Sunday, December 10, 2017

Winter 2018 Test Prep Series

Kick off 2018 with a focused and individualized SAT and ACT test prep program by Brooke Higgins of CROSSWALK.

Starting Tuesday, January 9, CROSSWALK is hosting a six-week winter ACT and SAT test prep series.

Attend in person at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach or via Skype.

All sessions meet on Tuesday evenings from 6-7:30pm. Here is the schedule:

  • 1/9: SAT and ACT Test Overview and General Strategies
  • 1/16: Reading Strategies for Success
  • 1/23: Math Strategies for Success
  • 1/30: Writing Strategies for Success
  • 2/6: Science Strategies for Success
  • 2/13: Essay Strategies for Success
Drop in for the session you need and pay by the class or sign up for the whole program and save.

Sign up via the following form.

Questions? Or need further information? Contact CROSSWALK here.

CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT prep and academic tutoring. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How to Perfectly Practice for the SAT and ACT

Like any skill, test-taking requires time to develop.

If you want to learn to play the guitar, take the time to practice and get better. If you want to speak Chinese, take the time to practice and get better. If you want to do improve your SAT or ACT score, take the time to get better.

But time isn't the sole driver of success. The time you spend on your practice must be quality time.

You could go the gym to practice basketball for two hours but if the only thing you do in those two hours is shoot half-court shots then your practice was meaningless.

As Vince Lombardi famously stated, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect."

So how do you perfectly practice for the SAT and ACT? What is the best way to get some quality practice for your next test?

Consider these practice techniques that will force you to practice perfectly:
  • Remove All Distractions: Many students like to study with the tv on, some music in the background and/or their cell phone close by. Since you can't watch tv,  listen to music or use a cell phone on test day, practice what it feels like to be in a testing environment and remove all of those distractions. By recreating the testing environment, you will practice perfectly the test day experience. 
  • Practice Against the Clock: Some students get lackadaisical with their test prep by not timing their practice. Since the test is timed, be sure to practice against the clock. If I give a student a practice set for homework, my first question is always, "How was your time management?" If they respond, "um, I forgot to time myself," then their practice was likely meaningless. 
  • Know Your Tools: Aside from the math toolbox, students don't have much in the way of tools on test day. A pencil, calculator, test booklet and answer sheet are about it. Nevertheless, practice using these tools during your test prep. For example, don't use your cell phone calculator for your practice sessions as cell phone calculators are not approved on test day. Practice with an approved calculator to get familiar with it. You should also practice annotating reading passages and crunching numbers in your test booklet. Even practicing how to bubble in your answers on the answer sheet, especially or SAT Math grid-ins, can be useful. 
  • Set a Routine: A routine can create confidence and comfort on test day. I once met a student that, in anticipation of test day, took four practice tests on four consecutive Saturdays leading up to the test. On the fifth Saturday, the day of the test, everything was routine for the student. Setting aside four Saturday mornings in a row may not be possible for everyone but setting a routine should be. 
Yes, it takes time to get better at any skill. There are no quick fixes

But take maximum advantage of your practice time by practicing perfectly. 

For more tips on preparing for the SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT or other academic subjects, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Is the SAT Dying a Slow Death?

The validity and efficacy of standardized testing remains a highly debatable topic

On one hand, highly competitive universities continue to use standardized test scores to sift through thousands of applications received annually. For these schools, an objective and standardized assessment can prove to be an efficient way to determine whether or not a student has the potential to succeed in college.

On the other hand, many schools realize that standardized tests create unnecessary stress for students and results are often biased against certain groups. These schools are moving away from using test scores as a means to weigh an applicant's potential for college success. 

And according to FairTest, the number of schools moving away from using test scores in their process of admission is growing. 

FairTest states that, since the SAT launched its revised version of the test in March 2016, more than 100 colleges and universities have dropped SAT and ACT requirements. Now, there are almost 1,000 colleges and universities that "do not use the SAT or ACT to admit substantial number of bachelor-degree applicants." 

