Tag Archives: Test Prep

Tips From an Irvine SAT and ACT Tutor

The SAT and ACT Study Plan: What to Use and Who to Trust

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Standardized testing has evolved to become a significant factor in determining students’ options for their educations after high school. The SAT and ACT are at the forefront of these tests that can have an impact on what schools a student gets accepted into and what scholarships they may receive for their education – book your private Irvine SAT tutor today.

Since the SAT and ACT have become so important, many companies have developed books, classes, guides, and other forms of study material to help you get a better score on the tests. With many options available to you at varying levels of cost and commitment, what are your best options? This study plan will briefly discuss what the focus should be on when preparing for these tests to help you optimize your time, avoid being taken advantage of by greedy companies, and (most importantly) maximize your score.

Study with practice tests

First, let’s discuss the best way to begin preparing: practice tests. This cannot be stressed enough. If you are going to be taking a standardized test, you need to familiarize yourself with the exam: the layout, the time limits, the question types, the directions, etc. The first test that students take is almost always their worst because they ran out of time, went to fast, didn’t understand some sections, or got overwhelmed or burnt out by the length of the test. Do not make your first test an official one. Make it a practice one and give yourself time to get used to the test.

Use official resources first

That leads us to who you should trust. You now know that you need to prioritize practice tests to study, but whose practice tests should you use? You’ll find a dozen different practice tests and practice books in the test prep section of the library or bookstore. Some are better than others, and some are outright trying to deceive you. So, who should you use? The official materials. This cannot be stressed enough.

This is a mistake that most students make when they’re preparing for these exams. If you had a test coming up in your science class, would you instead use the textbook your teacher gave you to study or a different one that you found at the store? If your teacher gives you a study guide, do you ignore it and find a different teacher’s study guide from a different class? The people who make the test know and understand what is on the test, and they provide the best resources to study.

The College Board administers the SAT. They offer several printable practice tests for free on their website collegeboard.org in the SAT section. They also offer online tests and prep partnered with Khan Academy, an app for daily practice, and a yearly study book with more practice tests. The practice tests also have answer keys, explanations, and can be scored. For the SAT, use the College Board before going to any third parties.

ACT Inc administers the ACT. They offer free practice multiple choice and writing tests. You can find their website at act.org and specifically their prep material at act.org/the-act/testprep . They also offer an official prep guide, ACT Academy, and online prep. Again, you can find explanations, answers, and scores with the official ACT material. For the ACT, use ACT Inc before going to any third parties.

Third party test prep companies cannot always be trusted. Over the years, I have tutored many students who have come to me with books they have already purchased asking for help. Every time I have done this, I have found questions or material that would never be on an actual SAT/ACT. Someone experienced with the tests should be able to spot these poorly chosen questions quickly, but a confused student would just be wasting their time studying them.

These companies crank out huge numbers of new questions and practice tests every year, but they are not the official test makers. They are not held to the same standard as the College Board or ACT Inc, and they always have some percentage of faulty or unrealistic questions.

Finally, a common tactic these companies employ is to make the material too hard. They make diagnostic tests, sample questions, or the first practice tests harder than they should be (or they score them more harshly than they should). This way, you get a lower score than you expected, and you feel the need to use their material to get better. Then, when you take the real test, you get a higher score than you did on their overly difficult material. Your score went up, so the test prep must have worked, right?

Never trust a score from a third party’s test unless you have also taken an official practice test and received similar results. Just last year I had a student hire me for tutoring the day after he took an SAT practice test and received a score of around 1000. I had him take an official practice test and he “miraculously” scored in the 1200s. I was able to help him improve more from there, but it was not my work that gave him that substantial initial bump. The first score was a lie.

Trust experienced tutors

If you are seeking outside help for your test preparation, you can have great results with someone experienced with the tests and helping students prepare for them – book your private Irvine ACT tutor today. An experienced tutor should have a studying system that is based around a core of taking practice tests regularly (official practice tests ideally) and is tailored to suit your individual needs. There should be an evaluation period where they find your specific problem areas and help you focus on what can be improved.

Every student is unique and no secret strategy will be optimal for every student. Having someone who knows the tests inside and out can accelerate your studying and help you achieve the highest score you’re capable of.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

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.

