“So I didn’t understand why so many of them were enrolled in the optional SAT prep section of our summer program. Why would such impressive high achievers spend their summer nights storming through a massive SAT book? Many of them already took weekend SAT prep courses back home. Did they just think it was fun to time one another on practice sets?”
A story in the New York Times talks about a student from a modest background wondering why his rich co-students were taking summer SAT prep classes.
His family and friends from home thought it was weird that he went to “school” during his summers. His fellow students saw it otherwise; they saw summer academic programs as normal and enjoyable. They approached studying for the SAT with a near-professional intensity that was alien to him.
“I realized that they didn’t just want to score exceptionally well on the SAT. They were gunning for a score on the Preliminary SAT exams that would put them in the top percentile of students in the United States and make them National Merit Scholars in the fall.”
The majority of low- and middle-income 11th graders he knew didn’t even sit for the preliminary exams. Most took the SAT cold. Few were privy to the upper-middle-class secret: To get into elite colleges, one must train for standardized tests with the intensity of an athlete.
Yes, train with the intensity of an athlete. How do you do that?
A Hillview Prep graduate, Cindy, is going to college this year! Exciting times, but she is also a bit apprehensive. We asked her what is she worried about. She said: her room mate!!
Room mate? We asked. Cindy said, yes. We asked her why is that a big concern? She said that the room mate gives her the creeps. She does not like her at all. We asked her how did she meet her room mate. And Cindy said it was via roomsync.com.
This app is a great idea, and we asked Cindy how did she pick her room mate. She said it was the room mate who picked her! Cindy said she does not like her room mate's personality and other things. We asked her why didn't she just say 'No'??
And that is the problem. Too many people are afraid to say 'no'. They think saying 'no' is hurting other people. In fact, nothing can be further than the truth. A 'no' protects you. It gives you time to consider your decision. A hurried 'yes' is the worst decision you can make.
Since you will be living with someone for at least a year in your freshman year, you should take the time to get to know people. Roomsync is great, but you should take time to get to know the person. Do a Skype call. See the other person in action. If possible, even go meet the other student and her family.
Technology can speed up finding things and making connections. However, it does not necessarily help you make a good decision. Don't be seduced by technology.
What will Cindy do? We don't know, but we have some tips for you to find a good room mate.
In a previous post, we talked about one of the greatest fear some students have in going to college. This post will discuss the second biggest fear in college. Can you guess what it is?
We have a student at Hillview Prep who is a good student but is apprehensive in going to college. She is going to a great school, one of her top choices, but she is nervous.
She is nervous about doing well in school.
This is a very common concern, and it is definitely not misguided. The expectations in college are much higher than in school. Often bright students underestimate what it takes to succeed in college and simply burn out. A lot depends on your high school background. For example, we have a student who did not take any programming courses in high school. For college he chose electrical engineering, and in his classes he encountered C++. He crashed. Some of his fellow high school friends had no problems because they knew Python and/or Java. The student also struggled in other courses despite being an 'A' student in high school. He needed to do some courses to bridge the gap from high school to college. He didn't know that there was a major gap in knowledge between high school and college that he needed to bridge. So he crashed and burned. He left his college and went to a community college, where he is taking courses that amount to bridge courses.
Then there are kids who got top grades in high school and earned high SAT/ACT scores. In college, they continue their hard work, but somehow fall behind. There are several reasons. Students struggle to wake up in time for class, procrastinate on long-term assignments, and neglect to do their work without the kinds of reminders and cues that their parents and school teachers used to provide. Unlike high school, where performance is closely tracked, in college you just have mid-terms and then the final grade. Often, professors in big universities are better researchers than teachers, so students struggle and have to learn everything on their own.
If you are struggling in college, or are concerned about how to approach college, here are some tips to do well.
A Hillview Prep student is going to college this fall, to UC Davis. She is a good student, talented and makes her own money working during the summer. She knows what she wants. She is becoming more and more independent. She is exciting about going to college, to pursue her passion of what she wants to do in her life.
Yet she is apprehensive about college. Can you guess her two big fears?