The good news is that with so many schools eliminating the need for SAT and ACT, there are now more reasons to not stress about SAT and ACT performance. The bad news is that there are still thousands of other schools that continue to use test performance in their admission evaluations. 

The SAT may be dying slowly but cynics note that the College Board is a big business with stakeholders and investors who will fight for its relevance, survival and, most importantly, profitability. 

My work as an SAT and ACT tutor is safe for now because I will continue to remind students that they need not stress about test performance. Stress is the enemy of test performance and with almost 1,000 schools not using SAT or ACT performance in their admission decisions, there should be no reason to stress on test day. 

To prepare for the SSAT, PSAT, ACT or SAT stress-free, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunday School for PSAT Prep

On a Sunday morning, what would you want to do most

A) Sleep in
B) Eat pancakes
C) Play video games
D) Go to school 

Definitely not D, right? I mean, who wants to go to school on a Sunday?

York School juniors do. In fact, over thirty of them came to school on a Sunday for a day long PSAT Boot Camp. 

My thanks to Ellen Masten and the York School administration for putting on this event. Pictured here are the students in action as we go through the steps to success for the reading, math, and english sections of the PSAT they are slated to take on Wednesday. 

It may have not been the students first choice of activities on a Sunday but everyone got a lot of out the session. No doubt the test-taking experience on Wednesday will be a bit easier for all the students. Additionally, as long as they keep doing what we talked about on Sunday, they can improve their test-taking performance on the SAT and ACT in the years to come. 

For information on scheduling a group Boot Camp at your school, contact CROSSWALK today. CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for SSAT, PSAT, SAT and ACT prep.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Accused of Cheating on the ACT?

A student of mine called me in a panic over the summer. "I've been accused of cheating on the ACT! What can I do?" 

Wait a second, I thought to myself. This is not a student who would cheat. 

I've heard of cheaters who fake their identification so that someone else can take the test for them. Or students who peek over the shoulder of another student during the test. And even the rumors that international students somehow gain access to the test version before the test. 

None of these scenarios seemed to apply to my student. 

Here was a student with a 19 on her ACT before she and I started to work together. Over the course of five sessions in a little under two months, we worked on her timing and her strategic approach to the test. She made marked improvement and she set a goal to score in the mid-20s. 

Her results came back and we were both extremely pleased: she scored a 29! A 10-point increase in two months surprised both of us. But based on our work together, we knew she would improve. 

I've come to find out that a major increase in such a short time frame triggers a flag within the ACT Inc's scoring system. These kind of things usually don't happen so the ACT reacts and accuses the student of cheating. 

The good news is that this story has a happy ending. I prepared a letter for my student so she could petition the accusation. We presented evidence of our work and how her increase was due to hard work, not cheating. The college that ultimately offered her admission did not put any stock into the accusation and she was admitted without any issue. 

Have you been accused of cheating on the ACT? Know anyone that has? In my 15+ years of test prep, this has never happened to me so I want to learn more. Feel free to post your comments here if you have any input. 

If you want to improve your score, and potentially be accused of cheating, contact CROSSWALK. We specialize in test prep for SAT, ACT, SSAT, PSAT and more. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Another ACT Success Story

A direct quote from a student and more proof that hard work and determination pay off: 

I wanted to give you the fantastic news that after my last ACT, with super scoring from my past tests, I now have a 32! I did what we hoped for and improved both my Reading and English from 33 and 34 to 35 in both! And I improved my math score 4 points to 28! So, with my original 31 in Science, 35 in English and Reading and 28 in Math all from this most recent test, my Super score improved to 32!!

Thank you for your patience, your diligence, and your dedication to help me do my best and build confidence in myself. It's giving me great hope for the future and I can't wait to keep updating you on what happens with college apps.

This particular student put in the time to improve. 

When she started working with CROSSWALK, she was scoring in the high teens on the ACT. One year later and she is in the 30s. What a difference a year of consistent and quality practice makes. 