Why You Might Regret Not Taking an AP Class

Why AP? A Savings Story

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With homework, clubs, sports, and friends to juggle, it can be difficult for a high schooler to justify the added pressure and workload of an Advanced Placement (AP) class – book your private Irvine AP tutor today. US History was hard enough, right? Why would you want to throw an AP in front of it and make your life that much harder?

Because it might help you save $70,000.

But before we get to the money, let’s talk about other important reasons for signing up for AP. AP classes are meant to simulate a college-level educational experience. This is why they tend to be more rigorous; the curriculum is programmed at a level above traditional secondary school material. As such, when college admissions counselors see that you are taking (and hopefully excelling in) AP classes, this is a signal that you are capable of handling college work. This is a big positive since colleges want to accept students who will be able to handle their classes and succeed in their school.

In many high schools, AP classes are also weighted differently than your standard classes for your GPA. This means that an “A” in an AP class will improve your grade point average and class rank more than an “A” in a normal class. Ever wonder why you hear people talking about GPAs even higher than 4.0? AP classes are usually key contributors. Need a GPA boost? Try adding an AP class and consider finding an experienced tutor to help you make sure you stay on track and get that “A” to maximize your GPA.

Aside from just showing that you are capable of taking college-level courses, AP classes also allow you to cap off the year by taking the AP exam in that subject. And, if you’re successful, you can expect colleges and universities to give you free college credit for your score (READ: Irvine AP Tutor Tips: 5 Ways to Conquer Your AP Exam).

This is where the savings come into play. I can speak from experience that the credit given from AP exams can be very significant to your college career. For me, my university estimates a cost of attendance at a whopping $72,000 per year. Over $50,000 is intuition alone. Without significant financial aid or scholarships, this is what students at this college can expect to pay out of pocket (or out of loans) for a year of education.

However, I was able to find a fast track out of these high costs. In high school, I took seven AP classes: Chemistry, Physics, Calculus AB, English Language, English Literature, US History, and US Government and Politics. For me, this was the maximum number of AP classes I could take since students at my high school were only allowed to enroll in AP classes in their junior and senior years. I took all of the AP exams for these classes to earn college credit, but I still wanted more. Outside of my regular classes, I self-prepared for four more AP exams: Biology, Environmental Science, Calculus BC, and Psychology. You do NOT have to be enrolled in an AP class to take the exam at the end of the year. By creating a schedule for myself and studying explicitly to pass the exams, I was able to prepare myself successfully.

When it came time to attend college, this hard work paid off. My school granted me credit for all but one of my AP scores. For most, I earned 3 college credits, and for a few, I earned 4. This is typical practice for nearly all universities, and their policies for which scores they accept and how many credits they grant can usually be found online or by contacting the school in question. Before I had even begun college, I already had 33 college credits walking in the door – or the equivalent of just over a year of full-time college education.

This allowed me to have more freedom in school. I had many prerequisite classes out of the way, and I had an amplitude of credits for wiggle room. I ended up graduating with a double major degree after only three years. My AP credits allowed me to add a second major, graduate an entire year early, and even have the luxury of taking more fun and interesting classes in my senior year instead of only classes needed to graduate.

Even if your college is fully paid for by scholarships, financial aid, or family, AP credits like this can still save you a fortune. You might not be cutting out a $70,000 cost of attendance bill, but you will be entering the workforce a year earlier, allowing you a head start on your career, gaining experience, and making your own money. Graduating early doesn’t look too bad on a resume either.

While eleven AP exams might seem unmanageable or overwhelming, it can be accomplished by many students with the right guidance. An experienced tutor, teacher, or mentor can help you plan for which tests meet your skill set and circumstances. Did you take honors biology but not AP biology? With some extra help, you might be able to study the new information faster than you think. Do you excel at English but your school doesn’t offer an AP Literature class? You might be surprised by the progress you make with a study plan and official practice tests. Looking for which tests are the easiest for you to study and pick up some extra credits quickly? Many educators are experienced with these tests and with students in your situation and can help you pick the AP exams for you.

My only regret is not taking a few more AP exams. You shouldn’t have the same regret, especially if you’re looking at expensive loans for school. Don’t underestimate the importance of free college credit, and don’t underestimate your ability to learn new material on your own and succeed.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

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.

Tips From an Irvine Test Prep Tutor: Fall SAT Checklist

Tips From an Irvine Test Prep Tutor: Fall SAT Checklist (List)

Students taking the SAT this fall are in a unique position because they’re one of the last groups of people to take the current SAT. It’s very important to pay close attention to test prep guidelines because otherwise students will be in a position where they might need to retrain their brain for the Redesigned SAT in 2016. There are tons of things that college prep students can do to get their SAT prep underway as soon as possible – have you booked your Irvine test prep tutor?