Her two big fears are not making friends and not getting good grades in college.
We will address her one big fear in this blog post: not making friends. Here are 7 tips to make friends in college.
1. Be yourself.
Many self-conscious students are afraid to be themselves. Often, they fear what people think of them. Maybe they will be rejected by their peers. That is a big error and will cost you angst and grief. Don't care about what others think of you. You should focus on your values, what is important to you and you will find people in college you share your interests and personality. Also, often you may be attracted to people with a different personality. If you are an introvert, you may enjoy the company of an extrovert, and vice-versa.
Our student at Hillview Prep is an introvert. She does not like approaching people. Well, you don't have to do much. Just be yourself and the right people will come to you. The only thing you have to do is go mingle with your peers.
2. Make the dorm your second home.
Dorms are filled with other college freshmen going through similar experiences. Reach out to them and just say hello, even if you are shy. Just say hello. You will be surprised what reaction you will get. You will find many are eager to make friends too and share the same fear of not making friends like you do. Some will be rude or just reject. This may not be a bad thing, since they are either not the right fit for you, or they are reacting out of fear. Say hello again to them later, and they may reciprocate.
The Hillview Prep student loves to bake. We suggested she should bake cookies. People would come like bees to honey!!
Highly successful people know there are 1,440 minutes in every day and there is nothing more valuable than time. As legendary Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller said, "To this day, I keep a schedule that is almost minute by minute."
You must master your minutes to master your life — and your academic life. Mastering your minutes does not mean counting or keeping score of each minute, but it means what you do with them, how you study and what you study. You can spend an hour and not learn much, while you could just spend 15-20 minutes and learn a lot.
We developed the Smart Scoring System to help you learn faster, test smarter and score higher. It compresses the time it takes to prepare for a test.
Many students Take too many classes, and therefore have too much homework. School can become burdensome. Often, students reread what they already learned in school. At other times, the instruction was not clear or not clear to them, so they spend time floundering. The Smart Scoring System can figure out what is going on really quickly. Do you understand the concept? Are you making silly errors? Are your using poor reading skills? Are you using keywords? Etc.
If you are falling behind in homework and at school, try the Smart Scoring System. Contact us to learn more how it can help you.
If you are feeling competitive pressure the Smart Scoring System makes you a better learner and a superior tester in a shorter time. Often competition creates focus, but if you do not have the right tools, you will lose your focus rather quickly and fall behind. The Smart Scoring System can quickly evaluate your strengths and help use your strengths to conquer your weaknesses. You can then learn faster in a shorter amount of time, thereby gaining an advantage over your peers. Plus, you will score higher in your tests. Contact us to learn more.
Everyone has 24 hours, but athlete students have to juggle between athletics and academics. There is no more time available. According to The Los Angeles Times, an average teenager spends about 3.5 hours a day just on homework. Athlete students in particular have a major challenge in balancing athletics and school work. They may find themselves unable to keep up with both athletics and academics, and sooner or later one of these two will suffer. The students will continue to try to balance the two, and frankly, there is no such thing as balance!
Take the case of Sasha, who plays volleyball and hopes to get a scholarship for college. She practices volleyball 20+ hours a week on top of school and homework. She has the same hours as everyone else, but her work load is much more than others. How can she make the best use of her time to excel in both sports and academics?
Do you love Pixar movies? Do you want to do computer animations and work on cool projects like Pixar movies? If so, you should read this blog.
If you are a good physics and math student, you will have no problem with animation. Interestingly, according to Tony DeRose, Pixar's Senior Scientist, computer animation models objects at greater scale and detail than even physics. For example, a big challenge in animation is quickly generating smooth curves with high fidelity.
For years, in both computer animation and video games, researchers mapped 3D objects with polygons. But the problem with polygons is that at close detail, you can see every one of them — a fatal problem when the illusion depends on ignoring individual frames and pixels. The trend has been is to replace polygons with parabolas, curving surfaces that are continuous at arbitrary levels of detail. But you still need to define these curves quickly to match a finite number of points or planes. So mathematicians have worked to develop different methods for quickly generating smoothly curved surfaces. These are typically called subdivision surfaces because of how they're calculated, by repeatedly splitting and averaging the midpoint of a line.
