All posts by TutorNerds

About TutorNerds

Educator. Admissions Consultant. Test Prep Expert. Education Consultant.

Tips From an Irvine English Tutor: eNotes

eNotes: A Literary Companion

Many high school students find it difficult to get through the books on their reading list, whether it’s for a standard 9th grade English class or for an AP English class (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Taking the AP Exam”). There are many options available and some of them are better than others. One option to consider is eNotes.

enotes-english-irvine-tutor

The Great Books List

eNotes offers over 40,000 study guides for books on the Great Books list. Although these can be useful for anyone who wants to improve or broaden their literary skills, eNotes primary purpose is to serve the needs of high school students and their teachers. Although the Great Books list will broaden the minds of young literary students, many texts have forms of English that are difficult for the modern reader to comprehend. For example, Macbeth by William Shakespeare and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne offer fabulous insights and valid moral conflicts but the language is a challenge. Even students who use the plain language version may find it difficult to fully comprehend without an additional study guide (READ: “Five Tips for Success in English Class“).

eNotes offers over 40,000 study guides for books on the Great Books list. Although these can be useful for anyone who wants to improve or broaden their literary skills, eNotes primary purpose is to serve the needs of high school students and their teachers. Although the Great Books list will broaden the minds of young literary students, many texts have forms of English that are difficult for the modern reader to comprehend. For example, Macbeth by William Shakespeare and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne offer fabulous insights and valid moral conflicts but the language is a challenge. Even students who use the plain language version may find it difficult to fully comprehend without an additional study guide.

Historical and Contemporary

Students who read period pieces such as the Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe or Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte also benefit from ample background information about the time period and the place of certain characters in society, as well as a complex biography of the author. Contemporary texts can also be an exciting challenge and one of the advantages of eNotes is that it also offers current texts including The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Giver by Lois Lowry (CLICK: “100 Best Novels“).

Accuracy

Another advantage of using the study guides on eNotes is the assurance of accuracy. Literature students often Google the text they’re studying and may or may not come across a legitimate source. According to eNotes, the study guides are written by teachers, PhD candidates, and literary scholars.

User Friendly

Let’s say I have been assigned to read 1984 by George Orwell. I can simply click on 1984 and the site will pull up a new page with a summary of the novel. Students are advised to read the summary before reading the full text. eNotes also provides an estimated reading time for each novel to help students manage their study time and understand the complexity of the text. Students who are visual learners can look at the overview on a short YouTube video.

Students can also look at a 1984 chapter by chapter summary and analysis, which can be helpful as they prepare for finals. eNotes also provides information about the themes of each text, which is especially important for student reading period pieces of which the themes may appear obtuse. As is common for literary study guides, eNotes also provides a list of primary characters and a summary of their personality or purpose in the novel. In addition, secondary and tertiary characters are listed for reference.

While looking through the site for 1984, there’s also a list of critical essays which can help students understand how literary critics of the world reviewed this particular novel, or any novel on eNotes, however students should never copy and paste such information to use as their own. For 1984, there are also homework help questions. For example, if a student wants to find out what one of the characters thoughts are on “human heritage and dying” they can do so. Many of the issues that today’s high school students have is that a lot of information in period texts asks the reader to ‘read in between the lines’. Sometimes this is simply to make the text more interesting and sometimes it was because the author was not allowed to state outright particular opinions or facts due to the political leanings in the country they lived or in the time they lived (READ: “Ask a Private Irvine English Tutor: Writing Apps“).

Read the Entire Text!

It’s very important for students to understand that if they only use eNotes they will not receive a passing grade in their class. eNotes, although very helpful, is meant to be a companion to the actual book. Students need to read the full text in its original version or plain language version to fully comprehend the information and do well in their classes.

tutor logo Ask a Nerd! Writers BlockAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about; our Orange County private tutors are full of right answers.

Ask a Private Irvine English Tutor: Writing Apps

Ask a Nerd!

Q:  I need to get my papers done faster? Is there an app for that?

Brief: Yes! Try out Google Online Dictation

google-online-dictation

Answer

Students have so many options these days when it comes to study guides and materials. Although mobile apps are fabulous and can help out students on the go or those working in a group, students who are working at home from their laptop or desktop can benefit heavily from the multitude of free Google apps. One such is the online dictation feature. Many students struggle to find the words or content they are looking for, and once they do it seems to leave their mind as quickly as it enters. This should come as no surprise given the amount of information students’ minds accumulate on a daily basis (READ: “5 Reasons Students Should Blog”).