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1. Study Vocab Like Crazy

Students taking the current SAT exam will still have to study vocab like there’s no tomorrow. There are a couple of ways students can work on their vocab skills to succeed: vocab memorization and vocab within the reading comprehension passages. The straight forward vocab section requires students to memorize hundreds of words, which is nearly impossible. As a result, they are encouraged to learn as many words as they can but also learn test prep techniques from their SAT tutor. In addition to pure vocab, students will need to study the vocab in context as it’s written in the reading comprehension sections. Test prep students should go through their practice test book and underline any new word they see, look them up in the dictionary, and understand whether or not it’s a positive or negative word and what its emotional meaning is (READ: “5 Awesome SAT Apps”).

2. Math Formulas

Although students can learn lots of helpful test prep techniques from their tutor, they will also need to memorize and learn math formulas from all of their classes at school. The best way to understand which formulas are used most frequently is to work out of the Official College Board test prep book. Students should work with their tutor or test prep teacher to determine different patterns and discover which formulas are used the most as well as how to eliminate answer choices that simply don’t make sense. The current SAT will often have some partial answer choices so it’s important for students to make sure they can recognize these trick answers and avoid choosing them (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Are the SAT and ACT Similar?”).

3. Get Your Down Time

One of the things students struggle with most on the current SAT is the ability to finish within the short, generally 25 minutes, amount of time allotted. When first practicing, students shouldn’t worry too much about the time because they need to master concepts and test prep techniques first. However, once they have mastered a good score, they need to work on their time. Even if a student answers every question correctly, they won’t receive a high score on the real test they leave several questions unanswered. There are many different ways students can get their time down and they’re encouraged to work with an expert who can determine their individual needs.

4. The Dreaded Long Passage

Students are bored or terrified when it comes to the long passages. The current SAT offers passages from time periods past and in a context that today’s students often don’t understand. There are a couple of ways students can approach the long passages, either by learning how to pick out important information in the passages and then answering the questions or, looking at the questions first and then attempting to pick out import information in the passage as they go along. Students are encouraged to work with their test prep tutor to determine which strategy works best for them as an individual. The long passages are often an arduous task to get through, but they can either win or lose students a great deal of points on the current SAT.

Preparing to take the SAT this fall? Score higher with the help of a private Irvine testprep tutor from TutorNerds! Book your tutor today.

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.

Is the New SAT Similar to the Current ACT?

Tips From an Irvine Test Prep Tutor: “Is the New SAT Similar to the Current ACT?”

Many parents and students are wondering if the new SAT is meant to be more aligned with the current ACT. Although the College Board and ACT, Incorporated will likely have differing opinions, teachers and parents are starting to notice some similarities. This leads students to ask why they need to take both exams if they’re similar (READ: “SAT and AP Exam Survival Guide”).

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1. The format

Then new SAT offers a format that is somewhat similar to that of the current ACT. The new 2016 SAT will now have sections that are longer, but there will be fewer sections overall. Additionally, students who take the new SAT will not be penalized for guessing, which is similar to the current ACT.

The new SAT will also have some differences in the format that students should be aware of. The SAT will be scored between 600 and 1600 whereas the ACT has a max score of 36. The ACT averages multiple parts to get one score while the SAT adds three different sections together to determine an overall score.

2. Founding documents

The new SAT will require students to learn about founding documents from United States history such as the Federalist Papers and the Declaration of Independence whereas the current ACT doesn’t require excessive knowledge on these subjects (READ: “Tips From an Irvine SAT Tutor: The Free SAT Study Guide”).

3. The science section

The current ACT contains a science section, otherwise known as ‘how to read charts and graphs’ whereas the new SAT will not contain a science section. Although the new SAT will integrate social science into the reading passages, it should not be confused with the ACT science section. However, the SAT reading section will offer an occasional chart and graph thus students taking either exam should know how to read and understand them.

4. When should a student take both?

Standardized test study takes up a lot of time and can be expensive in many cases. As a result, students and parents want to know why it’s necessary to take both. Of course, students are not required to take both, and a college counselor can best advise students in their specific situation regarding the requirements of a particular set of universities. However, students who take both exams will find out which test they score higher on and have more opportunities for scholarships and admissions. If students don’t want the stress of taking the actual exam, they are encouraged to take an at-home practice test of both the new SAT and the current ACT to see which one they score higher on.

