Thursday, December 12, 2019

Winter SAT® & ACT® Prep Group Classes

Sign up today for one of two Winter SAT® and ACT® Prep Workshop Series by CROSSWALK. One series will be Monday evenings at the Stevenson School and the other will be Thursday evenings at the York School. 

The Stevenson six-week program runs on Monday nights from 7-8:30pm starting January 13th and wrapping up February 17th (note: due to the holiday, the January 20th class will be held January 21st).

The York six-week program runs on Thursday nights from 6-7:30pm starting January 16th and wrapping up February 20th

Conducted by CROSSWALK founder Brooke Higgins, these programs are a highly efficient and effective way to get ready for test day. High school juniors and sophomores learn the ins and outs of both tests and how to achieve their goal score. Students walk away with an individualized game plan and a detailed study plan to maximize success. 

Each week of the program targets a different component of the tests. Students have the option to attend just the class(es) they need or they can sign up for the whole program. 

For more information and to sign up for the Stevenson program, click right here

For more information and to sign up for the York program, click right here

CROSSWALK Test Prep & Tutoring is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for academic tutoring and test prep for the SAT®, ACT®, SSAT®, PSAT® and more. 

Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Sunset of the ACT® and SAT®?

The writing may be on the wall for the ACT® and SAT®. It seems the University of California system is considering dropping ACT® and SAT® scores in its process of admission.

This is big news

Or is it just the same old story?

Forgive my cynicism but I've heard the talk now for some time. For years, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing has led the charge to remove standardized tests from the college admission process. It has cited various studies that show how the ACT® and SAT® are only marginally effective in predicting student performance in college. 

So why are these tests still a big part of college admission process for many universities? 

Because—arguably—large, competitive and selective universities need a standardized measurement to identify those students more qualified to succeed at large, competitive and selective universities.

Some universities are considering the Smarter Balanced test as an alternative. Perhaps this test will offer a better assessment or maybe it will just be more of the same: those with access to test resources will perform better than those without

The cynic in me says the sunset of the ACT® and SAT® is still far off in the distance. Too much is at stake for everyone involved, most notably the companies behind the tests. The College Board (SAT®) generates about $1B annually, about half of which comes from the SAT®. ACT, Inc. (ACT®) generates about $350M annually. With so much money at stake, odds are these two organizations will fight to hold onto their tests as they have for years. 

But if the UCs indeed drop ACT® and SAT® scores in the admission process, perhaps the National Center for Fair and Open Testing will have pushed the entire U.S. university system to a tipping point. Maybe the end is near for the ACT® and SAT® and the future is the Smarter Balanced test

In which case, CROSSWALK will start working on how to prepare students for the Smarter Balanced test in an effort to do our part to help students achieve their academic goals. 

In the mean time, feel free to contact CROSSWALK for your ACT® and SAT® preparation and other academic tutoring. CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for test prep and academic tutoring

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Test Prepping in Hollister

On Saturday, CROSSWALK kicked off a four-week SAT® and ACT® prep program at San Benito High School. 

This program is fast, furious and effective. With four sessions, each three hours long, the students are making the most of their time

The first part of Saturday's session was spent defining why the SAT® and ACT® are different tests from traditional, content-based school tests. 

Students then did a deep dive into the strategies for the reading portion and the writing/language portions. 

Next week we will jump into math strategies and practice. Subsequent weeks include a session on the essay as well as a final session to review and practice all strategies. 

Many thanks to all of students who decided to spend their Saturday morning doing test prep! It is an honor to spend Saturdays with dedicated, motivated and focused students. Go 'Balers! 

CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for SAT® and ACT® prep. With school workshops, group classes and private tutoring, CROSSWALK is here to help you get ready for test day. Contact CROSSWALK today for more information. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

SAT® & ACT® Test Day Horror Stories

With Halloween around the corner, I figured it was a good time to remind students of the horrors that can come with SAT® and ACT® test day.

The following stories are true. Only the names have been changed. 

