US Constitution Test Study Guide

Oops, cramming for that Constitution exam tomorrow? This US Constitution test study guide will cover the main areas you need to know to approach it with confidence. Key terms and subjects that you’ll need to remember are in bold and be sure follow points of interest to develop your answers. Need more help?

What Came Before

The United States Constitution was not the first document to dictate the political and judicial makeup of the country. The Articles of Confederation (1771-1789) provided a generally weak framework for a central government since it wanted to emphasize the independence and free-will of the 13 states. Its powers were limited to international diplomacy, national territory, and declaring war (no plans for taxation are a key problem here).

Its President (the President of the Congress) was largely ceremonial as a debate moderator for the 13 states. Failure of the states to work together meant that a better system with a strong central government needed to be put in place. However, it would be enough to win the revolutionary war and establish the Declaration of Independence (1776). This saw the 13 states as independent from Britain and that they would unite to form a nation-state. The Constitution would then need to perform a balancing act between centralizing power (not allowing states/the electorate to do as they please) and avoiding tyranny (not becoming like Britain).

Points of interest:

  • How did the War of Independence shape the political foundations of the United States?
  • What previous document/s dictated the government of the United States? What were their limitations?

Writing the document

The United States Constitution (1787) was drafted during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and defined the American government as a constitutional republic. It gives power to its citizens in the preamble by beginning with “We the People” rather than owing itself to the inherited position of a throne (Britain’s constitutional monarchy).

Those who helped draft the Constitution alongside the signers of the Declaration of Independence were the Framers of the Constitution. As expected, most of these 55 men were wealthy land-owners with a significant portion owning slaves (a smaller number were entirely dependent on slave-labor). While it only required 9 of the 13 states to be enacted, it was ensured that amendments to the constitution could be made in future. Rhode Island was the final state to ratify the constitution.

Like the Articles of Confederation, many disagreements were made over its contents which meant that compromise needed to be made. The Virginia Compromise called for representation of each state to be determined by population whereas the New Jersey Compromise wanted equal representation for each state. The joining of the two, the Connecticut Compromise, made Congress bicameral.

Points of interest:

  • Who wrote the Constitution? Where and when was this conducted?
  • What are amendments and how many have been made?
  • What is the term for how power is shared between federal, state and local government?

 

How the Constitution designs our Political System

The Constitution divided the government into three branches who would provide checks and balances on their powers. These were the Legislative (congress), Executive (the president) and Judicial (the supreme court).

Legislative

The Legislative Branch is set out first and given the most attention. It’s job is to make laws in congress which is separated into two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is a requirement of the constitution that Congress assembles at least once a year. As of 2019, the House of Reps (lower chamber) consists of 435 seats that are divided amongst the 50 states on the basis of their population size.

At the time, Native Americans were not counted in the census and “all other persons” (slaves) were counted as 3/5 of a person, although this was stopped by Amendment 14.

Elections for representatives are held every 2 years with candidates needing to be residents of their state, 25 or older and having been a citizen for at least 7 years. The Speaker of the House is elected by majority, meaning it will be the leader of the controlling party.

The Senate (upper chamber) is comprised of 2 seats for each state, making 100 members total as of 2019.  Senators serve 6 year terms with the requirement that they are at least 30, have been citizens for at least 9 years, and are residents of their state. The Senate is led by its Presiding Officer who is usually the Vice President.

Congressional members are elected by direct popular vote from their constituents (congressional districts elect the House of Reps whereas Statewide elections appoint senators). This system of legislature is a representative democracy where citizens elect members to make laws on their behalf (this is opposed to direct democracy where citizens would vote on matters individually). This is an example of the constitution centralizing power while avoiding tyranny of monarchy.

Section 8 approves Congress to conduct taxation which avoids the problem of weak governance set out in the Articles of Confederation.

Bills can originate from both houses but must also be approved by the majority in both.

The President must also approve, but this can be avoided in different circumstances. If the President rejects a bill it can return to the chamber it was proposed by and become law if 2/3 of its seats approve. Similarly, if the President sits on a bill for 10 days without rejection it will become law. Congress has the power to impeach the President. It is initiated in the House of Reps and subsequently tried in the Senate. Congress also has the ability to declare war.

Test your knowledge:

  1. Which chamber has two representatives from each state?
    1. Senate
    2. House of Reps
  2. What is the difference between representative and direct democracy?
  3. An election is being held for the Senate in Ohio. Who determines the vote?
    1. The House of Reps
    2. Residents of Ohio
    3. The Electoral College
    4. No one, senators are appointed by local judges

Executive

The Constitution then defines the Executive branch made up the President, the Electoral College, and the Cabinet. The Electoral College is responsible for electing the President. The amount of Electoral College members in each state is equivalent to the sum of their congressional seats:

Senate seats + House of Representative Seats = number of electoral voters per state

When citizens vote ‘for the President’ they are effectively voting for a potential elector who will in turn vote for their Presidential choice. No part of the constitution requires electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote. The candidate must win the majority of electoral votes (270 out of 358) to assume the Presidency.

The President is titled the ‘Commander in Chief’ by the Constitution, assuming the highest position in all branches of the United States Armed Forces and the executive. A President is tasked with directing foreign treaties and nominating judges to the Supreme Court. Presidents enforce bills passed by the legislative branch.

Presidential candidates must be at least 35, a natural-born citizen, and a resident for at least 14 years of their life.

Presidents serve 4 year terms and could initially serve as many terms as possible, although 22nd Amendment (1951) placed a 2-term limit on the position. FDR is the only President to have served 4 terms.

If a President is incapable of holding office then the Presidential line of succession determines who takes their place. The Vice President would be first followed by the Speaker of the House and so on. The President is able to pardon anyone who commits crimes against the United States. The President can also veto any bill put forward by Congress.

Test your knowledge:

  1. True or false: the President is elected via popular vote.
  2. What decides the number of Electoral College Voters?
  3. The exact number is ratified in the Constitution
  4. Proportional to population-size of each state with a maximum of 538
  5. Sum of Congressional Seats
  6. What are the three requirements for Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates?

Points of interest:

  1. What could have motivated the constitutional framers to enact an Electoral College?

 

Judicial

The 3rd article establishes the Supreme Court comprising of 9 judges who serve life appointments, although they can be removed via impeachment. Congress has the ability to set up inferior courts. These courts can rule on all cases that full under the Constitution. The Supreme Court is charged with interpreting the law and deciding what is constitutional and unconstitutional. The Constitution outlines treason as its only crime. The Supreme Court is able to declare any law or act committed by the Executive or Legislature as unconstitutional.

Test your knowledge:

  1. How many Judges are on the supreme court?
  2. 7
  3. 9
  4. 13
  1. How are Supreme Court judges selected?
  2. Nominated by the President and confirmed by both chambers of Congress
  3. Nominated by the President and confirmed by the House of Reps.
  4. Nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate
  5. Directly appointed by the President
  1. What branch of government can have their actions deemed unconstitutional by the Judiciary?
  2. Legislative
  3. Executive
  4. Both

Federalism and Amendments

The Constitution has been very effective in centralizing the power of government compared to previous attempts. Some feared that this threatened the rights of states and individuals, namely James Madison who had written the first 10 amendments to the Constitution entitled the Bill of Rights.

Notable was the freedom of speech and separation of church and state (1st), the right to bear arms (2nd), the need for warrants (4th) and the right to not plead against yourself in court (5th). The 10th amendment ensures Federalism, in that power is shared between national and state governments. This meant that any power that isn’t described as Congressional belongs to the states of the people. However, the Elastic Clause allows for Congress to act outside the explicit language of the Constitution if it can rationalise that it fits within its delegated powers.

Amendments can be proposed by 2/3 of both chambers of Congress or state legislatures. They are ratified by ¾ of state legislatures or state ratifying conventions. The president has no official role in these proceedings. As of 2019, 33 amendments have been made to the Constitution.