5. Time on the exam

One similarity that students will notice when taking the new SAT is that they have more time allotted for each section, which is similar to the current ECT. However, this does not necessarily mean that a student has more time on each question because there will likely be more questions per section. Students who are unsure which exam to take her Harlene current to take a practice test and consult their tutor as well as their academic advisor at school.

In short

Although students will notice many similarities between the new SAT and the current ECT, they are still two different exams that student should study for separately. Students who study the eggs for the lease exams concurrently may find that they get different information techniques confused and are encouraged to discuss the benefits and drawbacks with their Irvine test prep tutor.

It’s never too early to start studying for the new SAT. Book your Orange County SAT prep tutor today.

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.

Ask A Nerd! “SAT Subject Tests”

Ask A Nerd!

Question: What Are The SAT Subject Tests And When Should I Take Them?

Brief: The SAT subject tests are a way for students to demonstrate their talent and/or knowledge in a particular topic. Most tests are offered several times per year in the US (help prepare for them with one of our Irvine SAT tutors).

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The SAT examines your skills in math, reading and writing. But many students find that this is not a true indicator of their true talents and wish to show colleges that they have additional knowledge in other subject areas. This is where the SAT subject tests come in (READ: “Are the SAT and ACT similar?“).

Some of you are already pretty sure of what you want to study once you get to college. If you know that you want to study foreign languages, then taking several language subject tests can demonstrate your commitment. On the other hand, if you feel that the core subjects (math and English) are not your strongest areas of study, then you have the opportunity to take exams in subjects such as history or science (our Orange County science tutors are here to help you succeed).

For students who are planning to apply to college with an “undecided” major, taking subject tests can help demonstrate knowledge in several areas as well as demonstrate a commitment to education at the high school level (READ: “5 Traits of Successful Students“).

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So, when can and when should you take the SAT subject tests? The basic SAT test, as many of you already know, is offered early in the morning several times a year. Students wishing to take the SAT subjects can take these extra exams on the same dates but not during the same test administration. The College Board allows students to take up to three subject test in the same day; however I do not recommend this.

It is important to think about how tired you will be after even one exam. You may find that you will sacrifice a high score on your second or third subject test due to eye fatigue, restlessness, or simply general fatigue. Even the most confident and concentrated of students should call it a day after two exams.

So where, exactly, can you showcase your talents on these subject tests?

They are divided into three categories: Core subjects, non-core subjects and languages. The core subjects include literature and mathematics level 1 and level 2 (READ: “Use Your Math Intuition“). The non-core subjects include world history, US history, chemistry, physics and biology (ecological and molecular). All of these exams can be taken on October 11th, 2014, November 18th, 2014, December 6th, 2014, January 24th, 2015, May 2nd, 2015, and June sixth, 2015 with the exception of world history, which can only betaken in December or June.

The language tests include: French, German, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin and Spanish (reading only test). Each of these exams has differing test dates. The reading and listening exams include: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. This test can only be taken on November 8th, 2014 – TutorNerds has the best foreign language tutors in Orange County.

SAT-Test-SubjectsThe SAT subject tests require a lot of hard work and much time spend studying diligently. If these tests help you get closer to your dream college, then it is well worth it, but I highly recommend that you check with the colleges and universities that you are thinking of applying to before signing up for one of these exams. Make sure that you are taking the right exams in order to meet your specific goals.

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! Are the SAT and ACT Similar? All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@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.

The beginning of a new school year is crucial for establishing a strong academic performance. In other words, if your child wants to reach his or her potential, they can’t fall behind from the start. Hiring an Orange County private tutor is much more than extra academic help, it’s a confidence boost. Have your child be the first to raise their hand in the classroom by hiring a college educated tutor from TutorNerds. Contact us today!

Ask a Nerd! “Are the SAT and ACT Similar?”

Ask a Nerd!

Q: I am thinking of taking both the SAT and ACT; are they pretty much the same?

Brief: No! The SAT and ACT are two very different exams with two different test prep strategies. The essay structures are extremely different, the timing of the tests is different and the scoring is completely different. You should definitely tell your Irvine private test prep tutor if you plan to take both exams in the same year so that s/he can help you separate the two (READ: “Ask a Nerd! ‘What Kind of Tech Should I Use to Study‘”).

