Top 5 Places to Study

SAT Prep Studying

Exam season is here! Having trouble finding peace and quiet to get your studying done? Maybe you’re studying in the wrong place! Here are the top five places that you should go to when trying to study for your exams.

1. Study at the Library

Well that’s a no-brainer isn’t it? Of course it is. For those of you who are looking for the quietest possible place to get your work done, here it is. For those of you who are going off to college, you will soon discover that the library will be your home away from home. This place is quiet, dead quiet. Not too mention, it’s not a bad place to get comfortable. There are plenty of cozy chairs, tables for you to lay out all your notes, books and encyclopedias, as well as computers and internet for further research. No Facebook and Twitter during studying! When considering a number one place to study and get some work done, the library will always be the best.

2. Study at the Bookstore

Similar to the library, but not as dead silent. Sometimes the liveliness of having people around can put you in a better mood than cramming yourself in a dark corner of a quiet library. And just like the library, there is plenty of information that you can access while you study. Not to mention, most bookstores have a café, so you can treat yourself to something to eat and drink so you can give your brain a nice jolt.

3. Study at the Coffee Shop

If you like the bookstore setting, but looking for smaller, more intimate space, then nothing is better than going to the local coffee shop. Warm up and wake up with a nice cup of Joe, or cool off with a nice Frappuccino. For those who actually need just a little noise and distraction during their studying, the coffee shop is the place to be. With the wonderful aroma, the soothing music, wifi, food, and drinks, there can’t possibly be a better place for you.

4. Study Outside

If you don’t like the idea of cramming yourself inside, then why not go outside? Nothing can be more relaxing than getting some fresh air and Vitamin D during your studies. If you can find a park nearby, most of them have benches, tables, and gazebos that are perfect for you to set up shop and get your work done. Nothing could be more relaxing than a cool breeze along with the sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling. If you’re an outdoorsy kind of person, then studying outside may just be for you.

5. Study in Your Room

If all else fails and you have no place to go, you can always depend on your room. As long as you are disciplined enough to stay away from the distractions of your room such as your TV, bed, video games, etc. then your room is a great place to close yourself off from the rest of the world to get your work done. Everything you could possibly need is already there, which means you should have no excuse for getting your work done.

Find a place that is best for you. If you get sick of one place, find another place. Go wherever you need to go to get your studying done.

4 Tips to Properly Study for an Exam

Exam season is buckling down. Before you go haywire on studying, let us teach you how to study efficiently. Believe it or not, many students waste precious hours of study time by studying the wrong way for their exams. Knowing how to properly study for an exam is the first step in acing it. Follow our strategies and be ready for those dreadful exams.

1. Preview Your Notes Before You Begin Studying

Before you dive right into memorizing every single page of your notes, first briefly skim them so that you get a general overview of the material that you will be studying. This will help give you an idea as to how you should go about studying for this exam in the best possible way. Not only that, but it will also help you mentally organize the material. For example, if you skim through your biology notes, some pages may cover the parts of the cell, mitosis, and meiosis. You know that these topics intertwine and go together, so study them together. Other pages of your notes may include bacteria and viruses. Study these topics together once you are done with the previous topics. Finding ways to interconnect the material can be crucial in helping you understand and remember it.

2. Use Outlines and Graphic Organizers

Another way to understand how all of your topics are interconnected is by using an outline or a graphic organizer. This helps you visualize your notes. In order to understand  the main ideas of cell structure, mitosis, and meiosis, you can create a web to link all of these topics together. If you are studying for a history test, you could create a timeline that includes all of the important events and people that will appear on your history test. For visual learners, this will be extraordinary helpful as you are able to visualize your material while taking your exams.

3. Use Mnemonics While Studying

Mnemonics always serve as a great way to help you memorize all types of information. Simply make one up that you know you can remember. Some of the more famous mnemonics include:

Taxonomy: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.                             “Kings Play Cards On Fat Green Stools”

Lab Research: Problem, Research, Hypothesis, Experiment, Data, Analyze, Conclusion, Communicate                                                                                                                           “People Really Hate Eating Donuts And Cold Cider”

Metric Units: Kilo, Hecto, Deca, Deci, Centi, Milli                                                                       “King Henry Died Drinking Chocolate Milk”

4. Rewrite Your Notes

Do not think that you can simply recopy your notes and expect for it to stick in your mind.  What is more efficient would be to rewrite the important ideas, concepts, and bits of information throughout your notes so that it sticks. Try summarizing the sections of your notes into your own words so that you can understand it and explain it to yourself better. As you read through your rewritten notes, figure out what topics and concepts are most important. Then, make an outline from the most to least important. Rewrite and summarize your notes again. Repetition always helps make the material stick in your brain.

