As someone who tutors AP English Language and Composition (lovingly referred to as AP Lang) and as someone who struggled with timed writing herself, I know how daunting a task it can be to score a 5. Luckily for you, I’ve also served as an AP Rater/Reader and can offer some additional insight into what we are told to look for while scoring a student Free Response Question 1 Synthesis essay on the AP Lang exam.Read More
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 that language in 90 minutes a week. My goal as a tutor is to shape the way that the student thinks, ideally bending it toward the way that the test-makers think.Read More
So you’ve decided to take the ACT! As an experience tutor of this test, one common pattern I see in my students is a fear of taking the exam. After all, for many people, this is the first large standardized test they’ve ever encountered. Although it might seem daunting, with some hard work, the test can be manageable. Here are some tips to help guide you as you prepare to take the ACT:Read More
For many, the reading section of the SAT is daunting—sure, you’ve read plenty of books over the years and your vocabulary isn’t half bad, but the prospect of analyzing four long and two shorter passages over the course of only 65 minutes can feel like an impossible task. Luckily, as with most of the SAT, solid strategies can make the process feel a much more manageable—and maybe even a little bit enjoyable! Here are a few strategies to help you get started.Read More
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.Read More
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 good habits!Read More
Whether you’re applying to college, graduate school, law school, medical school, or even some jobs, standardized tests are often part of the process. They can be intimidating, long, arduous, and confusing, but with some practice, you’ll learn how to overcome any test-taking anxiety and stay focused. Here are a few tips and tricks for going into a test calm and prepared.Read More
The argument analysis task presents you with a hypothetical situation and draws conclusions based on very weak evidence. Your job is to identify flaws in the argument, in this movement from evidence to conclusion.Read More
Roy Lichtenstein, "Drowning Girl" (1963)
The MCAT is a brutal test. Having taken it and tutored numerous MCAT students (as well GMAT and GRE students), I can say with absolute certainty that I seen more students break down over the MCAT than they have with any other test. Every one of my MCAT students has, at some point, teared up over this test and cursed it to hell.
Why is the MCAT so hard?
Because whereas other graduate exams rely heavily on common sense and logic (two things that we humans have gotten very good at developing over time), the MCAT relies on knowing content and knowing content and then APPLYING content. The MCAT relies on you having paid attention in science class from first grade through college and then thinking creatively about science. You cannot go in and ‘wing’ the MCAT like some people profess to doing with the LSAT or the GRE or even the GMAT. The MCAT is one of the few tests where extensive studying does help and is absolutely necessary!
However, the cause of all the mental stress surrounding the MCAT stems from the thing I hear so frequently from students:
I studied so hard (and they do, all of my students have been tremendously hard working) why still can’t I get this?Read More
Test anxiety is real! Good thing is it's manageable.
For many pre-med students, the MCAT can feel like the final ‘hurdle’ before an application cycle begins. You’ve spent a couple years in college trying to do your best in school, be involved in extracurriculars, and form relationships with professors who will eventually provide recommendation letters. All that’s left is this big, scary, standardized test. There’s no surprise that it’s important to prepare well content-wise and to do a lot of practice exams -- those are pieces of advice people will talk about time and time again. Unfortunately, what people talk about a little less is all of the nerves and anxiety that inevitably creep up during the preparation process. It’s crucial to be in your best state of mind while both preparing for and taking the MCAT, so here are some tips to make you as relaxed as possible.
Have a plan.