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The SAT and ACT are two very different exams. Although there are several differences, a few are highlighted here to help you get started:

The SAT vs. the ACT essay

The essays require different structures and are graded based upon different criteria (READ: “8 SAT Essay Tips“). Many students find the ACT essay to have a simpler format but this doesn’t necessarily make it easier. How you will perform on each essay depends upon who you are as a writer. Ask your Orange County test prep tutor (schedule yours now before it’s too late!) to explain the differences to you and help you go back and forth from one writing style to the other. I don’t recommend taking both tests in the same month. It is too easy to get the two exams confused.

The timing of the sections

The SAT has 25 minute, 20 minute, and a 10 minute section. You will need to switch back and forth from math to English several times throughout the test, meaning that your right and left brains need to work in unison. The sections of the ACT are longer; writing, reading and English are between 30 and 45 minutes while the sole math section is 60 minutes long. This means that once you are done with math, you won’t have to go back and do it again (our Irvine math tutors will increase your confidence).

Mad Science (Reasoning Section)

The ACT has a science reasoning section, which the SAT does not have. Many test-takers and Irvine science tutors view the science reasoning section as a logic test that has nothing to do with science. Each student will attack and conquer this section differently and I suggest that you ask your tutor for special test prep techniques that are unique to this section (READ: “ACT Aspire: What is it?“).

Scoring

The highest score (a completely perfect score) on the SAT is a 2400. The current average score is around 1500 to 1550. Most universities (including the university of California, Irvine) are looking for scores around 1850 for acceptance. Of course this varies by state. If you want to get into an Ivy League school or a school just below the Ivy League, you will need to shoot for a 2000-2300 (Yikes!).

irvine-test-prep-tutor                                     Image Via Michael Jung

The top score you can get on the ACT is a 36 (READ: “A Timeline Study Guide for the SAT“). The rumored score to get into university of California, Irvine is 23. If you want to get into Harvard, the rumored score is between 31 and 35 (Yikes!).

A few things are the same

To do really well on your SAT and your ACT exams you will need to do a few things.

– Take lots and lots of practice tests

– Get a tutor who specializes in test prep

– Work really, really hard

– Take the real test two or even three times

– Apply the techniques that your test prep tutor gives you

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! Just started college and Im overwhelemed, what do I do? All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@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.

The beginning of a new school year is crucial for establishing a strong academic performance. In other words, if your child wants to reach his or her potential, they can’t fall behind from the start. Hiring an Orange County private tutor is much more than extra academic help, it’s a confidence boost. Have your child be the first to raise their hand in the classroom by hiring a college educated tutor from TutorNerds. Contact us today!

Using Memory to Study Effectively | TutorNerds | Orange County

Did You Remember to Study?

At this point in your lives, studying is a huge part of your day. It’s a pretty big task to be able to go to school for six hours and then come home and put in an additional two hours or so. If you are also getting ready to apply for college, or are preparing for the SAT or AP (read out post, “Last Minute AP Study Guide”) classes, those two hours can turn into a lot more. Have you ever thought to yourself that there must be an easier way? Unfortunately there is not an easier way, but there is a better way.

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Memory plays a substantial role in how much information we need to keep in our minds and the brain takes on the complicated task of determining which information is important and which is not.

Short term, long term and working memory

There are three primary types of memory: Short term, long term and working memory. Short term memory lasts about 7 seconds, so this part of the brain essentially takes a mental note about important elements and stores them for a very short time. So when do we use this magical seven second notepad? Lets’ say you are sitting in that giant classroom on Saturday morning taking your SAT and the proctor has just said “start”. It’s time to get that short term memory rolling. For example, if you are solving for X in your head and you remember that the partial answer is 8 and you have the then divide that by 3, you are using short term memory.

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This presents a problem for students who are tired or overworked. Sound familiar? Sleep is the best way to keep the short term memory sharp but you can compensate for fatigue by writing everything down. Temporary short term memory loss can lead to a lot of missed answers that you really knew so take advantage or your pencil and test booklet in order to give yourself the best chance at success.

Long term memory can potentially last forever. Remember when you rode a bike at age six? Now, ten years later you can not only remember riding your bike but you still know how to do it. That’s long term memory. This will come in handy when you’re asked about a book you read in school two years ago; it will take your brain a bit longer, but it’ll get there.