Points of interest

  • The 33 amendments vary in scope and effect. What are the most important amendments in your view? What are the least important?
  • What is problematic about the Elastic Clause? Would it be supported or objected by federalists?

You Might Also Be Interested In: Learn How to Study for a Test or Course the Easy Way

United States Constitution Test Study Guide

 These are some of the topics that you want to dive into deeply and make sure that you can cover at least the basics of each whether it’s for the US History exam, government and politics test or an AP Exam. Often you’ll see questions coming right from these topics, so take the time to check them out and know the answers!

  • Functions of the Judicial, Legislative, and Executive Branches
  • Definition of Pardon
  • Head of the Executive Branch
  • # of Justices, including the Chief Justice, make up the Supreme Court
  • Term of a Supreme Court Justice
  • Term of a member in the House of Representatives and Senate
  • Qualifications for a member of the House of Representatives
  • Who holds the concurrent powers?
  • What Amendment states no state can deny people their basic rights?
  • 1st Ten Amendments is called what?
  • What year did the Constitution become effective?
  • Who presides over the Senate?
  • What amendment guarantees the right to bear arms?
  • What amendment provides rights for the accused in terms of punishment?
  • What amendment contains a due process clause?
  • What amendment ended slavery?
  • What 2 things did the Declaration of Independence do?
  • Who had the final say in all matters under the Articles of Confederation?
  • What was the form of government in which power is handed down from one generation to the next?
  • What were the most striking characteristics of the framers of the Constitution?
  • What city did the constitutional convention take place in?
  • Know the difference between direct and representative democracy.
  • How many Presidents have served a complete four terms in office?
  • What amendment addresses the term limits of the President?
  • What group elects the President?
  • Know the differences between the Virginia, New Jersey, and Connecticut Compromises.
  • What is impeachment an example of?  Who holds the power of impeachment?  Who is the jury?
  • How many colonies were at the First Continental Congress?
  • What is the minimum number of electoral votes to be elected President?
  • How many members are there in the House of Representatives and Senate?
  • What type of government does the Constitution create?
  • Know what the elastic clause does for the constitution.
  • In order to add an amendment to the constitution – it has to pass by what margin and does it need a presidential signature?
  • What does the Constitution state that no person may be deprived of?
  • A trial by jury cannot be denied if the value of the lawsuit exceeds what $ amount.
  • What is the minimum infraction necessary for the impeachment of a judge?
  • How many times per year is Congress required to be assembled by the Constitution?
  • Know what a warrant does for law officials.
  • Does the Constitution state anything regarding Church and State?
  • Know the Presidential succession.
  • Know the President’s job descriptions – chief citizen, chief diplomat, commander-in-chief, chief legislator, and chief of state.
  • Be able to identify procedures of the US Government as expressed, implied, inherent. (4.1 worksheet)
  • Be able to identify what 10 key Presidents were known for.  (list of Presidents on Review Day)
  • How many amendments are in the Constitution.
  • What is a filibuster?
  • Who has the power to declare war?
  • When are congressional elections held?
  • Does the 5th Amendment guarantee that you can’t be tried twice for the same crime?
  • What 2 groups make up Congress?
  • What court case established Judicial Review?
  • Which state was the last state to ratify the Constitution?
  • Where does all of the power of government agencies come from?

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SAT Math Topics: 5 Tips on What You Need to Know

Want to know what are the new SAT math topics? The math section of the SAT is designed to test your knowledge on problem solving, critical thinking, modeling, algebraic functions and using tools strategically. Seems like pretty broad concepts doesn’t it? Don’t worry, this is your definitive guide on the exact SAT math review topics that are currently being covered. By the end of this article you will know what math is on the new SAT, and how to review for it effectively!

SAT Math Review

The SAT math topics are about getting real. The good news is that the SAT doesn’t test you on every single math topic you have ever had studied. Feel free to breathe a sight of relief. Instead, it selects areas deemed the most relevant in college courses and careers.

The SAT Math test focuses on areas that play a large role in colleges and a variety of careers, therefore applying real world math. These focus areas are:

  • Heart of Algebra – create, manipulate and solve algebraic equations. These questions center around linear equations – equations that involve two variables that change as stated by a consistent pattern.
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis – is all about being quantitatively literate. These questions require you to create and use a model, as well as understanding the difference between the model predictions and actual data collected.
  • Passport to Advance Math – includes questions that require the manipulation of complex equations and functions that are typically needed in STEM-based careers.

On top of these areas, the test also covers additional key concepts that don’t fall into any of the above categories. These include coordinate geometry, basic trigonometry, area and volume.

5 Ways to Review the SAT Math Topics

1. Know how to complete grid in questions

Students are often given advice to learn the style of questions and the format of the test. But what does this mean when it comes to the SAT? In the SAT math section there are multiple choice questions and grid-in questions. Answering multiple choice questions are fairly straightforward – simply select the answer you think is correct.

Grid-in questions are different. These are questions where you are going to have to come up with the correct answer on your own. Don’t ask me why “grid in” is the terms used, I don’t have that answer! 20% of the questions on the SAT math test are grid-in questions so it’s definitely worth your while to understand how they are answered. You are given the instructions for the grid-in answers, but reading them can waste a lot of time. Instead, familiarize yourself with the instructions on practice tests – the instructions are the same. This allows you to spend more time thinking about your answers on test day.

2. Become familiar with the provided formula sheet

Many students breathe a sigh of relief when they hear they don’t have to learn every single formula. But that doesn’t mean you can rest easy. You still need to know when to use each formula. Even knowing where the formulas are located on the sheet will save you valuable time. Have the sheet available during every single revision session and refer to it regularly. Pin it somewhere for you to study on a regular basis – a mirror, the refrigerator, or on the back of the bathroom door!

3. Work backwards

Sometimes it’s easier to start by looking at the multiple choice answers available. You may be lucky enough to rule out a couple of options straight away, but if not, try putting the various options into the equation. This tactic has potential to actually be more time consuming, so may not be ideal for every question, but it’s certainly a good one to have in your bag of tricks.

4. Use the daily practice app

The College Board not only provides official practice tests, but also an app to help track your progress. You will receive a question each day with hints and explanations. It’s a great way to maintain your math skills and to remind you to keep preparing for your math SAT!

5. Make the most of other subjects

It may come as no surprise that you use math skills in a variety of subjects. Because the SAT math section has such a focus on real world math, subjects such as science and social science are incredibly relevant. Apply your math knowledge in these subjects and you are unknowingly preparing yourself for the SAT math test. Any questions that involve data analysis, graphs, percentages, ratios and tables are useful in preparation for the SAT.

Topics Covered in the New Math SAT

As you have already learned, the math SAT covers three main topics, with anything leftover categorized under additional math. This section will give you a SAT math topics breakdown, providing you with a thorough understanding of exactly what math is on the SAT.

