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Orange County Tutoring Tips: Get Back Into the Swing of Things After Spring Break

Five ways to get back into the swing of things after spring break

Students are returning to school after spring break and are probably feeling refreshed and renewed from having a week off but it isn’t necessarily easy to get back into the swing of things and focus on classroom activities. Depending on how old the student is there are lots of different things they can do to restart a healthy study routine and find a balance for the rest of the school year. Younger kids might need to adjust to small amounts of structure while older students can benefit from focusing on work-life balance. Either way, it’s important for all students to be able to focus on what’s important and do well in school through the end of June – struggling to get back into the swing of things after spring break? Our Orange County tutors are here to help!

1.  Maintain a low-stress attitude

As students come back to spring break, it can be easy to fall into their old stressful routine which can make it harder to have a work-life balance for the rest of the school year. It’s important for students, especially those in high school and college, to maintain a low-stress attitude as they face the spring testing season. College prep students will face advanced placement and college entrance exams while college students will need to focus on a series of finals and term papers. Maintaining a positive mental balance can help students do well in school but also keep life calm and peaceful .

2. Focus on balance

It’s also important for students to keep a balance when it comes to finishing their schoolwork. Many high school students, especially seniors, will begin to develop senioritis around this time of year. Although it’s always important to have enough downtime and manage stress, it’s also important to remain focused on academic assignments. Students can work with a tutor, in person or online, to help them stay organized or refine study skills when necessary. Additionally, students who work in a study group tend to stay motivated because they get to socialize and complete assignments at the same time (READ: 7 Tips For Studying While Traveling).

3.  Improve study skills

At this point in the year, some students need to improve already existing study skills so they can be more efficient and focus on the spring testing season. Students can work on how long it takes them to complete assignments, focus in on important elements of their textbook, work on skimming and speed reading, as well as important review. The more refined a student’s study skills are, the more likely they are to be successful and earn good grades.

4. Utilize technology

Students are always encouraged to use technology, but Ed Tech can be especially useful when students come back from spring break. Students can use organizational tools online, download apps, or work with their favorite tutor in a digital environment. There is so much technology available these days, but students need to focus on what will work best for them and their study schedule, so they don’t become overwhelmed with all of the choices available to them.

5.  Pick good role models

It’s also essential at this point in the year for students to pick positive role models. Some of their friends will be focusing on college applications or final exams while others will be tempted to skip class or forgo important assignments. When students surround themselves with others who want to be successful and have a great work ethic, they are more likely to be successful themselves. This is especially true when it comes to working in a social environment. Thus students should consider this when they choose who will be in their study group.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All 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 write

Irvine English Tutor Tips: Five Ways to Get Your Kid to Love Reading

Tips from an Irvine English Tutor: Five ways to get your kid to love reading


Reading is such an integral part of a young child’s ongoing education, and they will do better in nearly every academic subject if they love reading from an early age. Unfortunately, reading is one of the most difficult academic tasks a young child will face and sometimes the frustration leads them to dislike the activity altogether. Luckily, there are tons of ways to get your kid to love reading during that crucial period when they decide whether or not they are going to love school or hate it – our private Irvine .

1. A picture is worth 1,000 words

When your kids start reading, they might have trouble picturing what’s going on in their mind. At the beginning having lots of pictures to look at will help them visualize what’s happening with the characters and the setting so they can understand the general plot and the point of the story. Once kids can create their moving picture in their imagination, they can get away from illustrations, but it’s an important part of learning to read.

2. A topic they enjoy

A lot of academic reading covers information that young kids aren’t necessarily super interested in and so they start to view reading as something negative. Once kids are older they’ll have to learn to push through to complete homework and study for exams but, when they’re little, it’s important that they’re reading about a topic they enjoy. If they like superheroes they can, read about Batman, if they like baseball or unicorns they should read about that. In the beginning, it’s not about what they’re reading but that they’re reading about something they love (READ: 5 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Read).