There really is no secret to improving your ACT or SAT. If you are willing to put in the work and you have the time to do so, you too can experience a significant score increase. 

If you need some guidance along the way, contact CROSSWALK. We offer private tutoring and small group classes for SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT and more. 

Learn more here

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Most Important Rate Problem for SAT and ACT

Rate problems are common on the SAT or ACT. Calculate the rate of a train traveling x miles in y hours, for example. Or how many hours will it take to mow the lawn if 8 people can mow the lawn in 6 hours but 3 people take the day off? 

While knowing how to solve these rate problems will help, there is one rate problem that is by far the most important: how many points can you score per minute? 

Points per minute is the most important rate to consider when taking the SAT and/or ACT. The name of the game is scoring points, i.e. getting correct answers, but the game is only played when you factor in the timing. 

A question I often ask students after a practice set: do you have more test at the end of the time or do you have more time at the end of the test?

Answers to this question represent an opportunity for a student. The student that has more test at the end of time needs to find ways to move faster through questions and to get to more point scoring opportunities. The student that has more time at the end of the test can learn to slow down and use extra time to double check answers. 

It is all about how many points you can score per minute of the test. 

Another consideration when looking at points per minute: should you read the directions for each section on test day? By reading the directions on test day, minutes move but points do not. Instead, read the directions before the test (don't worry, they won't change) and get right into scoring points on test day. 

Since most questions allow about a minute per question (give or take depending on the section and not accounting for any testing accommodations), an ideal rate could be 1 point per minute. ACT Math, for example, is 60 questions in 60 minutes. At a 1 point per minute rate, you could achieve a perfect score. 

While perfection may be rare, a good goal can be to maximize your points per minute. It's not just points, its points per minute. It takes a bit of a mindset shift to look at the SAT and ACT as a points per minute rate problem but this is the most important rate problem on the test. 

For SAT, ACT, SSAT, PSAT and academic support, contact CROSSWALK

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Skype or Face-to-Face Tutoring: What is Better?

Call me an old codger but when I first heard about Skype tutoring, I was dubious. I thought face-to-face tutoring would always be the best way to teach and learn.

Years later, I am changing my tune.

After working with clients both online and in person, I find that Skype tutoring can be as effective as face-to-face tutoring. In fact, in some cases, Skype tutoring might even be more effective.

Consider the following four reasons why Skype tutoring could be better than face-to-face tutoring:  

1) Better Use of Time: Assuming a family would have to travel to a tutoring session, a sessions via Skype can be a better use of time. We typically offer 90-minute sessions. If a family has to travel to the lesson, one 90-minute session might actually take two hours or more including travel time.

2) Less Stress: Driving kids around to all of their various commitments is stressful. Not just for you but for kiddos as well. Even the most organized schedules are not stress-proof. Since the goal of test prep is to reduce as much stress as possible, Skype tutoring offers a less stressful approach that won't have mom and dad schlepping kiddos and supplies all over town.

3) Save Money: Skype tutoring can often be more economical. If our tutors don't have to travel to a client's home or other location for the class, we can charge less per hour to the family. Charging less allows the family to save money or even schedule more sessions.

4) Same Results: We don't have a statistically significant sample size of Skype clients vs face-to-face clients. Nevertheless, over the past five years, we have seen improvements of equal amount with students that work via Skype and students that work face-to-face. The common denominator is always how much quality work the student does in between sessions. The more practice sets a student can do over time, the more comfortable they will become. This has nothing to do with meeting a tutor in person or online.

Ultimately, two main factors remain determine test improvement: time and motivation. Regardless of online or in person tutoring sessions, a student who has both the time and the motivation to put in the work will see a score improvement.

To set up a Skype or face-to-face tutoring session, contact CROSSWALK today. CROSSWALK offers private tutoring, boot camps and group classes for SAT, ACT, PSAT and SSAT.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The First Step in SAT and ACT Prep

Preparing for the ACT and/or SAT can feel like a journey of a thousand miles. And a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, right?