The Heart of Algebra

In this section, questions are focused around equations based on real-world topics such as distance, speed, mass, volume or everyday financial topics.
Questions may ask you to;

  • Solve linear equations and linear inequalities
  • Interpret linear functions
  • Answer equation word problems
  • Graph linear equations
  • Solve linear function word problems
  • Solve systems of linear equations
  • Answering these questions may require you to;
    • Use multiple steps to simplify an expression or equation
    • Select a graph that shows an algebraic equation that you saw in Algebra 1 course or Algebra 2. or choose the equation that describes a graph
    • Indicate how a graph would be affected by a change in its equation

You Might Also Be Interested in: How to Study Math: 35 Math Tips You Should Know

Problem Solving and Data Analysis

In this section, questions revolve around the application of ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning. We’ve come up with a collection of more topics and what might be asked of you below:

  • Ratios, rates, percentages, units, and proportions – solve multi-step problems with a given ratio, rate, percentage or unit. You will also need to know how to calculate ratios, rates, percentages and units using the information provided.
  • Table data and data inferences– analyze the data presented on a table and use it to answer questions
  • Scatterplots – select the best equation to fit various scatterplots.
  • Graphs and tables – understand and identify key features, as well as summarizing and evaluating the data presented in them
  • Data collection and conclusions – determine whether data collection methods are accurate and reliable
  • Statistics – determine mean, median, mode, range, and/or standard deviation

Passport to Advanced Math

Students who are interested in STEM-based careers will need to pay particular attention to these type of questions. They involve complex equations and functions, and focus on the following areas;

  • Solving quadratic equations
  • Interpreting nonlinear expressions
  • Quadratic and exponential word problems
  • Radicals and rational exponents
  • Operations with rational expressions and polynomials
  • Polynomial factors and graphs
  • Nonlinear equation graphs
  • Linear and quadratic systems
  • Structure in expressions
  • Isolating quantities
  • Functions

Now that you are familiar with the new SAT math topics you can go ahead and prepare easily and aim to get the results that you need for schools! Always remember that the SAT math exam is only covering information that you’ve already learned. So prepping and taking some time to review the material will help to refresh your memory and remember how to quickly and accurately complete problems in these areas. Remember to work hard and apply yourself, the rest is easy!

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What Subjects Are on the ACT?

Are you in the process of applying to colleges? Are you bombarded by information on entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT? Are you trying to figure out what subjects are on the ACT or SAT as well?

College applications are often confusing and stressful, but you don’t have to worry. Let this be your guide to help you understand what subjects are on the ACT, how it is scored, and a few other crucial tips to success. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming once you understand the basics of each of the tests.

The ACT is divided into four, sometimes five sections – the writing test is optional, so it is important to check as some colleges or universities require its completion. So check all of your schools before you make any decisions regarding the the reading section.

Check out the table below for a simple summary of what subjects are on the ACT.

Subjects on the ACT Test:

English

  • Number of questions: 75
  • Type of questions: Multiple Choice
  • Section Time: 45 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Grammar,
    • punctuation,
    • sentence structure,
    • strategy,
    • organization and rhetorical skills.

Math

  • Number of questions: 60
  • Type of questions: Multiple Choice
  • Section Time: 60 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Algebra I and II,
    • geometry,
    • trigonometry

Reading

  • Number of questions: 40
  • Type of questions: Multiple choice related to four different passages
  • Section Time: 35 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Reading comprehension of what is stated or implied around topics such as prose fiction, social studies,
    • humanities,
    • natural sciences

Science

  • Number of questions: 40
  • Type of questions: Multiple choice linked to scientific passages
  • Section Time: 35 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Interpretation,
    • analysis,
    • evaluation,
    • problem-solving,
    • reasoning

Writing

  • Number of questions: 1
  • Type of questions: Essay
  • Section Time: 40 min
  • Topics Covered:
    • Various writing skills

How Long is the ACT?

In total the ACT takes 2 hours and 55 minutes, or 3 hours and 25 minutes if you sit the writing section of the test as well this time around.

Now, let’s look at each section in a little more detail. By getting an understanding of each of the subjects, you can better understand what’s covered as well as if this test is a better option for you compared to the SAT test.

In addition, this will help if you feel you need a bit of extra help in a certain area.

English

The 75 questions in English section are divided between five passages that you have to review and understand. This means that each passage has 15 questions related to it. Some questions will be linked to the passage as a whole, while others will be more specific and draw your attention  to a particular part of the passage. It’s up to you to read the passages and then answer each of the questions to the best of your ability.

Math

Quite simply, there are 60 different multiple choice questions relating to algebra, geometry and trigonometry – with the focus in that order. In other words, if trigonometry isn’t your forte, don’t stress too much as there is significantly more focus on the other two areas. When studying, your focus should be on algebra and geometry. A calculator is permitted for the math section of the test.

Reviewing and test prep can make a tremendous difference in your results here. So make the time for that before the exam.

You Might Also Be Interested In: How to Study Math: 35 Easy Math Tips You Need to Know

Reading

There are four passages in the reading section, each with ten questions. The questions will relate directly to the passage, sometimes drawing your attention to a particular part of the passage, and will test your ability to make comparisons, understand ideas, draw generalizations, and determine the meaning of words, statements or phrases within a particular context.

This is an area that makes many student nervous as there can be a wide range of topics in the passages. Some of the passages you might have more knowledge of than others. Just do the best you can with what you’re offered, knowing that all the other students taking the test are facing the same topics.

Science

The science section of the ACT also revolves around passages. These passages will include graphs, diagrams, charts, and tables, followed by around four to seven questions. The questions will require you to gather the information presented in the passage and choose the most correct answer from the selection of four multiple choice responses.

If you have trouble recalling scientific information, don’t worry, you are tested more on your skills and ability to analyze, evaluate and interpret, than you are on actual science-based information.

Writing

This optional section of the ACT requires you to read a small passage on a given topic and evaluate perspectives on the topic. You will need to show that you can analyze different arguments by forming different viewpoints and opinions into a coherent essay.

It’s important here to not only present a thoughtful response but to also present it well. Taking a bit of time to outline what your thoughts will be before you start writing can make this section a lot easier as well as get you better results.

How is the ACT Scored?

At first this may seem a little complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. It’s not quite as straightforward as recording how many questions you answered correctly – that would be really simple! But that is the first step.

Basically, you get a mark for every correct answer, blank or incorrect answers receive no marks. This is called your raw score. Your raw score is then converted to your scaled score, which is a number between one and 36.  The reason the scores are scaled is to ensure results are consistent across tests taken on different dates and in different locations.

Act vs SAT, Which to Choose?

Deciding between ACT vs the SAT is a question that many students ask. And many of those end up taking both tests one or more times. However, perhaps it can be made a bit simpler for you? Look at the additional topics within the ACT test. Are you someone that does well in science? Then taking the ACT test where you get the boost from the science section might help your overall score.

Whichever way you decide to go, just make sure that you create a plan to prepare for the exam and follow the plan. We wish you the best of luck this year as you navigate the college process!

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How to Study: A Local Tutor Can Beat the Options

If you want to learn how to study and if a local tutor can help better than the options, read on!  When it comes to academic success, there are many avenues to help you achieve a positive result. Re-working problems, reviewing all information from the course and teacher as well as solid test preparation skills can be helped by books, online courses and local tutors.

Naturally, your individual learning style and personality will dictate how you you learn best, and what works for one student may not necessarily allow another student to achieve the same success. That’s why we’ve decided to look at several different options to help you decide the best way for you to gain the academic accolades you deserve.  After all, if you’re going to be in school or taking those tests, then you may as well get the best results possible!

Books

For many years books have been the ‘go to’ for both teachers and learners. Textbooks provide practice questions, explanations, examples and, quite often, answers. There are also plenty of books that explain theories and provide summaries of major topics, regardless of the subject. Being well-read is beneficial in subjects such as English and history, so the more you read the better your results will be – providing you take in the content that you’ve covered of course! Reading provides you with an extensive vocabulary and a thorough background knowledge on multiple topics. The overall impact that it can have on your studying ability as well as grades is going to be the subject of another post!  It’s really a game changer….so start reading more! Books are incredibly accessible, especially if you join the library or various online sites. (And if you don’t want to read, then listen!

Pros:

  • You can use sticky notes to mark important pages so you can refer back to particular points of information if you need to clarify anything.
  • If you own the book you can make notes in the margin and even highlight important parts of the text.
  • You can easily borrow books from libraries for free.
  • Many textbooks are available second hand.
  • There is quite often an extensive range of books on any one subject so you can choose the version that best suits you.
  • Some people find it easier to physically flick through pages than scrolling on a tablet or computer screen.
  • Studies have also shown that students actually do better and learn more using actual books over electronic books and note taking.

