Tag Archives: preparation

Have you ever underperformed on a task without understanding where exactly you went wrong or what you could do to get better in the future? Sports coaches integrate post-game analyses into their preparation for future challenges, but most teachers, surprisingly, do not. Sometimes, though, reviewing where a student went wrong on a previous test should take priority before working on the next one. Professor Richard M. Felder understood the importance of post-test analysis. Tired of observing how oblivious his chemical engineering students seemed to the wide gap between their expectations and outcomes on exams, he crafted a MEMO TO STUDENTS WHO ARE DISAPPOINTED WITH THEIR LAST TEST GRADE to address the issue: Many of you have told your instructor that you understood the course material much better than your last test grade showed, and some of you asked what you should do to keep the same thing from happening on…

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At any given point the academic year, hundreds of thousands of high schoolers and their parents are planning for the SAT and ACT. A major consideration is–or should be–test prep, without which scores are certain to fall below a student’s potential. If you are about to embark upon the adventure that is college admissions testing, consider some of the most frequently asked questions about prepping for the SAT & ACT: Is preparing for a test even worthwhile? How hard is the SAT or ACT for the unprepared? Is there a secret to score improvement? How does effective test preparation work? What is the best way to assess tutors and test prep providers? Should/can someone study for the ACT and SAT at the same time? When does an SAT or ACT class make sense? What makes tutoring so valuable? What is the difference between individual and small-group tutoring? Can someone improve…

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Smarts pair as naturally with standardized tests as peanut butter does with jelly (or chocolate or Nutella or marshmallow fluff, am I right) It’s smart to take the SAT or ACT if you want to attend college. It’s smart to prep for the tests. Smarts can carry you far on these reading, writing, problem solving exams. But to earn your best possible score, you must be more than smart; you need S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T.–as you smarties probably realized–is an acronym inspired by Peter Drucker’s business writing that eventually expanded to all manner of applications. SAT and ACT might not be acronyms anymore, but every letter in S.M.A.R.T. stands for something powerful: SPECIFIC – State simply and sensibly what you want to accomplish. MEASURABLE – Establish meaningful smaller mini-goals to measure accomplishment. ACHIEVABLE – Set your sights high but within the limits of ability, time, and resources. RELEVANT – Pursue a…

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If you’re looking for dramatic improvement in any endeavor, you can’t escape the two drivers of profound, positive change: coaching and practice. Of the two, practice seems to be self-explanatory. Better takes practice. No one can argue that. But why does coaching matter just as much? Couldn’t a properly motivated individual with sufficient time and resources self-prep to wild success? Perhaps, but the common route to uncommon achievement always involves one or more exceptional coaches. Just ask your favorite performer or athlete–assuming you can get access! Even Bill Gates, one of the most successful (if you use wealth as a measure of success) self-made businessmen of all time believes in the necessity of coaching: “Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.” Coaching matters because true greatness does not occur by accident. We who seek to achieve…

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The question, if you’re looking for your best SAT & ACT scores, is never whether you are going to prep. Of course you will prepare for these influential yet eminently coachable exams. Instead, the right questions revolve around how to prep and when. If you’re reading this, you probably already recognize the best way to prep for the SAT & ACT. And you may already know the best time. For years, we’ve been preaching the perfection of summer for test preparation. The benefits to working over the summer are obvious, starting with the part about “no more teachers, no more books” and extending that sentiment to “no more coaches, no more clubs.” Even students who work, travel, or go to camp can find time to prepare. So how do you make the best of summer? 1. START The astonishingly productive Right Honourable John Lubbock famously said, “Rest is not idleness,…

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History abounds with examples of strivers who worked relentlessly for success in one endeavor or another and exceeded even their own lofty ambitions. Equally plentiful are tales of those who showed just as much commitment and effort, yet failed to achieve their ends. If history teaches us anything, it’s that nothing is guaranteed in this life, except maybe another season of The Simpsons. This infinity of outcomes may confuse the connection between effort and achievement. After all, anyone seeking to defend skipping practice (or a study session or leg day) can easily find an example of a scenario where someone slacked off the same way but still achieved the desired goal. That’s why considering the connections between processes and outcomes can be so critical to reliable and sustained success. Shane Parrish at Farnam Street explored the ramifications of making–or missing–these connections: Good decisions don’t always have a good outcome, just…

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