There are many internet-based dictation programs that students can use, however students can easily download the Google online dictation program and have it directly on their laptop or desktop. Online dictation makes it very easy for students to write their papers without ever having to press a key. Google online dictation has two primary advantages: students can get their thoughts down on paper more quickly than they could ever type them and voice recognition dictation software can help students write a paper more quickly when they are in a time crush.

In just a few seconds, students can easily save their thoughts and produce higher-quality work that lead to higher grades. Students who have papers assigned last minute or students who have waited until the last minute to write their papers can use online dictation in order to help them finish their assignments before the clock strikes midnight.

Many students report they experience writer’s block because they are intimidated by a bright white blank computer screen even though they can easily explain to a tutor or study group exactly what they want to say. The beauty of online dictation is that students can ‘write’ an entire essay without ever actually writing anything. The downside to Google online dictation is that some of the network commands are a work in progress. For example, when a student says the word “comma”, half the time they will get an actual comma and the other half the online dictation program will actually type in the word. It is also difficult for students to properly format prior to learning all of the commands and how, exactly, to say them so there will be some editing and typing required. However, even with multiple formatting issues, getting the content down is the most important thing for a student writer (READ: “5 Awesome SAT Apps”).

It’s relatively easy for a private Irvine English tutor or classmate to give edit suggestions for comma placement and grammar structure as long as the writer has the relevant content on paper. If a tutor is not available, or in the event of a last-minute assignment, students can simply copy and paste their online dictation into Word or Pages to check for voice to text errors. Students who have downloaded the free online dictation Google app are advised to start practicing with it ASAP. It’s a huge time-saver and a great way to put thoughts down on paper. It can also produce higher quality content and, possibly, better grades in the future.

Good luck, student writers!

Have a question for one of our nerds?

Tweet it to us @TutorNerds. Give yourself the TutorNerds advantage by checking back often for the latest in our “Ask a Nerd” series.

tutor logo Ask a Nerd! Writers BlockAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about; our Orange County private tutors are full of right answers.

Ask A Nerd! “International Baccalaureate Program”

Ask A Nerd!

Q: What is the International Baccalaureate Program?

Brief: The International Baccalaureate, or IB, is an educational foundation to help students ages 3 to 19 learn in a global environment. IB works with 3,968 schools in 147 countries to serve over 1.2 million students worldwide.

private-tutor-irvine

Answer

Students who enter the Middle Years Program are ages 11 to 16 and can receive a curriculum and guidelines for academic and life skills that requires them to go above and beyond the traditional school subjects.

Students ages 16 to 19 can enter the Diploma Program, which is a highly competitive two-year curriculum that culminates in rigorous final examinations. Students who complete the IB Diploma Program can use it to enter top-tier universities across the globe.

IB students are encouraged to be internationally minded. They’re expected to have a deep understanding of their own culture and national identity while at the same time learning a second language and developing social and academic skills that will enable them to work with people of all nationalities. The IB Program is also research oriented and requires students to use critical thinking skills and ask questions rather than just listen. Community involvement and service is also a large part of IB (READ: “College Application Crunch Time”).

The Typical IB Student

So who is the typical IB student and what type of student will benefit from entering the International Baccalaureate program? According to the IB learner profile on the official website, IB learners strive to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk takers, balanced, and reflective. As you’ll notice this is not a short list. Students who successfully complete the IB program go above and beyond the traditional school environment in multiple ways (READ: “Ask a Nerd! ‘Taking the AP Exam'”). Someone who is naturally curious and wants to know about the world and others is considered to be an inquirer. A student who is knowledgeable will want to explore a range of fields and learn about many different subjects and their global significance.

IB students must also utilize creative thinking and be able to express themselves confidently and successfully in at least two languages – our Irvine foreign language tutors can help with that. IB students are also expected to act with integrity and honesty and have a sense of justice, fairness and dignity. The IB student should be open-minded by nature and appreciate both their own values and the values and traditions of other cultures and nationalities. The IB student is expected to be caring and show empathy. IB students are meant to be leaders, not followers, and be able to take a risk and show determination to reach their goals. IB students are also encouraged to be reflective and think about their own ideas and examine their own strengths and weaknesses to aid in self-improvement.

