagers tend to view the span from before Christmas to after New Year’s Day with unfettered glee. This general merriment is inspired not just by holiday festivities but also by an extended break in studies, which every student surely deserves every now and then. So why do I recommend that high schoolers take advantage of the holiday break to catch up on tutoring and test prep? Surely, only a Scrooge would prescribe boring academic work during the holidays, right? Maybe not, if our concern is for student well-being over the entire span of the school year instead of just the final fortnight of December. With that perspective, three strong reasons emerge to support the idea that most high schoolers can benefit from a bit…

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Big tests, like other big moments in our lives, demand our best, which can be difficult to find when we are overheated and drenched in sweat. Such a conclusion seems obvious, but apart from some amateur studies, not enough research has been done on the relationship between temperature and test scores. In the workplace, performance finds its sweet spot between 69.8° and 71.6°F. Does the same apply in school? According to Jisung Park at Harvard University, heat stress on exam days reduces test scores and educational attainment by economically significant magnitudes. An analysis of data from New York City public schools from 1998-2011 revealed some powerful observations: 1. Heat stress during exams reduces student performance. Students who took Regents exams on a 90˚F day earned consistently lower scores than students who tested on cooler days, leading to a 10.5% lower likelihood of passing any given subject. 2. Heat exposure during…

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Timing is everything, isn’t it? With enough time, nearly any result is possible. Yet, failure to plan typically leads to, well, failure. Most of us make the obvious connection between preparing well ahead of time and being fully prepared. Starting early just makes sense. But less obvious are the benefits of starting early in the day. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle. They are influenced by sleep patterns and light exposure and, in turn, can influence sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and other important functions. Getting enough quality sleep and paying attention to our personal rhythms can, in the words of chronobiologist (someone who studies biological rhythms) Steve Kay, “give us an edge in daily life.” How so? For one, mental alertness tends to peak around 10am. Thus, mid-morning may be the best time to engage in activities requiring cognition, concentration,…

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