There you have it. Follow our tips and cruise into those exams without a problem. Good luck!

 

Healthy Brain Food for Test Day

It’s testing season! Whether or not it’s the SAT, the ACT, AP Exams, and/or even your final exams, it is important to make sure you have a healthy test-taking diet to fully get your mind prepared for what lies ahead. Here are a few suggestions as to what you should include in your meals so that you can boost brain function for test day.

 

 

 

PROTEIN

This includes eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, salmon. They contain the brain-healthy nutrient choline which boosts brain cell function, which in turn boosts brain productivity as well as memory.

FRUITS

Berries are considered the best brain boosters, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Berries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and they also significantly improve learning capacity. The avocado…is it a fruit or a vegetable? We’ll let you argue that one. In the meantime, it is important to know that avocados are known to help improve blood flow, which means improving brain function. They also help in lowering blood pressure, which increases cognitive ability.

VEGETABLES

We get it, you hate brussels sprouts. But what about broccoli? Spinach? Or even carrots? Such vegetables are a wonderful source of vitamin-K,  which is known to enhance cognitive function as well as help improve brainpower.

NUTS & SEEDS

These include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, and sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds. Peanut butter and almond butter are great, too. Nuts and seeds are wonderful sources of vitamin E, which helps our brain think, focus, and remember better.

WHOLE GRAINS

Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice are known to reduce the risk for heart disease. Why is that? Because they promote good blood flow. Healthy blood flow, once again, equals healthy brain function. Another benefit is that they are known to help keep cholesterol down, which also keeps your brain sharp and functioning.

Not only will eating such healthy foods be a good thing for you for your tests, but maintaining such a good diet will be good for your mind and body, for the rest of your life! Eat good food. Get good test scores.

Avoid Senioritis and Stay Accepted in Your Last Month of High School

Congratulations Seniors! You are just one month away from the beginning of a new life. By now most of you have been accepted to college.  Now, it’s just smooth sailing from here on out, right?  It can be. But DO NOT mess up such great opportunities that are coming your way! Here are some ways in which you can stay focused and stay accepted.

Organize Your Time Effiectively

If you were one of those students who flew through high school without having to write out your daily events, well way to go. You survived. But now it is time to practice organization. Not just for college, but for the rest of your life! Aside from organizing your upcoming graduation parties and other social events, find a day planner that you will use in order to stay on track. Plus, when you organize your time wisely, you will end up with more free time than you normally would if you weren’t organized. What you do with that free time, for now, is up to you. You’ve earned it.

Continue to Challenge Yourself Academically

Sure, there is just one month left of your entire high school career. Although you may want to just flip the “Off” switch and go into an early summer hibernation, why not do the opposite and go out with a bang? This is your last semester of high school, make it a good one. Aim for all A’s on your final exams just to see if you can do it. Besides, college is not going to be this easy. So you really don’t want to develop any bad, lazy habits that might be carried over to college. Think about it this way, the college football players who are getting ready for the NFL draft aren’t slacking off. In fact, they’re working 10 times harder because that’s what it takes to compete at the next level. The same rules apply to you too.

Get Extra Volunteer and/or Work Experience

So you’re bored with just one month to go and you don’t know how to effectively spend the last of your time. Go out and get some extra volunteer experience. And don’t do it because it “looks good for college.” Remember, you’ve already been accepted. Now it’s time to do things simply because you enjoy it. Maybe you’re an animal lover? Volunteer at an animal clinic with your friends and have a fun time with it. Now is a good time to find a job for the summer. Companies are doing their hiring now for the summer time. It’s always nice to have a little extra spending money before you enter those dreadful “broke” stages of college. Hope you like Ramen Noodles!

Find Future Fellow College Students

A great way to stay excited and motivated about school is to form a group with fellow students that will be going to the same college as you. This will be a great way to start making friends that you just might hold on to for the next four years. It is always nice to have someone you know in an environment that you are unfamiliar with. Not only that, but you all can help each other figure out how to fully prepare for this new and exciting journey. You can all watch each others’ backs to make sure no one walks in on the first day unprepared.