Encouragement To Be Balanced

The most unique aspect of the IB educational program is that it encourages students to be balanced. IB students are inspired to learn how to balance their lives: the intellectual, physical, and emotional. They’re expected to recognize that their personal well-being and happiness is important. This is not often found in the fast-paced, sink or swim traditional school system.

Students who are part of families who move frequently from country to country may find that it’s very difficult to adjust to new school systems multiple times. Attending an IB World School can help a multi-national student maintain a streamlined curriculum and be eligible to attend college or university in almost any country.

Students who wish to learn more should visit the website: www.ibo.org.

Have a question for one of our nerds?

Tweet it to us @TutorNerds. Give yourself the TutorNerds advantage by checking back often for the latest in our “Ask a Nerd” series.

tutor logo Ask a Nerd! Writers BlockAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about; our Orange County private tutors are full of right answers.

3 Things to Put on Your Student Resume

Writing a Student Resume: 3 Things to Include

In the past, most people didn’t put together a resume until the semester before they were getting ready to graduate college. These days, students should be prepared to have a resume by the time they’re 16 or 17 years old. Student resumes are extremely important in order to gain internships, part-time jobs in their field, or to apply to university.

student-resume-help

Many high school and college students don’t know what to put on a resume because many of them haven’t had a paid job. Here are the top three things students should put on their resumes.

1. Volunteer experience

Volunteering is a job that people don’t get paid for. Just because a student didn’t earn money doing volunteer work, doesn’t mean that they can’t put this valuable community service on their resumes. Students who have consistent volunteer work in one field will have resumes with a more streamlined look, demonstrating continued commitment. As a result, students who are choosing their volunteer work for this year or this summer should consider doing as many hours in one area as they can.

For example, if somebody participates in two hours of peer tutoring, two hours at the homeless shelter, and two hours at the animal shelter, this leads to quite a jumble of experience on the resume and may lead potential employers to think that the student can’t stick to one thing. A student who is interested in education should consider volunteering at a peer learning center for the entire summer. This way they can add this as a legitimate “position” on their resume.

2. Extracurricular activities

Students who participate in a club after school, especially students who founded or co-founded a club, should definitely include this information on their resumes. If somebody started an anti-bullying club, an art club, or exercise club, it’s important that this is explained in detail on their resume. This may be handed to a university admissions department, to an employer offering an internship, or even a paid job (READ: “Extra Curricular Activities For Your College Resume”).

3. Personal interests

Seasoned professionals leave little to no room for personal interests on their resumes. In general, adult jobseekers do not wish to blend their personal and professional lives. However, in the past, having a personal interest outside of one’s field made a candidate appear more human and more personable. Interests are particularly important for jobs that require good social skills (READ: “College Prep: When Your Teacher Throws You a Curveball”). Including an “interest” section is even more important for students because these activities may consume a large part of their day. If a student is especially interested in playing piano but doesn’t play in an official club, they can still discuss their love of music and appreciation of the piano. This may even inspire students to provide a few volunteer piano lessons to the underprivileged community or to volunteer to play piano at a local organization, essentially turning their interest in piano into a legitimate “position”.

It’s important that a student resume is both comprehensive and concise, can fit all necessary information on one page, and is easy to read and understand. It’s a good idea for students to consult a professional in their prospective field or a private English tutor. Anyone looking at a resume should be able to understand exactly what is written, no jargon should be used, and the language should be entirely formal. Anyone out there who has reached their 16th birthday but still doesn’t have a student resume would be advised to put one together so that whenever the right opportunity arises they can send this important information to a prospective employer or internship opportunity at the click of a button.

tutor logo Extracurricular Activities For Your College ResumeAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by TutorNerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

 

College Prep: What to do when Your Teacher Throws You a Curveball


When Your Teacher Throws You a Curveball

There are many heavily dedicated students out there who are willing to spend any amount of time on homework and self-study in order to get straight As. If a student is given two or three days notice, they are willing to pull an all-nighter (generally not recommended), schedule extra time with their private Irvine tutor, or cancel social plans if necessary in order to impress their teacher and learn about the subject at hand (READ: “How to Get an A Before the End of the Term”). So what does that student do when thrown a curveball?

college-prep-curveball         Img Flickr user Charlotte90T

The reality of college prep is teachers will occasionally hand out an assignment with a very tight deadline. Most students focus on why the teacher would do this; there are several reasons.

1. The teacher needs to meet certain guidelines from the school district.

2. It’s an AP class and the teacher wants to see if students are able to live up to the task.

3. The teacher doesn’t view the assignment as essential to the final grade and doesn’t feel  they have thrown their students a curveball.