Cons:

  • Books are often expensive to buy.
  • They take up space which can be problematic if you have a small room.
  • If you don’t own the book you can’t write your own notes and thoughts.
  • They are heavy to carry around between classes and study sessions.

Online Courses

The internet has opened up a wide world of studying opportunities, right at your fingertips. You can now study virtually any subject from even the most remote location. Online courses use a variety of teaching and learning tools including live chats, online lectures or webinars, practice questions, corresponding documents and study guides, forums with fellow students, and videos. Despite the beneficial aspects of online courses, you need to be very careful that the course you wish to take is genuine, covers the material you need to know and will be beneficial to your future.

Pros:

  • Online courses mean that anyone can learn and prepare for exams regardless of their location.
  • Some of these courses are free.
  • Due to the wide variety of courses, you are bound to find one that suits your needs.
  • You can study on your own time & schedule, when it suits you.
  • Online courses often come with a plethora of online resources that you can regularly refer to.

Cons:

  • The course may not be approved by some schools or programs and the person or people running the course may not have adequate qualifications.
  • Online courses can be expensive.
  • You have to rely on your internet connection, particularly if there is a live chat or video component.
  • Courses can be based in different time zones, making real-time help sometimes difficult.
  • You have to be quite internally motivated to achieve positive results.

Local Tutors

Tutoring is a great way to solidify your learning or help you come to terms with subjects you are finding difficult. Tutoring is either done one-on-one or in small groups, both having their own set of advantages and disadvantages. You may find some online tutoring services that are excellent, but local tutoring is definitely better for many over online tutors, especially if you need a little extra motivation and help to stay on track.

The biggest downside to tutoring is that it costs, especially if you want some of the top rated and reviewed tutors. But there is good news. Finding affordable tutoring services is not as difficult as you may think. Typing ‘cheap tutors near me’ into Google will be of some help, but you still have to trawl through several webpages and options before you find what you are looking for.

To make your life easier, check out Private Tutoring at Home. It’s a one stop shop to find a tutor near you.  Plus, if you and the tutor don’t hit it off, you won’t pay for that first session.  It’s part of the “good fit guarantee” that is offered.

Pros:

  • One-on-one tutoring involves lessons that cater exactly for your individual needs. Even small groups sessions are more successful that large classes.
  • A good tutor will keep you motivated and focused.
  • You can increase the number of tutoring sessions as exams approach, or if you are having particular difficulties with a subject.
  • Your tutor will use many different resources and teaching strategies to ensure you understand what is being taught.
  • You are the number one priority – you’re not competing for attention against other students.

Cons:

  • If you live in a remote or rural area, it might be difficult to find a tutor in your area.
  • Tutoring sessions can be expensive.
  • You may have to try a couple tutors before finding ‘the one’.

The bottom line is that the best way to learn content or prepare for an exam is to use a range of different learning strategies. For example, if you study using only books, you are limiting yourself. However, when you use a tutor they will generally teach using books, online resources, worksheets, videos and more! You are getting the benefits of all these learning tools in one – and the session is clearly designed to your learning needs and requirements which should mean faster, easier and better results.

While the choice is entirely yours, using a local tutor is well worth the cost and is highly recommended. After all, you can’t put a price on a valuable education or getting the results in a course that you need!

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Only pay for the time you need.

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Pros and Cons of Year Round School: Is Year-Round Education The Way Forward?

Have you heard the talk of year round education? The long summer break may fill every child with excitement – days full of fun and no commitments, time to spend with friends without the stress of school. For most parents, the summer brings the challenge of finding ways to entertain their children. Sure, there is the allure of a family vacation, but for many parents, juggling work, children and finances is no easy task. Year-round schooling is becoming more popular in many areas and is something the rest of the world has been doing for years. It certainly addresses a lot of the issues that parents face, but does it really mean better education for our children? Read on to find out the pros and cons of year-round schooling.

To understand the various benefits and drawbacks of a year-round schooling system, this article will delve into a number of factors favored by both advocates and critics to help create an objective view. Every child and family is unique, so a one-size-fits-all model shouldn’t apply. Having the option to send your child to a year-round school adds another opportunity to consider and provides parents with more chances to give their children the best education possible.

Does a Year-Round School Mean More Days at School?

First and foremost, the idea that year-round schooling means more days at school is simply not true. The model still operates on the basic system of 180 days classroom time, it is just allocated in a different way.

So if children aren’t spending any more time in the classroom, how does year-round schooling have a positive impact on children’s learning? Let’s look at the system in greater detail. Most year-round schools operate on a 45-15 day plan. This means that students attend school for 45 days, or nine weeks, and then have a three week break at the end of that time period. Other common timelines include a 60-20 and a 90-30 plan.

No matter which way you slice it, the holiday periods are more evenly spread throughout the year and the time spent at school remains the same, just in smaller chunks of time.

The Effect of Summer Brain Drain

While a lengthy summer vacation will certainly help to reinvigorate both students and teachers, it can be detrimental to a quality education.

Children who don’t participate in activities that stimulate them over the summertime break will find that come the start of school in September, their brain function has depleted somewhat. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as children who speak English as a second language are the ones that would benefit most from more continuous learning.

Those students that are able to take part in camps, activities, travel and all the other opportunities that are available for young people are going to remain stimulated, interested and learning.  Their minds will remain active and they will have less brain drain or learning loss over the summer.

Participating in a year round school program that has shorter but more frequent breaks will lessen the impact of being out of school.  There’s simply less time to lose the gains that were made during the semester prior according to those in favor of this type of program.

Overcrowding and Multi-functional Buildings

Schools are not cheap to build, so it seems like a waste to have the buildings empty for almost a quarter of the year. Even in a year-round model, the amount of time the building is in use does remain the same. The argument here comes from some school districts who have implemented the year-round model on a rotational system to help alleviate the problem of overcrowding. This is called the multi-track system.

A multi-track system effectively divides students into groups, each operating on their own calendar, meaning that the school buildings are in use all year round. Sure, there would be an increase in running costs of the school but it is certainly a cheaper way to cater for a growing number of students than it would be by building an entirely new school.

A big problem here is for parents who may have children with different school calendars struggling to arrange childcare, not to mention the impossibility of a whole family vacation!

Summer Opportunities

For older children, a long summer break gives them the opportunity to take on a summer job and learn the value of hard work, commitment, and how to manage their personal finances.

With shorter breaks, these opportunities may not present themselves as frequently or as easily.  In the year round model, students would likely have to take different jobs that would run year round or seasonally while still going to school.

Working Out Family Logistics

Many parents already have a tough time balancing work and their children’s education. Arrangements for morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up need to be made, after school activities arranged and vacation programs booked. So, you can only imagine how much trickier this would be if different schools, even those within the same district, worked under different systems. Parents could potentially find themselves in a literal logistical nightmare!

How Do Teachers Cope?

We all know teaching is a stressful job. Teachers work far more hours than those of the school day, spending their evenings, weekends, and holidays planning and reviewing and grading. Teacher burnout is a real problem, with about 8% of the profession leaving each year.

This is one are that may be reduced if schools offer more frequent breaks for not only their students but their faculty and staff as well. Sure, teachers will spend a lot of their vacation time doing work, but the time away from the classroom is often enough to sufficiently recharge the batteries and would enable more qualified, experienced staff to stay in the industry.

What About the Rest of the World?

Most other countries do not offer students such a lengthy summer break as we see here in the US and they seem to manage just fine. In fact, many of these countries are ranked higher than the US in their educational capabilities and ratings.  Students are still rewarded with breaks, and quite decent ones, and the number of days spent at school doesn’t differ greatly.

An interesting point to note is that students in the US generally have longer school days than many other countries and also start formal schooling much younger, however, the results in how students are doing compared to other countries for all this extra education isn’t showing.