Today more high school teachers are handing out A's. They have a stack of A's to give out. You should be delighted with your A's. You can show it to your family, your friends, your neighbors. They will give you an attaboy or an attagirl and you will be tickled pink. You will feel you own the universe.
A fool's gold?
Recent findings show that nearly half of America's Class of 2016 are A students, up from 38.9% in 1998 to 47% in 2016. Yes, half of your classmates have an A grade.
According to Michael Hurwitz of the College Board, the folks who bring you the SAT, and Jason Lee, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education, the rise of the A average is "really stunning." Interestingly, in the same period, 1998 to 2016, the average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale.
Recent research suggests that the problem isn’t just showing up in high school. Even in colleges, most popular grade is now an A, according to Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University scholar and founder of the website GradeInflation.com.
Does this suggest that all these A's on your report cards are just a fool's gold?
USA's public high schools are graduating a record number of students: the graduation rate is now 83%, according to federal statistics. But that's not always translating into success: more college diplomas and good jobs. A recent study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that just 56% of college students complete a four-year degree within six years of entering college. For students who start at two-year colleges, it's even worse: Just 29% earn a degree within three years.
So if half of students are getting A's, why are they failing? And what can you do about your situation?
College Application Rates are the Highest while Acceptance Rates are the Lowest in History. Got Rejected? This is What You Need to do.
It is crazy out there in the college world.
College application numbers for the Class of 2021 defied expectations, setting records at many universities. The number of application for the Class of 2022 is expected to be even higher. While there are record number of applications, the acceptance rates at Ivy Leagues and other top ranked universities have tanked. Well, it makes sense. They have a limited number of seats, so if there are more applicants the acceptance rates will drop. Simple math.
Cornell University got more than 47,000 apps and said accepted only 12.5%. The University of Pennsylvania got more than 40,000 applications, including both early and regular apps, and they admitted only 9.15%. The acceptance rate is the lowest in UPenn’s history. Brown received their highest number of applications with 32,724 and accepted a record low of 8.3%. Yale University accepted the largest freshman class in its history of 2,272 (normal class is 2,000). They got a record of 32,900 overall applicants — both early and regular decision applications — and accepted only 6.9%. Harvard University received 39,000 apps and accepted only 5.2%. Princeton University accepted 6.1% of over 31,000 applications. At Columbia University, early applicants set a new record – but accepted only 5.8%. Stanford University was the most selected: Out of a record 44,073 applications, they accepted a mere 4.65%.
Even state colleges are tougher to get in today. San Diego State University and Cal State-Long Beach are currently among the most competitive, with acceptance rates around 34%. And California Polytechnic accepts about 30% of applicants.
The internet and the common app makes it easier to apply -- and in some cases spam. People are just applying for the sake of applying hoping that they get in. This makes it harder for good students to get in. There are strategies to stand out. For example, this is what Eni did.
Anyway, you worked hard and applied to a good school, but got rejected. Your plan A failed. What can you do now? If you are in California, you can do 2 things (other states may be similar).
Before you got asking for a letter of recommendation for your high school or college application, think about what you are trying to accomplish with them. What is the purpose of a recommendation?
What do you want your letters to do for you? There can be many purposes. One, it could be highlighting a character trait that is admirable in you. It is like endorsing you as a person. Two, it can personalize your application and tell a story about you as a student and as a person.
Your grades, test scores, and activities highlight your accomplishments as a student, but they do not paint a complete picture of you as a person. Letters of recommendation can go beyond your scores and help you come to life in the eyes of admissions officers. Recommendation letters can speak to your academic potential, character traits, and personality, as well as about how you've connected with others in the school community over the past few years.
2. Who do you ask
Ask recommendations from two types of teachers. The first is the one you have built good rapport with. You interacted with her as a human being. Talk to them about how they see you as a unique student. Can they judge the essence of what makes you unique? If so, you know this is the teacher who can speak about you as a human being and help you stand out.
