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“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?
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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.
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There are many students who have perfect scores on the SAT. These students come all walks of life and have taken test prep from various places, from the name brands to individual tutors. If you were to choose a test prep course, and there are lots and lots of choices today, which one should you choose? Of course, we will say choose us, but what really differentiates us from the name brands like Kaplan and Princeton and from the many test prep schools out there. In short, why would you work with Hillview Prep?
The short answer is the Smart Scoring System.
The Smart Scoring System is a learning tool. It can identify your academic strengths and weaknesses and understand your learning style. It is the ultimate guide for discovering the most effective methods and strategies that make you learn faster and succeed in less time.
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You are an excellent student. You got good grades, but you bombed the SAT. You are disappointed and still want to go to a top school. What do you do now? Here are some tips.
1. Take the ACT!
This is a no-brainer. If you have not taken the ACT, you must. It will enhance your chances of getting into an Ivy league school. Prepare for the ACT with the Hillview Prep's Smart Scoring System and get a great ACT score. The Smart Scoring Systems can quickly diagnose why you failed to obtain a great SAT score and help you pinpoint your weaknesses. Working with one of our tutors, you can use the Smart Scoring System to lean faster, test smarter and score higher.
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College admission committees want to know who is getting into their college. It is just like anything else. You want to know who is coming to your house. Right?
GPAs and test scores helps them determine how well you are doing academically and the probability of how well you will do in college, but they also want to get to know you beyond that. They want to learn your character, your interests, like, how you spend your time outside of the classroom, how you would deal with a challenge, etc. They are interested in getting to know your personality and the life experiences you may have had up until this point. They also want to learn why you are interested in going to their college. They want to learn from your teachers or counselors their perspective on who you are as a student and human being. They can’t get all that information from numbers: GPA and test scores.
Admission to top colleges is ultra-competitive. They are many, many qualified students who are applying to top colleges—from all around the world. Colleges do not have spots for all of them. Many students have excellent grades and test scores—some perfect grades and test scores. So they have to use qualitative measures such as essays, projects and letters of recommendations to make distinctions among the many excellent candidates.
In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.
A perfect essay appeals to both systems. Here are two steps to write your perfect college essay.