3. A hero to root for

Little kids love to be able to look up to a hero or heroine that can swoop in and save the day. A lot of books for young readers have a sympathetic and heroic main character that the reader can root for throughout the story. A hero isn’t always a superhero, rather they might be a little boy in a neighborhood similar to the one the reader lives in, or they might be a talking bunny living on a farm. It’s just important that the main character is sympathetic and easy to relate to.

4. Tackle reading in small amounts

Another thing that can put kids off reading when they’re young is being forced to tackle this difficult new skill for long periods of time. If they’re struggling with sounding out words, sitting down for an hour might be entirely overwhelming. In the beginning, kids can work on words for 15 minutes and build up to 20 and then 30 minutes overtime. They should also have a chance to celebrate their newfound skills by reading at the same level for a little while before they’re pushed to learn even more. When kids feel relaxed about something and can take enough breaks, they tend to love any activity.

5. A cozy environment

At school kids will be sitting in a straight back chair at a desk and quite likely wearing clothes that adhere to a dress code. When reading at home, it’s important they have a comfy environment so they can focus on reading rather than sitting up straight. Maybe they’re lounging on the couch, sitting in a window seat, or even cuddled up with the family pet while reading in bed. As long as they’re comfortable kids are more likely to enjoy learning to read and view it as an overall positive experience.

Help your kids learn to love to read, or help them improve their reading skills with private Irvine English tutoring from TutorNerds.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All 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 write

Los Angeles College Tutoring Tips: Ways to Help Pay For College

Tips From a Private Los Angeles College Tutor: 5 great ways to help pay for college

A university education gets more expensive with each passing year, and so every student could use some help. Some students will be responsible for their entire tuition and living expenses while other students will have an education subsidized by their parents. Regardless, students can always use the extra money, and there are lots of great ways to help pay for college. However, students will need to do a lot of research ahead of time, fill out ample paperwork, and make sure that any financial aid they receive is entirely organized. Students also need to find out what their repayment schedule will be for student loans, so they don’t end up in a bad situation upon graduation.

1. Government loans

Government loans, such as FAFSA, are some of the most popular but not every student will qualify. Students are encouraged to research these programs well in advance of starting college or even before they fill out applications to see if they might qualify. Most government loans are based on the student’s household income and they will have to gather a ton of information before they can complete the forms.

2.  Private student loans

Students who don’t qualify for government loans, or who need to subsidize their education further, may be able to take out a private loan from a bank or credit union. It’s essential that students shop around and make sure they’re getting the best rates so they are able to make their payments once they graduate. Students who get a bad rate will find themselves paying off interest-only payments before they can even touch the principal and too much debt can stop them from buying a car or home later on.

3.  Financial aid directly from the university

Many universities, especially private institutions, offer financial aid directly to the student. This will also be based on the student’s household income so they will need to keep all that information they gathered to fill out their FAFSA form. Each university will have a slightly different system as to who will qualify and for how much. It’s a good idea for students to talk to the university they decide to attend to see if they’re likely to qualify for financial aid at any point during their education.

4.  Scholarships

There are tons of scholarships available to college students, perhaps more than most students imagine, but they need to do a lot of research. There are larger scholarships in amounts of $5K to $10K or more, which are extremely competitive but there are also smaller scholarships that start at $250 and go up to around $2,000. Students might be able to write an essay and get enough money to pay for a semester of textbooks or get several scholarships and pay for part of their tuition. There is a lot of information available online but students need to be extremely organized to make sure they’re meeting each deadline and that their application qualifies before they put in too much work writing essays and filling out endless forms.

5.  Part-time work

It’s also a great idea for students to have a part-time job on campus. On-campus, employers are going to be more flexible than any other when it comes to a student’s schedule, and students can work more or less depending on whether not they have midterms or finals. Additionally, some students will be able to work as a residence hall assistant or a research assistant depending on what year they’re currently in. Part-time jobs can make a huge difference in a student’s ability to pay for college.

Still applying to college? Our experienced Los Angeles college admissions consultants are here to help. Call us today for more information.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All 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 write.

