Author Archives: Princeton Tutoring

Princeton Tutoring Essay Competition

Princeton Tutoring is sponsoring our first annual essay competition! (For additional competition details and rules, please visit http://www.princetontutoring.com/essay.html)

The underlying purpose of this year’s topics is to foster student self-awareness. Additionally, thinking about these types of questions will prepare students for the types of prompts they might encounter on their college applications.

  • High School Topic – Do you believe there are inherent conflicts between achieving both success and happiness?
  • Middle School Topic – Interview your family members and discover something about your family history that you might not have known before. Write about the significance of what you learned and what it means to you.

[Continue reading for additional thoughts on these topics] Continue reading

Want to get better grades? Be an ACTIVE learner!

by Kevin Wong

Active Learning: What is it?

Active Learning forces students to interact with information in the learning process. Instead of trying to learn by simply listening to a teacher or reading text and attempting to mindlessly commit as much information to memory as possible (passive learning), the student engages in activities such as asking/answering questions, writing, or engaging in discussion related to the material during the learning process.  These simple activities force the student to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information, which promotes deeper understanding and longer term retention of the material.

[Continue reading to learn how to implement ACTIVE learning strategies for yourself]

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Time management

by Nina Bahadur

Time Management

Time management is an essential skill for getting through high school, college, and the rest of your life! Here are my top two suggestions for getting organized and making the most of your time.

To-Do Lists

By making a list of tasks, you will be able to manage your time accordingly to get everything done. Being aware of everything you have to do is half of the battle!

I would recommend splitting your to-do list into three parts, depending on the urgency of each task. Here is an example list:

1. Highest Priority – do this today

  • Biology homework (due tomorrow in class)
  • Proofread essay on “Of Mice and Men” (due tomorrow in class)
  • Pick up French textbook from Alice’s house

2. Medium Priority – do this before the end of the week

  • Meet with Matthew to work on history presentation (due next week)
  • Organize handouts in Math folder
  • Practice SAT test before tutoring session on Friday

3. Low Priority – do this before the end of the month

  • Sign up for May SAT test date

While you are studying, I would also recommend listing any concepts that you are struggling to understand. That way, you can easily articulate any questions to your teacher, and you will be able to focus on those “problem areas” when studying for a test.

[Continue reading to learn about study schedules and additional tips]

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The College Essay: Be Yourself

by David Kurz

Looking back on my 17-year old life, I remember feeling a mix of uncertainty and pressure when it came time to write the college essay. In my experience, the personal statement was uniquely difficult because – unlike SATs, GPA, AP scores, and academic achievements – it was subjective, biased, and supremely personal. My college essay sometimes seemed like a blank sheet staring me in the face, daring me to be creative, fluid, and self-revealing in the midst of a high-stakes application. The good news is that, eventually, I was able to turn this daunting undertaking into a fun exercise that let me express my personality better than any other piece of my application.

My Story

I remember deciding that I wanted my essay to capture something about me that spoke to how I was singular. Something that only Dave Kurz could write. I recall leaning back in my chair, looking around, and thinking to myself: “What makes me different?” What I settled on certainly wasn’t perfect, but it did fit the criterion I had laid out for myself; my essay literally could not have been written by anybody else because of the distinctive way only I could unite various aspects of my life story. In my case, this meant writing about everything from Hungarian history to Spanish classes to soccer to kayaking to jazz trumpet to faith, and how they had all come together to make me who I was. I also included some minor details about my life that weren’t important in their own right – for instance, my high school habit of grabbing frozen waffles while running out the door – but added a personal touch to the writing. The key was not really what I wrote about, but how my writing captured my personality.

[Continue reading for Dave’s advice, and additional tips and resources]

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SAT or ACT? Take advantage of diagnostic tests to help decide

by Richard Pan

One of the tough decisions that a high school student has to make is whether to take the SAT or the ACT. Each has its advantages and disadvantages from the perspective of the test taker, but which one should you take? We will break things down into a few different considerations, but first, let’s take a look at the back-stories.

Background

Introduced in 1901, the SAT is the older of the two exams. It has gone through several iterations since its inception, from open-ended essay questions on a range of topics (including English, math, physics, chemistry, and foreign languages) to the current format of three multiple-choice sections on math, reading, and writing. The ACT was first administered in 1959, and in terms of subjects tested, the test has remained substantially unchanged through the years. An optional writing section was added in 2005 to the existing sections on English, math, reading, and science.

[Continue reading for a detailed comparison and our recommendation]

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Welcome to the Princeton Tutoring Blog!

by Greg Wong and Kevin Wong

Who are we?

Welcome to Princeton Tutoring’s blog! We are an elite private tutoring company headquartered in Princeton, NJ. Since 2005 we have helped hundreds of students improve their confidence, increase grades, and gain admission into selective high schools and top colleges.

Our tutors are the nation’s highest performing college students and recent graduates.  They are high school Valedictorians, National Merit Finalists, and National AP Scholars. They are Princeton Dean’s list recipients and published fiction, poetry, and academic journal writers. Outside of their work with Princeton Tutoring, they are teaching assistants, tennis coaches, and dance instructors. Extracurricularly, they are actively involved in community service, are varsity athlete team captains, and are accomplished Grammy-performing musicians.

What is the goal of this blog?

Over the past several years, clients and friends have turned to us for advice on a variety of topics – “How can my child improve his organizational skills?”, “Should my son take the SAT or the ACT?”, “Which extracurricular activities and how many should my daughter focus on?”, “What are some of our recommended methods for reducing test anxiety?”, and so on.  In each case, we would respond by sending a carefully drafted response to a single person. What if we could share that information with a larger audience so more people could benefit?

Our goal with this blog is to address the most relevant academic (and occasionally non-academic) concerns of middle/ high school students and their parents by sharing tips and advice from the unique perspective of our tutors. You can also expect to see blog posts from teachers, college admissions counselors, and educators who are affiliated with Princeton Tutoring.

How is this blog organized?

The ultimate goal of many of our readers will be to gain admission into a top college of their choice. Therefore, we have organized our topics around the major components that will make you (or your child) an attractive college applicant:

  • General study tips (e.g. study techniques, time management, reading and writing tips)
  • Standardized tests (e.g. SAT/ACT, AP, SAT subject tests)
  • Extracurricular activities (e.g. summer, during the school year)
  • College admissions (e.g. essays, school selection, alumni interviews)

How to use this blog?

Looking for a specific topic? Try using the search function. Alternatively, click on any of the categories/tags listed on the right-hand-side of the page to view related groups of posts.

If you’d rather have automatic updates every time we submit a new post, you can subscribe by email. We are initially planning to update our blog a couple of times per month.

Contact us!

If you have any questions/comments or if there is a specific topic you’d like to see, feel free to contact us at greg [at] princetontutoring.com or kevin [at] princetontutoring.com.

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Please visit www.princetontutoring.com to learn more about our Company.

Happy reading!

About the authors: Greg and Kevin are brothers and Princeton University graduates. They have over 20 years of experience in the educational services industry as tutors, mentors, and coaches. After several years as private tutors, they founded Princeton Tutoring in 2005 to continue their passion for education on a larger scale and to help more students achieve their potential.. Please click here for more information about Greg and Kevin.