Study Skills

We found 149 articles

Ask the right questions: how to know what you don't know you don't know
Have an assignment due tomorrow, and have no idea where to even start? In office hours or class and so lost that you don't even know what your question is? No matter the context of your confusion, you're not alone! 
The finals crunch: a roadmap to working smarter, not harder
It’s the end of term, and your grade comes down to just one score: the final exam. On top of that, you’ve got a whole term’s worth of material to review! Fret not — we’ve all been there. Here’s how to make the best of it!  
How to remember what you read
Maybe this sounds familiar: you’re sitting in class, racking your brain for the answer to a question you know you should be able to answer, but the information’s just not there. You’re frustrated. You spent hours doing the reading, yet now it’s like it evaporated from your head.
How to most effectively memorize in premedical courses
As an English major in undergrad, I did not have much experience with studying for tests, as I was often writing papers with little need to memorize facts or material. When I started a postbac program to complete my premedical requirements, I realized that I needed an efficient and effective way to memorize large amounts of material. Premedical ...
The right way to use practice tests for standardized testing
Though standardized tests are often cast as objective measures of innate knowledge, nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, taking standardized tests is a skill that can be taught. Additionally, how well you perform on test day is not just a function of how much you have learned or studied, but also a function of how consistently you ...
5 simple tips to ensure your child succeeds in online learning
Let’s face it, virtual school is difficult for even the most gifted students. Constant distractions, low motivation, and unstructured days provide a unique challenge for at-home learning. Here are 5 simple tips to ensure your child not only stays on-track, but thrives in their online learning.
Four tricks to becoming a better academic reader
College professors often assign their students hundreds of pages of difficult academic reading per week. These reading-intensive assignments reflect a faulty assumption on the part of those professors: that college students arrive on campus already knowing how to make sense of dense texts and process information in huge quantities. Freshman ...
How to use root words to learn vocabulary
Retaining new English vocabulary is challenging, whether you’re learning English for the first time or studying for standardized tests like the SAT or GRE. The challenge arises, in part, from the sheer volume of words in English. English’s massive lexicon comes from words in several other languages, and learning some of these words—more often ...
Mnemonics for memory: your MCAT best friend
Anyone who has studied for the MCAT will tell you: there is A LOT to learn. At times, learning new information about your own body can feel pretty rewarding. Other times, the sheer magnitude of information you are responsible for can feel quite overwhelming. At its best, conquering content related to the MCAT should feel like an ambitious ...
What is Anki and how it transforms your MCAT studying
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably never taken a strong liking to flashcards. Sure, I used the occasional Quizlet, but it always felt mundane and ineffective. Then I heard about an application called Anki. And let me tell you, it has completely changed the efficacy of my studying. So here’s my guide for how you can use Anki to study for ...
How to approach the NBME shelf examinations
The NBME shelf examinations are certainly daunting: 110 complex questions in 165 minutes is a grueling test of your knowledge. But it’s not without significant benefits! These exams can actually be a fun challenge, allowing you to apply concepts you have mastered in novel ways. Here are some tips and tricks I used as a third-year medical student ...
How to make sure you don’t fall behind during distance learning
Let’s be real, it’s hard to focus on school at home. And as COVID-19 cases persist and schools remain online, it is important to not fall behind. Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your work while learning from home:
How to study for standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, and SSAT
Study actively, not passively. In order for your brain to truly remember something, you must make your brain work. Reading your textbook or class notes is a good start, but studying actively will always improve your memory (and your scores). Try answering questions out loud or writing down answers as you go along to make your studying a more ...
Start by learning how you learn…and then tackle the sciences
When I was an undergraduate, I had a wonderful research mentor in a neuroendocrinology lab, and it was this research experience that led me to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience. My research mentor was deeply interested in the process of learning. In my time as his advisee, he taught me how to study efficiently, how to really remember something in the ...
How to Study Efficiently for Hours On End (With the Help of a Tomato)
If you’re like me, the long open days of the weekend, summer vacation, or Covid-19-induced lockdown can seem to stretch forever. These days or long afternoons are great opportunities to nail down some studying. Yet, all too often I catch myself having wasted hours of my study time reading the New York Times, falling down a YouTube hole, or sending ...
