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?

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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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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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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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How Do College Students Spend Their Time?

A common question asked by parents, student, faculty and staff is “how do college students spend their time?” Because a lot of them do not seem to be spending all the time needed in classrooms or on their school work.

…it is recommended that students spend 5.14 – 10.29 hours on education activities each day.

Heading off to college is one of the most exciting experiences in a young person’s life. The idea of furthering their education, gaining independence and making new friends all make college life appealing. Naturally, there is some stress and anxiety involved as well. Students wonder how they will manage the course workload and how they will support themselves financially. Whether you are a future student or a parent, you may be interested to know how many hours college students study per week – is study really as all-encompassing as you think? Read on to find out more.

How Do College Students Spend Their Time

Of course the focus of college is gain a quality education that will set students up for a successful future. Classes, focus groups, exams and assignments all play a significant part in the educational experience, so it may surprise you to discover that this isn’t where most students spend most of their time. A study by the Bureau of Labour Statistics found that in a 24-hour period, students only spent 3.5 hours on educational-related activities (1). It is important to note that this figure includes classes as well as extra time spent on assignments, homework and exam preparation. The University of Michigan – Flint recommends that students spend 2-3 hours of study for every credit hour each week (2). So let’s do some math.

1 course = 3 credit hours = 6-9 hours of study each week. Approximately.

Full time students undertake 12-18 credit hours each semester, therefore the expectation of time spent on extra homework and study is anywhere between 24 and 54 hours each week. Seems like a lot. And remember, this is recommended homework and study time, you have to factor in the actual 12-18 hours that students spend in the classroom. This brings the weekly total to somewhere between 36 and 72 hours! The Bureau of Labour Statistics released their findings based on a 24-hour period, so if we alter the guidelines from a weekly figure to a daily one, it is recommended that students spend 5.14 – 10.29 hours on education activities each day. These results make it a fair assumption that students are not as time-laden with their educational responsibilities as they make out to be. So where do college students spend the majority of their time? And can they find more time to focus on their studies. Keep reading.

How Long Should I Study – Where is Time Spent?

It will come as no surprise that the majority of time in a 24-hour period is spent sleeping, around 8.8 hours. Sleep is important so it is probably worth leaving that time as it is. So are there other areas that students could decrease the time spent in order to optimize their study time?

The chart below highlights the results from the BLS Time Use Survey, showing that the other two sizeable chunks of time are spent on sport and leisure, and work related activities. The former probably comes as no surprise, after all, isn’t college also about having fun? The work factor adds a great discussion point. Many students need to work to support themselves financially, even full time students, so quite often it will take priority. To ask students to cut their work hours may not always be possible. Likewise sport commitments may also be difficult to decrease. Sure, it is probably safe to say that time spent watching television could be less, but realistically, with only 24 hours in a day, there is only so much a college student can get done.

How Much Time Do College Students Spend on Social Media?

While the BLS results included an ‘other’ section, it is not clear what type of activities this may include. It is reasonable to consider the use of mobile phones and social media in this category (although it may also fall under leisure activities). Either way, it is no doubt a large part of a college student’s life. With mobile phones often acting as an extra appendage in the hands of young people, the results of an online survey conducted by Baylor University offers the following information;

“The students reported spending the most time texting, with an average of 94.6 minutes a day. That was followed by sending emails (48.5 minutes), checking Facebook (38.6 minutes), surfing the Internet (34.4 minutes), and listening to music (26.9 minutes).” (3)

This same study concluded that women use their phone a hugely time consuming ten hours each day!! Their male counterparts spend almost eight hours. This is a lot of time. Of course people need to use phones to maintain communication lines and relationships, and emails may often be school-related, but it certainly gives some good for thought when it comes to effective time management.

Average Time College Students Spend Studying

Naturally some subjects are more time consuming than others. Equally, there may also be a difference between first year students and seniors. Results from the National Survey of Student Engagement shows that various course majors spend different amounts of time on extra homework and study.