The good news is that the first step in SAT and ACT prep is the easiest step of all.

The first step is to assess where you are presently. Like the doctor who runs a diagnostic test to see what ails or does not ail a patient, a student should do a practice test to see what strengths and weaknesses s/he has. 

An official SAT or ACT test may be the most informative way to do this. Register and take an official SAT or ACT and request a detailed score report. This detailed score report will highlight what a student does well and what s/he should work on for the next iteration. 

Even an unofficial practice test can be a valuable experience. Download a practice test from the ACT or SAT websites and be sure to download the scoring documents as well. After taking the test, score and analyze the test to identify areas of strength and weakness. 

To make your first step on the test prep journey even easier, CROSSWALK will do a FREE score analysis for you. Send CROSSWALK your detailed score report or a practice test score sheet and we will give you 3-5 tips and strategies to work on for next time. For free

Contact CROSSWALK today for more details and do let us know how we can help in your test prep journey. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Perfect Test Scores Never Enough

Your test score is only one piece of the college admission pie. 

My students know this the first day we start sessions. And I repeat this mantra over and over. 

The first reason I share this statement with students is to reduce any stress and anxiety they have about the SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT or other standardized test. 

Since stress is the enemy of test performance, it is important for students to understand that their test score does not determine everything about the potential for college acceptance. 

The second reason I share this with my students is so that they start to build out the rest of the pie. Admission decisions are based on test scores, GPA, essays, letters of reference, interviews, portfolios and more. Since test scores are only one piece of this, I encourage my students to work on the other pie pieces in conjunction with test scores. 

A college counselor friend of mine likes to tell the story of a student who did not have the test scores for UC Berkeley, or so he thought. He helped his client apply to UC Merced in addition to UC Berkeley so that we would have a viable back up option. His test scores indicated that acceptance to UC Merced was highly probable. Turns out the student did not get accepted to UC Merced but got accepted by UC Berkeley. Something happened along the way that had nothing to do with test scores. 

Another story worth noting happened recently at Harvard. The school rescinded the admission of ten students after the school learned the students had posted obscene messages on Facebook. These students undoubtedly had excellent test scores but test scores were not enough.  

Test scores can matter but a perfect score is not enough. Be sure you work on all aspects of your application, not just the measurable ones. 

For more test prep advice, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Parents Struggling to Understand Teens Need to Read This

This may not be entirely test prep related but certainly applicable and valuable to anyone with a teenager or anyone working with a teenager:

Why Is Your Teenage Acting So Weird? 

Some good food for thought particularly as it relates to how to best support your teen during their prime learning years. 

The path towards learning success has much to do with understanding how the brain develops and works.

For study advice, test prep help or any other learning suggestions, contact CROSSWALK. We offer tutoring, boot camps and academic support in just about any subject. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Perfect Rebuttals for the Objectionable Reader

My students and followers of this blog hear me repeat all the time that standardized tests are simply reading tests. Don't get confused by grammar, science or math sections of the test. Since each section of the test requires excellent reading comprehension skills, the test is essentially a reading test. 

And as my students know, one way to get better at a reading test is more reading

Nevertheless, sometimes simply explaining the connection between reading and test scores is not enough to motivate a student to read. Objectionable readers come up with excuses to avoid reading. 

Luckily most excuses to avoid reading are predictable. They typically fall into three categories: lack of interest, lack of knowledge and lack of time. 

Just like a salesperson prepares rebuttals for objectionable customers, here are three rebuttals for the most common reading excuses. 

Excuse: Reading is boring. 

Rebuttal: Reading is only boring when the material is boring. Find something interesting to read and reading will be interesting. The beauty of reading is that if you are not interested in the story or book, you can put it down and find another one. Pick books, stories or magazines that are interesting to you. Don't judge all reading by one book. If you are curious about something, find a book about it! 

Excuse: I don't know what to read.

