Monday, December 15, 2014

Another SAT Prep Success Story

Time to celebrate another success story at CROSSWALK!

Sure, bragging about our own success may make us appear less than humble. Nevertheless, we take great pride in helping our students and we all celebrate when a student achieves his or her goal.

The latest example is Morgan, a student who worked on SAT prep with one of CROSSWALK's finest tutors, Dan. 

Morgan had a goal to increase her SAT score to improve her chances at attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Opisbo. She and Dan started SAT prep sessions last May. After a break in the summer, Dan and Morgan met regularly throughout the fall. 

Morgan's diligence, coupled with Dan's guidance, yielded strong results. This is a direct quote from the mother in an email she sent to Dan:

"I'm super proud to tell you that all her hard work has paid off, as Morgan was accepted Early Decision at Cal Poly! This was her first choice college and all we've been working towards for the past couple years. Thank you for being such an integral part of her success."

But wait, there's more:

"She raised her last SAT by 300 points overall. We appreciate the hard work you put in with Morgan, she truly feels that you were a huge part in her raising her test scores overall. She felt confident in her ability to tackle the tests with an organized plan, and obviously she was prepared and ultimately successful."

Early Decision to the college of her choice? Awesome!

Congratulations, Morgan! On behalf of everyone at CROSSWALK, we wish you continued success.

If you want to be one of CROSSWALK's success story, contact us here to learn about SAT prep, ACT prep and other tutoring options.

Also, read "2400 SCORES: 24 Life Lessons to Demystify the SAT and Boost Your Score" by Brooke Higgins to learn how to approach life and the SAT.


Monday, December 1, 2014

ACT & SAT Math: Show What You Know

Math word problems: do you love them or hate them? 

Chances are you hate them. Most students struggle with math problems that contain more words than numbers. Translating sentences into equations is not always the easiest thing to do.  

Despite the challenge, there is no way around word problems. Most of the math questions on the SAT and ACT deal with more words than numbers. Remember, the SAT and ACT are tests designed primarily to test your reading ability, not your math skills

So how do you tackle word problems? How do you sift through the cornucopia of words to drill down to the important math equation? 

The answer is quite simple: use your pencil to draw and show what you know. Often by drawing the information you know, you can create an easy shortcut to the correct answer. 

For example, let's say you are given the following question (taken directly from the College Board website): 

A special lottery is to be held to select the student who will live in the only deluxe room in a dormitory. There are 100 seniors, 150 juniors, and 200 sophomores who applied. Each senior's name is placed in the lottery 3 times; each junior's name, times; and each sophomore's name, time. What is the probability that a senior's name will be chosen?

A) 1/8
B) 2/9
C) 2/7
D) 3/8
E) 1/2

So many words here! But don't freak out. Take it slow and start with your pencil: 

Draw one block to represent 100 seniors, another block to represent 150 juniors and one more block to represent 200 sophomores. Now, you also know that the senior's names are placed in the lottery 3 times. So draw two more blocks next to the senior's block, each identical to the block representing 100 names. Draw two blocks for the juniors, each representing 150 names. Finally, sophomores don't need an extra block. 

Once you have your drawing, now comes the easy part. Probability, you might recall, is nothing more than a fraction. The numerator is the number of desired outcomes and the denominator is the number of total outcomes. By using your blocks, you can see that the total desired outcomes (senior's names) is 3 blocks of 100, or 300. The total outcomes is all of the blocks added together: (3 x 100) + (2 x 150) + 200 = 800. In other words, the probability is 300/800 or 3/8. The correct answer is D. 

Even though this is a hard question according to the College Board, it becomes quite easy when you draw things out. 

When you are faced with math problems that seem to have no solution, start drawing! Getting your pencil to paper will help you organize what you know and guide you towards finding out what you don't know. 

Learn more test prep tips by contacting CROSSWALK, the Monterey Peninsula's resource for test prep and tutoring. Also, read 2400 SCORES: 24 Life Lessons to Demystify the SAT and Boost Your Score by Brooke Higgins for SAT-specific tips.