They are not meant to scare students or create more test anxiety. On the contrary, these stories provide real life examples of what can happen on test day so students are prepared to face the tricks and treats that may come their way. 

Miniature Desks:

Grace is a dancer. Standing at 6'0", Grace is long and elegant. When she arrived at the elementary school that served as the test site for the ACT®, she found herself in a 3rd Grade classroom with, you guessed it, desks designed for smaller people. Needless to say, she was pinched into a tiny desk, and after just two hours of the test, she started getting back cramps.

The Waiting Game:

Due to overbooking a site, students had to wait two or three hours to start their test. As some students started their tests, many students waited outside for hours just to start. The last group of students didn't start their test until 10:30, nearly three hours after they originally arrived.

Power Washing:

Ivan settled into his SAT® ready to rock and roll. The proctor started the test and he got to work. Not fifteen minutes into the test, a loud whirring noise echoed throughout the room. As it would turn out, the school was power-washing the building next door. Every fifteen minutes, the machine whirred, sprayed and then stopped. Then it fired up again, whirred, sprayed and stopped. This went on for the entirety of the test.

Exchange Student Drama:

Danielle was hosting an exchange student from Germany who arrived the day before the test. When Danielle woke up, she told her exchange student that she had to take a test and she would be back in the afternoon. The exchange student was eager to explore her new home, so the exchange student asked if she could tag along. Danielle didn't feel that it was safe for the exchange student to be all alone in a new place so Danielle asked the exchange student to stay behind. The exchange student pressed, "Can I come?" Danielle responded, "I don't think it is a good idea." The exchange student got aggressive, "You have to let me go." Danielle dug in, "No, I will be back soon." Needless to say, Danielle had to ditch the student in a mad huff and scramble out of the house. She arrived to the test center late, frazzled and stressed out.

All of these stories come from directly from the experiences of former CROSSWALK students. Even though they are real, don't let these stories scare you. Just be sure you are ready and prepared for test day. Tricks and treats are part of test day so make sure your mindset is ready for everything.

And if things are totally wacky, don't forget that there are ways to appeal a test score.

If you want to make sure that your test day is not scary, contact CROSSWALK today.

CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local tutoring and test prep service with private tutoring, boot camps, small groups and school workshops for SAT®, ACT®, PSAT®, SSAT® and more. We also offer academic tutoring for all subjects. Contact us today.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

PSAT Prep at York School

Attention York School students: PSAT prep is coming to your library on October 6, 2019.

Sign up here for this one day workshop.

Students will meet at 9am and work until 1pm. The focus of the workshop is to build familiarity with the PSAT test format and learn test-taking techniques to maximize scores.

School on a Sunday probably doesn't sound fun but CROSSWALK will work hard to make the session engaging, interactive and productive.

All sign up, pricing and other important information can be found here. Be sure to sign up and pay early to save $25.00!

Contact CROSSWALK with any questions.

See you soon, Falcons!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Too Early for Back to School?

No joke, the local Staples had a Back to School display in June. That's too early. 

How about the last week of July? Is that too early? Target doesn't think so as it has an entire corner of the store dedicated to school supplies. 

Yes, back to school is around the corner. And for rising Seniors, that means time is running out to prepare for the fall tests

Late August and early September offer SAT and ACT opportunities respectively. Both tests are administered again October, which may be the last time some Seniors can take the test in order to get scores back in time for some early admission deadlines. 

So as much as you may cringe at the back to school advertising in July, it is a good reminder that you have some time to get some test prep done before the upcoming tests. 

CROSSWALK is available to help. While more time is ideal, we do work with students on short timeframes to get them ready for test day.

Contact CROSSWALK today to see how we can make your back to school transition, and test prep, a little easier.

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

How to Make Test Day Unlike Kindergarten

Think back to your first day of Kindergarten? Was it stressful?

For many kiddos, the first day of Kindergarten is majorly stressful. Separation anxiety, strange people, and unfamiliarity cause even the most resilient little ones to break out in tears. 