The second one is more technical in nature. For example, if you want to take computer science or math, and you excelled in math in school and took computer programming as well, ask the math or the computer science (or both) for a recommendation. Remind them how well you did in their classes and show any projects you have done using what you learned in their classes.
Guest post by Anna Salieva, a Hillview Prep student
From the first year I came to St. Francis, the biggest thing that stood out to me was how much interests have a place to shine on campus. And it's easy for a freshman to find a place where they belong. While there are many stereotypes about Catholic Schools that incoming students are afraid of, the biggest truth I've come to find over my three years at SFHS is it's rich, diverse, accepting atmosphere. Saint Francis is a college preparatory school. Its academics are challenging, its teachers are effective, and its students are incredibly talented. And among the hard academics and busy student lives, Saint Francis students all have their own activities and clubs.
There are more than 60 clubs on campus, ranging from Baking Club to programming workshops, and all demonstrate the dedication students put into their interests and work. There are fourteen different Varsity teams, for men and for women, to participate in, and diverse visual and performing arts programs. Here, a choir student can easily be on the tennis team, and work in Robotics as well.
Guest Blog by Anna Salieva, a Hillview Prep student
When it came to animating the hit Disney movie Tangled, the biggest challenge animators had on their hands was hair. Rapunzel, the main character of the movie, was supposed to have 70ft of hair that would weight a total of about 60lbs. There was no way Disney could have animated that much hair to look realistic and be able to do as much as it did in the movie. That's when Dr. Ward, a PhD from UNC Chapel Hill came in. Her speciality? Animating realistic hair.
Hair simulation is difficult. An average human head has about 100,000 strands of hair. The simulation could reduce that number to about 173 - since hair that's grouped together tends to act one certain way. There are a lot of formulas for a single strand of hair, what its physical parameters are, and how it will react to outside forces.
Tuition aid is available annually for eligible full-time employees to help cover education costs that have been approved by the company. In addition, AT&T has partnered with Udacity for tech training. You can get a Nanodegree in Front End and in Full Stack Web Development.
2. BANK OF AMERICA
Bank of America reimburses eligible employees up to $5,250 for job-related courses or to fulfill a job-related degree program. - See more at: http://careers.bankofamerica.com/us/working-here/benefits-advantages.aspx#tab-life-management-benefits
Baxter’s Educational Assistance Program invests in employee growth and professional development by reimbursing up to $5,250 per year for undergraduate courses at accredited institutions. A separate program, that requires management approval, provides tuition assistance for graduate coursework.
4. BEST BUY
You can receive up to a calendar-year maximum of $3,500 for undergraduate and $5,250 for graduate-level course work. See Best Buy’s tuition assistance program for more details.
The BP educational assistance program will reimburse eligible full-time employees for up to 90% of educational expenses as long as certain conditions are met.
6. COMCAST Employees of Comcast can be reimbursed up to $5,750 per year for undergraduate and graduate educational expenses. The company also has its Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program, which awards students more than $1,000 per year.
7. Home Depot
The company offers Tuition Reimbursement to associates after 90 days of service. For salaried: up to $5,000 • Full-time Hourly: up to $3,000. 50% of the cost of tuition, books and reasonable class registration fees for approved course(s).
The JetBlue scholars program covers the cost of JetBlue-approved online courses. Employees who have worked for JetBlue for at least two years and have at least 15 college credits are eligible for the program.
The tuition reimbursement program at Publix covers individual courses, occupational/technical programs and some undergraduate programs. Any associate who has worked for at least six months and works an average of 10 hours per week is eligible to receive up to $3,200 per year with a maximum of $12,800 of tuition reimbursement, with approval from a manager. To receive tuition reimbursement for a graduate degree, you must get higher approval.
Up to 100% reimbursement of tuition costs for Company-approved college courses. Scholarship program for children of employees, which awards a $3,000 renewable scholarship to up to ten recipients each year.