Remote vs. online learning
With students unable to currently attend school in person, students, teachers, and staff are working to improve education at all levels. Some universities now find the need to articulate the difference between Remote classes and Online classes. This distinction allows us to think through some important issues in distance learning that can help us ...
Bloom’s Taxonomy
One of the basic tenets of my coaching philosophy is to teach a student to teach themselves. The vast majority of the learning process should take place solo. Learning the LSAT or the GMAT is more like learning a language than it is like learning a subject, and there is just no way—no matter how long you stick with it—that you’re going to learn ...
Boosting your SAT score the second (or third) time around
It is no secret the SAT is a grueling, intimidating test. The first time taking it is an experience in itself, and a combination of nerves and mental fatigue often keeps students from performing at their very best. Luckily, students can take the SAT multiple times to achieve the score that they are aiming for. I took the SAT 3 times, with my score ...
How to stay focused (and off social media) while studying for the MCAT
There’s no question that studying for a test like the MCAT takes discipline—from making a study plan to reading prep materials and taking those dreaded 7-hour practice tests. When I prepared for the MCAT, I struggled to stay focused for long periods of time: after doing just a couple practice questions, I would find myself on Twitter or Facebook, ...
Working from home is hard.
Aside from the technical difficulties in accessing zoom lectures and online videos, it is incredibly hard to stay motivated while working from home. Home has always been the place where we come back to rest, unwind, and forget about daily troubles. Therefore, it’s easy to see how our daily moods, traditions, and routines suggest that home isn’t ...
Staying Productive During Self Quarantine
Regardless of what your living situation is like right now, these are unprecedented times in terms of practicing social distancing. Many of my peers consider this a period for unwavering focus on work, school, and milestones such as the MCAT. Even before the era of self-quarantining, locking yourself in your room for days to study was not ...
Studying at Home: How to Keep up with Work During Covid-19
By now, most of us are dealing with the reality that we cannot go to school. We may have school content posted online or packets of work to complete, but we are most likely not allowed to physically be at school with our teachers and classmates. We are now, essentially, homeschooling.
The Pomodoro Technique
Maybe you have just begun studying for the GREs; maybe you’re about to write your personal statement for applications; maybe you have a set of formulas you need to memorize. Whatever it is you are setting out to begin, your relationship to that work and how it fits into your life isn't just a matter what it is you want to accomplish, but how you ...
How do I autofill formulas in Excel?
Excel has been a through line of my academic and professional career. It is a skill that, once mastered, helped me in many spheres of my life. I've had to help a lot of people with varying levels of Excel proficiency. In this post, we’ll talk about how to autofill formulas in Excel. If you’d like to learn about additional strategies in Excel, you ...
Spaced repetition and why it’s important while studying for the MCAT
Spaced repetition at its simplest is the idea that the more frequently you’re exposed to information, the better you remember it. It’s more effective to repeat something 7 times over the course of one week than over the course of a single day. Your brain needs time to process the information you’ve learned and make connections with other stuff you ...
Becoming a good test taker
You’ve heard it over and over: “She’s just a good test taker.” The phrase clings to standardized tests, where some students have the luck of Steph Curry sinking 30-foot shots while others feel like Shaquille O’Neill at the foul line. Like shooting a basketball, we often treat test taking as innate and immutable, but any basketball coach will tell ...
Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals
Every August, my family takes a trip to Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Growing up we would use the final two days of the vacation to begin school-supplies shopping on the mainland. To this day, the third week of August still smells like freshly sharpened pencils. As we got older, the trips to Walmart and Staples were replaced with a new tradition. ...
5 ways to improve your MCAT studying without studying for the MCAT
OK, let’s state the obvious – the MCAT is daunting. Just take a look at the MCAT topic list PDF provided by the AAMC. It is one-hundred and twenty-five pages of topics alone. And while there is no substitute for good old-fashioned content studying, there are strategies to improve your studying that have nothing to do with studying itself.
Don’t forget: the LSAT is a performance-driven test
If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’ve already begun studying for the LSAT or at the very least you’re thinking hard about it. For those of you in the first category, this post is for you. For those in the second, congratulations! You’re about to be let in on a very open secret about the LSAT that will set you up for success right ...
Tips for studying effectively for the SAT and ACT
It can be overwhelming to think about studying for the SAT or ACT. Where do you even start? In this post, I’ll outline a few key strategies to guide you through your test preparation.
