TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: Tutoring & Test Prep

Posted Sept. 6, 2019, 10 a.m. by Elly Swartz | View Comments
college application writing tips

You sit on your bed, at your desk and in the library wondering where to begin your college admissions essay. It’s not like there’s a Google map showing you how to go from here to there. How do you dig through 17 years of experiences and select the one that shares your voice, your vision, your passion? Was it when you sat behind Grandpa’s dented old Buick the day you got your license, or the time you figured out how to rig your book to the shower door without getting it soggy so you could finish the last chapter of ...

Posted Aug. 12, 2019, 2 p.m. by Bara Sapir | View Comments
Getting Over SAT and ACT Test Anxiety

Tests have a disproportionately large role in the course of your life, if you think about how much time is actually spent taking them. How you perform during a few short hours while hunched over a small desk in some strange building can have major consequences. Your score on an entrance exam can determine which college you go to. Which college you go to has a lot to do with which job you'll get, and so on. The ACT and SAT loom large as a decider of fates, and for most students, pressure and anxiety play a pivotal role in ...

Posted May 28, 2019, 4 p.m. by Sarah Good | View Comments
Finals Studying

The school year is drawing to an end. Soon it will be time for summer fun (perhaps an outdoor adventure or a sports camp?), but first, you have to get through finals. Studying for not just one but several high-stakes tests can certainly be a daunting prospect. So start here, and review our 11 tips for making your finals prep smooth and painless. OK, well, almost painless. Make a schedule: Start by figuring out which tests are scheduled for when. Then figure out which ones you need to do the most work for. Once you have a sense which exams ...

Posted April 9, 2019, 8 a.m. by Sarah Good | View Comments
Taking the ACT

The ACT has a science section. It’s a simple fact that many high school students find puzzling and even daunting. While the SAT sticks to math, reading, and writing, the ACT adds an additional challenge -- and an additional dose of anxiety. The good news: You don’t really need to memorize the periodic table or be able to regurgitate the steps of meiosis. The science section is actually designed to test students’ knowledge of the skills that go into doing science, not the detailed facts of physics or anatomy. As the ACT people themselves put it, “The ACT science test ...

Posted March 22, 2019, noon by Sarah Good | View Comments
Test Prep Tutoring

Testing season is upon us. As high school students begin to study for the SAT and ACT, many will turn to private test-prep tutors to help them tackle the test with confidence. Tutors can help familiarize you with the format, teach you new material, and help your get your mental game ready for the stress of test day. There are, however, a lot of tutoring options to sift through. How can you choose the test-prep tutor who is the right match for your learning style and personality? Try asking potential tutors these seven questions to help determine if they are ...

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 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 ...

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