5 Reasons Why Your Middle School Student Should Get Into Reading

5 Reasons Why Your Middle School Student Should Get Into Reading


The middle school years can be a difficult time. Students are adjusting to a higher level of academic expectations while all the while going through a major life transition. Emotions run high, and the stress of school can become overwhelming. As a result, middle school students begin to view learning as something negative and can take this feeling with them into their high school years. One of the best ways to keep a student interested in learning as well as to help them be successful academically is to encourage them to read. They don’t need to read anything in particular; they just need to be working on reading comprehension in some form or another – our private Orange County reading tutoring will help your child learn to love to read.

1.  Keep confidence high

Middle school can be especially difficult if a student lacks the confidence to do well in their core subjects, one of which is reading and writing. Students will often be asked to read in front of the class or will need to comprehend something their teachers read to them quickly. When students read for fun, they have a chance to sound out difficult words or learn how to determine a word’s meeting in context in a low-pressure environment. When students complete all of this practice at home, it makes classroom reading much easier and keeps self-esteem high during this important part of life (READ: 5 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Read).

2.  Maintain reading as a skill

Elementary school kids learn a ton of different skills, one of the most important of which is reading. However, students often start to backtrack on these important skills once they reach the stresses of middle school. Students who read at home for fun are a lot more likely to maintain the skills they’ve already learned and been able to build upon them when new and challenging assignments come along.

3.  Learn how to speed read and look for keywords

Middle school is also a time when students will need to be able to read fast and still understand information in the text or be able to skim for information and keywords in textbooks that are upwards of 1,000 pages long. This can be overwhelming in conjunction with all the other assignments students get from their classroom teacher, so it’s something that’s better supplemented in a low-pressure home environment. If students need specific help learning how to search for keywords or terms, they can ask their tutor or parents to help them figure out what they’re doing right and what they need to work on.

4.  Learn about an exciting new subject

Kids at this age often feel stifled because they focus primarily on core subjects in the classroom. As important as core subjects may be, kids need more intellectual and creative stimulation to maintain interest in their education. When students read at home, they can explore any exciting new subject that peaks their interest. In this case, kids can enjoy reading about whatever they’re into at the moment so that their love of reading, and learning in general, stays intact.

5.  Use the imagination

Perhaps the most important reason for middle school students to get into reading is to use their imagination. Younger kids have great imaginations, but they often lose this way of thinking once they get into high school. The longer a kid reads about fantasy and fiction the more likely they’ll be to keep their all-important ability to imagine new things. Having an imagination can help older students think outside the box, find solutions to difficult problems, and just enjoy all the creative aspects of art and literature as part of a well-balanced academic life.

Is your child struggling with reading? Our Orange County reading tutors are here to help. Call TutorNerds today for more information.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All 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 write.

6 Reasons Why Your Kid Should Love Science

Orange County Science Tutor Tips: 6 Reasons Why Your Kid Should Love Science


Science is such a great subject that encourages analytical thought and imagination at the same time. Kids who get into science at an early age will learn how to question things they don’t understand, investigate, research, and so much more. Science helps kids look at the world in a new light and helps them understand things from all five senses. Whether a kid is collecting samples out in nature or doing research in a lab, science will help them improve their overall academic success and keep them curious about the world around them.

1.  Research skills

Science can help young learners improve their research skills and understand what type of research is effective and how to do it. Most people think of science when they think about doing research but this skill is actually applicable to pretty much every subject kids study in school. Older students will complete research papers for English, history, and economics and students of all ages can use research to think about the world around them and determine fact versus fiction.

2. The scientific method

Kids who get into science will also learn about the specifics of the scientific method. This is a really important aspect of education because it leads to new technology, new medical care, and other important scientific discoveries. It’s an important lesson for kids to understand that their research, where appropriate, must adhere to the scientific method and that other people’s experiments need to as well.

3.  A creative perspective

Although we don’t immediately think of creativity and imagination when we think about science, this subject can actually broaden the perspective of any student. It helps them think about things outside of the textbook and imagine all five senses when doing experiments or completing research. Kids who are creative learn how to problem solve, deal with difficult situations, discover new ways of being successful, and tend to have a more well-rounded education (READ: 5 Ways to Study for Science Class).