The table below compares various courses and how much time students spend preparing for class. A large proportion of engineering students spend more than 20 hours each week, while most business or finance students fail to hit the 20 hour mark (4). The differences in course material and faculty expectations could account for these differences, but it shows that regardless of the course, students don’t seem to be doing enough outside the classroom to gain the academic results that they are truly capable of.

Based on the results of the time use survey and how many study hours are recommended, it will come as no surprise that 22% of engineer majors who spend more than 20 hours each week preparing for class, still feel unprepared (4).

Perhaps There is too Much Partying…

There is the common thought that college students spend countless hours in a day hanging out at parties and spend far too much time hanging out with their friends instead of focusing on the fact that they have come to college to gain an educational qualification. A study by UCLA shows that this is, in fact, not necessarily the case. The amount of time freshman students spend socializing and drinking have both declined over recent years (5). But, how much time do college students spend on social media? Students clearly aren’t spending their newfound time on studying, so perhaps phones and social media have a lot to answer for?

What Does All of This Mean?

Whichever way you look at it, college students are not spending as much time on their actual education as they could or should be spending, that much is clear. However, with the large gap between what is recommended and what students are doing in reality, one has to wonder if the educational expectations are too high.

Equally, college students are still graduating successfully, so they must be doing something right. Socializing and drinking have decreased, but the use of mobile phones and social media is on the rise and soaring. Students still work to support themselves and there will always be time spent on sleeping, eating, “life stuff” and travel. Overall, students are attending college in an ever-changing world – one where internet use is becoming more and more essential, and social networking may have just as much of an impact on future employment as do their educational results. There should always be more time spent for educational activities, but perhaps it is just not as essential as once thought. And that’s our review of how college students spend their time!

  1. https://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/students.htm
  2. https://www.umflint.edu/advising/surviving_college
  3. https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=145864
  4. http://nsse.indiana.edu/NSSE_2011_Results/pdf/NSSE_2011_AnnualResults.pdf#page=16
  5. https://www.heri.ucla.edu/monographs/TheAmericanFreshman2014.pdf

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How to Find a Private Tutor Near Me: What You Need to Know

The most common phrase we hear from parents and students is, “I want to find a private tutor near me!” Because when you realize that a course (or semester) isn’t quite going the way that you would like, getting fast and effective help is what you are looking for. Any current or past student will be able to tell you that education, and the exams that come with it, aren’t all that easy. Sometimes a little extra help is exactly what students need to help them reach their full potential and those higher grades – and that’s why you want to find a private tutor near you.

What to Look For In a Private Tutor

There are hundreds of private tutors here, and if you’re going to spend money on extra tuition you want to make sure that out of those hundreds, you find the right private tutor for you.

The first thing you should check is their qualifications. Before you start paying a tutor, you need to know that they’re qualified to teach the subject and at the level you need help. If you need tutoring for a specific subject, look for a tutor who has graduated in that subject area, taken several related courses on the topic – someone who is a specialist in that field. Or if you need a tutor for a younger student, who hasn’t yet narrowed down the subjects that they’re studying, a tutor with a teaching degree and experience working with children of similar ages might be more suitable.

Everyone has different learning styles, so if you need lessons that are more specific than general teaching methods to help you take everything in, ask potential tutors if they’d be able to cater to different learning styles. You could even ask for a sample lesson plan.

If you’re seeking tutoring before an upcoming exam, it’s also worth asking tutors if they’re familiar with your exam board and mark schemes. This way, they can help you learn exactly what you need to know, and give you tips on how to present answers in an examiner friendly manner.

The private tutoring cost is also something you want to consider when looking for a tutor. Generally, tutors charge per hour, and the cost is usually between $15 and $45. How much tutor charges can be an indicator of their experience. Tutors that have cheaper hourly rates may not have that much experience, but equally, if a tutor is a little on the expensive side, you should check that they can justify their private tutoring cost with relevant qualifications and experience.