One example of this, Finland is well-renowned for its successful educational system. Children in Finland start school around age six or seven and attend classes for roughly four hours each day. Of course, Finland and the United States are two very different countries so comparing them is hard, but it certainly gives some food for thought as to how much schooling children need in order to be successful.

Conclusion

Despite all of this, shouldn’t the focus be on quality not quantity? Does year-round schooling make for a more productive and effective education? Perhaps it does. But a long summer break may also lead to further opportunities for many children. Bottom line – give your child the best education you possibly can, whatever this may be.  Let us know your thoughts and comments in the comment section below!  This is definitely a topic that most of us have an opinion on.

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What is a Tutor and What Does a Tutor Do?

Are you unsure about what is a tutor and how tutoring can help you or your child?  Don’t worry, you aren’t alone!  We get asked that question a LOT!

What is a Tutor?

When it comes to achieving academic success you often hear the phrase ‘get a tutor’. This is all well and good, but it is probably useful to know what is a tutor and how tutoring can help before you hire one. The most common, and obvious, reason that parents enlist the support of a tutor is to help their child. It doesn’t matter whether the child is struggling or needs a boost to excel further, the one-on-one personalized sessions are invaluable. Keep reading to find out just how valuable this can be for students and parents alike.

Teacher or Tutor?

The terms teacher and tutor are often thrown around interchangeably, but ‘teacher’ isn’t just a tutor synonym. There are a few key differences when it comes to what they actually do. Both have a student’s best interests at heart and work incredibly hard to help each student reach their individual academic potential. However, due to the nature of their work, strategies and outcomes will often vary. First, let’s look at the role and responsibility of teachers;

  • Teachers must follow a set curriculum and provide learning opportunities to many children at a time.
  • Teachers need to develop a ‘best-fit’ teaching strategy. This means that their lessons aim to try and cater for a variety of needs and abilities. Whilst every care is taken to ensure this is done, it is inevitable that some students won’t receive the exact information they need.
  • Teachers will guide students to reach particular targets. These should be achieved within a certain time frame, but it is hard to monitor and record.

On the other hand,

What Does a Tutor Do?

  • They work with small groups or, most commonly, with individuals. This allows for the lesson to cater exactly for the student’s needs.
  • It can also be adapted as the lessons progress depending on the understanding of the students.
  • Tutors follow the lead of their students. Lessons are designed around what the student needs to work on or what they what to achieve.
  • They often reinforce what has been taught in the classroom, allowing for content to really be absorbed by the student.

You Might Also Be Interested In: How to Study Math: 35 Math Tips You Should Know

Role of a Tutor

There really aren’t too many down sides to tutoring or having the help of someone. It is equally beneficial for struggling students right through to high achievers. Here are some of the top reasons why tutoring is helpful and what role a tutor can play:

  • Improves academic performance – this one is obvious, but it is important to remember that these improvements may bring a student up from the bottom of the class, or push a middle student to the top.
  • Boosts self-esteem – when a student learns and understands the content being taught to them they gain confidence. This confidence is valuable not just in the classroom and around test time, but will also filter into other aspects of their lives.
  • Caters for individual needs – the one-on-one sessions are designed to meet the specific needs for that individual student. Unlike a classroom scenario, a tutor can continue to work with the student until they fully understand the content.
  • Offers a different perspective – in subjects such as math, there are often various ways to reach the same answer. A teacher doesn’t always have the time to explain concepts differently to each student therefore many children miss out. A tutor has the time to explain and re-explain a question and technique until it makes sense to the student.
  • Encourages communication – when working with a tutor, students must learn to communicate their needs and ask questions. This helps them build a different type of relationship than those with their parents, friends, and teachers.
  • Teaches problem-solving skills – when students are guided they can learn to think for themselves in a way that provides them with skills they will use later in life.
  • Helps understand standardized tests – even the smartest students can struggle with these unique tests. A tutor can provide clarity on the format of standardized tests and the type of questions asked, as well as providing feedback on practice questions.
  • Detailed and specific feedback – due to the one-on-one nature of tutoring sessions, students will receive feedback that is specific to them and their goals. Quite often this feedback is immediate, helping students to continue to improve at a faster rate than they would in the classroom.
  • Consolidates learning – if a tutoring session complements what is taught in the classroom, students will be able to store the information for longer and will have a greater chance of regurgitating the information when it is needed, such as during a test.
  • A tutor is neither a teacher or a parent-children will respond differently when working with a tutor. Teachers are highly qualified but are catering to the needs of the group. Parents, while having a child’s best interests at heart, do not have the training to teach the content effectively. Children can also be stubborn creatures and enlisting the help of mom or dad is often not the done thing. A tutor sits somewhere in the middle of teacher and parent and will provide surprisingly positive results.
  • Less embarrassment – quite often students are hesitant to ask questions in class out of fear of sounding stupid. This severely hinders their learning as they may never fully understand the content and concepts being taught. Working alone with a tutor eliminates this fear and students can ask any type of question at any point during the session.
  • It can take place in a different learning environment – you can find a tutor online to cater to your needs and the sessions can also take place online. Learning from the comfort of home can often support students as it is an environment they are familiar with. Using screens and technology often engages younger learners more than traditional teaching methods.
  • Eliminates learning loss over holiday periods – by continually using a tutor throughout the year, you eliminate any ‘periods of no learning’. Students can continue to learn, or use the time to consolidate learning of practice test-style questions.

Now that you know what is a tutor and what does a tutor do, you can decide what you or your child needs to excel this year! Finding the right help to get the results that you want is critical to your success.  Good luck and please let us know how we can help.

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ASVAB Study Tips (even if you don’t have a lot of time)

Studying and preparing for any test is difficult and stressful, especially one where the results so directly impact on your future. The ASVAB is a unique test so knowing how to study for the ASVAB is critical. You need some pretty specific ASVAB study tips to help you ace this exam!

This article will clarify what exactly the ASVAB is and how you can achieve success without stress or pressure, even with minimal preparation time.

As you know, the ASVAB, or Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery Test, is required by anyone wishing to enlist in the United States military service or Coast Guard. It is a multiple choice test that is divided into several categories.

Each military field has a minimum score that you must achieve to gain acceptance. However, in many cases it is safe to say that entrance will be granted with a score of 50. For this reason, you will want to figure out how to pass the ASVAB with a 50 (minimum) to give yourself the greatest chance of a positive result.

This article offers some simple, yet effective, tips and strategies to help you reach your desired score. In order to be successful, it is important to know how to study for the ASVAB, so keep reading.

ASVAB Test Areas

Each of the ASVAB test areas are designed to measure your aptitude and capabilities in certain fields deemed essential by the military. All the content has been covered during high school, so you already have the knowledge required to pass. It’s just a matter of applying the knowledge and understanding the format of the test. The results from the tests help decide which Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), or Army Jobs, the applicant is most suited for. The ASVAB Test areas are;

General Science
• Arithmetic Reasoning
• Word Knowledge
• Paragraph Comprehension
• Mathematics Knowledge
• Electronics Information
• Auto and Shop Information
• Mechanical Comprehension
• Assembling Objects

Some military branches will also use an area called Verbal Expression in their requirements. Verbal Expression is the combined score of Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension.

How Many Questions are on the ASVAB?

The answer isn’t exactly straightforward. There is a difference between to computer-based test and the pen and paper version. The former has 145 questions, whilst the pen and paper applicants have to attempt 225 questions. In both versions, the questions are fairly evenly distributed amongst the test areas so it is important to spread your study time equally.

Six Sensational ASVAB Study Tips

Don’t let the slightly unusual structure and complicated scoring system deter you from sitting for the ASVAB. You’d be surprised at how simple and straightforward your preparation can be.