Our top 10 summer study spaces in NYC
Whether you’ve got summer classes or are looking to get a jump on course reading for the fall semester, NYC offers some incredible spots for all your studying needs. Here are our top 10 summer study spaces in NYC:
What to wear on test day (seriously)
Advice for test day is easily doled out, and often hard to actually follow.
How to study for the LSAT without burning out
I, like many aspiring law students, knew I was on a law school trajectory quite a while before I applied. I knew that a good LSAT score would make a huge difference in my life. I wanted to set myself up for success, but I definitely didn’t want to start studying LSAT textbooks. Instead, I loosely “studied” for the LSAT for about a year by doing ...
Study Guides: How to Craft the Best Test-Prep Tool
Does this sound familiar? The final exam date has been announced, and you learn what’s going to be on the test: everything. Frozen with dread at the thought of starting on such a huge task, you focus your attention first on some final projects or essays for another class. Those are due sooner, and with weeks to go before the final, you still have ...
Three Ways to Build Good Vocab Habits for Standardized Tests
When taking standardized tests, especially the SAT or GRE, people often struggle with memorizing enough words for the (often tricky) vocabulary sections. When it comes to vocabulary, unlike other parts of the test, you either know the word or you don’t. So how can you ensure you improve your vocabulary memory for the test? It’s all about building ...
Structuring and strategizing your MCAT studying: phase 5
Pssst... this is part of a series.  Be sure to read Cole's other posts on the MCAT by going to his profile here. We’re almost there!! Fair warning, this article is word-heavy, but bear with me. At this point, you are probably splitting your time between practice passages and content review (with a heavier emphasis on the former). Depending on ...
Structuring and strategizing your MCAT studying: phase 1
Phase 1 - Introduction & Scheduling the MCAT; Tips for Timing Introduction Right now, you might feel that even hearing the word “MCAT” may induce a full-blown panic attack. I get it, not too long ago that word (acronym, technically speaking I guess?) was the bane of my existence. It’s an exam that requires painstaking diligence, long hours, ...
How to Have Success as a Student Athlete: Tips from an Insider
Ah, the student-athlete. In today’s landscape of college admissions and college scholarships, many of us recognize the importance and opportunity given to the student-athlete. In performing well and playing on a school’s team, you earn both a spot in the classroom at that institution and a “quote-unquote salary” for attracting revenue to the ...
Tips for getting a perfect score on a standardized math test
SAT, ACT, SSAT, ISEE, GRE. What do these acronyms all have in common? Well, they’re all standardized tests, but more importantly, they all have multiple-choice math test sections. Despite whether or not they’re accurate indicators of student performance in the classroom, lab, or office, they are all essential for entry into some educational career ...
Solving the “I’m not good at math” problem
You’ve heard it before. Or you’ve said it. I’m not good at math. I hear it from seventh graders struggling with fractions, high school students preparing to take the SAT, friends at a restaurant when splitting a check, and even from parents assuring me that their child’s own difficulties are in fact genetic. And while I’ve heard it countless ...
The value of the good tutor for students of all ages
Selling the product instead of teaching the test I’ve been wanted to write a post about why individualized tutoring matters, why simply taking a class or picking a book off the store shelf can lead students away from the learning they need in order to improve their score.
Which Standardized Test Materials Work (And Which Ones Don't)
  There’s nothing like studying with the right materials to scaffold your learning; conversely, there is nothing like studying with wrong materials to leave you without the payoff you expect. Here is some hard-earned insight into which materials to use -- and which to avoid. 
The First Step to Mastering the Test? Knowing How to Self-Assess
Part of standardized test preparation is not only knowing the content of the exam, but also being able to self-assess why you're getting a question incorrect.  In this blog post, one of our most experienced standardized test preparation tutors reviews how he buckets content knowledge when teaching standardized tests, and how it will help you ...
How to make great flashcards
There are many different ways to learn information, but among my colleagues in medical school, flashcards are one of the most common ways to study. While making flashcards may seem simple straight forward, I have learned over time that the exact opposite is the case.
The 7 best places to study in Cambridge, MA
If you’ve spent a school year (or ten) in the Boston area, you know that New England winters aren’t always fun. On a 10 degree day in February, it takes a lot of motivation for me to venture outside. After several years of school, I know that I study more efficiently when I’m not at my house; when I’m home, it’s too easy to succumb to the ...