Rebuttal: There are many ways to find out what you can read. Ask a friend. Ask a teacher. Ask a librarian. And per the previous rebuttal, read what is interesting. You can even read things in different formats. Graphic novels, audio books and e-books are all ways to approach reading. Find what works for you and go from there. Pick an author or a genre and try it out. If you don't like it, pick another. If you like it, keep reading books from the author or in that genre. 

Excuse: I don't have time to read. 

Rebuttal: Reading doesn't take much time. Twenty minutes a day will go a long way. Try reading for ten minutes in the morning when you first wake up as a way to ease into the day. Or find a pocket of time during the day to pick up a book. That could be when you are waiting in line, during a car ride or just sitting around. Sacrifice a small portion of your television or gaming time and make reading part of your routine.

Read, read and read. You have heard it before: more reading means increased test scores. Now you have some solid rebuttals if you or your student objects to reading. 

For more tips on how to improve your SSAT, SAT, ACT, PSAT or GPA, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

CROSSWALK Sponsors Olympic Day

A big thanks goes out to Tim Hutten and his fellow olympians for hosting the inaugural Olympics Day on Saturday at Hartnell College.

Tim and a handful of olympians put on an excellent morning of exercise, nutrition and inspiration for local youth. Athletes representing water polo, diving, triathlon, marathon and track shared stories and advice on how to set goals and strive for achievement. Kiddos engaged in stretches, games, relay races and more in an effort to get active and excited for sports.

CROSSWALK was proud to sponsor the event. Academic achievement is not much different than athletic achievement. Both rely heavily on goal setting, consistent practice, resilience, grit and how to balance success with failure. Further, the brain develops along with physical activity meaning kiddos become smarter with more physical activity.

Thanks again to Tim Hutten and the local olympians. CROSSWALK hopes to be a sponsor next year!

CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for test prep and academic tutoring. Contact CROSSWALK today before the summer academic slide sets in!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Summer ACT and SAT Test Prep

With summer around the corner, it is time to carve out some time for test prep. Rising Juniors and Seniors would be wise to use the summer months to prepare for the upcoming SAT and ACT.

CROSSWALK is offering its annual summer workshop series over the following dates and topics:

  • 6/20/17: SAT and ACT Overview and General Strategies 
  • 6/27/17: SAT and ACT Reading Strategies for Success
  • 7/5/17: SAT and ACT Math Strategies for Success
  • 7/11/17: SAT and ACT Writing Strategies for Success
  • 7/18/17: SAT and ACT Science Strategies for Success
  • 7/25/17: SAT and ACT Essay Strategies for Success

All classes are held at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, CA. Students can also Skype into sessions if you cannot make the class in person. 

Pay for each class individually or save money and pay for the entire program. Whatever is best for your situation. 

To sign up, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Summer private tutoring, either face-to-face or via Skype, is also available. Contact CROSSWALK to learn more. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

No Time for SAT & ACT Learning Plateaus

The truth about learning is that it comes in fits and starts. We learn a lot and then the learning stalls. With practice, we learn again but it will stall out again.

Studies show that learners experience plateaus in between bursts of learning.

Musicians know this all too well. And so do learners of a foreign language. They both find themselves frustrated at times when progress stalls then, after time, they experience major jumps in their progress.

The only way out of the plateau is to keep plugging away. Once you understand that learning plateaus are normal, you can accept them and push through over time. 

The challenge with the ACT and SAT learning plateaus is time. With a testing window, for most students, of about six or nine months, there isn't enough time to push through a plateau.

Consider Tristan, a hypothetical student. Tristan might take the SAT or ACT twice, and like most students, he would likely see an increase between the first and second sitting. But if Tristan were to take the test again, he would likely plateau and not see much of a score increase. Most data shows a little increase on a third sitting, but not much.

The problem here is that by the time Tristan can learn from his mistakes and take the test a fourth time, he is faced with college application deadlines. There just isn't much time from Tristan's junior to senior year to push through any plateau. 