If you are nervous about taking the ASVAB, follow these points and you will be on your way to success – you might even learn how to pass the ASVAB with a lot higher than a 50!

  1. Plan a realistic study schedule – like many other tests, your results often reflect the time and effort you have put into preparing for them. The most effective way to ensure you have enough time to thoroughly review and prepare is to create a study schedule, and stick to it! The only way you will actually follow your study schedule is to make sure it is a realistic one. Start by making note of all your necessary commitments and then fill in the blanks with study blocks of around two hours at a time, a sufficient study period. You should also make note of what exactly you will be studying during each session to ensure you have everything covered
  2. Practice, practice, practice – this is another familiar test preparation recommendation. The best way to study for the ASVAB is to take as many practice tests as you can. Not only will this help you understand the format and style of the questions, it will help highlight any areas of weakness. If you notice some weak spots, adjust your study schedule accordingly to help you improve. You can find plenty of practice tests online and a great review book is this one!
  3. Perform weekly reviews – allocate a session once a week to test yourself. You can take a practice test in timed conditions or assess your weak areas using other means. By doing this, your learning process will be ongoing and there won’t be any gaps in your preparation.
  4. Understand the format – this is more crucial than learning the content. Make yourself aware that there are points lost for incorrect answers and therefore guessing isn’t always a viable option. In the paper version of the test, blank answers are considered incorrect, whereas blank answers in the computer tests will incur a penalty. Know which format of the test you are taking and focus on its structure and key elements.
  5. Get a tutor – a tutor can help with the content, but more importantly they will help you become familiar with the test format. Using a tutor from Private Tutoring at Home will alleviate the pressure and stress that often comes with both test preparation and test day.
  6. Enroll in an ASVAB prep course – whether you attend one in person or participate in an online version. These courses will guide you through the style of questions asked on the ASVAB and have the added bonus of ensuring your study schedule stays on track.

You Might Also Enjoy: What is the ASVAB Test? Getting an ASVAB Tutor Can Help

What if I’m Running out of Time?

Like most tests, it is in your best interest to allow yourself plenty of preparation time. However, sometimes things don’t work out exactly how you planned and you find yourself with less than a desirable timeframe to work with. Don’t worry, success is still achievable. You’ll just have to tweak your study timetable a little. These ASVAB study tips are designed to help give yourself the best shot with as little as one month study.

  • Sit and take a baseline practice test – if you are short on time, the first thing you should do is sit a practice test in exam conditions (you can get some sample tests HERE). Use the results to help highlight your areas of weakness.
  • Create your study schedule based around these weaknesses and ensure each study block is a minimum of 45 minutes and no longer than two hours. Any less than this and you won’t have enough time for the information to sink in, any longer and your brain will find it harder to retain the information.
  • Follow an existing ASVAB study guide – save time building a schedule from scratch and find a study guide that already exists. Swap the topics around to make sure you spend sufficient time on your weak areas. Alternatively, find a printable ASVAB study guide template to help create an easy-to-follow, yet personalized study timetable.
  • Have breaks – even though time is tight, don’t forget to have a break every few hours to help keep your brain fresh and ensure you retain important information.
  • Don’t waste time learning content – all the content in the ASVAB test has already been taught to you during your high school years. Sure, you may have forgotten some of it, but your limited time is better spent familiarizing yourself with the style of questions asked.
  • Continue to take practice tests – sit and take a practice test every week (always in exam conditions) and make note of your score. Ideally your weak areas will improve and your score will increase. After each test, adjust and tweak your study schedule based on the results that you are getting.
  • Know someone else that is taking the test as well?  Study together and partner  up 1-2 times a week.  That way you can quiz and review and compare how things are going.  It also eliminate feeling like you’re doing all of this solo.  Even a bit of complaining can ease the pressure and the stress of prepping for the ASVAB exam.
  • Once the exam is done, celebrate!  Whatever the results –
    you deserve a little celebration for prepping for the exam and seeing it through.

Our ASVAB study tips are the first step in an exciting, new phase of your life!  Planning as much time as possible to prep is your best move to getting the results that you are looking for.  If time is short, then increase the amount of time you are spending to prepare in what time you have.  Move other things to the side (where possible) for now.

Following our ASVAB study tips and suggestions will help you ace the ASVAB the next time you take it!

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How to Study for the GRE on Your Own: 7 Best Success Tips Plus Guide

If you’re trying to figure out how to study for the GRE on your own, you probably have some questions!  What’s the best GRE study guide and way to prep?

The GRE, or Graduate Record Examinations, offers a gateway to graduate and business schools.  While those entering medical school or law school take other tests, those interested in most liberal arts fields, education, and some business program will be looking to take the GRE.  And like all the standardized tests, the better your scores, the more options you have available for schools as well as financial aid.

GRE Study Plan

But students also lead busy lives and ensuring you have time to focus on the GRE may not always seem possible. So just how long does it take to study for the GRE? The short answer is, however long you have! You can have a GRE study plan 3 months long and some are longer and some are less.

Naturally, the longer you have the more likely you are to achieve a higher score, but there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of success without the luxury of time. This is your guide on how to study for the GRE and how to create an effective GRE study plan.

What is Involved in the GRE General Test?

There are three sections in the test;

  • analytical writing,
  • quantitative reasoning, and
  • verbal reasoning

The test can be taken as many times as you like, but considering there is a cost with each attempt it is best to adequately prepare so you can achieve your desired result the first time around. Your confidence level may also take a hit with each unsuccessful attempt, so do it once and do it right!

Let’s look at the test sections in further detail.

Analytical Writing – this section requires focused responses that articulate complex ideas that are supported with relevant reasons and examples. You must examine claims and evidence, and maintain a concentrated discussion with a high level control of standard written English.

Quantitative Reasoning – this section examines your ability to understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information. You will use mathematical models to solve problems and your basic skills of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis will be tested. You are allowed to use a calculator when completing this section.

Verbal Reasoning – here you will analyze and draw conclusions, identify the author’s assumptions and/or perspectives, and understand the author’s intent in a literal and figurative manner. You will be tested on your ability to summarize text, selecting the key points from the text as well as understanding the structure of the text. Your understanding of the meanings of words and sentences will be tested, as will your ability to recognize relationships between words and concepts.

One really important point to remember about this test!  Questions on the test can be skipped and you can return to them later.  Plus, you also have the opportunity to change any answers before submitting your test. Now let’s move on…

How to Prepare and Study for the GRE

The skills required to succeed in the test are developed over a period of time and not related to any particular field of study. For this reason, preparation is crucial to success. Unlike many other examinations, where content can be revised and learned, the GRE measures your ability to respond to the information given.

The good news here is that you will already have acquired many of the skills required, you just have to put them into practice. By gaining an understanding of the types of questions asked in the test, you will be able to confidently answer the questions accurately. Here are some ways to prepare and study for the GRE that guarantee success.

  1. Spend the Time You Need

Like many other examinations, last minute studying is not useful. The more time you spend preparing for the GRE, the better your results will be. It is recommended that you spend 4-12 weeks developing your skills for the test. This is quite a broad timeframe, the lower end of the scale should be achievable by just about any student that focuses on their preparations. Naturally, spending more time will result in the best outcome possible.

  1. Create a Study Plan or Schedule

Base your GRE study plan on how much time you have. A longer timeframe may mean that you can spend less hours each week, allowing for many of your job and social commitments to continue.

While the GRE should be one of your top priorities, it can be easy to procrastinate if you prepare too far in advance. Breaking your study time into manageable chunks will help eliminate the possibility of procrastination.

Regardless of how much time you have to prepare, make sure you allocate sufficient time to study. Write down when you will be studying, and what you will study – use a schedule, pen and paper, calendar, or even input it into your phone and set reminders if you have to! This way nothing gets missed and you will still have time to enjoy a positive social/study balance.