Your Most Valuable Study Partner: Working Memory

That brings us to working memory. Working memory is your best friend and most valuable study partner when it comes to studying and taking tests. Working memory is similar to short term memory but it can store multiple pieces of information in multiple formats. Essentially your memory is multitasking the entire time you are studying, which is why you feel so tired after doing homework. So how can you use your working memory to study more effectively?

Although we don’t entirely know which tricks work for which people just yet, many students will be able to study more effectively by trying these 5 tips:

  1. Write an outline of what you really need to focus on before you start studying. If you have a list of key words or phrases, your brain can search for them while disregarding irrelevant information. The less multitasking your memory has to do, the quicker it can function. Compare it to cleaning your room. How likely are you to find your favorite pair of jeans if your clothes are everywhere? A quick cleaning at the beginning of the week can make each morning easier. The memory can work the same way.
  2. Eliminate distractions. The memory is already working hard when you are studying so do yourself a favor and turn off the TV, turn your phone to silent and close the door to your room if your home gets noisy. Many students find wearing earplugs helpful.
  3. Socialize. That’s right, talk to your friends. I don’t mean talk to them on the phone the night before a big test, but rather just in general. We have to think all the time and use short term memory when we chit chat and it keeps our brains active while we are having fun.
  4. Eat your fruits and veggies and protein too. Healthy food is fuel for our brains and memory. The more energy your brain has to burn, the quicker it can get things done.
  5. Sleep! I bet a lot of you are up until 1 or 2 in the morning finishing homework. 4 or 5 hours of sleep is definitely not enough to keep the memory running at full speed. Try getting a full 8 hours and see if you can get your homework done faster the next afternoon. I bet you’ll be surprised.

tutor logo Getting Your Community Service Credits | TutorNerds | Orange County All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@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.

One last thing, summer doesn’t mean an end to learning. In today’s competitive world of college admissions, it’s crucial students spend the next few months improving and catching up. What better way to do that than with a private summer tutor? We work with student’s schedules so they can still have fun. Don’t fall victim to the summer slow down!

Last Minute AP Study Guide | TutorNerds | Orange County

Only One Thing Stands Between You and Summer: Finals

Like a cold, concrete wall, finals stand between you and the bliss of summer. We understand the struggle; we’ve been there before. But what if we told you finals don’t have to be that way. With a productive study schedule, and resources such as a private Orange County tutor from TutorNerds, any student can do well. Did we mention resources? What about a FREE resource? You’re already on it. That’s right, our education blog is a free resource for students, parents, and teachers. Further, we wish to bring you the most relevant and helpful content, so let us know what you would like to see on here in the future. Until then, let’s discuss finals; particularly AP finals.

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One of the most popular AP course series include: World History, European History, and US History. Many of you are taking the final exams for these courses in the next couple of weeks. Below are eight tips to the perfect, last-minute study guide. Good luck, Orange County!

  1. Make a Timeline – Stop by your local office supply store and get yourself a couple pieces of poster paper. Write down the various different cultures or events (depending on your subject) at the top and draw arrows to the other events that affected each other through time.  For Example, World War 1- 1914 (Franz Ferdinand) ———– Germany/terrible economy——–Rise of Nazi Party———- World War 11 (1939 Europe/1941 USA-1945). Keep your notes basic and use key words to help trigger your memory of each important event on the timeline. Using too much detail can be overwhelming if you are studying last minute, so keep it simple at this point.
  2. Use color coding – If you’re doing World History, choose a different color for each culture and mix together if necessary to show a blending or separation of cultures. For example, Russia could be green, and then the various new countries formed when they became separate from Russia could be blue and yellow (blue + yellow = green). Color coding can be a really useful visual tool to help understand how different cultures or events related to each other.
  3. Order a study prep book and have it shipped overnight – A test prep book can be enormously helpful because it breaks down the information into simple parts and highlights what you really need to know, as well as suggesting which topics will be heavily emphasized on the exam.
  4. Get a study group together ASAP – Call up your friends and arrange a few group study sessions at your local coffee shop or library. I bet that most of your classmates have the same questions that you do, and answering them together can help make the concepts clearer.
  5. Arrange for a private tutor to come to your home a couple of times before the exam – Because there won’t be much time, be sure to have your questions prepared in advance so that you can make the most out of those few hours. Many of our Irvine in-home tutors have taken AP courses in the past, so they’ll empathize with your situation.
  6. Go through the chapters of your text book and make a list of all of the major events that were discussed – Write one paragraph about each chapter that sums up the key events. Making a list ahead of time will ensure that you don’t miss anything. This will also help you not lose time on irrelevant material. Also, sites such as Quizlet.com offer great AP flashcards.
  7. Look in the glossary in the back of your book and write down any words, phrases or terms that you are unfamiliar with  Find the definition or relevance of each and write them down on flash cards. Carry them with you to school and study for 10 minutes each morning and each night. Try to memorize as many as you can before your exam. It’s tempting to add words you already know to the stack, but you’re only wasting time if you do.
  8. Write a practice essay – Even if you have done this in class many times before, it will be really helpful to be 100% comfortable with the essay portions. Who knows, maybe the essay on the actual final will be similar to yours.

