Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meet Chelsea, the Adorable Winner of our Communiversity Guessing Contest

This is Chelsea. She is 7 years old. And she is a Jolly Rancher counting genius.

Chelsea, our adorable Communiversity Guessing Contest Winner

This year for Communiversity, we hosted a guessing contest. Caroline graciously allowed us to borrow one of her large vases, and we filled it up with Jolly Ranchers. A lot of them.

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The prize for the closest guess? A Chromebook, or even more exciting, a free month of tutoring!

The weather was chilly that day, but our booth was hot, hot, hot. We received over 700 submissions!

Can you guess how many Jolly Ranchers were in that vase? Scroll to the bottom for the answer.

Read below for an exclusive interview with our adorable winner.


An Exclusive Interview

Princeton Tutoring: So I see that you chose the Chromebook as your prize. Do you think that when you go home you’ll come to your senses and regret not signing up for tutoring sessions instead?

Chelsea: I don’t think so.

Princeton Tutoring: What do you plan on doing with your shiny new Chromebook?

Chelsea: Actually, I’m not really sure what it is yet.

Princeton Tutoring: I think you’ll figure it out. Everybody is dying to know – what was your secret? You beat out math PhDs, engineers, and former guessing game champions. Which method did you choose to calculate the number of Jolly Ranchers? The vase wasn’t a perfect cone or a perfect cylinder. How did you modify the volume formulas, and how did you account for the additional volume taken up by the wrappers and air?

Chelsea: I don’t know. I just guessed!!

Princeton Tutoring: That sounds reasonable. Thanks for your time today, Chelsea, and please remember to use your guessing powers for good, not evil.

Chelsea: Okay.

*We may have taken some liberties with our interpretation of the actual questions and answers


By the Numbers

  • # of submissions: 733
  • # of Jolly Ranchers: 1,365
  • Chelsea’s guess: 1,364
  • Smallest guess: 16
  • Largest guess: 1 quadrillion (seriously)
  • Median Guess: 1,000
  • Most Popular Guess: 1,000 (28 people guessed 1,000)
  • # of people who used a ruler: 5 (where did they get these rulers!)
  • # of people who tried to eat one of the Jolly Ranchers: 0 (impressive self control!)

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How to Separate the Good from the Bad on the SAT – Part 2

There are so many ways we can go wrong in picking the right answer on a test. The SAT is especially challenging because so many of the answers seem right, but commonsense tells us that there can really only be one right answer. In addition to the neat tricks from last week, here are some additional tips that will help you to ace the SAT!

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[Continue reading to find out how to pick the right answer…]

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How to Choose the Best SAT Test Center?

Does the test location even matter? I remember looking over all the possible SAT locations and wondering which location would be best to take the test. Would it be quiet or noisy? Would there be a lot of kids I knew there? Would that be a distraction? A multitude of thoughts ran through my mind. And after taking the SAT test and SAT subject tests in different locations, I can claim that the location definitely matters.

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[Continue reading to find out which location you should choose…]

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New SAT Changes – Good or bad?

The new SAT has sparked a furious debate on whether these changes are good or bad for upcoming high school students. Many people are disgruntled with the SAT College Board not because of these changes, but because the College Board has shown its lack of clarity and irrelevance in crafting the old SAT in the first place. For example, the essay portion, which was added in 2005 with great enthusiasm as being an integral component of the exam is now made optional and no longer heralded as crucial. The multiple thousand vocabulary words that every high school student stressed out over is now promoted as an unnecessary part of the SAT. They have also removed the previous scoring system of deducting a quarter point for every wrong answer to multiple-choice questions.

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[Continue reading to find out more about the new SAT…]

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Quick Tips to Memorizing SAT Vocabulary

Almost every student’s least favorite part of studying for the SAT is memorizing vocabulary. I know that was the worst part of my SAT preparation for sure. However, as mentioned in the previous post, the SAT vocabulary is an important part and cannot be neglected! Here, I will go through some quick tricks and tips to help you minimize the tediousness and ace the SAT vocabulary!

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[Continue reading for tips on how to memorize the SAT vocabulary quickly…]

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Should I Study SAT Vocabulary?

How am I ever going to finish memorizing these 1000 vocabulary words for the SAT?  Is this even important for the SAT??? The SAT vocabulary used to be a large part of SAT prep. After all, if you could confidently memorize all those SAT words, you could have a perfect score on the SAT vocabulary section. Yet, nowadays, with analogies and antonyms gone from the SAT, studying for the SAT vocabulary only become directly important for the Sentence Completion part under Critical Reading. It seems that vocabulary has become less important in the SAT.

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[Continue reading to find out whether studying SAT vocabulary is important…]

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Studying Root Words: Your Favorite Works of Fiction are Rooted in Root Words

Use some of your favorite fictitious words to unlock real words' meanings.

Use some of your favorite fictitious words to unlock real words’ meanings.

Many of our favorite authors use their knowledge of root words, Old English, and Germanic and Romantic languages to create meaningful names for fictitious people, places, and things. An understanding of words parts is essential to developing a great vocabulary, so delve into some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy to practice finding and decoding meaningful word parts!

Read on to see how some of your favorite words from Harry Potter, Pokemon, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars can help you on your next vocabulary quiz!

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Studying Vocabulary: If It’s Not Fun, You’re Doing It Wrong

According to a review of vocabulary acquisition research, the three most effective methods of vocabulary acquisition requires students to:

  1. connect new vocabulary with what they already know
  2. experience repeated exposure to new words
  3. use new vocabulary in meaningful ways
The king had such great washboard abs that he abdicated the throne to pursue a career in modelling!

The king had such great washboard abs that he abdicated the throne to pursue a career in modelling!

While repeated exposure echoes the philosophy behind the most traditional methods, such as vocabulary flash cards, matching games, and crossword puzzle practice, the most common methods used by students today completely neglect two of the three most essential and most fun parts of vocabulary learning.

Read on below to find suggestions for making the study of vocabulary both fun and effective by bringing connection-making and the meaningful use of vocabulary back into the equation.

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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.

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

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