Most kiddos stress out on day one of Kindergarten because they don't know the routine. What is new and different is hard to handle. Learning, or anything for that matter, is impossible when stress is high. 

Kindergarten teachers know this too well and use orientations, meet-and-greets or other ways ease the transition. 

The same is true for the SAT® or ACT®. If the routine is new and different, you stress out and productivity suffers. Even if you can hide your tears better than a Kindergartner, you are crying (and stressing) on the inside. 

So how do you avoid the stress of unfamiliarity of the SAT® or ACT®? 

Just like the Kindergarten teachers set up their systems to increase familiarity and comfort for their students, you too can become more familiar and comfortable with the SAT® or ACT® through routine practice before test day. 

Take practice tests. Learn the directions. Work on your timing needed to complete all test sections. Above all else, become familiar with the process so it is not new and different. 

It doesn't take much to know the routine, just a little preparation ahead of time. 

If you need help with your preparation, contact CROSSWALK. With several summer workshops and ongoing programs, we can help make your test experience less stressful.  

Monday, June 17, 2019

Summer Test Prep Options 2019

And just like that, it is summer. Good vibrations are here! 

And so is a summer full of test prep options at CROSSWALK. After all, summer is the best time to work on your testing game. With no academic commitments, summer is the time to commit to test prep. 

Here is a partial list of the summer test prep options at CROSSWALK:

  • SAT® & ACT® Summer Test Prep Series at the Stevenson School starts 6/25. Sign up and get more information right here
  • SAT® Workshop Series with Upward Bound at CSUMB. Contact Upward Bound for more information. 
  • Summer SSAT® Test Prep at the Stevenson Summer Camp. Contact Stevenson Summer Camp for more information. 
  • SAT® Boot Camp with CAL-SOAP at Gilroy High School. Contact CAL-SOAP for more information. 
CROSSWALK also offers face-to-face or Skype tutoring for those seeking a more personalized approach.

Summer is here and so are the test prep options. Contact CROSSWALK to learn what the best plan is for you! 

Since 2003, CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local solution for standardized tests like the SAT®, ACT®, SSAT® or PSAT®. CROSSWALK also offers academic tutoring in a variety of subjects. Learn more here

Monday, May 13, 2019

Summer ACT® & SAT® Prep: Jump In Now!

Register today for CROSSWALK's highly successful Summer SAT® & ACT® Prep Workshop Series. Spots are limited so be sure to jump in now

All sessions meet on Tuesday evenings from 6-8pm at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach. Here is the schedule:
  • 6/25: SAT® & ACT® Test Overview and Top Concepts
  • 7/2: Reading Strategies for Success
  • 7/9: Math Strategies for Success
  • 7/16: Writing Strategies for Success
  • 7/23: Science Strategies for Success
  • 7/30: Essay Strategies for Success + Your Study Plan 
Pay by the class or sign up for the whole program and save! Come on in, the water's fine! 

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. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Successful Test Prep Series at Alisal HS

Last week wrapped up the final session of a seven-session Test Prep Workshop Series at Alisal High School in Salinas, CA. 

What a joy to work with such dedicated and motivated students. 

Over the course of the series, students learned and practiced the top strategic approaches to each portion of the SAT® and ACT®. 

Midway through the program, all students took a practice ACT® and learned how to score the test. 

Finally, as the weeks wound down, students could choose to attend Essay, Science, Reading, English, or Math sessions to improve upon any weaknesses identified during practice. 

Many thanks to the Alisal Trojans who stuck with the program. And many thanks to all the CROSSWALK teachers for dedicating their time to this special program.

Turns out spring was busy for CROSSWALK! We visited Alisal HS, Gilroy HS, San Benito HS, Anzar HS, The York School and Stevenson School over the past three months. Lots of great test prep all around the area! 

If your school is in the Monterey area and you would like to learn how to set up a Test Prep Workshops Series, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

How Rare is a Perfect ACT® Score?

Perfection on the ACT® is rare. So rare that only 0.2% of all test takers achieve a perfect score. 

