The Writing Wizard

Recent Posts

Standardized Test Prep: June 1st SAT Subject Tests & SAT

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 5/24/13 10:15 AM

Hello dear readers! The Writing Wizard is back with a few quick tips to help you prepare for the last few weeks before test day for your SAT-I and SAT-II Subject Exams.

If you have been reading this excellent blog, then you know that other posts from April and May have been providing dynamite advice on how to structure your testing schedule week by week, how to tackle particular kinds of problems, and what to do on testing day to maximize comfort and minimize stress. In this post, however, I want to provide you with a few pointers about what to do in the crucial run-up to test day, the last three weeks or so before you sit for the test. So, read carefully, and enjoy!

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Tags: SAT

Writing Tutor: Writer's Block & Finding Your Voice

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 5/22/13 8:30 AM

A blank page intimidates people. Time and again as a writing tutor working in Boston I have had the following experience: I meet a student, I read their paper, and I come across an unclear passage.

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Tags: study skills, expository writing

Writing Tutor: Clarity and Garden Path Sentences

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 5/13/13 10:30 AM

Writing is essentially about communicating something to another person. You have an idea in your head, and you want to put it on paper so that when another person looks at the paper, they know what your idea was.

As a writing tutor, I know that a number of factors can interfere with this, and putting your idea into words is only part of your task. The words also have to be arranged in such a way that the other person can easily see what you are getting it. If the sentence is not formed well, or if it is poorly constructed, the other person will have trouble discerning what your idea is, and this undermines your purpose in writing.

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Tags: expository writing

Standardized Test Preparation: Summer Edition

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 5/2/13 7:05 AM

With the school year drawing to a close, many students are gearing up for summer classes for standardized test preparation.

The summer can be an optimal time to prepare for an exam such as the SAT, LSAT, MCAT, or a number of other standardized exams. Students can focus all their energies into studying for an exam, without the extra demand of schoolwork. However, there are some pitfalls to avoid as you study over the summer. Here, we’ll discuss some of these pitfalls and way to avoid them.
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Tags: study skills, LSAT, SAT, MCAT

Writing Tutor Tell-All: The Two Fears in Expository Writing

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 4/24/13 8:30 AM

Nothing is more frightening to a writer than a blank page. When you sit down to begin an essay, and as you go along, you can often feel anxieties that cause the writing process to be more painful or difficult than it needs to be. As a private writing tutor in Cambridge I've seen a variety of difficulties, but for the most part they all boil down to two fears: fear of not having enough to say, and fear of having too much to say.

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Tags: expository writing

Expository Writing Tutor: The Literature SAT Subject Test

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 3/8/13 9:23 AM

Hello, faithful readers! The Writing Wizard is back with more sound advice for your development as writers and thinkers.

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Tags: literature SAT subject test, high school

Study Skills: Keys for constructing a high-level history essay

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 2/21/13 9:16 AM

I’ve been a history student and history tutor for more years than I’d like to count.  So needless to say, I’ve written (and graded) many papers.  And as an academic tutor in New York City, I’ve worked with many students who have trouble getting enthused about any kind of research paper, let alone in turning that paper into a clear, well-argued, and sophisticated A-range essay that is fit for a writing tutor.

We all have enough trouble sometimes in gathering our thoughts to organize a basic essay, but with the following study skills in mind, you can send a series of cues to your grader to show that you’re writing analytically at a high level and that you deserve that perfect essay grade. You can make a paper written for high school academics feel like a college level piece of work.

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Tags: history, expository writing

An Academic Tutor's Process for Large Writing Assignments

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 2/13/13 10:36 AM

Hello, faithful readers! The Writing Wizard is back with another tip to help you organize your ideas for papers and projects.

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Tags: expository writing

The Dividends of SAT Verbal Preparation - Critical Reading

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 2/8/13 11:05 AM

Critical Reading Leads to be Better Blood Flow in the Brain…..

A recent Stanford MRI study has confirmed what many of our literary forbears and many a current teacher & tutor have always known sans a fancy neuroscience machine: Reading critically and actively expands how one thinks. Maybe then it is no surprise that the Stanford study was an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Humanities, Neurobiology and Radiology departments.  In this study, Ph.D. students were asked to read the Jane Austen novel, ‘Mansfield Park,’ while in an MRI machine.  They were asked in some activities to read in a leisurely manner and in others a more active and focused manner.  During this activity the MRI found that there was increased blood flow in the regions beyond those typically associated with reading activity. 

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Tags: study skills, SAT, PSAT

Writing Tutor Tips: Evocative and Explicative language

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 1/31/13 1:08 PM

Hello, faithful readers! The Writing Wizard is back today with an exciting new topic: the difference between evocative and explicative language.

Now, we’ve all been subjected to that lecture in middle school Language Arts class about the differences between “showing” and “telling” with our writing—about the stylistic separation between providing sensory details around a piece of information and just stating that piece of information outright. In the context of seventh-grade compositions, this amounts to the difference between “I have three brothers and sisters” and “Family dinners are always noisy at my house, because there are four children talking constantly…”

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Tags: creative writing, expository writing