The most important thing for students is to understand how to practically deal with curveball assignments.

Get on the phone and call your private tutor

Many tutors are available for emergency sessions if the case presents itself. Students probably won’t have their choice of time but having a tutor available last minute is really helpful.

 Do your best

The reality is if students look at the assignment and think they can earn an A if they have five hours to work on it over a period of days but only have 90 minutes tonight, they should just do their best (READ: “3 Warning Signs of Senioritis“). Stressing one’s self out over one assignment will only make the rest of the assignments more challenging. Read the assignment; make a good effort to understand the questions and study. Your best is all you can do.

Look for patterns in curveball assignments to save yourself stress in the future

Students should look back through their folders for the last few months of the school year. On what days and what time did the teacher give out these assignments? Is it usually on the third Thursday of the month? Is it usually the day before a final exam? Is it usually after many classmates fall asleep in class? Most teachers have patterns of some sort; we all do. At the end of the day, every student will be given an assignment with a crazy tight deadline.

The reality of advanced placement classes in high school is they’re just really hard. There’s no way around this but to get through it. It will, however, help students deal with the multitude of curveball assignments that will be thrown at them in college. If a student can handle this extra stress in high school, they can certainly handle it when they’re 20 (READ: “Last Minute AP Study Guide”).

At the end of the day, the best way to deal with such issues is to be flexible, make a good effort, and then just breathe. If a student is hard-working and dedicated, things will most likely work out in the end.

tutor logo Extracurricular Activities For Your College ResumeAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by TutorNerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Expanding Vocabulary for High School Readiness

Prepare for High School With an Expanded Vocabulary

8th graders are fast approaching the end of their middle school or junior high careers. The transition from 8th  grade to high school is one of the most difficult educational challenges and many students find that the first semester of high school is overwhelming, mainly due to social changes but also because of a large step up in educational responsibility (READ: “How to Get an A Before the End of the Term”).

vocab-high-schoolOne thing that seems to be continuously lacking for students entering the 9th grade is vocabulary expansion. With increasing importance placed on test prep as well as yearly assessments and a heavier emphasis on non-fiction reading and reading comprehension general, 9th graders need to have an excellent handle on vocabulary.

Consider the 8th Grade Vocabulary List

Parents should consider looking at the 8th grade vocabulary list, easily available online,  and test their kids out with a few of the words. As soon as an 8th grader hears the word ‘test’, they are unlikely to be interested in further discussion. However, parents can easily throw in a word here or there in general conversation and see if their child knows what it means. Parents can also try a more direct approach and simply ask their children to provide a synonym for a list of words.

If 8th graders do not have a minimum of a 90% success rate on the appropriate reading list at this point in the year, they are not on track for the 9th grade. Parents are also advised to share the 6th and 7th grade word lists with their children, also available online.  Many students are surprised to find that they don’t know as many of the words on these lists as they thought. This is generally because these vocabulary words are not found in everyday language or students simply don’t remember them.

Exposure to New Words

The more a child is exposed to new words the more likely they’ll be to remember them and use them in their own speech. Students who are behind should attempt to learn 10 words a week (READ: “Five Tips for Success in English Class”). This should not detract from their current academic commitments and will not likely be overwhelming, but will start them on their way to age-appropriate vocabulary. Students who know at least 90% of the words on the 8th grade vocabulary list should move up to the 9th grade list.

Entering the 9th grade is a huge social adjustment and students are less likely to be able to advance their vocabulary during the first six months of their high school career. Students who are proficient in the 9th grade list prior to starting high school will have a much easier time in their English classes as well as any class that requires reading comprehension or research.

Vocab for Testing and College Prep

Early vocabulary expansion is also important for both college and college entrance exams, such as the SAT or ACT. College prep students attempt to learn as many as 3,500 words through simple memorization within the three months leading up to the SAT. Students will not be able to learn or memorize that many words in a short time. Because the vocabulary section is one that high school students consistently score low on, early vocabulary expansion, starting at an early age, can potentially earn test-takers up to an additional 100 points when they take their SAT.