A template for human beauty is found in phi and the pentagon
Dr. Stephen Marquardt has studied human beauty for years. He has performed cross-cultural surveys on beauty and found that all groups had the same perceptions of facial beauty. Plus, he analyzed the human face from ancient times to the modern day. What did he find?
He discovered that beauty is not only related to phi, but can be defined for both genders and for all races, cultures and eras with the beauty mask which he developed and patented. This mask uses the pentagon and decagon as its foundation, which
Nancy Yi Liang is a unique designer. She brings code to life by converting code into physical objects like dresses. This is the future of custom made dresses. Her blog walks us through all the steps from the first sketch to the final product: the amazing, customized dress. Her project plays with perspective and digital manufacturing techniques like sewing simulation, 3D modeling, laser cutting.
Nancy starts with sketching the design on paper. Yes, paper is still important. Next, she moves into the digital domain to create an accurate 3D model of the wearer. Nancy uses Make Human, the free and open source software to create realistic 3D humans.
Next, she uses Marvelous Designer, which allows you to create beautiful 3D virtual clothing. From basic shirts to complicated dresses, Marvelous Designer can virtually replicate fabric textures and physical properties to the last button, fold, and accessory. This allows Nancy to design the cutting patterns, and then shows her how to drape the
1. Testing is Good!
When they hear the word “test”, most students react with angst and dread. Who wants to take a test? Well, mostly nobody. But did you know that testing is the best way of learning? According to Drs. Barbara Oakley and Terry Sejnowski, testing is better than re-reading.
Often, closing the book and testing yourself on whether you can solve the problem or recall the information you think you understand, will speed up your learning at this stage. You often realize the first time you actually understand something is when you can actually do it yourself. Actively recalling information is a great way to burn it into long-term memory.
2. Start Early
The simplest way to improve test results is to start studying well ahead of time. This will get material into your long-term memory, where it has staying power. But don’t try to do it all at once. Instead, break studying down into manageable pieces. And then use the spaced learning technique: review it the next day, and then a few days later and so on. Another value of starting early is to find out whether you need help before it’s too late.
3. Understand the Test
Ever studied the wrong material or missed a key section? There’s an easy way to prevent this: Ask your teacher for guidance, or for standardized test, find out what material they cover in the tests. Create a table of contents for what you think will be covered in the test and then find out:
Fashion designers use a lot of math. They use addition and subtraction to find out if they will make a profit on the clothes they make. The profit on a piece of clothing is the amount of money earned from selling it minus all the costs of making it. For example, let’s say a designer makes a dress. She buys the fabric for $70.00.
Let's say, that the zipper costs her $5.00. She buys the thread for $3.00. She pays someone $40.00 to sew the dress. The designer uses addition to find out how much it cost her to make the dress: $70.00 + $5.00 + $3.00 + 40.00 = $118.00 The dress cost the designer $118.00 to make. Now suppose she sells the dress for $160.00. She uses subtraction to calculate her profit. She subtracts her costs from the amount she received: $160.00 – $118.00 = $42.00 So, the designer made a profit of $42.00 on the dress.
What happens if the collar is too wide? Shirt collars often have a thin strip of fabric around the edge for decoration. After making the collar, the designer notices that the strip is too wide. She must cut off some fabric from the strip. But how much?
The designer can use fractions to figure this out. She looks at her sketch and sees that the strip should be 3/8 inches wide. She measures the strip. It is 7/8 inches wide. So she must subtract the fractions:
7/8 - 3/8 = 4/8 which 1/2 inch. So she must cut 1/2 an inch of the fabric.
Two figures are congruent, when you place one over the other, the first one exactly covers the second. They have the same shape and size.
Congruent figures can make clothing interesting.
Look at the skirt shown above. It has small triangles on it. The designer made sure that all the triangles have the same size and shape. That makes the skirt pleasing to the eye.
You may not know it but knitting is very popular, especially among adult women. According to the Craft Yarn Council, 29 million, or nearly one-fifth of American women knit, and they make up 70 percent of all knitters.
According to Prof. Gresalfi, founder of KnitLab, knitting and its cousin crochet, are activities inherently filled with “rich mathematical thinking and problem solving.” One of the objectives of the KnitLab is to raise awareness that knitting is math.
