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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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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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Learning How to Read: The Write Way

readingI’m here to teach you how to read.

Yeah, you heard me right. Kindergarten may seem like a fond, distant dream, but I’m not talking about ABC’s and phonetics.  I’m talking about reading. Let me explain myself.

In fifth grade, you probably enjoyed Because of Winn-Dixie. You received a numbered copy along with everyone else in your class and merrily charted the adventures of Winn-Dixie and company through pop quizzes, simple study guides, and big posters with lots of glue and (maybe) glitter.  In middle and junior high school, things became more demanding. Analyzing humans instead of dogs, you learned how to read for ‘plot,’ and ‘metaphor,’ and ‘conflict.’  Even if you were making posters at the end, you learned how to discuss, make arguments, and find hidden meanings in the text. By high school, you are doing even more. By senior year, you may be handed a poem or a passage from a text under the instruction to critically read.

This is the type of reading I’m here to teach you about today. There is a difference between Winn-Dixie and critically reading. While the former is crucial for your foundation in reading—really learning how to enjoy a good story—the latter is fundamental to your high school, college, and professional career.

[Find out HOW critical reading works]

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Princeton Tutoring Essay Competition

Princeton Tutoring is sponsoring our first annual essay competition! (For additional competition details and rules, please visit

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