  1. Study Sample Questions

One of the very best ways to study for the GRE on your own is to complete as many practice tests and questions as you possibly can. As already stated, the GRE doesn’t really require you to learn a large amount of new content, but instead it tests your ability to respond to certain types of questioning. The most effective way to learn how to respond to GRE questions is to do them!

Even if you only have a limited amount of preparation time, completing sample questions is an incredibly useful way to spend your time. Make sure you complete the questions within a time-restricted period to simulate actual test conditions. This will also help you develop coping strategies to deal with the pressure involved on test day.

  1. Make Each Day Count

The best GRE study plan is one that includes study time practically every day. This way you will be able to build upon your skills and knowledge. Studying for a large amount of time one day a week is far less effective.

To start with, your learning capacity diminishes with each hour of studying (just like your muscles become fatigued the longer you exercise).

Secondly, if you have a long period between each study session you are likely to forget what you have previously learned which means more time spent relearning what you already learned.  Does that seem smart?

You Might Also Be Interested in: 25 Study Tips You Need Now

Studying almost every day (it’s important to have a break too, remember) allows you to sufficiently build upon your knowledge and the repetition means it is more likely to be committed to your memory.

  1. Personalize Your Program

By understanding your own strengths and weaknesses you will be able to cater to your specific needs. One of the easiest ways to do this is to sit with a practice exam, under timed conditions, right at the beginning of your preparation period. This will highlight the areas you need to spend the most time on and allow you to allocate your study time accordingly.

Spend more time on the areas you find difficult, or on the subject areas that are most relevant to your educational goals. Your program will also need to be reflective of how much time you have to prepare. If you are really short on time, you may need to choose only a few areas to focus on as you probably won’t have enough time to successfully improve all of your weak areas.

  1. Use Online Tools

In the modern day of the internet, just about everything is at your fingertips. Preparing for the GRE online is a simple way to ensure you are studying practically and effectively.

Many first class, online prep courses come at a cost, but if you can afford it they can be worthwhile. These courses do require some kind of intrinsic motivation in order to develop successful results. If you are more of a people person, try investing in a personal tutor.

  1. Use a Tutor

You may be keen to figure out how to study for the GRE on your own, but using a tutor can significantly improve your results. Meeting regularly with a professional tutor will help you remained motivated and focused.

They can offer valuable tips and advice on how to best work on your own during your other study sessions, whilst keeping you on track with some valuable one-on-one time.

Finding a good tutor can be difficult. They need to not only have the knowledge and skills to teach you, but also understand your goals. A personality match is also crucial – feeling comfortable around your tutor will ensure you ask plenty of questions and are honest about your understanding of key concepts. Check out the following link to find a highly qualified GRE tutor in your area!

Overall, sitting and taking the GRE does not need to become a stressful event. Understanding how the test works, the types of questions asked, and implementing some valuable study tips will ensure you achieve the results you need to take your education to the next level.

Good luck with your GRE study plan and let us know what you did and how to study for the GRE on your own?

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LSAT Prep: When to Take the LSAT & Best LSAT Prep

Asking how łong to study for the LSAT is like asking how long is a piece of string? That depends…. While individual students learn, store and recall information differently, there are some common strategies for the best LSAT prep, regardless of intelligence and learning style. The Law School Admissions Test is arduous and incredibly important for any student wishing to gain admission into law school. While you are able to retake the test if you do not succeed the first time, it is best to only have to face the process once if at all possible.

Let this be your guide to help establish your own personal preparation time frame and what exactly to do with the amount of time you have!

Best LSAT Prep and Study Schedule

When to Take the LSAT – Timing is Crucial

Your LSAT study schedule needs to reflect your own personal needs. This includes working around any other commitments, such as a job, that you may have. Like most tests, last minute cramming shouldn’t be considered an option regardless of how intelligent you are.

However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, preparing too far in advance may cause you to plateau or, even worse, burn out well before test day. Your LSAT score is valid for five years, so make sure you intend to enroll in law school within this time, or you will have to sit it again! This article is the best guide you will find to help you figure out the optimum time to start studying for your LSAT, and how to do so effectively and stress-free!

What is the Recommended Amount of Study Time?

As a general rule of thumb, it is suggested to prepare for the LSAT around three or four months prior to test day. This is based on completing around 10-15 hours, perhaps more, of study each week. It is much easier, and much more effective, to study in smaller, more manageable chunks over a longer period of time than it is to try and squeeze 200 hours of study into a couple of weeks!

Even students with a full time job should be able to spare around two hours on most days of the week. Keeping these recommendations in mind, you will need to alter the guidelines based on both your ability, goals and what you have going on in your world as well.

When should I start studying for LSAT?

While the recommended time frame gives you some idea, only you can figure out the best LSAT study schedule for you. Here are some tips to help you work out just how long you need to prepare in order to achieve the results that you want (and need)!

  • Complete a practice exam in timed conditions: by simulating the test you can work out roughly how far away you are from your target score. If you are miles off you will need to put in a significant amount of effort to reach your goal. If you can achieve the score you need already, then you can afford to take it a little easy. Note – this means a little easy, not ignoring LSAT prep altogether! You will need to complete the practice exam well in advance to ensure you have enough time to revise and review accordingly.
  • Be aware of your ability to perform on standardized tests: standardized tests are unique and aren’t always a true reflection of how much you know. They often test how you react to information, how well you read and interpret the questions, and how calm you can remain under significant time pressures. If you struggle with standardized tests, allow yourself extra time to learn, understand and practice the specific format.
  • Take other responsibilities into account: in an ideal world, you would be able to focus solely on succeeding at acing your LSAT, but the reality for most of us is quite the opposite. Look at your schedule, whether you use your phone to do this or old fashioned pen-and-paper, and take note of all your activities and commitments. There is a fair chance that some of these are not necessary and can be eliminated and replaced with study time. Remember, we’re only looking at a few months here, not a lifetime, so your social life can take a bit of a hit in order to get a great score! Now you should be left with the commitments you can’t change, such as work.
  • Make sure you allow a little bit of time for yourself to socialize, exercise, read or relax as these are important too. By this stage of the planning process you should have a solid indication of how much prep time you actually have.
  • Use the guidelines of around 150-300 hours prep time to work out how long before test day you need to begin your preparation. Remember to factor in your skill level and target scores as well.

LSAT Study Schedule – How to Spend Your Study Time

Once you have established how much time you have each week and have created a preparation schedule, you need to ensure your time is spent effectively. The following tips are actionable and achievable, and will help significantly with your LSAT prep.

The very best way to prepare for the LSAT is to practice! While this is probably very common knowledge, let’s look at the reasons why completing as many practice exams as possible is beneficial.

  • It gives you a thorough understanding of the style of questions that are asked. Many students struggle not with the knowledge required to do well in the LSAT, but with the skills required to interpret and answer the questions asked. The only way to fully understand the test before you take it is to practice, just make sure you are using LSAT study guides and prep books as some of the tools in your LSAT prep tool belt.
  • You can simulate test conditions. By regularly completing practice exams under timed conditions you will learn how swiftly you need to move through each question. It will also help you overcome the pressure that is often associated with test day. You will gain a feel for how much time you should spend on each question. While there are no penalties for missed or incorrect answers, obviously you want to minimize any potential hits you might take in your test scores. It would be a shame to spend a large amount of time on a difficult question (that you may get wrong anyway) and not have enough time to answer easier questions that you could have quickly answered. If you are finding a question difficult after a certain amount of time, leave it and move on – you can always come back to it later if you have time. Even if the time you have left is minimal, it’s always worth guessing as it’s better than leaving the question blank!
  • Familiarity leads to less stress. Stress has an amazing effect on our bodies. While a little bit can be good for us, too much can hurt us and cause issues when doing these kind of exams. If you have spent time familiarizing yourself with the format and layout of the LSAT the you will know what to expect on test day. This will help you perform at your optimum level and minimize any mistakes due to pressure or stress!

