• the most effective way to support students needs and goals
• the importance of creating a mindset to achieve test-taking success
Let’s get started:
• There are many who offer test prep who are merely going through SAT or ACT tests and just providing the answers. They may explain how to do a math problem, but if they approach it “purely mathematically”, students may not have time to complete the exam! (Really!) For example, in the critical reading, the foundation skills are typically ignored – efficient reading skills which involve teaching students how to improve their speed, comprehension and focus are too.
• Most of the group test prep programs spend the majority of the time having students practice test after test. Remember one of Albert Einstein’s most famous quotes: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Question: If students are not taught how to read for the main idea, how to learn and remember vocabulary, how to skim and read in word groups, how to create an ‘intention’ and therefore, mindset for success, in other words learn how to change their approach, attitude and behavior and use new skill sets, for most students, significant improvement will be elusive at best.
• Typically tutorial programs should include, the foundation (critical reading and problem solving skills) and and the mindset piece. For the SAT, students are provided with words gleaned from old exams – makes sense – does anyone have a crystal ball for words on future tests? However, if you examine the options on the sentence completion questions, MOST of them are not hard vocabulary words! When they do encounter a challenging word, students can learn through a prefix or root mnemonic (an easy word that contains the prefix or root) WHY words mean what they do. In other words, to make the most efficient use of their time, students need to be taught how to learn and remember the 57 most common prefixes and 167 most common roots and use them to make more accurate educated guesses (on the SAT).
• BONUS MINDSET THOUGHT: To develop the mandatory mindset for successful test-taking is to first realize that: The SAT and ACT are not so much exams of what you know, but how you deal with what you know. That said, ALL exams measure the same level of knowledge and same skill sets. The most important piece of mindset is creating an personal intention.
• The best homework (and all programs will assign homework) is practiced almost daily as the best way to insure improvement is to transform better reading and thinking skills into habit. Students need to be given a DAILY assignment sheet – typically minutes a day and sign a contract – or promise – to themselves: “If I complete the daily assignments, I expect my scores to improve.”
I also invite you to schedule your complimentary 45 minute Test Prep Strategy Session at our center.
P.S. Don’t forget to join us next week for part 2 which will cover:
• dealing with test-anxiety
• identifying the 6 types of learners and a quick assessment tool
• addressing the optimum learning environment for your teen
• understanding why tuition can vary so much
Don’t hesitate to connect with us now if you are ready or have more questions.