Test Prep at the Hut

February 16th, 2012

As a new test-prep tutor for Study Hut, I have learned loads of information about the SAT, ISEE, and HSPT. I was surprised to find that, despite the differences in the exams, the overall study technique was very similar and ultimately comes down to one word – strategy.

This reminded me of my fourth grade teacher, Ms. Green. She told my class that she was SO good at taking tests that she could take a multiple choice test on any subject and still get most of the answers correct. At the time, I thought she was crazy – or maybe just really smart. What I have come to learn while working at Study Hut is that any test, whether for school or the SAT, has two different parts to it: the information it covers and the specific way that you put that information on the test. Failing to recognize this often makes the difference between an A and a B, or several hundred points on the SAT.

During my first test-prep tutoring session, my student seemed very stressed out about the ISEE test he was only a month away from taking. We were reviewing vocabulary words, many of which he had never even seen before. Becoming very concerned, he asked me: “How can I EVER remember all of this information?” I told him not to worry and that, by the end of our session, he would be able to figure out the meaning of at least half of the words he had never even seen before. Now, he thought I was crazy. He only had three weeks until the test and his parents had chosen Study Hut to provide that extra special test-prep service that only Study Hut can provide. Now, it was my job to show him the first important strategy to use when studying vocabulary words. While that’s not a secret I can reveal now, let’s just say that by the end of our two-hour one-on-one session, he not only knew most of the word meanings, but also answered 14/15 correctly on a practice quiz directly afterward.

Juniors: The busiest of High School schedules.

October 9th, 2011

When a students claims Junior status in HS, we realize it’s not only a moment for discrete gloating but also a time for stress and scrambling for steady ground. Juniors have the most coursework. Unfortunately, this is just how things work. Juniors have to mark down the upcoming SAT dates, ACT weekends, and AP exam weeks. On top of that, they have to start looking at colleges and majors. College Board is responsible for all the SAT & ACT exams. Juniors have to get off their FB accounts for a couple min, stop Twittering, and get onto the College Board website, make an account, and register for tests. Once you register, the stress starts. We will do all we can to ensure students meet their deadlines and are ready for the exam. We provide SAT, PSAT, ACT, and ISEE diagnostic tests. We assist not only in the academic coursework but also in how to juggle the immense workload of stuydying for the SAT, AP, and midterms in U.S. Government. ACT is optional, but if students find themselves splattering over the SAT, they have to take the ACT. So, how do students know if they need to take one or the other if the SAT and ACT registration dates are so close? SAT diagnostics. Juniors, whether they are confident in their ability or if they are not even planning to study, have to test the waters and check where they stand. Once they know where they stand, everything starts growing clearer — set a schedule, take another SAT diagnostic every other week, and stay for extra time at Study Hut to ensure you will know what you are doing when the awful date comes. We have cereal so feel free to stay — but no overnights…obviously. With SATs done, Juniors should be ready for AP exams. What the — ? While studying for the SAT, Juniors have to stay on top of their AP courses in order to prepare for the AP exams. Unfortunately, this is how it is. On top of all of that work, Juniors have to start thinking about Senior status. Start volunteering in community events to rack up the minutes, join a writing competition, work your stress away in track and field, juggle your academic coursework with extracurricular activities — it will all come back not only when college apps are due but also when you gloat about it in interviews and over Christmas when you are starting on the 30s. While this may be an overwhelming academic year for Juniors, Study Hut is there to set a schedule, give diagnostics, comment, give quizzes on the functions of the mitochondria and the political reasonings of the English Civil War. We will assist in the year of cramming and if students start hallucinating from the stress — we are there with crunchy granola with dark chocolate — and then it is back to grinding out information, constantly editing the weekly schedule to fit their needs, and prioritizing work to make things just a bit less stressful.