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Kelly Roell

Test Prep

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This Week in Test Dates

Sunday April 20, 2014

What's coming up this week in test dates? Here are the registration deadlines, test administrations, score release dates and more!

Week: April 20 - April 26

Thursday, April 24

 

Free SAT Prep Through Number2.com

Thursday April 17, 2014

Dollars and CentsHave you registered to take the SAT on May 3? If so, you should be armpits-deep in your test prep right about now. If you haven't started and cashiola is the reason, then consider this: you don't have to be a billionaire to get good, quality SAT prep. Nope. You do not.

There are a bunch of sources for free SAT prep, and Number2.com is one of them. Over 2 million students and counting have used the site for test prep. You'll find practice exams, questions and words of the day to help you get ready to nail the SAT. There is even a space for a "coach" like a parent, tutor, or teacher to sign in and track your progress, so they'll know how to tailor their SAT tutoring for you. (This is a good thing. I promise). The SAT Companion (also free) automatically adapts to your skill level and can send you an email reminder about studying, not that you'd need that or anything.

So, quit bellyaching about your empty wallet and get busy. You have an exam coming up!

College Board Releases Info About Redesigned SAT

Wednesday April 16, 2014

scantronCurious about the design of the new SAT coming in 2016? Then, by all means, take a peek! The College Board has issued a draft of the test specifications.

The College Board, does, however, caution against taking the draft as the final copy. The changes are indicative of what's to come, but may be amended based on continual research.

For the time being, though, browse through the document to see a close approximation of the impending changes for the SAT exam.

Current SAT Info:

 

Test Prep Tasty Tidbit: Help Your Teen Set Study Expectations

Tuesday April 15, 2014

High School BoyHere's your test prep tasty tidbit of the week. Eat 'em up!

Help Your Teen Set Study Expectations

Sit down with your kid to determine the goals he or she has set for the semester (A-average, raising a grade in Spanish, etc.). If your teenager doesn't have any, set some goals together. Make them SMAART! Then, explain that you'd like to help him or her reach those goals, so you'll need help in setting up some expectations for the study sessions. Together, you could come up with some rules like "Facebook and cell phones can be used after you're ready for the test or iPods should be set to great music for studying, etc." Decide on some sort of reward system to enforce the ground rules (B's or above on the report card gets a later curfew on Friday nights?) and see if it makes a difference. If your kid's grades are slipping, you'll know that the study rules aren't being kept (and your kid will know that you know).

Need more help studying with your teenager? Check out these four ways to help him or study here!

ACT Video Winners!

Thursday April 10, 2014

Did you submit a video for the ACT video contest? Scholarships were at stake! If you did, but didn't win, here's a look at the video winners so you can see exactly what you were up against.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Top 5 Things Everyone Should Know About Calculators and the ACT
1st Place - $1,000 scholarship
Jordan Pin, Oronoco, MN View video.

2nd Place - $500 scholarship
Scott Svare, Savage, MN View video.

Strategies for Taking the ACT
1st Place - $1,000 scholarship
Corey McCrea, Memphis, NY View video.

2nd Place - $500 scholarship
Edward Seitz, Hometown, IL View video.

What is the ACT?
1st Place - $1,000 scholarship
Vincent Capuano, Kissimmee, FL View video.

2nd Place - $500 scholarship
Austin Sanders, Monmouth, IA View video.

Last-Minute Pointers for the ACT on April 12

Tuesday April 8, 2014

ACT Strategy SmartEek! This is it! The week of the ACT exam has arrived if you've registered for the April 12 exam.

Here are a few last-minute pointers before the big day:

  • Answer the Easy Questions First: If the question seems ridiculously difficult to you, don't waste several minutes trying to figure it out. Those tough questions aren't worth any more points than the easy ones. Circle it, skip it, and go back if you have time.
  • Choose Two Guessing Letters: If you only have one minute left, but you have a ton of questions still waiting to be answered, then choose two guessing letters (one for the ABCD questions and one for the FGHJ questions) and fill in the remaining ovals with those letters only. For instance, alternate "B" with "G" to quickly fill in the blanks. You aren't penalized for guessing, and if you choose various letters, you run the risk of missing the correct answer every time. If you choose the same letter, however, then you're guaranteed to get the correct answer at least a few times.
  • Answer Questions in Your Test Booklet: Instead of going back and forth between the test booklet and the oval sheet, just answer all the questions right in your test booklet. Every 10 questions, go to the oval sheet and fill them all in. You'll be less likely to make a mistake and it saves you time!

These strategies and more are all explained in my book, ACT Strategy Smart. A few are divulged on here - 21 Ways to Boost Your ACT Score.

Good luck on the ACT this weekend. I'm rooting for you!

 

What's On Your iPod?

Thursday April 3, 2014

Nerd with musicWhat kind of stuff are you listening to when you're studying? Researchers say that the best music for studying is lyric-free, but many of my readers disagree.

And how!

So, what kind of music are you listening to when you're trying to study or focus on a task?

Share your music playlists here, so we can all benefit from some new inspiration!

Related:

 

Teacher Worried About VAM Score Speaks Out

Tuesday April 1, 2014

High school kids aren't the only one worried about the scores they receive. Nope. Not at all. Teachers are graded, too. Did you know that? I'm sure you did if you've read anything about education in the last five years.

Just like the high schoolers out there, teachers are worried that the scores they receive aren't indicative of what they can actually do.

Take, for instance, this blog written by Julie Hiltz,  a media specialist at Lutz Elementary in Hillsborough County, Florida, and a National Board Certified Teacher with 12 years of experience. She worries that her VAM (Value Added Measure) score - a score she doesn't understand nor fully accept as equivocal to her real value - could mean the loss of her job, extra evaluations or the loss of a merit increase.

She urges law makers and educational leaders to consider her real numbers like the number of years she's been board certified (5) or the number of professional development hours she's put in to hone her craft (477).

After all, statistics are only as good as the system in place to evaluate them. And when that system is flawed, great teachers like Hiltz can become just a number and the educational system can be down another great teacher, yet again.

This Week in Test Dates

Sunday March 30, 2014

What's coming up this week in test dates? Here are the registration deadlines, test administrations, score release dates and more!

Week: March 30 - April 5

Wednesday, April 2

Saturday, April 5

 

Old? No Problem. Old Test Scores? Not an Issue.

Thursday March 27, 2014

It would be impolite to ask you your age, right?

I mean, everyone knows I'm extremely polite, so I would never think about crossing any boundaries or anything to ask a doddering old geezer like yourself for your age.

I'm a spring chicken, myself. Practically hatched yesterday. I hear my husband shouting "liar" in the background, but I'm ignoring him because he's just angry about the gray hairs he found yesterday in his sideburns.

My point, and there is one, is that if you're practically circling the drain, yet still want to get your college degree sometime before you draw your last breath, you're going to need to procure your old, old, old SAT or ACT scores to be admitted to college if it's been an eternity since you last attended.

You can't just rely on your looks, anymore. With the sagging skin, sparse hair, and creaking knees, the schools are going to want to know that you can still see the blackboard, let alone ace a class. They may even ask you to retake the SAT or ACT because things have changed quite a bit since the early 1900's when you took your exams.

In which case, magnifying glasses can do wonders for that itty-bitty font in the test booklets.

Don't hate me because of my extreme youth - I'll be tremendously old like you in another seventy years or so.

My husband says it's definitely not my youth you're hating me for, but I don't see his point, and since he's quite old himself, he's probably just having a hard time reading what I just wrote.

I'm going to go get him his glasses.

 

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