Tag Archives: preparation

One topic I never tire of hearing, learning, talking, and writing about is preparation. What makes the principle of preparation so compelling? Simply put, all of our wildest dreams and aspirations become possible and perhaps even easy to achieve with the right preparation. Do you have big goals for this new year? Have you resolved to be better than you were last year? The path to everything you can hope for lies through preparation… We hope you choose to make this–and EVERY–year your year of preparation!

Results don’t materialize simply because we want them: we have to work for them. Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee success, but you can be certain that you won’t achieve your wildest ambitions without it! Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative EFFORT.

All true preparation begins with the end in mind. Define your desired objective or outcome. Place your future self there, then look backwards and consider all the hard work, the training, the coaching, and the sacrifice necessary to achieve that victory. Before preparation even begins, commit to your GOAL.

After a long pandemic period of testing uncertainty and compromises, I was thrilled to proctor live and in-person at the Fairport Public Library this weekend. We’ve worked with Rochester and Syracuse libraries for a decade to offer the highest quality proctored practice tests free of charge to anyone who wants them, and our COVID-era online tests lost their luster for some families fairly quickly. This is not to say we aren’t still offering those Zoom tests–we proctored one of those this weekend as well–but nothing feels quick like the real SAT or ACT as sitting in a room with ten to twenty equally nervous test takers… at least for now! I was also impressed by the turnout at all of our practice tests over the last week, which happened to be Winter Recess. New York State students (and their families) enjoy not one but two long breaks during the first…

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What if I told you that you could become a virtuoso piano player in just one hour a week? Would you believe me if I promised you could play college basketball if you only work at it in the spare moments between more pressing commitments? How about fluency in a foreign language without ever having to practice? I hope, for your sake, that you find these claims dubious at best and, more likely, delusional. Clearly, nobody achieves greatness in any challenging endeavor with minimal effort or practice. Yet, every day, I encounter students, parents, and even other educators who imagine that amazing test scores can be earned with just one hour of instruction a week, whenever they can fit it in, without ever taking a practice test. For most students, this simply will not suffice. Sure, some high schoolers may ace the SAT without any prep, but these are usually…

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Once we agree that all tests–especially the influential and high stakes ones–should be prepared for (and they obviously should be) the next questions focus more on methods and means. Considering the wide range of test prep material out there from books to online programs to classes to tutoring, teens and their families can be understandably intimidated by the choice, especially when factors like fit, quality, cost, and interactivity come into play. I answer questions about which types of test prep are best for different students, but rarely are my answers recorded. Luckily, my Tests and the Rest partner Amy Seeley and I were recently interviewed by the unstoppable Linda Abraham. Not only has Linda, as the founder of Accepted, helped countless applicants gain admission to top medical, law, business and graduate schools over decades, she is also a leading educational podcaster. Amy and I had her on our podcast to…

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