Strategically, pushing through a plateau may require experimenting with different tactics. There is some risk to messing with strategy but if the plateau remains, it might be worth considering.

Otherwise, the hope is that students understand that we all plateau with learning. Six to nine months may not be enough time to push through the SAT and ACT plateau.

Perhaps the big lesson here is that we need to continue to remind our students that they are more than a test score

For more SAT and ACT test advice, contact CROSSWALK.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Los Recursos en Español Para el SAT y ACT

A pesar de que los exámenes estandarizados del ACT y SAT están en Inglés, existen algunos recursos útiles en Español.

Primero, el College Board (la organización que produce el SAT) ofrece un sitio de web con información en Español. El sitio, accesible aquí, contiene vínculos para aprender más del examen y más del proceso de admisión universitaria.

Con respeto al ACT, su información está disponible en un guía en Español aquí. ACT, Inc. (los que producen el ACT) incluye un examen de práctica y varios consejos para los estudiantes en su guía. 

Ambos recursos presentan información útil para los dos exámenes. 

Igual, existe mucha más información en Inglés que el Español. Obviamente, los que producen esos exámenes estandarizados piensan que el hecho de que los exámenes están en Inglés significa que solo necesitan producir muchos recursos en Inglés. Lamentablemente, los hispanohablantes tienen una desventaja cuando tiene que ver con la preparación para un examen de SAT o ACT.

En este momento, CROSSWALK está trabajando en un recurso para el SAT y ACT que está en Español. No será un guía sino un libro que dará consejos útiles y pasos recomendados para lograr el puntaje más alto. 

Mientras tanto, contacte CROSSWALK hoy día para aprender como podemos ayudarle en su proceso de preparación para el SAT o ACT. Nosotros hablamos Español y queremos apoyarle.

Monday, April 10, 2017

New August Test Date: Best Month for SAT?

This summer marks the first time the CollegeBoard will offer an August test date for the SAT. 

The reason behind this, aside from the obvious revenue generation for the CollegeBoard, is that this new timing may benefit students greatly

Instead of trying to cram in a test during the busy school year, students can use the summer months to prepare for test day stress-free. Since stress is the enemy of performance, a summer date would allow students to focus strictly on test performance with few other academic distractions. 

Another plus is that the August test date allows seniors an earlier opportunity to book a good score. This might mean less stress in September for an October test. Or, in the case that a student does not get a good score in August, they would have the chance to retake the test in October before many college applications are due. 

Additionally, students won't be faced with a gap between test prep and test day. Many students use the summer to prepare for the SAT and subsequently experience a delay from when they finish test prep (usually early August) and when they take the test (usually early October). An August date would significantly reduce this delay. 

However, the August date has its downside. 

First of all, while there are fewer academic distractions, summer distractions abound. For many students, summer brain drain is faster than a melting popsicle. 

Secondly, as this excellent article from the The Atlantic points out, the CollegeBoard may be challenged with finding suitable test centers to administer the exam. Schools may still be out for summer meaning counselors are not available to proctor exams. 

So is the August date the best? Only time will tell. Personally, I would encourage many to try the August date assuming they spend some time over the summer prepping. As long as you can avoid the summer meltdown, the end of summer might be a stress-free opportunity to get the score you want

If you need help this summer prepping, contact CROSSWALK. We are currently planning our summer Skype and small group programs to help students achieve the SAT or ACT score they need. Contact us today to learn more. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

3 Ways to Encourage Students to Read

Truth be told, the SAT and ACT are just reading tests

Sure, there are sections and questions about Science and Math. But these are just glorified reading tasks since each section and question requires significant reading comprehension. A word problem in Math, for example, is more about understanding how to translate words into an equation than doing the calculations.  

So, how do you get better at a reading test? No surprise here: you have to read

The more pertinent question is how do you get your student to read? How can you get someone excited to read, read and read some more? 