Why Is It Important to Find a Private Tutor Near Me? Why Not Just Use an Online Tutor?

It’s all very well to find the perfect tutor ready and able to assist you in whatever course or area you are looking for, but if they’re located hundreds of miles away, they’re not going to be much help. You need a tutor that’s only a few miles away.

There are a lot of online tutors and resources nowadays, which might seem like the easier option, but finding a tutor who will deliver lessons in person will help you progress much more quickly. Often, online tutors and resources are for generic use by many students. A tutor near you will get to know you personally and cater to your individual abilities and learning style.

A local tutor is more likely to be familiar with your school’s syllabus and exam processes and requirements, as most of their students will attend the same schools. Often, local tutors are in contact with the teachers at local schools, and work with them to improve students’ points of weaknesses. So hiring a private tutor near you means that you’ll be getting personal support from all angles. If this is the case, you might find that local tutors can even deliver their lessons within your school, so that lessons can take place in a safe and familiar environment, and make use of all of the possible resources.

You Might Also Be Interested In: Home Tutors & Private Tutors

If you plan on having the lessons either at your own home or your tutor’s home, obviously you’ll need your tutor to be close by. Having a private tutor near you will make it much easier to plan lessons last minute should you find out you quickly need help in some area or before a test, and at times that suit you both. The closer your tutor is, the more flexible you’ll be able to be with lessons and schedules generally.

The closer the tutor, the less the private tutoring cost will be. If you have to travel to them, remember to take into account the cost of fuel on top of their hourly rate. If they travel to you, you might find the hourly rate is a little more expensive to cover the cost of their journey, or they may even ask for fuel money on top of the lesson price.  A local tutor  in your area will save both of you the hassle of any additional mileage or travel expenses.

How Can I Find Private Tutors Near Me?

Now that you’ve made the decision to find a private tutor near you, the next step is to determine just how to find one near you.  Most of us don’t have a long list of tutors readily available for whatever topics either we or our child might need.

One of the easiest ways to be put in contact with reliable tutors near you is to use an agency or website that offers top-notch private tutors. Tutors that work with an organization are usually required to undergo background checks and have to meet certain levels of qualification and experience requirements, so you can be sure you’re in safe hands.  And these days, making sure that there are some qualifications checks, as well as verification of the tutor themselves, adds a level of safety and security that is important for you and/or your child.

A private tutoring site also makes it easy to find a whole range of tutors in one place. Rather than continuously searching different websites, you can just search their database of tutors to see the wide selection of tutors that might be able to help you. So whether you are looking for college math tutors or just want to know how to easily find a math tutor for your child, this is a fast, secure and easy way to do that.  No matter where you live, there is bound to be a range of suitable tutors near you.

Another advantage to using an organization is that you’ll be dealing with a company rather than just an individual. If your tutor can longer make a lesson, you may be able to quickly find a replacement. Or if you have any issues, the company will help you resolve them in the best way they can.

There are of course other ways to find private tutors. You could also find private tutors near you by asking your school if they know any tutors that they’d recommend. Teachers will know what their students need to help them progress and excel at the course as well as the subject matter, and will be able to suggest tutors that the school knows are reliable, trustworthy, and suitable for your needs. The only trouble with finding a tutor this way is that the school may be in contact with limited tutors, so searching online is definitely the best way to go.

You don’t even have to search for too long, in fact, you can search for tutors right here on our site. We have a huge database of tutors, ready to teach you everything you need to know and help you pass any upcoming exams with flying colors.

Plus, we make it super simple with our “Good Fit Guarantee”!  Try a tutor and see if there’s a fit and if they can help, and if it doesn’t work out.  You don’t pay for the first session.  What could be easier than that?

So simply type in your zip code and subject or subjects in the 2 boxes and before you know it, you’ll have tons of qualified, affordable and knowledgeable tutors that meet your criteria of a “private tutor near me” that are ready to help you reach your goals starting right now!

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