Tag Archives: test prep

When you want to prep for a standardized test–and you should always prep–the right class can offer the optimal mix of insight, expertise, and value. Assuming you can find a class taught by proven experts that includes both curriculum instruction and practice testing and review, you should sign up… as long as group instruction makes sense for you. Just keep in mind that even the best class should be seen not as a complete package but rather as a powerful foundation for success. What does this mean? A class is a start. When you take a cooking class, you don’t instantly master cuisine just because an instructor supervised the preparation of one easy recipe. Becoming a great chef requires the same elements mastery in every field demands: practice and coaching. The right class provides essential information and techniques for success that only become yours through additional work. Over the years,…

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Coming into March 2020, most high schoolers had the rest of the school year mapped out: Spring Break, state tests, prom, finals and maybe more tests like APs, SATs, ACTs, and Subject Tests before the long-awaited summer vacation. No matter what you planned, the global pandemic of COVID-19 delivered a stark reminder of Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke’s oft-quoted insight: No plan survives contact with the enemy. This reminder resonates at a time when our greatest enemy may be uncertainty. As I write this, we have no idea when closed schools will resume or if any spring sports or activities may be salvaged or written off as losses. We know that the April ACT and May SAT have been cancelled, but will the June SAT and ACT run? Will those online AP exams carry the same weight as the traditional ones? We honestly have no idea what next week holds,…

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If I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a thousand times: if you’re not taking tests, you’re not really doing test prep. This is not to say that effective test preparation doesn’t incorporate an extensive array of educational strategies and interventions beyond testing. The best test prep programs don’t ignore individualized instruction, systematic content review, or targeted coaching and feedback; they simply make sure they leverage the power of practice testing to full effect. How exactly can a learner best leverage the full value of practice testing? Start with a perfect representation of an official test, ideally published by the actual test maker. Next, seek out an opportunity to take this test under simulated testing conditions, optimally with a trained proctor. Lastly, take the test as seriously as possible to derive maximum experiential value. Yet, even this simple recipe for success may be improved upon with a few more choice…

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After reviewing tens of thousands of SAT & ACT Reading passages with students over the years, I can share one interesting and entirely intuitive observation: test takers score better on passages that interest them. When a reader engages with a passage, she reads faster and comprehends more deeply, which leads to improved accuracy. On the other hand, when the first paragraph elicits an audible “Ugh,” you can bet that tortured, distracted, plodding reading will ensue. Readers that do not engage fully with a passage rarely understand it well enough to pull the majority of points. Unsurprisingly, this observation extends to every section of a test and, further, to every kind of test or activity. Author, motivational speaker and organizational consultant Simon Sinek phrased the distinction perfectly: Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion. You can see the…

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Have you ever wished for a way to enjoy expert explanations of the most pressing issues in test prep, college admissions, financial aid, and education without having to actually read? If so, your lucky day has arrived. Say hello to Tests and the Rest! Tests and the Rest is THE college admissions industry podcast, perfect for school counselors, educators, test prep professionals, college consultants, and just about anyone engaged in the college admissions process. You can subscribe to this podcast at the TestBright website or stream it online via leading podcast apps, including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn Radio. At about 25 minutes per episode, Tests and the Rest can be enjoyed just about any time, and every Tuesday brings a fresh episode. Why am I so excited about Tests and the Rest? I’m one of the hosts 😉 My co-host is the amazing Amy Seeley, president of…

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Deliberate practice is the cornerstone of improvement in any endeavor. No wonder we commit so much time and effort into ensuring that motivated students across Upstate New York become test ready through proctored practice tests. Why do practice tests matter so much, and what kind of practice testing delivers the most value? Find the answers to these and other pressing questions about practice tests right here: Why are high-quality practice tests so important? What makes a great practice test? How can someone take a great practice test at home? When should a student take practice tests? How many practice tests do most students take? How do I score tests in The Official SAT Study Guide? Clearly, high quality practice testing is an essential part of standardized test success. If you’re looking for answers to other important questions on what the tests are, why they matter, and what you can and…

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