4.  Questions and answers

One of the most important skills young students can learn is how to ask a question and how to answer it. Whether they’re answering their own question or another person’s, this simple skill is at the heart of all education and learning. Asking the right questions, the ones that lead to a concrete answer or perhaps an infinite number of answers can be really difficult for a young child who is just beginning their academic career. Science encourages students to ask a ton of questions and come up with different answers that can lead to a solution.

5.  Thinking outside the box

Science also encourages students to think outside the box. If an experiment fails, students will have to look for a new solution or create an entirely new experiment. If one thing doesn’t work, they have to figure out another way to be successful. Of course, this train of thought is helpful in science, but it’s also helpful in all aspects of life both academic and personal. Much of education encourages students to think inside the box, so it’s essential for them to be able to step back, take a moment and think about all the possibilities available to them.

6. Details

Studying science also helps students develop a detail-oriented way of thinking. Whether doing research, conducting an experiment, or learning about scientists from the past, students will have to look at every minute detail to discover a solution to whatever problem they’ve been given. Many careers require people to be extremely detail oriented, so it’s a great idea for students to develop the skill early on.

Want to improve your grade in science class? Call us today and we’ll match you with one of our experienced Orange County science tutors.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All 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 write.

5 Reasons High School Students Struggle Spring Semester

Irvine Private Tutor Tips: 5 Reasons High School Students Struggle Spring Semester


Spring semester is upon us, and there are lots of important things in store including college applications, advanced placement exams, college entrance exams, and finals. Many students are already pretty tired at this point in the year and start to struggle just when they need a ton of extra concentration. There is a delicate balance between success and failure, and so it’s important for students to look out for the five common reasons they would begin to have difficulty completing assignments and studying for exams at this point in the year – have a successful spring semester with the help of private Irvine tutoring from TutorNerds.

1.  Fatigue

Fatigue is probably the number one reason why high school students start to struggle during the spring term. They are exhausted from all the work they’ve done since last August and are pretty much ready to be done with school for the year. However, students at this age have a ton of responsibility in front of them and, if they are in the college prep years, some of these things will make a big difference in their future education. One of the best ways to combat fatigue is simply to get an adequate amount of sleep. It’s tempting to stay up late to study and then try and catch up on sleep during the weekend but, students at this age need a full night’s sleep every night.

2.  Lack of balance

Another thing that can make it difficult to be successful spring semester is a lack of balance. Some students work too hard and don’t get enough rest while other students have too much fun and don’t complete enough work. It’s hard to find that ideal balance between work and life, but it’s an important thing to strive towards for a person of any age, especially a high school student. When a routine is to balance students, tend to be able to complete things in less time and be able to study more efficiently.

3.  Exams

There are a ton of exams during the spring semester and the amount of time required to study can cause a lot of stress for a high school student. Many kids take two AP classes and are taking their college entrance exams all in the same month. Although these exams can’t be avoided altogether, students can spread out their exams, so they’re not overwhelmed. For instance, they could take the SAT one month and AP exams the next (Waiting For College Acceptance Letters: 5 Things to Research).

4.  Senioritis

Senioritis is another major cause of difficulties for students at this age. Senioritis doesn’t just apply to graduating seniors, but rather we start to see symptoms in students as young as freshman year. Students get tired and want to do things that are more fun and require less responsibility. This is a pretty normal reaction to school at this point in the year, but it’s important that students hang in there and complete assignments promptly through the end of the term.

5.  Concentration issues

Many students start to have trouble concentrating at this point in the year for any number of reasons. It might be due to fatigue or because they’re overwhelmed, or it might be because they’re starting to get bored of repetitive material. One way students can combat this lack of concentration is to reevaluate their study space and make sure they have as few distractions as possible so they can focus in on what they need to get done. If students are studying with friends, they might need to start studying solo for a while, or they may need the help of an at-home tutor to help them get re-organized so they can be successful for the rest of the term.

It’s never too late or too early to book your private Irvine academic tutor for the spring semester. Call us today for more information!