A Development Approach to Test Prep for Students of Different Ages
Giving Choices to Younger Students Students in grades 4-10 tend to face very different challenges when preparing for their tests. The youngest students are unfamiliar with such a prescribed set of learning goals, so distinct from the kind of open-ended and holistic kind of learning common across public and private elementary schools. For these ...
3 ways to implement teacher feedback to improve your work
Most of us know what it feels like to put significant effort into an assignment, and to have it returned with a barrage of red comments cascading down the pages, recommending innumerable changes for improvement. It can feel disheartening and frustrating – and sometimes dampens your motivation to want to try at all to work on a revision!
Total Justification: the best question strategy for the MCAT
What is Total Justification? Most students pick the correct answer on a multiple-choice practice problem, and think they have gotten the most they can out of the problem; they are wrong. Answering a question on the MCAT is essentially the task of appraising answer choices to see if they fit certain criteria, such as being factually correct or ...
A Guide to Midterms: 3 Steps to Getting You Back on Track
As the weather turns cooler it can happen that college life is not all apple picking and pumpkin spice flavor. Around this time, especially if you are taking classes where the professor had to teach you some skills and content before it was fair to give you assignments or exams that tested your knowledge, you may be looking at some papers or exams ...
The most common English prefixes and their meanings
The English language comprises a plethora of words that can change meanings with the addition of a prefix or a suffix. For example, the prefix re signifies that the base word to which it attaches is happening again, as in "do" and "redo". In theory, one could add re an infinite number of times to the front of a word, and the effect would continue ...
Tips for Managing Stress at School: Start with Self Care
We've covered a wide range of territory in the past 4 months, from developing skills in mindfulness-based stress reduction to fine-tuning our routines, diets, and athletic activities for optimal academic success. What results from this potpourri of advice and ideals can be, paradoxically, a sense of pressure to strike the perfect balance in our ...
Thinking Harder Not Smarter: The Three Key Components of Memory
Debunking the Myth of Cramming AP U.S. History was a nightmare for me. When did Abraham Lincoln pass the Emancipation Proclamation Act? Did the Alien and Sedition Acts happen under the Adams or Jefferson administration? My problem spilled over into other disciplines: did magnesium sulfate dissolve in water? Did government subsidies affect supply ...
The Key to Undergraduate Success: Unlocking Your Course Syllabus
One of the differences between high school and college can (depending on your particular experience) be how much you know about what you are going to be reading and when, and what days your exams and papers will be. Professors may have different levels of detail but generally speaking the syllabus is supposed to tell you what you’ll be reading, ...
Sleep, Social Media, and Routines: Challenges of Time Management
One of the greatest challenges of our generation is the nearly constant distraction and temptation that technology affords us, from opening a new tab on our web browser to surfing apps on our phone. How do we harness all of the positive connectivity that these tools offer us, without feeling that our lives are dominated by them?
The four most essential MCAT resources, ranked by an expert
Are you ready for the four most essential MCAT resources, ranked by our expert MCAT tutor Weike?  Read on to get the essential list!
Three reasons why you should pledge to study without technology
For teachers and students, there’s a way in which September 1 is our January 1, as far as resolutions and new starts go. And once you get back to class, whether it’s college or high school you won’t have time to think about resolutions. So think about this over the last week of summer: How about making a pledge to study without electronic ...
Brainfood: Optimal Nutrition for Thinking & Test-Taking
How should we fuel our bodies? What’s the best thing to eat before track practice? What’s the best thing to eat before the SAT? These and other questions are the subject of much debate in the public sphere, where fad diets like ketogenic or paleo come and go with the wind. My goal in this post is not to give you rules on eating healthy, but to ...
The 7 best places to read and study in NYC
Here are suggestions of places to read or study when you’re itching to leave your home, or are faced with too many distractions (i.e. your roommate has decided it is the best day to vacuum the entire apartment). Picking the right spot can lead to a really fruitful day. It’s also a great way to discover the city!
Avoiding Decision Fatigue – 3 Habits to Free up Mental Stamina
People often assume that decision-making is an activity that requires effort but not stamina. This is a very common misconception – mental effort is as taxing on the brain as physical workouts are on the body, and our mental resources are much more limited than we think. In psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of ...