How can knitting be similar to math?
A mathematician, artist and lecturer at the Cornell University, Daina Taimiņa, used a crochet hook, bright crochets and visualized very complicated mathematical concepts were only understood by highly experienced mathematicians. Using crochets, Daina has created a new way of understanding hyperbolic planes and has created a simpler way for the students to master it. Why do we care about hyperbolic plane?
An interesting story in the Harvard Gazette profiles Eni Dervishi’s journey from Albania to Harvard that began with two simple words: "table" and "chair". Fascinated by language, Eni, soon developed a passion for learning languages.
“I fell in love with languages,” she said. “Through languages I was able to see a different world. It opened my imagination to what was out there.”
Eni is from a small town in Albania. Her father had no formal education. Neither did her mother, though she returned to school as an adult. Her mother had to balance both school and house work and showed Eni with her actions that education is important.
Eni's small-town high school had no one to guide her in the application process. “My teachers hadn’t written letters of recommendation before,” she said. “I had to teach them.” When she needed to send official documents, such as transcripts, she found another hurdle. “I thought of faxing them, but there was no fax machine in my hometown.”
Despite these odds, Eni persevered and got accepted at Harvard. As you can see, Eni is from a modest background and did not have to climb Mount Everest, or take several extra co-curricular classes, or be a team captain, or, well, impress people. She followed her passion for learning languages. In addition to English, she learned some French,
Guest post by Frank Lawson
Tips for Choosing the Best Summer Camp for Your Child
For parents, choosing the right summer camp for your child is just as important as picking the right daycare center, school, or club. It’s a decision that deserves some research, thought, and planning. Though there are hundreds of summer camps across the U.S., there may only be a handful of camps in your vicinity that are right for your child. Here are some tips to make sure you choose the right summer camp.
Involve your child in the process
Ultimately you have the final say on where your child goes for summer camp, but there’s a greater chance that they’ll have a fun, productive time if they play some role in the decision-making process.
The three major choices you have when picking a summer camp are sleepaway vs. day camp, long distance or close to home, and specialty or general interest. Ask your child if they feel ready to attend a camp that’s 24/7 or one’s that’s further away from home. Don’t push it, but encourage your child to step outside their comfort zone. If your child is super into a certain sport, activity, or field of study, you may want to consider a specialty camp. If not, a general interest camp might make them feel more comfortable.
“Be certain to include your child in the decision-making process. Together with your child, explore the camp options and examine the materials the camps provide … As children become better acquainted with the camp experience and more involved in the decision-making process, they will have less anxiety about going away to camp,” suggests the American Camp Association.
How to spot good and bad camps
What are the attributes of a good summer camp? First and foremost, the camp will have a focused curriculum. You’re not paying a camp to just send your kids out to wander aimlessly in the woods. You want them to learn and to experience interesting things. A good camp will have low staff turnover and will have some sort of positive presence - whether that be online or via the recommendations of friends and neighbors.
You just got a response from your dream college, and it says you are on the wait list. Disappointed?! You feel that you have lost the chance. In one sense you are correct. A wait list is a 'polite no' and the chances of you getting admitted off the waitlist are often slim. What does the waitlist decision tell you? It says you are competitive but not a standout. According to Eric J. Furda, dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania:
"This waitlist decision is one saying that you're competitive in our pool, and if spots open up after the May 1 candidates' reply date, we're going to go back and take a look at your application and the other students' applications on the waitlist."
So what do you do? Do you leave the decision to chance, or can you do something and perhaps standout? Yes, you can standout and here are 5 steps you can take.
There is a raging debate in the country about the value of a college education. Partly, the rising cost of education has prompted this debate. The average cost for a public 4-year college degree is over $80,000 and for private ones are $180,000. The burden of paying for a college education, both for rich and for middle class families, has considerably increased over the past 30 years. Some families find themselves too wealthy to qualify for financial aid, but are too strapped to pay out-of-pocket for college education. This is how federal financial aid works since it is needs based. If you are in this situation, check out our blog that addresses this issue and provides a guide for action.