Tips From a Costa Mesa College Tutor: 5 Mistakes College Freshmen Make

5 Rookie Mistakes College Freshmen Make


It won’t be long until students get their acceptance letters from colleges. They have an exciting but difficult choice in front of them that will affect the next four years of their life. It seems like, once they’re accepted to a college that the hard part is done but, actually their new adventure is just beginning. The freshman year can set the tone for how a student will feel about their college experience, but they’re also in a totally foreign environment where they have to make important decisions without help for the very first time. There are some pretty common rookie mistakes that new college students make that are best avoided if possible – didn’t get into the school you wanted to? Our Costa Mesa college admissions consultants are here to help.

1.  Signing up for too many classes

A lot of college freshman sign up for more classes than is appropriate for a first-year student. Even students who got all A’s with ease in high school should be prepared for the extra challenges that occur at the university level. In addition to adjusting to a regular schedule of classes, students will be making new friends, completing volunteer work, visiting professors at office hours, and working a part-time job. Most students can either take four or five classes in any given term, so it’s a good idea for freshmen to think about what’s appropriate for them as a new student (READ: 5 Things You Might Not Expect About College Finals).

2.  Losing a work-life balance

Some students may not even yet have gained a work-life balance and may have been burning the candle at both ends during their college prep years. Other students will have had a pretty decent balance between school work and fun while in high school, but both types of students will tend to become overwhelmed as a freshman. Even when work is hard, and finals are looming it’s important for students to get enough sleep, take meal breaks, and get light exercise. Good health is an important part of a good college experience.

3.  Spending too much money

For the most part, new college students will be managing their money for the very first time. Many students spend way too much money their first year in college and are left with more debt than they can handle. There are lots of ways students can cut corners to save a buck, but they’re not used to personal finance, so they don’t know where their money is going and how quickly it’s leaving their bank account. It’s essential for college freshman to have a budget in mind before they go to their first day of classes.

4.  Not being flexible

Another thing that tends to cause a problem for freshman is an inability to roll with the punches. Many freshmen have a specific idea of what classes they were going to take and what they were going to accomplish in their first year only to find out that things didn’t work out quite the way they wanted. It’s important to remember that there are multiple ways students can be successful and that college life is going to throw them a lot of curveballs. Students who learn to be flexible and stay relaxed during these early adult challenges are more likely to have fun and be successful academically.

5.  Staying entirely within their comfort zone

Another thing that tends to trip up first-year students is the fear of stepping outside their comfort zone. College is a great opportunity to meet all different types of people, learn something new, develop new hobbies and interests, joined a new club, learn about new cultures and so on. However, nervousness and anxiety tend to keep a lot of freshmen in a small box that they create for themselves which feels cozier than trying something new. Everybody transitions at their pace but it’s important for freshmen to look at all of the things college has to offer including the new and exciting things that await them outside of their normal routine.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All 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 write.


5 Excellent Places to Study on Campus

San Diego College Tutoring Tips: 5 Excellent Places to Study on Campus


College campuses have tons of places where students can study, but some are better than others., Some students want to be around activity and be able to drink a cup of coffee while they finish their assignments while others need, to be in a quiet and isolated environment without any distraction to be successful. It’s a good idea for students to think about how much concentration they need for a particular assignment or paper and also consider how convenient a study spot is to their dorm building or other classes.

1.  The library

The library is one of the best but most underutilized spaces on campus. Most college libraries have multiple floors where students can find a quiet spot or even a separate room for group study. Different parts of the library will have access to electricity and Wi-Fi so students can use their laptop during longer sessions or gain access to the library computers where they can look up academic journals or articles to use as sources for term papers. Of course, students need to keep the volume down in the library so this option is better for study sessions that require a lot of concentration but not a lot of socialization.

2.   The dorm suite

The dorm suite is a convenient place for students to study at odd hours or when they need to be close to home. However, dorms also serve as living quarters and are not especially quiet, so this study spot is better for basic study or review that doesn’t require an excessive amount of focus. Some dorms also offer a study space on the first floor where residents can study separately from their roommates. This can be a really convenient option if students need to study early in the morning or late at night (READ: 5 Things to do Before Going Off to College).

