Why the ACT is The Better Test to Take

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By Jim Treadway I cringe a little when a parent tells me their teen has chosen to take the SAT instead of the ACT.  In this article I’ll explain why nine times out of ten, the ACT is the better test to take. 1. ACT English and Reading Passages are more interesting than SAT Passages.   They aren’t fast fiction, but ACT Passages can be charming, interesting, even profound. There’s an ACT Reading Passage about a mother coexisting with her teenage …

4 Tendencies Every Parent and Tutor Should Know

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Gretchen Rubin’s recent book The Four Tendencies spells out four inborn personality types that every parent and teacher should know when dealing with teens and kids:  how do we react to expectations, both those of ourselves and those of others’. Tendency 1:  Upholders. Upholders live up to expectations, both their own and others’.  They execute on their bosses’ orders and adhere to strict exercise and diet routines for themselves.  Motivation is rarely a challenge for Upholders, and they struggle to see why others …

Your PSAT Score Can Win You College Scholarships

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Scoring in the top 3% of all PSAT testtakers can earn you a sizable college scholarship Each October, 1.5 million Juniors take the PSAT. In early September of senior year, the top 1% or so of PSAT scorers (16,000) are awarded “National Merit Semifinalists” and are invited to submit an application for Finalist awards (similar to college applications:  essay, recommendations, transcript, list of outside activities and leadership roles). Meanwhile, in late September, the top 50,000 scorers (roughly 97th percentile and above) …

College Essays: Admissions Wants to Feel You

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Why do we love our favorite movies? Why do we play the same song on repeat, over and over? Because they make us feel something. Think about a special relationship you have in your life: how does it make you feel, in your body, right now? “Interoception” is a still-poorly-known skill: the ability to sense or feel what is happening in your body. I think of my friend Ross – his ready jokes, his smile and intelligence, how kind and …

Two Questions to Ask about Tomorrow’s ACT Score

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ACT scores come out tomorrow, and you’re nervous. If your score disappoints, feel whatever you feel:  sadness, anger, fear, whatever’s inside.  But after some normal grieving and frustration, you have to actively frame the test in your mind in a way that sets you up to succeed. I teach my students not to judge themselves by their results, but by two questions instead. Results are often out of our control.  You can take the test and have it feel great, yet …

Never-Give-Up Patriots a Model to Struggling SAT and ACT Students

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Last night’s Super Bowl blew me away.  Lady Gaga alone was fantastic, but having edited down my thoughts on how much I liked her performance (let me just say I loved her guttural yell to the crowd before her last song:  ‘Come on! Let’s go!  This is the Super Bowl!  This is what Champions are made of!’  So respectful and aware, honoring the athletes for whom she was performing, when most artists treat their cameo as being purely about their …

When Horses Taught Me How to Tutor

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I spent four days last week at Jen Zoe’s Zenergen Stables in Orlando, a world of green, fresh-air, horses, and constant chatter about personality types, love, life, and childhood. Jen has read every personal growth book you’ve ever heard about, and she has also spent the past decade rescuing horses, four of which match each of the four major temperaments that most personality type systems identify. She uses these horses – Tres, Dante, Pretty Girl, and Bella – as mirrors for her workshop …

How Manchester United Hired

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As I have started to hire and train tutors, whom to hire has become the question to tackle. I’ve been reading former Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson’s “Leading,” lately, searching for tidbits that can – yes, this is corny – help my leadership of students! Halfway through, Ferguson spells out how he hires coaches.  To drill his insights into my brain (making myelin, students!), I reviewed his criteria here: “When I interview someone, 1.  I want to know how ambitious they are …

Three Strategies Behind Students’ Rising ACT Scores

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1.  Michael Cerro’s “For Love of ACT Science” Workbook 2.  Breathing Techniques 3.  A New Strategy for Reading Passages My students’ ACT Scores have risen 8.2 points on average so far this year – equivalent to about 300 points on the 1600-scale SAT. Last year (the first year I began tracking scores in depth), they rose 6.1 points, or roughly 230 points on the 1600-scale SAT. My highest riser was 13 points, while my lowest has been 4 points (she is taking the test …