Ivy Bound Test Prep Blog

Myths of Tutoring

At Ivy Bound, we are dedicated to test preparation and academic tutoring. Our tutors have worked with students of all ages and skill levels to improve their college entrance exam scores and high school report cards. We know that tutoring can be beneficial to almost anyone, but there are many myths that give it a bad reputation. We debunk the following six to encourage more students to request tutoring when they need it.

Tutoring Implies Weakness

mythsWorking with a tutor in no way suggests that you are less smart than anyone else. Unfortunately, the remedial aspect of tutoring has a negative connotation. While we do work with students who have fallen behind in school, we also work with those who simply want to improve upon their overall skill level before the SAT or ACT.

Tutoring is for Little Kids

We are constantly learning throughout our lifetime. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for guidance beyond the elementary school classroom. In fact, Ivy Bound offers tutoring up to the graduate school level! Those students who seek a tutor to prepare for the GMAT, LSAT, MCAT or GRE are looking to receive the best score possible to secure their future.

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Continue Learning Through the Summer

When students close their books on the last day of school before three months of summer vacation, what happens to all of that year’s learning? While students do deserve a break, it can be detrimental to their development to shut off learning for so long. In the fall, teachers are forced to re-teach last year’s lessons before moving on to the new ones, which only puts them farther behind. Kids and technology is a controversial topic, but it can be a very positive tool to keep their brains working all summer long. Consider these options.

Games That Keep the Mind Sharp

blog-learningThe app store has thousands of games. Admittedly, not all are educational, but even some of the most popular games keep your brain working. If your child needs to improve upon vocabulary, have him start playing Words with Friends. To simply keep the mind active, a puzzle game like Sudoku will set the logical wheels of your child’s brain in motion.

Educational Apps

This is a more straight-forward approach, but you can download strictly educational apps for your kids right on to your smartphone or tablet. You can explore options for reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing, math and language apps to practice with each day. It’s important for your child to have a break from school, but the trade-off of one hour of learning in order to go to the park with friends should be easily negotiable!

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Should You Only Be Tutored in One Section?

ACT – Tutoring in One Section

Many parents call Ivy Bound to ask if their child can be tutored in their weakest subject area, rather than all sections of the ACT – we do this! Students only use the materials they need and pay a reduced enlistment fee.

ResultsSince many schools do not superscore the ACT, it is important to build upon test skills as a whole. To focus on one section may not be the most beneficial. Let’s say your math rises, but other areas fall – there’s no net gain.

Students with the chance to have a tutor for all areas of the ACT are fortunate, so taking advantage is usually wise. You have the chance to build scores in all four areas, even if you feel you’re an expert in one. Several strong areas could become outstanding, so you can worry less about your weakest subject. Thus, even if your weak subject score doesn’t increase much, you have other areas that come up big and lift your entire score.

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Why We Recommend the ACT

The format of the SAT dramatically changed in early 2016. On the contrary, the ACT has changed very little over the years. As a result, the tried-and-true materials that Ivy Bound licenses for all its students are far more abundant for the ACT than the SAT.

blog-study2Unfortunately, the SAT has almost no tried-and-true materials to help students prepare. The College Board offers sample problems and even simulated tests, but a full practice test has never been released to use in an actual testing situation. The scales for the SAT are also unreliable, as the College Board needs at least a full year to make true correlations.

Thus, our strong recommendation at Ivy Bound is for students to study the ACT. Since the ACT material covers all but two aspects of the SAT, the ACT study allows a student to prep for the SAT at the same time. The two unique areas of the SAT are:

  • Vocabulary — difficult vocabulary is tested in Reading Comprehension questions.
  • Essay – the SAT’s essay is very different from the ACT.

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Pros and Cons of Technology in the Classroom

Technology is not going away any time soon. In fact, it continues to consume What once was a fun pastime is now a necessity in our everyday lives. Our kids never get a break from it, not even during school hours. Textbooks have been replaced by e-books on tablets, more courses are becoming virtual and most lesson plans revolve around some form of technology. While the Internet and other evolution’s of technology have become great resources for us, some argue that it shouldn’t take over the traditional style of learning. Let’s explore the benefits and disadvantages of technology in school.

Benefits

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  • Preparation for the future: As technology continues to advance, understanding how different types work is going to be a required skill for many career paths.
  • Hands-on engagement: Kids are so familiar with and comfortable using technology that they will likely be more encouraged to interact in class.
  • Access to information: The Internet is full of information and the answers to most questions are right at your fingertips, updating with the latest in real time.
  • Motivation to learn: Learning becomes more exciting than reading a textbook or listening to a long lecture with no visual aids.
  • Students with special needs: There are so many tools available to accommodate this group, including voice recognition, voice-to-text speech and volume control.

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Helping the SAT Help Students

The test prep professionals at Ivy Bound would like to see a better SAT administered by The College Board. When administered well, the SAT provides a decent standard for colleges to assess potential applicants, which encourages students to aspire to master it.

blog-tutorstudentAs owners of an AP monopoly and half owners of an SAT/ACT duopoly, it is hard for parents, students and even test prep professionals to relate to The College Board. Amid some publicized cheating, The College Board’s image has become almost completely opaque.

Dramatically changing the format of the SAT didn’t help. A once-reliable standard that students could prep well for suddenly became difficult and unpredictable. An experimental section was unexpectedly added in March, the first test results were delayed so students could not adequately prepare for the spring SAT and the right for non-students to the SAT was taken away without notice.

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Summer Tutoring May Make The Difference

For Ivy Bound’s clients and prospects heading into grades 11 and 12, we encourage those who know they are taking the SAT or ACT in the fall to have early summer tutoring sessions, even without Help Line.

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June and early July are the best times to get a good chunk of the test prep out of the way. As soon as school is out, it makes sense to get started on SAT/ACT prep because the students are not overwhelmed with other schoolwork at the same time.

Taking a break in August before school starts is fine because Ivy Bound’s prep is largely skills based. Skills take a while to master, but once learned, they rarely fade. A four to six-week break does not mean having to start over from scratch. Ten minutes of vocabulary work a day is all we ask, and only for students taking the SAT. The ACT does not directly test vocabulary.

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