In addition to test prep, students with advanced vocabulary also have an easier time understanding both fiction and non-fiction literature and are able to participate in class discussions more accurately and more confidently. Later in life, post-secondary students as well as professionals will find that they are often able to communicate better and more effectively with a broad vocabulary, especially adjective usage. Regardless of the reason for vocabulary expansion, it’s important for all upcoming 9th graders to make sure that they are at least at grade level if not higher.

tutor logo Extracurricular Activities For Your College ResumeAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by TutorNerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

How to Get an A Before the End of the Term

How to Get an A Before the End of the Term: 4 Steps

Many students find that they are just short of an A at the end of the semester. This is especially frustrating for students who worked extra hard in hopes of getting an A on their final grade report. It’s also frustrating for parents who want their children to have excellent grades when applying to college.

tutornerds-private-tutors

How can students push through these last couple weeks of the term in order to push that C to a B or that B to an A?

1. Schedule extra time with a tutor

Tutors are generally the most busy the two weeks leading up to the end of the term and the two weeks leading up to a standardized test. Most students are advised to ask their Orange County academic tutor well in advance if they are available for extra study help. It’s important for students to be organized in advance of their study time and tutors can often help determine how much time to allocate to particular subjects. For example, if a student has a 99% in French and 89% in calculus, the tutor can definitely point their student towards extra calculus study (READ: “3 Warning Signs of Senioritis“). Tutors can also help students determine which assignments are worth a large amount of percentage points and which assignments are nominal. However, sometimes those nominal half percent assignments can push a B+ to an A-. Students should discuss with their tutor what their goals are and how much time they’re prepared to spend on self study leading up to finals week.

2.  Self-study

Students who complete their homework assignments but don’t necessarily spend a lot of time studying for tests and quizzes are advised to abandon that train of thought leading up to finals week. Students who do not participate in regular self-study will be much less likely to turn a B into an A (READ: “10 Study Tips from an Irvine History Tutor“). In general, students who spend five hours per week on self-study should be prepared to spend seven or eight hours minimum during finals week. Students wishing to get an A will probably spend up to 20 hours a week outside of school preparing for their exams. This is, of course, a crazy amount of time to spend on studying but expectations for high-schoolers get crazier every year.

3. Academic socialization

Students often complain that they don’t have a chance to see friends the two weeks leading up to finals. This is a valid complaint however, students who over-socialize during this time will probably end up with a C+/B+ as opposed to the B-/ A- they were hoping for. A good solution is to participate in academic socialization. Students who meet their friends at a coffee shop to study can still enjoy spending time with their peers but also use the time as a productive educational tool. In high school, our friends are our cheerleaders and can provide us with both the self-esteem and the drive to work hard and pursue our goals. On the other hand, friends who lead us away from these goals should be avoided towards the end of term.

4. Open communication with the teacher

Students who are between 1 and 3 percentage points away from receiving an A should definitely talk with their teacher after class. Many teachers would like to be able to give all of their students an A, but they need to be fair and make sure that each student is deserving of such a grade. Some teachers will offer extra credit to students who take the time to ask for it towards the end of term. Teachers appreciate that their students took the initiative to do well but will not reward students who don’t ask in advance. The worst that can happen is the teacher says ‘no’.

Almost every student, at some point in time, has been in a situation where they didn’t quite make the grade (READ: “College Application Decisions: Food for Thought“). These are great learning experiences to help determine what we can do to improve in the next term. It’s a good idea for college prep students to look towards the past and figure out what they can change to make that A grade in the future.

Finals are just around the corner, good luck!

tutor logo Extracurricular Activities For Your College ResumeAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by TutorNerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Decoding an Odd Number Score on your SAT or ACT Essay


3 Possible Reasons For An Odd Number Score on your SAT or ACT Essay

Many students don’t understand the scoring system of the SAT or ACT essays and, although the formatting of the essays are different, the grading of the essays are virtually the same – talk about this with your Orange County ACT tutor before taking the test. Two graders will read their essay and their final score will be out of 12. Each grader will give a score between 0 and 6. It makes sense that most graders would give the same score but some have differing opinions. This is where the odd number scoring comes into play (READ: “February ACT Study Timeline: 7 Steps to Success“).

ACT-SAT-Essay

A lot of students shoot for a score between 10 and 12 on their essay. A score of 10 or higher is very impressive and can put students into an entirely new category of writing skills. So what happens if the student gets a 9? This means that one grader assigned a score of 4 and the second assigned a score of 5. Receiving an 8 – meaning both graders gave a 4 – is a decent score. However, achieving a 10 would be much safer for college admissions. So how can a student improve if one grader thought their essay was “above average” and the second thought their essay was “near excellent”?

