Sunday, November 25, 2018

SAT & ACT: It's Not the Content, It's the Process

Most tests in school are content-based: vocabulary memorization, chapter reviews, math problem sets, comprehensive exams, etc. 

After years of content-based tests, students learn how to memorize facts and regurgitate them on an exam. Students develop keen ways of cramming content the night before in order to succeed on a test. 

Content learning is a useful skill in school, for now. Education is undergoing a massive shift as content is simply a search engine or finger swipe away. Students in the future will likely not have to memorize as much. Instead, they will be faced with the process of learning

One such learning process is how to succeed on the SAT or ACT. 

On the surface, the SAT and ACT tests look like content-based tests. But dig deeper and find that both tests assess a student's ability to process more than a student's ability to memorize. 

For example, the reading tested on the test is about comprehension, not knowledge. Test makers select reading passages that will challenge students to process how a writer uses evidence, states an argument, persuades an audience or tells a story. A student cannot memorize the passage the night before. 

Even math, though seemingly content-based, assesses the process of getting through a litany of different math problems in a defined set of time. Memorizing math content might help here, but it is more about the process of navigating algebra, geometry, word problems, trigonometry and more. Math is a mash up of content which means the process is more important. 

So if the SAT and ACT are more process-based than content-based, how do you perform better? 

Simply embrace the process.

Understand that test success is a journey. It is not something you can cram for the night before. Prepare your game plan, practice and make test prep part of your normal routine

Consider a group class like CROSSWALK's upcoming Winter Test Prep Series

Above all, approach the SAT and ACT with the process in mind. These are not tests based on strict content memorization. These are tests that take trial and error. 

Start your process today by contacting CROSSWALK, the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for test prep and academic tutoring. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Source of SAT/ACT Stress and How to Overcome It

Stress is the enemy of test performance. Stressed students perform worse than unstressed students. Stressed brains do not learn as effectively as an unstressed brain

As an SAT and ACT prep tutor, my primary goal is to reduce as much stress as possible for my students. Stress reduction starts with stress recognition so my students and I often start our tutoring sessions with a discussion of stress and where it comes from

In unpacking the source of ACT and SAT stress, we identify typical culprits like peers, parents, expectations, and performance. While these stressors are indeed present, there is one aspect of the SAT and ACT that seems to cause the most stress: uncertainty

Uncertainty is a major stressor. When you don't know what is coming, anxiety sets in and panic can ensue. On a test, if anxiety is the predominant emotion, then logical problem solving and critical thinking skills are not able to function. 

Imagine trying to solve a Rubik's Cube while being attacked by a bear. The anxiety and panic in your flight or fight response would dominate your brain and you would have no brain power to logic your way through the Rubik's Cube. 

The good news is that overcoming the stress and anxiety of SAT and ACT uncertainty is actually quite simple. Since the test directions, format and content have not changed in several years--the last major change was on the SAT in 2016--a student can prepare for the unknown. 

Practice tests, test prep books and classes like CROSSWALK's upcoming Winter ACT and SAT Prep Series are all ways to reduce the uncertainty. 

When dealing with the uncertain, it helps to have a script or a plan to follow. By learning key test prep strategies, like when to spend time and when to save time, a student can enter the unknown of the SAT or ACT with a pretty good sense of what is coming. 

Stress is reduced when students know what is on the test and how to tackle each section. A Game Plan is the key to reducing any stress of the uncertain. 

Learn how to prepare your own Game Plan with CROSSWALK through private sessions or a group class. Contact CROSSWALK today to learn more. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Winter 2019 ACT & SAT Test Prep Series

Kick off 2019 with a focused and individualized SAT and ACT test prep program by Brooke Higgins of CROSSWALK.

Starting Tuesday, January 8th, 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 6-8pm. Here is the schedule:

  • 1/8: SAT and ACT Test Overview and General Strategies
  • 1/15: Reading Strategies for Success
  • 1/23: Math Strategies for Success
  • 1/29: Writing Strategies for Success
  • 2/5: Science Strategies for Success
  • 2/12: 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

New this year: Students who sign up for the entire six-week program receive a FREE one-on-one coaching session. 

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.