Tutor profile: Gina F.
What are the particular challenges of the Reading portion of the SAT? What personal advice would you give students just starting their testing prep?
The most prominent challenge to students just starting the SAT is temporarily putting aside the notion that the understanding of a passage can be subjective in the mind of the reader. As individuals, we are all capable of deciding for ourselves which parts in readings resonate most personally with us. But the SAT asks something different. Despite the fact that there are over fifteen different skills to master (as provided by my current employment's curriculum) the root of all correct answers is the same: which statement is using the most analogous language to what is happening in the story? The more complicated the story is in structure, the more convoluted its message may seem. This is why reading each type of text regularly, along with different types of literature, is of utmost importance. Becoming familiar with metaphor used in prose fiction, statistics in natural science, rhetoric within historical passages--all of these skills are acquired through vigorous practice. My advice to students is to realize that their patterns of analysis will develop slowly but surely. The SAT is not necessarily representative of the skills used in everyday English class. But these skills can be a remarkable aid for a student in their subsequent college experience.
Subject: College Admissions
What type of methodology is best for going about applying to colleges and universities?
In this day and age, students are very lucky. With websites such as Common App and Coalition, students may access all of their needed enrollment documents, short and long essay requirements, and deadlines in a very detailed and organized manner. Regardless of the framework that these websites provide, an original plan is something I highly recommend. Whether it's within my class or during specific downtime at home, students need to be in the mindset of actively creating a vision of themselves as college students. Sometimes it is very difficult for teenagers to find their own voice. Many students are embarrassed by confessing a viewpoint or personal history they deem to be too personal. But every essay I have read that addresses a particularly passionate idea has always been the most thorough. A passion lends a hand in creating complex sentences, more sophisticated vocabulary, and a structure with a clear exposition. body, and ending. I often ask my students, "what is the mood of your dream college?" Should the college focus on accepting STEM students, I would suggest that providing more analytical answers for essay questions would suffice. If the college is a liberal arts institution, the options are more relative and creative. I suggest that students celebrate the victories they have in answering their essay questions and try to write in an agenda all of the documents they have finished and need to complete. If a student is lucky, he or she will have a very relaxed pace in which to finish all of their requirements.
What is the benefit of a certain student taking the ACT over the SAT?
Deciding to take the ACT over the SAT has some particular benefits for a student, but its efficacy depends on a unique skill set. The verbal section of the ACT has 75 questions. Although these questions are commonly considered less complex than those on the SAT, the volume of questions may provoke and anxiety and carelessness within a less confident student. It's important to gauge whether or not the student feels that less time to spend on more difficult questions will be in his or her best interest. If the student tells me that they are specifically vexed by longer tests, I will not recommend the ACT. If the student feels that a generous amount of work on pacing will resolve their concerns, I try to trust their judgment. The ACT is also beneficial in that some colleges prefer it over the SAT. A very linguistic and well-read student may achieve a great score on both English sections and the science section (which is really just analysis of graphed data) and focus all their attention on Math if that proves to be their weak area. In this particular case, the ACT is a particularly solid option.
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