Although, of course, we can’t speak to these graders personally, as educators and students we can make a good guess.

1. One of the graders is picky about punctuation and spelling and the other is not

Although graders follow a very strict grading rubric they are permitted to use their expertise to some degree. Some graders are extremely picky on spelling and punctuation errors while others will find that, if the content and flow are excellent, a spelling error here or there is not the end of the world.

So how can a student fix that? It’s safe to assume that any particular grader will be picky about spelling, which means that a student who received a score of 9 should be absolutely sure that their punctuation and spelling are up to par. They can review this on their own or with a tutor (READ: “Cracking the ACT Science Section“).

2. The essay may have contained clichés

Some graders are not concerned with reading about the same content over and over again while others get bored very quickly. Students who are using common historical examples such as the Civil War, World War II, or the Civil Rights Movement may consider finding additional things to write about on the SAT. If the grader is reading about the Civil War in 300 essays in one day, they may grade an essay down for lack of originality.

The solution for SAT students is to make a list of multiple yet lesser-known historical events that they can write about when they take their test again.

3. The student didn’t use enough varied vocabulary

Many students do not use as much varied vocabulary as they should, especially on the ACT. ACT students are given a more “real life” (often easier to write about) prompt, but they still have to use impressive vocabulary to break a 10 (READ: “5 Reasons Students Should Blog“). One grader may find that two or three impressive words and varied structure is enough while another grader may not be impressed.

Students can cope with this issue by spending a couple of hours on Thesaurus.com. Knowing the correct synonyms for many basic words can help them develop more impressive yet appropriate vocabulary on their next essay. It is recommended that students make a list of about 10 words, 3 positive words (such as “happy”), 3 negative words (such a “sad”), and 3 additional adjectives that are used in everyday language (such as “interesting”). They can then find multiple synonyms and antonyms for all of these words and memorize them to use on their next essay.

Students who have an odd score on their essay, especially if it’s a 9, should work diligently on their own or consult their tutor to see if there’s any way they can get that score up to 10. As far as many colleges and universities are concerned, the biggest, and most impressive, jump is between a 9 and 10.

Don’t hesitate to book your private Orange County ACT or SAT tutor this winter!

tutor logo Extracurricular Activities For Your College ResumeAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by TutorNerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

3 Warning Signs of Senioritis

Identifying Senioritis

Many high school seniors will be tempted to slack off their last semester of senior year. This is an age old phenomenon; however, it is something that should be avoided if at all possible because the consequences can be devastating for some students. Others may not experience severe repercussions, but losing an entire semester of education is a simple waste of time and does not help seniors stay on track for college.

Ashs-teacher-and-students

1. Stress and burnout

Burnout is the number one cause of senioritis for college prep students these days. Unfortunately, students finish their college applications only to find that there’s so much more left to do. These days high school seniors will have to cope with one, if not two, advanced placement exams in May, they will consider visiting the schools they were accepted to, and they will have to either search for scholarships or keep their grades as high as possible to remain eligible for one they have already received (READ: “AP Test Without the Class?“). Students will also start the long and arduous process of dealing with financial aid at this point in the year. It’s important for parents and friends to look out for each other and begin to recognize when a student has reached their stress limit.

2. Mixed feelings about leaving school

For the most part, seniors are just incredibly excited to be done with school, right up until it’s actually time to leave. There’s a sudden realization that everything is going to change, and this can be very scary (READ: “Flash Card and Note-Taking Apps to Prevent Senioritis“). Students realize that, although they will have independence, they will also miss the safety and security of home. Home-cooked meals and weekends spent with longtime friends are, for now, over. Seniors in high school will go from being the top of the class back to the bottom once they become freshman in college. It’s the first big change that a young adult will have in their life and this can be both exciting and anxiety producing, which can lead to a sense of “zoning out” during the last semester of senior year in order to avoid thinking about these problems.

3. Boredom

At this point in the year high school students are simply board.  Once college acceptance letters come in, or even once they have been sent out, students are done with school. They have been taking AP classes, the SAT, ACT, community service hours, and extracurricular activities for the past 3 1/2 years. They want to be done and figure as long as they ‘slide by’ that everything will work out okay. Unfortunately, for some students this is simply not the case. For example, a student may currently have a 4.0 and have been accepted to the University of First Choice but may not have read the fine print. Many colleges, almost every college, offers ‘conditional acceptance’. This means that a student must maintain a minimum GPA in order to be accepted.

