Ivy Bound Test Prep Blog

Advantages and Disadvantages of LD Specialist Tutors

Some parents express high concern about the education credentials of their soon-to-be tutor for a child with a learning difference. With one exception, we agree with that concern.

Best Tutor QualitiesMan in a suit tutoring a student

A tutor who teaches with empathy is paramount. A talented tutor who won’t attempt to see through the eyes of a struggling student is not helpful enough; that tutor may even be harmful if condescending. It is important to be versatile. A tutor should be able to present material in different ways, so each student can grasp the concept in a way that is comfortable. It is also important to be motivational. The top tutors not only teach the subject, they inspire their student to learn the subject. Finally, consider independence. A gifted tutor will cultivate a student’s independence so the student can work independent of the tutor’s help and make future progress.

A tutor with these credentials is a tremendous asset to the enlisting family. The student is elevated and relies less on parents who might not be able to help. On the other hand, parents are relieved that they have an asset to bring their child academic success and independence.

However, these sublime tutor credentials are rarely learned in school! College and grad school teaching programs offer thick textbooks and esteemed lecturers, but they are devoid of true one-on-one tutoring. Some programs will inject their students into substitute tutor roles. While helpful, this still does not simulate the “I am your tutor” experience.

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College Students Targeted by Scammers

The cost of college tuition continues to rise, much to the chagrin of both parents and students. Young adults this age are looking forward to their independence, yet they are also very susceptible upon entering the real world. Recently reported in the news, college students are a major target for financial scams. In addition to fake scholarships, scammers try to earn money from these students in a number of ways. If your child is headed off to college in the near future, what should they be aware of?

Credit card with a chained lock A Warning from the Federal Trade Commission

In August 2016, the FTC released several statements regarding college scholarship scams. Unfortunately, there are corrupt companies who attempt to persuade students with scholarships, financial aid and consultative services – for a small fee. The FTC’s most important advice to college students? Legitimate scholarship sources do not ask for your money or bank account numbers.

Most Common Scams

Many students of college age have never had financial independence prior to this point. They may not know how to spend their money wisely, but they do know that they have a lack of it. As a result, supposed deals are all the more appealing to college students. Scammers often play these tricks on unsuspecting young adults:

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Finding a Balance Between Work and School

For many teens, getting their first summer job is one of life’s great milestones. They are finally able to embrace independence, learning responsibility, communication and money management. Yet, what about the aspect of time management? If you’re keeping your job through the fall, it becomes essential to find a balance between school and work. Your parents likely won’t be happy if your grades start to slip, but rather than quit your job, consider these tips.

Don’t Take On Too Much Too Soon

blog-balanceIn the summertime, you have all the hours in a day to work. However, once school starts, your schedule changes drastically. You will only be available to work in the afternoon after a long 7 to 8 hours sitting in a classroom and you’ll likely have homework assignments. Rather than working long shifts every day after school, start slow. Get used to your school routine first before challenging yourself with too many hours on the job.

Plan Your Time Wisely

Working part-time as a student is a major responsibility. Not only do you have to juggle going to school and work, but homework and work-related assignments off the clock. Undoubtedly, you want to make the best impression you can on your teachers and your boss. An increase in scheduling conflicts will have the opposite effect. Plan ahead well in advance for both school and work obligations to avoid a bad grade or possibly being fired from your job.

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Never Give This Advice to an Ambitious Student

There is an unfortunate lack of distinction made by many guidance counselors when giving advice to college-bound teenagers.

“Standardized Tests are not important anymore,” is heard too often in public and private high schools. Ambitious students who hear this are imperiled. Let’s review the facts.

The ACT and SAT are highly important

To colleges that don’t fully trust GPAs in their admissions selection process, ACT and SAT scores are more significant. For some students, this is the end of the story. They want to get accepted to a highly selective college that still appreciates standardized test scores. Their 4.0 GPA makes them one of 15 kids in their class at that level. Their top choice college will not take all 15 students or even 5 of those 15 for that matter. They need to show an element that makes them selectable over the others. If you’re not a recruit-able athlete or the Valedictorian, that standout element is a top ACT or SAT score.

The ACT and SAT are exceptionally important for merit-based scholarships

For some parents, this is the end of the story. They need their child to be awarded a scholarship to afford a selective college.