The AP exams are just around the corner, so make sure that you spend these last few days wisely and give yourself the best chance at a 3, 4 or even a 5 score. You got this.

tutor logo California Common Core Standards Other Perspectives and Cultures” | TutorNerdsAll blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal.

One last thing, summer doesn’t mean an end to learning. In today’s competitive world of college admissions, it’s crucial students spend the next few months improving and catching up. What better way to do that than with a private summer tutor? We work with student’s schedules so they can still have fun.

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College is worth it! Or at least we think so. That’s why it’s important to have a college educated Orange County tutor in your arsenal when applying to your dreams schools. We know the benefits of higher education transcend just an elevated income, yet it doesn’t hurt to take that into consideration.

Here’s an interesting read from the New York Times: Is College Worth It? Clearly, New Data Says

California State Common Core Standards |TutorNerds

California State Common Core Standards

Is your student meeting the new common core standards? Do you even know what they are. Take a deep breath, we know the new standards have been a headache for parents, students, and educators alike. The good news? Our Orange County private, in home tutors are here to help!

Tutor-Nerds-Private-TutoringAccording to the state of California, a student should be able to demonstrate a certain criteria to be considered in line with the common core standards. Let’s take a look at what they say about independence and see if your child is meeting these guidelines. Below is a brief eight part list describing the standards, as well as our recommendations on how to achieve them. Remember, if you have any questions feel free to email us at: info@tutornerds.com or, if it’s a brief inquiry, tweet us:

A –   A student should be able to ask for help when necessary as well as be able to seek out information through printed material (books, texts and online materials).

TutorNerds recommendation: Reading is a key element here, so the more books your child reads at a young age, the better. Piquing his or her curiosity in books is a challenge these days as a consequence the internet, but it’s not an impossible task. In fact, the internet can be to your advantage. Utilizing websites such as Free-eBooks.net, is a great way to synthesizing literature and the internet.

B – Students also need to be able to “evaluate” and understand intricate texts “without prompting”. This essentially means that the student should be able to analyze information and be able to understand which elements of the text are important and which are not.

TutorNerds recommendation: This skill is learned over time and with practice, so starting young can be the path to success. For example, a great way to practice is by reading reports in local papers, such as the Orange County Register, then write a two to three sentence summary of the main points. Here’s a great help: 7 Critical Reading Strategies.

C – Students should also be “self directed” learners by the time they leave high school; they should be able to look for useful information on their own without distinct instructions. To illustrate, many college courses, especially higher level ones, assign readings, then ask students to integrate what they read into an exam question. Often, the professor won’t tell the students what pages or passages are the best for a high grade; it’s up to the student to know.

TutorNerds recommendation: Research projects are a useful tool when it comes to locating information, and can often be the best way to learn how to be a truly active learner. Problem solving in everyday life can also be a great step toward self-direction. For a younger child, something as simple as organizing their own homework binder or managing time with a list of at-home chores can help them get started. As for older students, a personal blog is a great place to research, organize the necessary information to publish an interesting post. Here’s an excellent article on student blogging: 5 Reasons Your Student Should Blog.

 D – Students must know about “multiple disciplines”. If your kid is really into a particular subject, that’s great but they should also be learning about, and be able to communicate their understanding of, English, math, history, science etc…

My recommendation: Expose your child to education outside of the classroom. Let them see art in the real world by taking them to a museum or gallery. Science can become a lot more fun if they can do a hands-on project. Geometry can become more relevant if a child understands how a building stays upright due to correct measurements and weight distribution.

tutor-nerds-test-prep

E – Students should also be able to “construct effective arguments”. What makes an argument “effective”? Can your child persuade another to see their point of view? Can they empathize with a character in a book that is different from them? Arguments can be both written and oral, so helping your child with both will get them to the place they need to be faster.