Over the past year, roughly 1,900,000 students took the ACT®. Of those students, only 3,741 students achieved a perfect score. 

And one of the students was a CROSSWALK student! 

We at CROSSWALK are humbled to be a part of a perfect score. And truth be told, the student did not set out to achieve a perfect score.

This student had already experienced success on the PSAT so a good score was the goal. After a handful of private sessions at CROSSWALK, the student then took one of our popular small group six-week classes

The student then followed a consistent study schedule. Note: the schedule was not rigorous or stressful, just a consistent routine. Then, the student took the test. 

When scores came out, the student was overjoyed to receive the letter shown here. 


We at CROSSWALK can take little credit in this perfect score. It was truly the student who put in the work. 

Nevertheless, we are proud to play a small role in this amazing and rare accomplishment. 

If you wish to learn how to achieve your goal score, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

A Mathematical Reason to Choose ACT® Over SAT®

ACT® or SAT®? Which is the best one for you?

All students should try both. Whether you take an official test or a practice one, all students should try both to see which they prefer. 

After the SAT® relaunch in 2016, there are now fewer differences between the tests. Nevertheless, some of those differences can be significant for some students. 

For example, the ACT® math section is all multiple choice versus the both multiple choice and grid-in sections of the SAT®. The ACT® has a dedicated science section while science passages on the SAT® are in the reading section. The SAT® has fewer questions per section and more time per question as compared to the ACT®. There are also some slight content differences as the ACT® favors more geometry in its math section than the SAT®. Also, the essay prompt on both tests is quite different. 

Since all colleges and universities will accept either the SAT® or the ACT®, it is worth the time to try both, determine which is better for you, and focus on preparation for that test. 

Then again, there may be a very simple mathematical reason to favor the ACT® over the SAT®. On the ACT®, the final score is a composite, i.e. average, of the four test sections. The SAT®, on the other hand, sums the total of the verbal and math sections for a total score. 

Put differently, math on the ACT® is one of four data points (25% of the total) that is then averaged into the composite score. Math on the SAT® is half of the total points (50% of the total). So if math is an area of weakness for you, perhaps the ACT® and its composite score is better for you? 

Additionally, since the ACT® is an average of four sections, you might only need to perform well on three of the four sections to get your goal score. For example, say your goal score on the ACT® is a 30. Mathematically, you would need a 30 on three of the four sections and no lower than a 28 on the fourth section. A composite score of a student who scores a 30, 30, 30 and 28 is 29.5 which rounds to a 30. 

One of my students scored a 34 on one section and a perfect 36 on the other three sections of the ACT®. His composite was a 36...a perfect score! Even though he did not get a perfect score on each section, he earned a perfect composite score. This would not be possible on the SAT® but mathematically possible on the ACT®. 

In the end, each student should figure out which test is better for each student. Even if the mathematical reason is not compelling enough, consider all of the test differences, try them both out and determine the right test for you. 

If you need further help navigating this decision, contact CROSSWALK today. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

SAT® & ACT® Prep All Over Peninsula!

Spring is a busy time for SAT® and ACT® preparation and CROSSWALK is busy traveling the local area to conduct both group and private classes. 

For group classes, you can find CROSSWALK this spring on Saturdays at local schools like Alisal High School, Gilroy High School, Anzar High School and San Benito High School. For more information on how to join these courses, you can contact the college counseling offices of those schools directly. 

During the week, CROSSWALK is conducting a six-week workshop series at both The York School on Mondays and The Stevenson School on Thursdays. Contact CROSSWALK for more information on these group classes. And not to be forgotten are the number of private clients we service both in person and via Skype.

If you want to discuss the timing around test preparation, call CROSSWALK today! 

CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for SAT® and ACT® preparation as well as academic tutoring for all subjects. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Spring SAT & ACT Prep at The Stevenson School

Spring is here and so is the next six-week SAT & ACT test prep program by Brooke Higgins of CROSSWALK. Register today right here

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

All sessions meet on Thursday evenings from 6-8pm. Here is the schedule:

  • 3/21: SAT & ACT Test Overview and Top Concepts
  • 3/28: Reading Strategies for Success
  • 4/4: Math Strategies for Success
  • 4/11: Writing Strategies for Success
  • 4/25*: Science Strategies for Success
  • 5/2: Essay Strategies for Success
*Note: no class 4/18 due to the holiday weekend. 