5 Essential Tips for Managing Your Time as a Pre-Medical Student
College as a premed can be a grind. Between classes, labs, research, and activities, it can seem like four uninterrupted years of delayed gratification, all building up to that shining moment when you get into the medical school of your dreams (which, as your friends who are wage-earning college graduates will be happy to remind you, involves at ...
4 Essential Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Undergraduate Courses
One of the startling things about college can be how little time you spend in class. Two or three times a week for a total of three or four hours per class may seem very strange when you compare it to your high school schedule. Amazing: you can sometimes manage to schedule days without classes! This is because in college you are expected to take ...
Living Peacefully with Stress
Where does stress come from? As sure as the sun rises each day, we all face times of stress. What gives us stress varies from person to person, and our stress triggers may evolve and change over the course of our lives, from feeling hungry as a baby to being excluded from a friend group to getting into a dream college or financing a house later in ...
How video games enhance learning
In this article, I will provide a philosophical argument of why playing video games helps us learn. I will argue that video games are an enjoyable workout for the mind, and that they are valuable for their ability to improve our general cognitive learning capacities.
Two Study Habits That Will Boost Your MCAT Score
Reflection is not what spectators see during a basketball game; spending hours watching game tapes and discussing strategic nuances with a coach does not make the high light reel on Sports Center, but it is essential to continued improvement and success. After every game, athletes and coaches discuss what happened: what went well, what went badly, ...
The Best Ways to Prepare for an Essay Exam
College students are often intimidated by essay exams, a common final exam format for courses in the humanities and social sciences. Because the exam itself provides so little structure for your answers, it can feel impossible to get all of your thoughts on paper in an organized way without running out of time. As someone who has graded a lot of ...
Straight from the Source: Tips on How to Read Primary Research Articles
Primary research articles are crucial to how science is shared and pushed forward. Familiarizing yourself with this type of literature is especially important for those interested in pursuing life science research. These articles detail the results of an original research study conducted by the authors and are almost always published in a ...
Physics: learn, don’t memorize!
Intro to Physics Blues    As a high school student, I took physics my junior year and struggled to stay afloat in the class. While I was interested in understanding and applying the theories I learned, it was difficult to make sense of them in my head. As a result, I began my first collegiate physics course with a lot of excitement, yet some ...
Time management tips for a typical student’s daily schedule
Ever wonder where all your time went? Interested in liberating up to 50 hours each week that you never realized you had? Want a productive schedule that guarantees you a large chunk of time every day for fun and entertainment?
Using Recall as a Study Strategy
As I am entering into medical school, I have begun to spend more time thinking about the process of learning. As I reflected on my prior study habits, I recognized that I often relied on cramming massive amounts of review before exams in college regardless of my comfort with the material. These study sessions may have helped me regurgitate answers ...
Taking time for the how of learning, not the what
 It’s easy to get caught up in the content of learning: memorizing a formula, distinguishing eukaryotic from prokaryotic cells, and understanding the events leading up to the French Revolution. Most of the time we’re so absorbed in taking in new information as students that we don’t notice the behind-the-scenes work of how we take in that ...
Brain hacks for studying: memorization and the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
How do I actually remember the stuff I learn? How do I memorize my notes, my textbook, and everything covered in class? How much studying do I actually have to do?
How to study for AP Biology
When I was in high school, it was actually my AP Calculus teacher who gave me this AP Bio study tip. I used it with great success that year in AP Bio, and it continued to serve me well throughout college as I majored in molecular biology.
How To Make The Most Of Your Tutoring Sessions
image So, you’ve just decided to get a tutor. Now what? It is so rare to get personalized, one-on-one attention during your educational career, so when it comes around, you should take full advantage of the opportunity. Whether you’re looking to improve your MCAT score, get help on an academic essay, perfect your college applications, improve your ...
Reading at all speeds: 4 types of reading and when to use them
The most useful thing I learned my freshman year of college was how to read. I already knew how to read—how to turn blocks of letters into words—but as an earnest college freshman, I found that I was reading far too slowly. In an hour, I would get through four or five pages, having generated copious notes and a sense of self-doubt. Mercifully for ...