Aside from practice papers, there are several other tips to help you achieve success.

  • Use LSAT prep books and prep courses – these are designed specifically with LSAT preparation in mind and offer practice question along with detailed sample answers and explanations. Online courses often include videos, which are like having your own tutor that you can pause and rewind whenever you like! LSAT prep classes are an easy way to ensure you spend your allocated time actually studying – there is minimal time for procrastination when someone is guiding you! Here’s some of our favorite ones that might help you this year – Check Them Out Now!
  • Analyze and review your answers – if you get a question wrong when studying make sure you thoroughly understand why. If you just add up your score after each prep review, you are likely to continue making the same mistakes and you will be wasting your time. Review each mistake carefully and analyze it until your fully comprehend why you got the wrong answer and what is the correct one and why!
  • Get a tutor – group classes are good, but a professional tutor will tailor-make sessions to suit your individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. They will help you understand where you are going wrong and offer valuable advice on how to understand and answer each question. Allocating some time each week to spend with a tutor also ensures that you actually study, and not skip prep sessions. Plus, having an expert help you study can easily cut hours off of your overall prep time since you’ve got someone that knows exactly what and how to help you do well in any areas that are currently difficult. To find a wonderful tutor in your area, check out Private Tutoring at Home
  • Avoid group study sessions – these are different than organized classes with a professional teacher or tutor. What we are talking about here are sessions that involve a group of friends ‘studying’. While these sessions can be useful and may help with motivation sometimes, they can often turn into gossip sessions and minimal study or work is done. Also, individuals have different strengths and weakness so what you need may not be the same areas or issues as others in the group.

Figuring out how long does it take to study for the LSAT and “when should I start studying for the LSAT” are common questions and decisions for those prepping for this test.  Is 2 months enough time to study for the LSAT?  Well, that depends on you and how much you already have done.  The key is to determine where you are now and how far you need to go to get the results that you need.  The do the LSAT prep that is required to actually end up with the results you are aiming for or something even better!

 

 

 

 

 

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Are MCAT Prep Courses Worth It?

Are MCAT prep courses worth it? Well, like so many things in life, that depends.  It depends on you and your motivation as well as the type and quality of the course that you choose to take. The MCAT, or Medical College Admission Test, is one of the most grueling standardized tests a student will come across.

The Best MCAT Prep Course Review

What is the MCAT?

The exam is required to gain access into virtually every medical school in the United States and most medical schools in Canada, therefore it may come as no surprise that prepping for the MCAT should be your top priority. Enrolling in an MCAT course is one way to ensure you adequately prepared and ready for whatever may be on the exam this year.

The problem is, there are many types of courses available, how do you know which one is the best. And at quite a price, are MCAT prep courses worth it? This article will help you understand the MCAT and why enrolling in a prep course may be a good idea for you.

While most standardized tests are know for their uniqueness and difficulty, the MCAT is on anther level above the rest! The test itself is administered over 7.5 hours, making it physically exhausting and extremely mentally draining. It is a multiple choice test (this doesn’t make it any easier) that tests applicants on the skills and knowledge required in medical school and when practicing medicine.

The content of the tests covers four sections;

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

A score is given for each section, and the scores are added together to provide a total score that is reported around six or seven weeks after completion of the test.

Test Preparation Resources

There are many test preparation tools available to students to help get ready for the MCAT, some are free and some come at a cost. Naturally, you want to prepare the best way possible, so how do you know if the free resources are reliable or if the paid MCAT prep courses are worth it?

Some high quality, legitimate resources include;

  • Official MCAT practice exams, section bank, flashcards, and sample tests. These are available from the AAMC website, produced by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
  • The Khan Academy MCAT Collection is free and easily accessible to use.
  • Speaking with students who have sat the MCAT is also worthwhile. It will give you an indication of how much time you need to prepare and you can learn from other people’s mistakes!  In addition, some of those that have taken it already might be willing to spend a little time with you preparing for your exam. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask!
  • Using a qualified MCAT tutor. Private Tutoring at Home is an easy way to find a certified tutor in your area, one that can tailor-make study sessions to suit your needs and help you achieve your goals. While a tutor isn’t free, they usually cost a lot less than courses and can offer personalized sessions geared towards what and where you need the help and to spend the time.
  • MCAT prep courses are often detailed and high quality. Some of the popular ones are Kaplan MCAT course and the Princeton Review MCAT prep course. They vary in delivery and cost, but there are plenty of options out there. Keep reading to find out more about these courses.

MCAT Prep Courses: The Details

There are many, many, many MCAT Prep courses available to prospective test takers. Naturally, the people that create these courses would like students to participate and will happily give a ton of reasons and reviews as to why theirs is the best.

This guide takes an objective view on the types of courses available, allowing you to make an informed decision and get the best results possible.

Let’s look at the type and style of MCAT Prep courses that are available;

  • Self-Paced Prep Courses – these are ideal if you need flexibility! Students are given an array of materials and a rough agenda to follow. The course is completed at a pace that suits the individual. The down side to self-paced prep courses is that they require a high level of independent motivation and the ability to manage time effectively. While the structure and content of the course is provided, each student will have to identify their own weaknesses – something that can be difficult to do for even the most dedicated students. Some self-paced courses offer customized content to help cater for individual needs, so if you choose this kind of course, look out for adaptable ones.
  • Live Online Prep Courses – if you like the idea of guided classes, but are unable to attend a physical class, then live online courses are a great option. You still have to commit to the set study schedule, but can do so from the comfort of your own home. This saves time traveling to and from class, as well as needing to carry books and resources with you. The key to a good live online MCAT prep course lies with the quality of teaching. They must be engaging and offer help and guidance both in and out of set class times, as well as providing resources and extra materials to help you make the most of your ‘out-of-class’ study time.
  • In-Person Prep Courses – for a more traditional approach to MCAT prep, opt for in-person courses. These allow for plenty of interaction and discussion with not only instructors, but with fellow test-takers as well. The teacher should offer direct guidance and provide assistance when and where it is needed. The fact that you have allocated and structured study time is a bonus, especially if you lack the internal motivation to get studying, but you also need to spend time outside of class studying too. Make sure your course instructor is able to provide extra study materials as well as being on hand to answer questions and queries in between classes.
  • Intensive Prep Courses – intensive courses are great for those with limited study time and the ability to work well under pressure and time constraints. These courses are also great for those who want a strong boost of knowledge and skills. They are often of incredibly high quality, but are so time consuming that you won’t be able to fit much more into your schedule. Intensive prep courses can also be expensive, but if you have the time and the money, they may just be worth it.

The best MCAT prep course for you will depend on several factors:

  • Your individual learning style
  • Available time
  • Budget
  • And strengths and weaknesses all play a part in deciding what approach will suit you best.

So… Are MCAT Prep Courses Worth It?

MCAT prep courses are costly, there’s no way around that fact. For some, the cost may be just too much to bear, with time and money better spent using free tools (there are plenty of them), spending a small sum on prep books and official practice tests, or enlisting the help of a tutor at a fraction of the cost.

If you are basically motivated and organized, you may not need to invest your cash in these courses. However, if you need structure in your study schedule and allocated class time to ensure you prepare, then MCAT prep courses will be incredibly useful. Equally, if you can spare the funds, you have nothing to lose. The large sum is a small drop in the ocean in order to give yourself the best preparation possible, ensuring academic success and the results on the test that you need this year.

The best MCAT prep course is only going to make sense if you’re willing to put the time and energy into it.  Nothing beats good ‘ole fashioned effort and that’s what getting good scores on tests like this require.  If you are willing to put the time in, then it’s likely that you’ll get a score that makes you happy and be one step closer to getting into medical school. Good luck!

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