Monthly Archives: January 2014

Avoiding Bad SAT Essay Examples

Often, the biggest challenge of the SAT essay isn’t poor writing, but coming up with relevant and good examples within the short 25 minutes that you are given for the essay section. Someone told me that during her SAT test, she panicked after reading the prompt because no good example came to her mind and so she made up an example using her “cat”. After the test, she realized that her example had been really far-fetched and its link to the prompt hadn’t been the most relevant. She realized that one key thing she should have prepared for was good SAT essay examples.



[Continue reading to find out what to avoid when writing your essay…]

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NJ ASK Test Updates for the Transition to Core Curriculum Standards

The season for the NJ ASK standardized testing will soon be upon us– as will a few differences within the NJ ASK test.

New Jersey plans to fully align its assessments to the Core Curriculum Standards by 2015, and in the mean time, the NJ ASK is bridging the gap between the old and new standards with a hybrid test. Accordingly, the ELA section was altered last year for all grades, but for middle school students, in 2014 there are still changes to come to the content of the math section.

Standardized Testing

While the majority of schools have adjusted their instruction to prepare students for these changes and while many of the changes to the test will go without much notice and in fact, have had very little impact on the percentage of proficiency compared to previous years, there are a few modifications that makes the tests from last year and this year different than all previous NJ ASK tests.

Read on to learn about some of the most substantial changes you and your child can expect:

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Will a Calculator Help Me in the SAT?

There are a lot of misconceptions about using a calculator during the SAT. Students often wonder, is it better to use a really high-tech calculator? Or will my simple scientific calculator do the job? Will a calculator really improve my SAT score? The first important thing to note is that every mathematics question on the SAT can be solved without a calculator. So if you are unfamiliar with using a calculator during math tests, don’t try to force the issue during the SAT. Just solve those math problems the same way you’ve been doing them. Additionally, although using a calculator will not improve your SAT score, using a calculator may be helpful for some questions and also help you check your solutions more quickly.



[Continue reading to find out about using calculators during the SAT…]

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6 SAT Prep Mistakes

Preparation is key to any test, right? So all the prep I’ve been doing for my SATs must be helping me somehow, right? This is actually untrue! Although preparation is important for the SATs, there are actually mistakes we can make and things we should not do to prepare for the SATs.


[Continue reading to find out what these 6 SAT prep mistakes are…]

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Figuring out the SAT Math Sections

Math is a subject that, although intimidating at first with the numerous complex formulas and numbers, is actually probably the easiest to prepare for amongst the three SAT sections. Yet, most students fear the SAT Math section the most and often don’t quite know the different strategies for handling the different types of math questions that appear in the SAT. However, fret not! This post will help to break it down for you and provide you with some crucial strategies to tackle SAT Math.


[Continue reading to find out how the SAT Math is divided…]

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Structuring Your Essay: Academic Writing (Part III)

Hand drawing empty diagramLast week we discussed some key elements of the academic essay in Writing Academically: A Lexicon. For the next few posts in my series on academic writing, I will be narrowing in on these elements. Today we’re talking structure.

Structure formulates your essay’s line of reasoning or argument. You can focus on successfully structuring individual paragraphs (even sentences!) in addition to structuring your essay as a whole. You have most likely heard of the five-paragraph essay format—great! You’re already on the way to understanding structure. But read on. Believe it or not, there is more to essay structure than five well-engineered and oiled paragraphs.

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A Daily Approach for the SAT

Oh man…my SAT is in a month’s time and I haven’t started preparing for it. In addition to my normal school work, extracurricular and the hundred other things I have to do, how am I supposed to even start preparing for perhaps one of the most important tests in my life? Unsurprisingly, with most of the SAT dates during the school term, albeit during a Saturday, many students see the SAT as another enormous challenge placed smack center amidst all the other commitments they already have. Many of these high school students are already barely sleeping 6 hours and are stressed out from trying to achieve high exam scores/class rankings.


Preparing for the SAT thus seems like an additional insurmountable challenge, where you face off thousands of students from all over the country who will contribute to your eventual score and ranking. Sometimes, the seeming difficulty of the SAT causes students to put off preparing for it till much later because “it just seems too hard and tiring to start right now”. Yet, taking a daily approach for the SAT is probably the best thing you can do to prepare for it!

  • Make it a point not to take days off! This is the first most important thing you have to take note of! Even if you only have 10 minutes on the bus or right before you fall asleep, study 10 new vocabulary words everyday and that tiny bit of work every single day will add up to a great deal in the long run.



[Continue reading to find out how to prepare daily for the SAT…]

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Writing Academically Part II: A Lexicon

writingLast week’s blog post, “What’s the Point?”,  hopefully convinced you in some small way of the significance of academic writing. Now it’s time to focus on the most important elements of the academic essay. I’ve already covered a few of these in previous posts, particularly the thesis statement and motive. But of course, there are so many more! What terms are crucial to the genre of academic writing? What do you need to know to write a convincing, elegant academic essay?

Let’s look at A Writing Lexicon, a list of the essential essay elements, to find out.

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