5 Ways to Reduce Procrastination While Studying or Paper Writing
The night before every exam or paper deadline is always the same for me: Me: Why did I spend the last two weeks working on the opening sentence?! Roommate: Didn’t you also watch the entire first season of Game of Thrones?? Me: For inspiration!!! Roommate: ~raises eyebrows~ On rodent neurogenesis? Me: It’s ok—I have the rest of the night to work on ...
What to do when you don’t understand a science passage on the MCAT
One overarching theme of the MCAT exam is its unusual application of basic knowledge (well, “basic” once you’ve completed four years of pre-med classes and studied for a few months). Passages will often present familiar phenomena in the context of complex systems, or expect test-takers to predict the outcomes of perturbations to the novel scenario ...
Why I Quit Facebook and Never Looked Back
When I tell people that I quit Facebook, I tell them that it’s because it stole time from me.  Technically, this is true – sometimes at the end of the day I would tally the minutes (the hours) that I’d spent looking at photographs of people I didn’t know instead of working on my dissertation or editing grant proposals, or doing just doing anything ...
Here Are the Best Time Management Tips for Test Prep
Fret no more!  We've got your back. I once had a student who told me he “didn’t have enough time” to study for the GRE.  Granted, he was a reality TV executive with a family and a two-hour commute – so if anyone had an excuse not to make time for test prep, he probably did.  But after we sat down and had a simple conversation about time management ...
The Key to Boosting Your Score On Any Standardized Test
Come, enter the world of higher scores!  There is no question that students preparing for science and math exams must develop a strong understanding of the concepts being tested. But feeling comfortable with the material is simply not sufficient for top performance. Here's the secret: in preparation for these exams, be they SAT, GMAT, or MCAT ...
Is Exam Stress Necessarily Bad?
At the very least, find some friends to comisserate with! We know that stress inhibits cognitive performance, adversely affects physical and mental health, and can simply feel awful. So, when it comes to the stress that inevitably accompanies big tests, we should avoid it at all costs, right? Actually, philosophers and psychologists have pointed ...
Why Being Smart Won't Lead To Academic Success
Self-discipline is a balancing act. Many bright, intelligent, ambitious students have crossed my path throughout my years as a one-on-one academic tutor. Sometimes these students’ parents are confused as to why they don’t seem to be getting the grades they should be getting, or why they aren’t as successful as they are very well capable of being.
Achievement Goals and Why They Matter
Competition won't keep you going, in the long run. Making high marks, improving on test scores, and generally succeeding in school are goals that our one-on-one tutoring students share. Much less remarked upon, let alone agreed upon, are the underlying reasons for academic achievement in the first place.
Study Skills: The Bionic Power of Mnemonic Devices
Robots are awesome, but don't become robotic while using mnemonics! Mnemonics: from the Greek “Mnemonikos:” of or relating to Memory.A device such as a verse or formula or rhyme used as an aid in remembering concepts. Named for Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. The most popular kind of mnemonic device is known as ...
Study Skills: Time Management Guide for Middle Schoolers
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.” Although many of us feel we lack the time we need to get everything done – that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day – Thoreau reminds us of the importance of living at our own pace and learning to use time to our advantage.
Study Skills: How to Get the Most from Middle School
Irony being that anyone who actually watched Boy Meets World hasn't been in middle school for a long time
Study Skills: Summer standardized test preparation
Unless, of course, you're applying to graduate school, in which case, read on. The summer is a busy time for aspiring graduate students: lots of graduate school admissions cycles open up in the fall, meaning that MCAT tutors, GRE tutors and GMAT tutors are often the busiest this time of year! That means hoards of students are also working hard to ...
The MCAT Tutor: A Smarter Type of MCAT Flashcards
Isn't it time we started working smarter, not harder?
Getting Organized: Time Management
Does your brain look like this?  Then you need to read this post.
Getting Organized: The Essential Science of Time Management
      High school and college students today may well be busier than they have ever been: mountainous piles of homework, an unprecedentedly competitive application climate, and an unrelenting tumult of stimulation homing in on students through computers, tablets, and smartphones.  Hence, we in the academic consulting industry have found that one ...
Writing Tutor Tips: Rules, Breaking Rules, and Finding Your Voice
As a writing tutor in Boston I try to keep track of various resources that give advice on writing. One thing I've noticed is that, more often than not, advice on writing takes the form of rules. Often these are lists of rules. If you google "writing advice" you'll come up with Walter Benjamin's "13 Theses on Writing," Henry Miller's "11 ...