While there is no silver bullet that will automatically get all students to read more, here are three ways that might work for your situation: 

1) Reading Bingo: A reward system for reading can work for some students. Create a bingo card (3x3 or 5x5) and place the names of challenging and interesting books in the squares. Once a student reads three or five books in a row, they can earn a prize. I tell students that they can pick some books, I will pick some books and together we agree on other books to fill up the bingo card. That way they are choosing books that interest them as well as finding new and interesting ones that I recommend. Despite the obvious extrinsic motivation of the reward, there is some intrinsic motivation in reading what is interesting 

2) Create a Routine: Make any task part of your routine and it is easier to accomplish. Most of us are accustomed to checking emails, doing our exercises or otherwise following a routine for our daily tasks so why not reading? Set a routine of reading twenty minutes a day. Twenty minutes is not too much. That might be during breakfast or before bed time. Whatever it is, set the routine and hold to it. Once reading is routine, it will be easier to do. 

3) Read Together: This last one may sound a bit cheesy for the older kiddos, but there is much to gain from reading with our children. Consider a family book club. Agree on a book to read (or you can take turns choosing the book), read it together and talk about it. Reading together offers an excellent way to dialogue and bond with your child. The fact that you model the reading is also extremely powerful. 

Since reading is so important, it is worth trying one of the above suggestion to get your son or daughter to read more. Don't forget that the joy of reading is choosing books that are interesting. Find good books by searching online, asking friends or checking at your local library. 

The SAT and ACT reward those students that make reading a big part of their life. If there is any one way to get better at the SAT and ACT, it is reading. 

For more test prep tips and ways to succeed on the SAT and ACT, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

SAT/ACT Workshops at Local High Schools

March is proving to be a busy month for CROSSWALK

In addition to the Tuesday night workshop series at the Stevenson School, CROSSWALK is also hosting a weekend workshop series at Alisal High School in Salinas. 

The Alisal workshop series includes a practice SAT and five weekly Saturday sessions each dedicated to a different content area of both the ACT and SAT (Math, Reading, English and Science). The Alisal series also includes weekly Skype sessions for those Alisal students signed up for the program. 
And if that weren't enough, starting this Saturday, CROSSWALK will be at Gilroy High School for three workshops about test prep and test strategies. 

Not to be forgotten are the numerous private tutoring clients CROSSWALK services via Skype or face-to-face meetings. 

Even though CROSSWALK is quite busy this month, we are more than pleased to help you with your test prep and academic tutoring. Contact us today to find out how we can boost your GPA, boost your test score or boost your learning. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Boost SAT/ACT Score with Workshop Series

If you need a boost to your SAT or ACT score, contact CROSSWALK today to sign up for the Spring Test Prep Workshop Series. 

Join us for six topics over six weeks. If you don't need all six, then just pick the sessions you need. 

Here are the dates and topics:

  • 3/14/17: SAT and ACT Overview and General Strategies
  • 3/21/17: SAT and ACT Reading Strategies for Success
  • 3/28/17: SAT and ACT Math Strategies for Success
  • 4/4/17: SAT and ACT Writing Strategies for Success
  • 4/11/17: SAT and ACT Science Strategies for Success
  • 4/18/17: SAT and ACT Essay Strategies for Success 

The class size is limited to a small group to ensure for individualized instruction. Students will exit each class with a game plan and a study plan to maximize score improvement. 

All sessions will take place at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, CA. 

Reserve your spot today by contacting CROSSWALK here

CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's resource for test prep and academic tutoring. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Conquer SAT & ACT Math with Math Toolbox (Part 6)

This is the sixth part in a series of how to conquer SAT and ACT Math by utilizing a Math Toolbox. For the complete list of the tools in the Math Toolbox and Part 1, visit here

Plug & chug is the final tool in your Math Toolbox. This tool will help you with nasty algebra problems that contain multiple variables or complicated equations with variables. 

The basic idea with plug & chug is to make the problem more manageable by replacing variables with easy numbers. For example, a good problem to use the plug & chug tool would look like this: 

"What is the product of the complex numbers (4z+3) and (-4z+3)?"