3.  Outdoor space

When the weather is mild students should take advantage of the many outdoor spaces colleges have where residents can get their work done while enjoying fresh air and the sunshine. Being outdoors is invigorating and helps students push their brains through intense study or brainstorming sessions. Outdoor spaces are a pleasant place to study but students will deal with plenty of distraction, especially when classes get out and 100s of other students wander by.

4.  Off-campus options

Sometimes students just need to get off campus in order to get their work done. Most colleges have lots of options for students to study nearby, such as coffee shops or cafés. Also, most towns still have at least one municipal library where students can go to crack the books. Library cards are free, and students will have access to plenty of reference material. Coffee shops near campus are usually full of other studying students, but they are still quieter than the on-campus alternative. Off-campus options are also helpful for commuter students or when several students need to get together to complete a group project. Once students are living in off-campus housing, these types of study spaces become a lot more convenient.

5.  Late night study sessions

It’s inevitable that students will have to work late into the night when midterms and finals week rolls around. However, it’s important for students to find a safe and convenient place to study after hours that will make it easy for them to get back to their dorm room or student apartment once they’ve finished their assignments. Some of the best options in this type of situation include study rooms connected to dorm halls or coffee shops that are open late where students can study around other people.

Finish the semester strong with the help of private Orange County college tutoring from TutorNerds.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All 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 write.

Waiting for College Acceptance Letters: 5 Things to Research

Costa Mesa College Tutoring Tips: 5 Things to Research While You Wait For Your College Acceptance Letter


It’s that time of year when students have sent in their college applications and scholarship forms but are still waiting to hear back. Most students get notifications from colleges in April or May and so still have a couple of months to sit around and wait. Unfortunately, the waiting game can be rather unproductive and leaves students feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. When students hear back from colleges, they won’t have a whole lot of time to make a decision as to where they’ll spend the next four years, but there are some things they can start researching while they wait for that all important life-changing news – start prepping for college with the help of a private Costa Mesa college tutor from TutorNerds while you wait for your college acceptance letters.

1.  The specifics of academic programs

If students have a strong first and second choice it’s a good idea for them to sit down and look at the specifics of the academic programs they have applied to. Will freshman be able to get all the classes they need to graduate in four years? If they are undecided, are there different programs within their areas of interest available to them? Are there options for students to major in one field and minor in another? Students shouldn’t overwhelm themselves with hundreds of questions about each university before they find out if they’re accepted, but it wouldn’t hurt for them to look at the top three issues on their wish list while they’re waiting to find out.

2.  Financial aid and scholarships

One of the most important issues for students is figuring out how they will pay for college. Students may have an option of receiving financial aid directly from the school, or they may have to rely on government or private programs. There are also tons of scholarships, big and small, out there but all of these things require a ton of research. Students should fill out any applications they can and gather any crucial financial information about themselves or their household so they can make application deadlines with ease.

3.  Relocation advice

If a student has decided they’re most interested in attending an out-of-state school, it’s a good idea to talk to a few recent grads about relocation advice. Students will have to decide what they’re going to take with them, where they’re going to live, and what their new living situation will be like. It can be stressful when high school seniors have to deal with all of this at the same time as AP exams, and finals so it doesn’t hurt to find out about important logistical details early (READ: 5 Ways to Start Prepping For AP Exams).

4.  Student employment

Another thing students will need to learn about, regardless of where they decide to attend college, is how they will obtain student employment. Convenient on-campus jobs go fast, and summer positions and internships are often filled long before the end of spring semester. If students are going to be relying on part-time employment to pay their tuition or even just for the pocket money they should do a little bit of research about what types of jobs are available and put together a one-page, easy to read student resume. Even if students didn’t have an after-school job in high school, they could still include volunteer experience and community service projects that promote their work ethic.

5.  Student satisfaction

Students often forget to look at the level of satisfaction of current students and recent graduates at the institutions they are applying to. Are current students confident they’ll graduate on time? Are underclassmen able to get the classes they want or need? Are they impressed by their professors and TAs? Student satisfaction is a crucial element to having a positive college experience, and in-depth research is definitely worth the time.