Academic Tutor: Back to School
There’s no more denying it – summer is just about up.  And within the next few weeks, everyone will be headed back to school, from middle school students to all of us doctoral candidates.  But no matter what grade or class you’re prepping for, whether it’s AP US History or Algebra II, this is the time to get a jump on the year ahead and make sure ...
Language Tutor: Tricks for Foreign Language Practice this Summer
With only a month of summer vacation left on the calendar, most students are probably beginning to hear back on their class schedules for the coming year.  And regardless of your grade level, new language classes can be one of the most intimidating additions to the course list.  One of the easiest ways to cut down on language class stress is to ...
Study Skills: How to get the most out of a writing tutor
A private tutor can be a great way to improve your writing, or your scores on standardized tests. A tutor can give you new techniques and tips you weren't aware of, point things out to you that you wouldn't have noticed, give you good practice exercises, and generally help with your discipline and motivation in writing or standardized test prep.  
Study Skills: The Science of Study
An academic tutor shares insight into the science of study. Understand how the brain works to get the most out of your time spent on standardized test preparation and homework; hone your study skills!
How Good Design Can Boost SAT Scores
Ever since I began reading The Design of Everyday Things (a great read for high school or college students), I’ve become increasingly interested in design. Since then, I’ve seen processes and objects in a new way. As an SAT tutor, I immediately applied these principles to the SAT in an attempt to increase the speed at which my students complete ...
Middle School Academics: Summer Reading 2013
The Middle School Maze is back with a 2013 summer reading list! With July and August just ahead of us, the summer is rife with opportunity to read. While you’re not in school, reading can take on a life of it’s own. Books become openings to new worlds, not the sign of dreaded after-school tasks. 
Summer Test Preparation: Vocabulary Building for the SAT
Many students think ahead and wonder how they can use their summer to advance their standardized test preparation, without monopolizing the entire summer break. Vocabulary-building is an easy (and for some, fun) way to improve your verbal SAT score and can be done easily from anywhere, even while you're in transit.
Academic Tutor: Get ahead with Some Simple Summer Preparation
It’s official – summer is here for (almost) everyone.  And without the normal school deadlines on your back or the usual cast of teachers to please, summer can be the perfect time to sharpen the study skills that you just seem to have missed during the year before. 
Writing Tutor: Writer's Block & Finding Your Voice
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.
Countdown to Finals: High School Academics & Study Skills
All over the globe, there is always that point at the end of the semester when high school students gear up for dreaded finals. While students’ academic habits are hugely diverse, there are certain things that every student can do to work towards success on end-of-semester exams.
Standardized Test Preparation: Summer Edition
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 ...
Standardized Test Preparation: Test Day Advice
Thinking ahead to test day is important. From the moment you wake up in the morning, your actions should all be designed to optimize your test taking experience – any academic tutor will tell you that what you do before entering the testing room will impact your test performance.
Finishing the School Year Strong & Planning for Summer Academics
As the end of the school year approaches, finals begin to loom on the horizon as well.
Study Skills from an Academic Tutor: The Power of the Practice Exam
At this point in the spring, we’re only about one month away from the May AP tests, and as a veteran academic tutor in New York City, this is the time of year when I push all of my students in high school to take full-length practice AP exams.  Regardless of the subject – be it AP World History, AP Biology, or even AP Japanese Language and Culture ...
The Intuitive Approach: A Personal Story from a Physics Tutor
In these blog posts, I aim to present techniques that will help you generally excel in your physics courses and exams, regardless whether you are taking your first high school physics class or your second semester of graduate-level quantum mechanics.  With that goal in mind, we’ve explored ways you can breeze through the math on your homework ...
Study Skills: The Trick to a 5 on Any AP Test is…
…pacing!  It is so crucial to have a careful, measured plan of attack as a part of any standardized test prep regime.  But as a veteran AP tutor for high school students across New York, I can tell you that the key to success lies almost entirely in sticking to a well-organized, personally-tailored study schedule.  Cambridge Coaching does a great ...