It’s important for students to find out what those minimum requirements are before they mentally check out in the second semester of senior year. Some colleges will simply require that every student receives a passing grade while others will insist that students maintain their current GPA or very close to it (READ: “College Application Decisions: Food For Thought“). That means, if a student was getting a 4.0 all through high school, they need to continue to get all A’s for the remainder of their senior year.

The importance of maintaining a high GPA

Maintaining a high GPA is especially important to potential scholarship students. Students who have been offered a scholarship will be held to the highest standard, they are getting a free or price-reduced education after all. If a student receives a 4.0 GPA and scores of 5 on all their AP exams throughout high school and then drop to a 3.2 and scores a 3 on their AP exams in the second semester of senior year, it’s common for the scholarship to be transferred to another student, one who has maintained their grades and demonstrated continued motivation and dedication to their learning.

tutor logo Extracurricular Activities For Your College ResumeAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by TutorNerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

AP Test without the Class?

Taking the AP Test Without the Class

In 2015, high school students are faced with an increasing amount of competition in order to gain entrance to university or college. One of the hurdles that the majority of high school students face is how to score a 5 on their AP exams (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Taking the AP Exam“). Some students will use these accolades as a way to gain acceptance to college while other students will use them as a way to attempt to graduate university in four years and avoid being a 5th year senior.

Irvine-private-AP-Test-tutor

The cost of education in the United States continues to rise, and students who score a 3 on any of their AP exams will be able to use them for college credit. Students can, potentially, have an entire semester or more of classes under their belt prior to even starting their college career.

Although the majority of students who have the opportunity to take AP classes will benefit from such an experience, some students will not have the opportunity to take classes in certain subject areas. Some students have talents that lie outside of history and math – the most popular AP courses offered – and others will live in rural or remote areas where AP classes may be severely limited if offered at all.

Students who do not have an opportunity to take AP classes at school deserve a chance to be able to score at least a 3. There should be no misunderstanding that this is a substantial commitment and such students will need to conduct a substantial amount of guided self-study with the help or an Orange County AP test tutor.

Getting Started

1. Students should purchase the test prep book before even considering signing up for the exam. It’s important for students to do this the summer before their AP exams so they have plenty of time to determine whether they will be able to take on this responsibility by themselves. Upon purchasing a test prep book, students should take a full-length practice test and either grade it themselves using the instructions in the book or ask a teacher or educational consultant to grade it for them (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Mastering AP English Language“).

If the student scores a 3, or even a 2, this early on they may have a chance to pass the real test without the opportunity of taking the class at school.

2. Next, students should find educational support. Students who live in urban or suburban areas may be able to find a tutor or study group with ease while students who live in rural or remote areas may find this more difficult. However, with the advent of social and educational technology, even students in the most remote areas of the US will have educational opportunities online. They should consider creating a Google+ Circle or finding a group of students throughout the US who are also conducting self-study and form a virtual study group, preferably in the same time zone.

Once a test prep book and educational support has been arranged, students should find the textbook that their teacher would have used (if the class had been offered). Self-study AP students are advised to contact their teacher at school to get a good recommendation or look for the book on the College Board website. Again, with so many teachers and students connecting online, an appropriate textbook recommendation should be relatively easy to find these days.

Commencing Study

5. Students who plan on prepping for the AP exam (which is given in May) starting in March are not likely to receive a score of 3 or higher. Students should view it as an independent study class and begin reading through their textbook starting in September. Students who are in an AP class will probably spend five hours a week with their teacher and peers and an additional five hours – or more – conducting self-study or working within a group. Self-study AP students should attempt to mimic this time commitment, allowing anywhere between 5 and 10 hours of self-study and time with their virtual study group as well as 5 hours of self-instruction (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Grades and AP Class“). This can be done with the help of a private tutor or using the test prep book as a guideline.

Although it is generally better to take the full AP class, students who do not have this opportunity are still allowed, and should be encouraged, to attempt to take AP exams. With all the technological and educational online resources available today there’s no reason why students in remote areas or whose talents lie outside of the core subjects should be denied the opportunity to receive advanced placement credit while in high school.

AP College Board

Regardless of what grade you’re in, it’s important to finish the year strong. That being said, make sure you book your Orange County academic tutor early! Here’s to a successful 2015.

tutor logo Extracurricular Activities For Your College ResumeAll blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by TutorNerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.