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About this blog: I post articles to offer timely and substantive college admission guidance on important topics and issues. Originally from New York, I have a B.S. from Hunter College in NYC and advanced professional degrees from the University of...  (More)

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Three Time Tested Test Prep Recommendations

Uploaded: Oct 4, 2014
By now most families have heard that a new SAT exam will be administered for the first time in spring 2016. As test preparation providers respond to these changes by redesigning their curriculum, there are some concrete things you can do now to prepare for any standardized test, regardless of how it is configured. Three time-honored basics to keep in mind:

? All students benefit from a more structured approach to learning that includes active reading, vocabulary building, math fundamentals, writing, and strengthening study skills. Take schoolwork seriously and use your classes, home work and longer term projects to build up your reading, writing and math skills. If you have gaps in academic content, identify them early and work on improvement with peer tutoring, outside tutoring and help from teachers. Even older siblings can be a valuable resource!

? Performance issues (carelessness, focus, endurance) are addressed by acquiring better study habits; these can be targeted while the student is involved in any kind of academic work during the school year and over summers. Limit distractions and set aside time to do your work. More academics are not the answer—it must be accompanied by targeting training in study skills.

? Understanding how to take a particular standardized test requires strategic preparation and should be done closer to the actual test day; too early test preparation and doing endless numbers of practice tests do not translate into better scores and can lead to burnout.

A good baseline at the end of the sophomore (preferable) or during the junior year can help families to plan early, and determine what things need to be addressed in order to achieve your best score on any standardized test. Taking a timed full length practice ACT exam is one way to identify gaps, since the ACT exam is more content focused, and thus can provide a good measure of where students need to focus their efforts. Practice tests can be found in The Real ACT Prep Guide.

Elizabeth LaScala Ph.D. guides college, transfer and graduate school applicants through the complex world of admission. Elizabeth helps students identify majors and career paths, and develops best match college lists; she offers personalized essay coaching, and tools and strategies to help students tackle each step of the admissions process with confidence and success. Elizabeth guides students from all backgrounds to maximize scholarship opportunities and financial aid awards. For more information visit Elizabeth Call (925) 891-4491 or email her at


 +  Like this comment
Posted by John English, a resident of Carlton Oaks,
on Mar 4, 2015 at 6:34 am

Can you specify what is 'a more structured approach to learning that includes active reading, vocabulary building, math fundamentals, writing, and strengthening study skills. '? My understanding is that reading and learning are always together, students should read more articles like from here Web Link especially academic ones to be able to gain higher marks.

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