SAT Tutoring: A Few Strategies to Tackle SAT Reading Comprehension
Some students find that the SAT reading comprehension questions are some of the most difficult parts to prepare for on the exam. However, it does not have to be so daunting! Whether you are working with an SAT tutor, PSAT tutor or SSAT tutor, our approach to reading comprehension will help you tackle any text-based set of questions. Here are some ...
The Importance of Deliberate Practice: Perfect practice makes perfect
Practice does not make perfect, Perfect practice makes perfect Whether you are working with an academic tutor, seeking homework help or preparing for a standardized test, the following blog on "deliberate practice" may inform your study skills.
The trick to preparing for history tests
I’ve found that my students in New York City, whether they’re studying for history tests in high school, for AP history exams, or just generally trying to learn new ways of holding onto information, find history to be one of the most difficult subjects to prepare for.  Studying for history tests can be intimidating just because there’s often so ...
The Dividends of SAT Verbal Preparation - Critical Reading
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 ...
Academic Tutor: The Value of Mindful Reading
When reading any kind of assigned text – be it a nineteenth-century English novel, an American history book, a collection of letters, or anything at all that’s been deemed required reading for class – one of the biggest temptations that all my tutorial students in New York City face is to skim.  Most students think that if they’re just not that ...
High School Academics: Study Skills & ADHD
For many students who struggle with ADHD, the onset of rigorous high school academics and standardized test preparation can feel more challenging. The thing is, this moment is an chance for all students to reset academically and re-assess what kinds of study skills work best. 
College Corner: Improve your Study Skills
As an academic tutor, I have helped countless students make the most of their classes and  stay on top of a busy schedule.  After a long break with no coursework, job, academic meetings or extracurricular activities, getting back into school mode can take some time. These 5 tips will improve your study skills and keep you feeling grounded:
Study Skills & Homework Help: A Writing Tutor Talks Note-Taking
One of the toughest study skills to develop at any point of your education -- whether it’s high school, college, or in grad school -- is effective note taking.  And the students I tutor in history in New York City rarely realize off the bat that different subjects require different note taking methods.  So the following is a rubric that I ask all ...
Building Vocabulary for Test Preparation
As a veteran tutor for test prep in New York, one of the biggest problems students have  – whether it’s for PSAT, SAT, or GRE – is in increasing their vocabulary.  When you do it right, this knowledge can help with every single section of the verbal and critical reading components of these tests.  But when left to the last minute, students are ...
What to do the week of the MCAT exam?
You’ve spent months studying—and you’re ready. The MCAT is one week away. The anxiety is starting to brew, and you’re doing your best to ebb it. What should you do to maximize this one last week while keep the anxiety at bay?
Language Tutor Tells-All: Which Methodology Works for You
As language teachers, we know that students of foreign languages often have disparate needs. Before you sign up for a language class, be sure to familiarize yourself with the methology that works for your learning style and that correlates to your linguistic goal.  Some students seek to learn a new language for the pure fun of it, some look to ...
Help with midterm season & exam essays
Need writing help? It’s midterm season, so I am here with tips about writing exam essays. 
Academic Tutor: Time Management & Taking Breaks
Hello out there in TV Land!  The Writing Wizard is back with some short pieces of advice about time-management and self-confidence during the writing process.  All too often, I hear students bemoan the time they “waste” on “unproductive” habits while working: generating sloppy first drafts that just end up in the trash bin; doing too many other ...
An Academic Tutor's Tips: Preparing for Midterms
In New York, Boston and all over the globe, high school and college students are gearing up for dreaded mid-term exams. While students’ academic habits are hugely diverse, there are certain things that every student can do to effectively prepare for a test:
Homework Help: An Academic Tutor shares Memorization Techniques
As the school year kicks into gear for all students from the middle school grades, through the high school years, into college and beyond, it’s time to get back into the academic groove. Any academic tutor will tell you that the key to academic success is to identify efficient study habits and technique that work for you. Most subjects – from the ...
The Middle School Maze III: Summer Reading & Study Skills
Yes, summer fun is important. But reading through the hot months is too, maybe even more so.
The Middle School Maze II: Learning Styles & Study Habits
Middle School is the first time in a student’s academic career that a preferred learning style becomes salient and begins to impact study habits, comprehension and retention. As we progress through our academic careers, learning styles become second nature. Students will often adapt their study habits without even realizing what learning style ...