At first glance, you need to use the FOIL (first, outer, inner, last) method to multiply the two sets of parentheses. However, instead of charting out all of the FOIL steps and potentially miscalculating something, why not plug in a number for z and chug away? If you pretend is 2, then the first set of parentheses yields 11 and the second yields -5, or solution of -55. Much easier to solve, right?

Try a couple of numbers for the variables, like 1, 0 or -1, just in case. 

You should then check the answers for one of the numbers you found. If the variable is in the answer choices, then plug and chug the number into the variables on the answer choices as well so that the answers choices do not contain variables. 

The plug & chug tool can make complicated algebra quite simple. It may not work for all problems, but it will work on some. 

This last point is a good way to close out this series on the math toolbox by reminding you that not all tools will work for every problem. Your job, now that you have a full toolbox, is to figure out which tool works best on the problem at hand. Your pencil, calculator, mental math, translator, back door and plug & chug tools can all be useful ways to solve SAT and ACT problems quickly and accurately. 

For more test prep advice, contact CROSSWALK, the Monterey Peninsula's resource for test prep for the SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT and more. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Conquer SAT & ACT Math with Math Toolbox (Part 5)

This is the fifth part in a series of how to conquer SAT and ACT Math by utilizing a Math Toolbox. For the complete list of the tools in the Math Toolbox and Part 1, visit here

Now that your toolbox is filling up with tools to conquer SAT and ACT math like your pencil, calculator, mental math and the translator, one of the remaining tools may be the most valuable: the back door

The back door, or back-solving, means you start with the answer choices at the outset of the problem. Instead of solving an equation to find an answer, plug the answer choices into the equation to find which one solves it. 

Think of it this way: for all multiple choice questions, the test writers give you the correct answer. Yes, there are three or four other answers also presented, but the correct answer is staring at you in the face. 

So take advantage of that information! Use the back door: insert one of the answer choices into the problem and find your solution through back-solving. 

One major key with the back door tool: start with the answer choice in the middle. Answer choices are typically ordered from least to greatest or greatest to least, so start with one of the numbers in the middle. That way, if you find you need a number that is larger, you can eliminate all answers that don't work without having to solve the problem four or five times. 

The back door can also be used to help set up your problem. For instance, on a word problem, a quick peek at the answers can help you frame your equation. 

The back door is a simple yet supremely effective way to get to the right answer. Since the answers are given to you, start with the answers and work backwards to find which one is best. While this tool will not help you with the grid-ins on the SAT, it will help on all multiple choice problems in the ACT and SAT. 

For more tools and resources on conquering the SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT and more, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Conquer SAT & ACT Math with Math Toolbox (Part 4)

This is the fourth part in a series of how to conquer SAT and ACT Math by utilizing a Math Toolbox. For the complete list of the tools in the Math Toolbox and Part 1, visit here

Your pencil, calculator and mental math tools will help solve math problems on the SAT and ACT more quickly and accurately. But there are more tools to add to your toolbox

This post is dedicated to the translation tool

Your translation tool will help you work through word problems and other math problems that contain a bit of reading. 

Truth be told, these types of questions are more reading problems than math problems. If the test writers were to provide the equation along with the word problem, the work would be easy. Since the equation is not provided, the challenge with these types of problems is sifting through the words to come up with the equation

Thus, your translation tool will come in handy. 

The translation tool is the tool that helps you convert words or written expressions into mathematical expressions. For example, if the problem says "the total" or "increased by",  then this would likely be an addition problem. If there is an expression like "amount per serving" the "per" means division (amount divided by servings). Words like "was" or "yields" means equals. 

Many reputable SAT or ACT guide books include a table of the mathematical operations that correspond to specific words. If you struggle with word problems, it may be a good idea to spend some time learning how to translate certain words into mathematical expressions

For further assistance, contact CROSSWALK. Our tutors work in SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT and other areas to help students feel more confident and comfortable.