Heading to college next fall? Hit the ground running with private Costa Mesa tutoring this Spring and Summer. Our tutors work with your schedule. Call us today for more information.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All 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 write.


Guest Post: Top ACT Reading Strategies

Guest Post: Improve Your Score With These Top ACT Reading Strategies


There are a lot of reading strategies out there for the ACT.  The problem is, many of them are not necessarily actionable.  A tip to “read more” or “be confident” is not exactly the most efficient studying strategy for the ACT Reading section when you have 2 months or less for preparation.

Why not?

The ACT reading questions are not like what you’ve seen in a classroom. Often, these questions have been specifically designed to confuse you.  The good news is, the ACT writes questions so that there is one undeniably correct answer.  All you need to learn is how to find it!

Here are 5 proven strategies to help improve your ACT reading score:

1. Read the easiest passages first

The ACT reading topics are divided into 4 types: Prose Fiction, Social Science, Humanities, and Natural Science.  For those who do not consider themselves the next “renaissance man,” it’s perfectly fine to be better at one type of passage compared to another.  If Natural Science is your bread and butter, tackle this one first.  You’ll be more likely to ride through the rest of the passages with confidence rather than reading and answering the hardest passage first. This is a great strategy to utilize on test day to start off the Reading section on a good foot.

2. Eliminate the wrong answer

The ACT answers are black and white when it comes to what’s correct and what’s incorrect.  Understanding the lack of a gray area on this test is vital when going through the answer choices for each question because this strategy focuses on eliminating the wrong answers first. Meaning you’re left with an answer that’s 100% correct.

Each incorrect ACT question has a detail that makes it clearly wrong. If an answer introduces a new or unrelated concept, it’s wrong.  If the answer is too specific or, reversely too broad, it’s wrong.  Two other words to look out for are extremes like “always” or “never.”  The more you practice finding these incorrect answers, the easier it gets to spot them quickly and easily.

3. Diagnose your main weakness with a practice test

This strategy is all about finding out what your weakness is during real testing conditions and then what your score could be if you had more time to finish.  To find where you struggle, you’ll first need to obtain an official ACT practice test.  You will set the timer for 35 minutes and take the test as if it were test day.  If time is up and you aren’t finished, do not stop working.  Reset your stopwatch and record the time it takes to finish the rest of the questions to the best of your ability.  For these questions answered with additional time, simply add a little tick beside each question that required the additional time.  Now grade your test using the answer key and create two scores:

1.    Timed Score: The score you earned within the 35 minutes
2.    Unlimited Time Score: The score you earned if time were unlimited

How can you use these scores to determine your weaknesses?  Here are a few scenarios to look out for and what they can mean:

•    The two scores are more than 2 points different: This is a sign that you are struggling with managing your time and need to practice reading more passages to finish faster.
•    Your unlimited time score is lower than you’d like: This is also a sign that you need to put more time into reading passages across all the ACT reading subjects.  This is a good moment to identify which types of passages you are struggling with and prioritize practicing on those passages until you feel comfortable.

4. Underline & Summarize

While you are reading the passage, underline any important nouns or sentences you come across. For every paragraph, write a brief summary to help you remember what you read.  This can be as little as 3-4 words, so long as it helps you manage the information once you refer back later. Underlining and summarizing this text helps you to digest the main points and be more prepared to answer the questions that follow.  If you prefer a systematic approach to underlining for comprehension, you can utilize the following system:

•    Main ideas: double underlined
•    Supporting details: single underline
•    Key words: Circle

5. Try to answer the questions before looking at the answers

Like I mentioned earlier, the ACT writes answers to your questions to confuse you or make you second-guess your answer purposely. After reading a question and before looking at the answers, try to figure out what the answer is. This will help you to steer clear from the tempting incorrect answers the ACT will throw at you.

These strategies can all be utilized congruently with one another to help develop a smarter approach to improving your ACT reading score. The most important thing to remember is to do what works for you.

Good luck!

Kristine Thorndyke works at Quesbook, a company dedicated to providing free ACT practice tools and resources to students around the world.

Our private Orange County ACT tutoring will help you improve your score without the stress. Call us today for more information.

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