Plus, given globalization and the slow growth economy worldwide, competition for jobs have intensified. The rising cost of a college education increases debt levels for students, and they struggle to pay the debt for a long time.
How can we empower families to deal with the rising cost of college education? Weighing a college's value has been done using soft metrics like reputation, selectivity and alumni networks. This type of evaluation cedes all power to university admissions algorithms, committees and various pressure groups seeking favors. You may be rich enough to send your kid to the top colleges, but you are not the decision maker.
It's time to challenge the way we look at the college admissions process. We want to empower the students and their families with useful information about the value of their college education.
You are told if you are smart, you will get good grades and do really well on standardized tests. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Just because a student is smart, it does not mean she will end up with good grades. Yesterday, we had a meeting with concerned parents and their talented and smart daughter, who was barely getting by in school. She was doing well, and then suddenly her grades fell. Her parents were concerned brought her to Hillview Prep to provide her with academic and test prep support. Her father kept on insisting that his daughter is smart. We did not disagree, as after talking to her we could tell that she is a typical smart and talented girl, who has too many things on her hand. She is active both in academics and in sports, and says she is not a good test-taker, but does all her homework. She said she does not like math and is not good at it, but loves science.
Usually, when someone is good in science, they are good in math too. The problem is that students often do not know their learning style and skills they need to do well in academics and in tests. They just do things intuitively. They haven't learnt that one can be good in any subject. It all depends on learning good methods of learning. Do you know how to take control of your academic abilities? Do you know how to learn effectively?
Well, if you are smart, why are you not good at taking tests? Test taking is fundamentally a skill, just like any other skill.
We started with students hurdled in a French classroom with a TV and lots of French words and pictures from France. The room was in a trailer, away from the main building. It faced the large field.
The students knew why they were there. They were there not to learn French but for an after school HSPT class. The students were seventh graders and even a sixth grader.
For over fifty years, academic high schools nationwide have used High School Placement Test (HSPT®) to assist with admissions, scholarship selection, and curriculum placement. The HSPT is a standardized, timed test required of every 8th grade student applying to attend a Catholic high school. It contains five sections. The first two sections measure verbal and quantitative ability. The next three sections include questions related to reading comprehension, mathematics, and the components of written language. The HSPT questions are designed to test students at their curriculum level.
Hillview Prep was invited by Carden Academy to teach HSPT to a select group of students. Carden Academy of Almaden is a co-educational, non-sectarian, independent private elementary and middle school.
You need to get at least a 32 on the ACT to get into a top school.
Often we see that some very smart kids are unable to break the barrier of 32 on the ACT and fail to get near perfect scores.
Why do smart kids fail to break the barrier? In "Patterns of Underachievement in Gifted Students", Carolyn Coil, discusses three patterns of underachievement by smart kids:
1) Does well in early grades, then underachieves more as they get older
2) Sporadic up-and-down pattern
3) No effort to go beyond the minimum
The causes of underachievement can be many. We highlight a few below.
1. Not Being Prepared
Some smart students have poor discipline and do things last minute. They are smart so they can study last minute and still do well. However, in test prep, you cannot get away with it. Poor discipline leads to poor habits which affects your scores. For example, such students make a lot of silly errors because they rush through the questions. Remember, many questions are not difficult, but if you make an error the scantron will be unforgiving. It does not know whether you know the concept or not. It only sees you bubble that you have marked. Why lose points on concepts you know really well? So prepare well.
2. Poor Strategies
We suggest not to take the ACT or the SAT in spring because your school load is quite heavy, especially if you are taking APs. Ideally, take the test in the Fall and do test-prep in the Summer. We would be happy to assist with your test preparation. Just let us know. :-)
3. Lack of Test Taking Abilities
If you are not a good test taker, chances are you have not developed your test-taking abilities. Test taking is no different than learning swimming or tennis. It is the same thing. There are certain principles and strategies that you need to learn to do well on tests. Many students do not have a well rounded approach and have no consistency.