Few colleges are totally need-blind, but merit-based scholarships have increased in the last decade. To improve their profiles, colleges want the students who can get into a college ranked higher, but will be swayed to accept by a good monetary offer.

A student in either category one or two should never hear that standardized tests are unimportant. A guidance counselor saying this is committing the equivalent of malpractice! Even if a college places only marginal importance on ACT or SAT scores, if that college is on the student’s “desired” list, then improving the score is highly important.

There’s also the element that improving one’s credentials may be best done by burnishing an SAT or ACT score. After all, the student with a 3.6 / 4.0 GPA after two years is not going to possess a 3.9 come application time. Similarly, a JV soccer player is unlikely to turn into a recruit-able varsity soccer player in two years, no matter how many camps, coaches or trainers a parent hires. However, in several months the average student can add 200 SAT points or five ACT points. With an improvement like that, many colleges that were considered “reaches” are now “core” and “core” are not “backup.”

So, the bottom line is that studying for the ACT or SAT (or in some cases the SAT Subject Tests) may be the best thing a moderately-ambitious student can do. Also, ACT/SAT study is clearly one of the best things parents can do to give their child more college choices.

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Preparing to Go Back to School

August is Back to School Month. While few kids are ready for summer vacation to end, school will be back in session before we know it. Unless your child was enrolled in summer school or participated in our summer tutoring program, chances are they haven’t done many educational activities over the break. If you’re worried about your child being unprepared to start school again, we offer a few tips to be ready for the big return.

Establish a Routine Early

After months of waking up before the sun rises, it is normal to let your child sleep in during the summer. Yet, it can be difficult to adjust from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. overnight. Rather than waiting until the night before school to change the alarm clock, set it a little bit earlier every week in August. It is better to have a cranky child who becomes adjusted to a routine before the start of school than one who doesn’t want to get up at all on the first day back.

Buy Supplies Sooner Rather Than Later

The reason for buying your supplies early is twofold. One, inventory gets raided, leaving you with little to no options for notebooks, folders and planners the week before school. Two, when you wait until the last minute, everything feels rushed. Your child will feel that summer has come to an abrupt end and will likely resent having to go to school. When you gently remind them the month before school starts, they have time to come to terms with it.

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Preparing for Grad School Entrance Exams

So, you’ve decided to attend graduate school. Whether for business, law, medicine or general admission, an examination is required. At Ivy Bound, we offer prep for the GMAT, LSAT, MCAT and GRE. How do we help lead you to academic success?

Graduate Management Admission Test

You can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands with our GMAT instructors, who retest every 18 months and have consistently scored in the top two percent. They will help you save time on two levels:

  • Study Time: Our program focuses specifically on identifying your errors, so they can be corrected as needed. Once we determine what’s been holding you back, you’ll waste a lot less time trying to answer that question yourself.
  • Time Spent on Each Question: It is important not to overthink any of the questions. Not only will you doubt yourself, but you’ll likely end up running out of time before you’ve completed the whole test. We build your knowledge and skills to combat this.

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The Importance of SAT Subject Tests

SAT Subject Tests allow students to demonstrate their mastery of a subject on a nationwide scale. Each SAT Subject Test runs 60 minutes and students can choose which ones to take. The tests are scored on a scale of 200 to 800 and the scores allow colleges to compare students at a higher level than GPA. A student with a weak U.S History grade can show colleges he has mastered the U.S. History material, without worrying about the impact of the homework assignments he might have missed. It also means a student with a strong grade who lives in a district not known to be particularly challenging can similarly show mastery to interested colleges.

blog-subjectsFor students who desire extra tutoring for the SAT Subject Tests we have instructors who can tutor in most subjects. Unlike the SAT Reasoning Test, the SAT Subject Tests more closely mimic students’ high school course work. Thus, students usually need only 8-12 hours of tutoring for a one hour SAT Subject Test.

If your student isn’t comfortable with a subject or hasn’t seen it in over a year, you should probably choose a different subject. SAT Subject Tests are offered in the following subjects in: October, November, December, January, May and June unless otherwise noted.

  • Literature
  • US History
  • World History (Dec and June)
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