My recommendation: Allow your child to slowly become comfortable with public speaking at an early age. Look at a character or situation in a novel and ask you kid to argue for one side or the other. See if they can convince you. This is easier said than done so a support Irvine private tutor might also be helpful in this situation. Programs for older students, such as Model United Nations, are also very helpful.

Being independent both academically and socially is crucial for success in college and the workforce. Working to meet independence can also be helpful when it comes to studying for standardized tests, general exams, and completing assignments.

As mentioned before, TutorNerds is here to help your student gain confidence and competence in the new common core standards. In addition to our private, in home tutoring services, we relay daily tips, information, and educational news right here on our tutoring blog and through our twitter. Please help others get the TutorNerds advantage by sharing our posts. Thank you!

tutor logo 7 Things Parents Should Ask New Teachers | TutorNerds | tutornerds.com All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education, Orange County, CA, or other relevant blogger? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations.

Attention all Orange County, CA, high school students grades 9-12: Enter our essay contest for a chance to win $500! The deadline is quickly approaching.

The Student’s Guide to Study Breaks | TutorNerds

Take a Break, Orange County

Tutor-Nerds-SATEveryone needs to take study breaks at some point. Endless studying helps very few people, and frequently exhausts most of your energy. Instead, find out when you should be taking breaks and what you can do to maximize those relaxing moments. Today we’ll be covering just that, so kick the habit of “quick” Facebook updates or “short” phone calls to friends. Learn how to take breaks like a professional, eventually getting more done in less time.

Determine Your Maximum and Minimum Study Sessions

You may need to first change your concept of a “break.”  Study breaks are not large chunks of time; instead they are frequent pauses throughout your studying that allows your brain to unwind. The amount of time you take a break is just as important as how long you study. Therefore, you’ll first figure out how long your study sessions should be. Your study session is the maximum amount of time you can spend in full concentration with a subject. Complete the following steps with readings from your favorite and least favorite subject.

1. Find material you need to cover for class, preferably something from a textbook you haven’t seen before.

2. Note the time you begin reading.

3. Really focus on learning the information and understanding the bigger picture.

4. Be aware of when your mind first gets distracted. Note the time, and then repeat the same steps with your other class.

You now have your maximum and minimum study session intervals. Write this information down and use it whenever you plan on studying. Even if the interval is small, try not to go longer. You will likely find yourself (we’ve all been there before) reading but not absorbing any information. Even at a young age we learned to move onto other activities when we got bored; have you ever seen a toddler become instantly frustrated with one toy and move excitedly to another? Don’t fight your natural instincts; use them to your advantage!

Fruit, Not Facebook

Now that you know how long you can study, use these tips to maximize your breaks. First, and most importantly, breaks should last approximately five minutes. Any longer and you may not be able to focus again. Use a timer so you can take breaks when necessary, and enjoy them without distraction. Spend your break on relaxing or energizing activities, such as eating a healthy snack or going for a walk. Things to avoid at all costs include naps, junk food, phone calls and social media black holes (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Study-break

Treat Yourself to a Change of Scenery

In science blog, “Cognitive Daily“, Dave Munger discusses ART, short for attention restoration theory. The theory looks at how people best calm their minds after focus from studying or working.

ART says that the natural world engages your attention . . . by features of the environment (e.g. a sunset, a beautiful tree). The artificial world demands active attention, to avoid getting hit by cars or to follow street signs. Since intellectual activities like studying or writing also demand the same kind of attention, taking a break in the artificial world doesn’t really function like a rest.

The idea is that we need to spend our breaks in a natural environment as opposed to our standard artificial one. Take a walk around the block, or sit outside in the sun to recharge. Changing our environment, even for just a few moments, allows our minds to truly relax and makes learning easier once you return. Feeling adventurous? Irvine Walking Routes.

Remember to stay focused when you return. First review the information you just completed to start the process of quick recall. Take note of the main points, and then continue on to the next topic. Make those study breaks work for you, Orange County.

tutor-Nerds-logoAll blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. For educational guest-blogging, please email us at info@tutornerds.com

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Attention all Orange County, CA, high school students grades 9-12: Enter our essay contest for a chance to win $500!