TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: Tutoring & Test Prep

Posted Sept. 20, 2018, 8 a.m. by Sara Nolan | View Comments
Frustrated female student doing homework on laptop and holding a notebook

The realization might start to gnaw at you while you rewrite a draft, or slam into you while you are walking to class: I HATE my college essay! Now what? As your elementary school teacher might have cautioned, hate is a strong emotion. It is no fun to feel like you hate your college essay at any point, especially as nerve-wracking deadlines loom. And, the point of the essay is to make the college admissions committee fall in love with you and your incredible personality and distinctive writing style. Your stomach drops and you lose all hope of a bright ...

Posted May 29, 2018, 10 a.m. by Sarah Good | View Comments
pencils and answer sheets for college admissions tests like the ACT and SAT

It’s time to start thinking about the big college admissions test. So which one will it be: the SAT or the ACT? Let us help you figure it out. What are the differences in the format? Both the ACT and SAT include four multiple-choice sections presented in the same order every time. The SAT includes reading, writing and language, math with a calculator, and math without a calculator. The ACT includes English, math, reading, and science. Both include an optional essay. With essay, the SAT lasts 3 hours and 50 minutes, and the ACT takes 3 hours and 35 minutes. ...

Posted Feb. 15, 2018, 1:40 p.m. by Brad Schiller | View Comments
College Essay Mistake

What is the single biggest mistake you can make on your college application? Submitting a narrative as your essay response to the prompt. You might as well just include the wrong school name while you are at it. Sadly, most essays reviewed by EditRevise spend 90 percent of the content on storytelling filled with flowery, pointless metaphors and needless descriptions. To get into your dream school, it is crucial that you do NOT make the narrative mistake. What matters most about an essay is its introspection -- commentary on the anecdotes and thoughts on what the prompt is asking. A ...

Posted Feb. 13, 2018, 8 a.m. by Sarah Shemkus | View Comments
How to Stay Relaxed About the PSAT – Your First Big College Test

So you’re about to board the high-speed train that is the college admissions process. First stop: PSAT. The PSAT is the slightly easier, decidedly lower-stakes version of the oft-dreaded SAT. Nearly 4 million 10th- and 11th-graders take the test each year, mostly to see where they stand and get a little practice for the real thing (and, for the very highest 11th-grade scorers, to compete for a National Merit Scholarship). While the PSAT may be less daunting than some of the college entrance exams to come, it does mark your initiation into the standardized testing club. For many high school ...

Posted Aug. 3, 2016, 11:09 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
7 Steps to Finding a Great High School Tutor

It’s no longer a stigma to ask for extra help. Almost 65 percent of students in one Dallas suburban school district used a tutor or received after-school coaching in the classroom, according to a 2011 study reported in D magazine. “Sometimes kids ask for it, sometimes parents,” says Libby Sassano, a private tutor in the Ridgefield, Conn., area, who works with high school students. “Parents know when the grades start to go down or when their kids are really stressed out.” Our experts say a tutor or coach can build the confidence so critical to success, whether it’s in a ...

Posted July 18, 2016, 9 a.m. by Gwyneth Findlay | View Comments
4 Things I Did In High School That Made College Easier

AP courses, year-round extracurriculars and community service look good on college applications. Incidentally, those activities also help you prepare for the demands of college. But some parts of college take a different kind of preparation. Sometimes, you’ll help yourself by doing things that colleges aren’t looking for specifically. Sometimes, the best ways to prepare won’t be visible on your college application or in your college essays at all. When I was in high school, I didn’t check off every box on the list of college preparation courses or join a new club every season. I did, however, take up some ...

Posted May 24, 2016, 10:16 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
How to Write the Best College Admissions Essay

How to Write the Best College Admissions Essay The college admissions essay is perhaps the most dreaded part of the college application process. The essay creates frustration for students, stress for parents, and an overall feeling of dread as the deadline for submission approaches. The essay, however, doesn’t have to be an insurmountable project. With the right information, realistic time management and good proofing and editing, it should be easy to write the best college essay you can. These FAQs about the college application essay should help you tell your story with an end goal of making a good impression ...

Posted May 23, 2016, 9 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Why Test-Optional Colleges are Too Good to Be True

Not every student tests well. Some excel in completing tests and others struggle with the time constraints and stress, even if they take a college test-prep course or have a tutor. But standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are often one of the key components of a college application, so it would stand to reason that students who struggle would welcome the option of not including test scores in their application. In the last few years, with the uncertainty of standardized tests and the inconsistency in grading, test-optional colleges have become more appealing to students and their parents. What ...

Posted May 20, 2016, 9 a.m. by The College Board | View Comments
Start Planning for College This Summer with BigFuture

Start Planning for College This Summer with BigFuture Ahh, summer. Time for swimming, barbecuing, and … college planning? If you’re heading into your senior year this fall, summer is the perfect time to get ready for college application season. Here are a few simple ways you can make sure you’re all set to start applying to colleges this fall. Get to Know Yourself Finding the right college is all about knowing who you are and what you’re looking for. Thinking about what you do well, what challenges you, and what you’ve always wanted to try can help you better understand ...

Posted April 8, 2016, 9:35 a.m. by Dana Elmore | View Comments
study tips high school college organization

Perhaps you will be taking one or more AP tests during the first two weeks of May. This makes April a great time to master several study hacks that can make your review sessions both more effective and more efficient. Although the best way to prepare for an AP exam is to take an AP course and to continually ready throughout the year, these hacks will help you with those final weeks of preparation. 1. Peruse a practice test. The average AP exam is two to three hours long. It typically begins with a multiple-choice section, and then continues on ...

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