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

BONUS: 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. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

It's February. Do You Know Where Your Test Prep Is?

February is a great month to address your ACT and SAT test prep calendar: it's the academic midpoint, there is (hopefully) a lull between final exams and the timing is right to plan the rest of the year. 

Consider how all students can use the month of February to take account of what they can do for test prep:

  • Freshmen: It's really too early to even consider test prep during freshman year. Nevertheless, savvy student who understand the correlation between reading and higher test scores will use this month to make sure they are reading outside of school. Reading allows students to exercise their comprehension and grammar muscles, both directly and indirectly. All students should be reading 30 minutes a day outside of school. And it doesn't really matter what you read, as long as you read! Sure, The Wall Street Journal is better than US Weekly, but whatever you read, read lots! 
  • Sophomores: If you took the PSAT in the fall, February is a good month to dig into your score to analyze strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of what went well and what needs work is a very concrete and useful goal. If your school did not offer a PSAT, you can use the month of February to familiarize yourself with both the SAT and ACT test options. Spend a little time researching the test sections, scoring, content and strategies. Nothing too much, just a little research. And be sure to read, then read some more! 
  • Juniors: February is THE month for juniors. Find old PSAT scores to analyze. Research test dates. Map out a test prep approach. Once you pick the test date, back plan and put practice tests, study sessions or extra help on your calendar. Getting these things on the calendar is crucial! Don't procrastinate and don't stress. Preparation and practice go a long way. Remember: test taking is just like any skill. The more you practice, the better you will become. And also, don't forget to read outside of school! 
  • Seniors: For you seniors out there, February is your month to encourage your friends to get started. You may want to make fun of them since you should be mostly done with your college application process, but avoid the sarcasm and help out a friend. Remind them that practice yields improved scores. 
As for the parents out there, February is a good time to check in with your student. See what questions they have and see what kind of plan works for them. And be sure to encourage the reading. (Here are three ways to encourage students to read.

If you need help with this, contact CROSSWALK. We offer private ACT and SAT tutoring along with group test prep classes in Pebble Beach, CA. Contact us today to learn more. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

The SAT and ACT Sandbox

In technology terms, the sandbox is a place to test out new stuff before it goes to market. It is a space, both physical and metaphorical, dedicated to experimentation. Build stuff in the sandbox, see if it works, and learn from trial and error. The sandbox might be messy but the learnings can be bankable.

In SAT and ACT terms, the sandbox is your test booklet. 

The test booklet is the place for annotations, calculations, connections, and experimentation. Get messy and learn before you have to submit an answer choice.

For example, reading passages should be annotated so students can connect deeper with the passage. On math problems, getting pencil to paper as soon as possible enables a quicker path to crafting equations and performing calculations. For both reading and math questions, students should underline or circle the main part of the question so they understand what is being asked.

English passages are also places to experiment with different structures. Try out the different answer choices to see which one works best.

Once the test booklet is marked up, students can fill in answer bubbles neatly and precisely.

Much like a sandbox, the test booklet may get messy but the process of trial and error yields more correct answers.

On the SAT and ACT, use the test booklet as your sandbox. Annotate, check, calculate, summarize, experiment and try out the possibilities. Using your test booklet as a sandbox will help you get to correct answers more effectively and efficiently.

To prepare for your next SAT or ACT, contact CROSSWALK to see how we can help.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Winter Test Prep Starting Soon: Register NOW!

Only days remain until CROSSWALK's Winter Test Prep Series. Hosted by Brooke Higgins, this six-week course is a great way to kick off 2019 with focused and individualized SAT and ACT test prep. 

Sign up today! You can 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

Sign up or get more information via the following form

And don't forget, 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.