College Check List for International Students

College acceptance time is here. Being a student from another country may seem complicated as you enter into a new school system. Being from another country requires you to have and obtain certain documents so that you can legally study here. Follow our check list so that you know exactly what you need to make your transition as smooth and simple as possible.

 

Passport

This may just be your most important form of identification for traveling to other countries! Before you can even be issued a student visa, you must have a up-to-date passport from your home country. And it is your responsibility to make sure that this passport stays valid throughout your stay in the United States. If your visa is about to expire during your stay, you must apply for an extension in order to keep it valid.

I-20 Form

Once you are accepted to a university within the United States, the school should send you the I-20 form, which is needed so that you can obtain an F-1 Student Visa. But we’ll get to that later… The completed I-20 form includes all the information that the U.S. government needs to know about your term of study. This information includes your level of study, your field of study, and the dates you are expected to begin and complete your studies. They also need to know your ability to pay for your education. On top of that, you will be issued an official identification with your I-20 form. You must have it with you at all times when you are in the United States.

Student Visa

With a passport and the I-20 form, you can apply for an F-1 student visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate. You must show that you have sufficient financial resources such as scholarships, loans, grants, subsidies, and/or family or personal resources available to pay for your school and living expenses. Do not let this discourage you. It is possible to have a guarantor, who is someone that will guarantee your ability to pay your way through school. Financial aid is also available to help you. After you are given a student visa, which will be stamped on your passport, you can finally purchase your plane tickets!

I-94 Card


When you finally enter the United States and show your student visa to the immigration officer, you will receive an I-94 card that will be attached to your passport. This card indicates the date of your arrival and how long you may stay in the U.S. In order for your full-time student visa status to remain valid, you must remain a full-time student. For undergraduate students this means enrolling with no less than 12 hours per semester.

Remember, it is your responsibility to have all of your paperwork and to keep it up to date. With that said, welcome, and enjoy your stay.

How Many Times Can You Take the SAT?

Many students have misconstrued ideas about how many times they should take the SAT. Some think that you should only take it once, whereas others think they should take it as many times as possible. Before you make a decision, consider these factors when deciding how many times you should take the SAT.

Be Prepared Before You to Take the SAT

It often happens that students will sign up for the SAT without any preparation, just to see what their score will be. They’re thinking, “Well if I get a bad score, I’ll just take it again!”

Do not have that mentality! The best thing to do is to prepare for the SAT as much as possible before signing up for the real thing. An athlete would never play in a game without preparation beforehand, and you should not take the SAT “for fun” without previous preparation.

Make Sure You Improve Your SAT Score

This may seem like an obvious statement, but lets say you’ve taken the SAT once already, and you’re not satisfied with your score. Do not sign up again until you know that you are prepared enough to improve your score. Taking the SAT multiple times and doing worse will hurt your overall appearance towards admissions councils.

“But if I do bad, I can always take it again!” Get this mentality out of your head! This is like throwing darts at a dartboard and hoping to hit the bullseye, while being blindfolded. If you decide to take the SAT again, make sure you are even better prepared than the first time around. Colleges are looking for students who show improvement as opposed to students who are just “playing the lottery” with their SAT score.

What is the Magic Number for Taking the SAT?

Ideally, you do not want to take the SAT more than three times. Taking it four, five, or even six times will start raising red flags for the college admissions councils. Besides, taking it that many times will drive you crazy! Take it up to three times if necessary, and enjoy the rest of your Saturday afternoons.

Your overall score is determined differently with each college. Some universities take your best overall score from a single time that you took the SAT. Other colleges take the best scores from each of your different exams. It doesn’t hurt you to retake the test to see if you can score better, as long as you are confident that you will.

Can I Check My PSAT Scores Online?

If you are wondering how you can check your PSAT scores online and how to interpret your PSAT score report, then you have come to the right place for help. First, follow these simple steps to obtaining your score. We will also break down the scoring sections in order to help you interpret what exactly you have been given.

How to Check PSAT Scores Online

1. First you must wait for your exam score report. You will receive this from the school where you took the PSAT.

2. Once you receive your score report, find the access code on the score report. You need this in order to find and analyze your score online.

3. You must open a free “College Quick Start” account on the College Board website.

4. Enter your access code into the College Board website. Now you will be able to view your score as well as the many other features that come with it.

How to Interpret Your PSAT Score Report

Your total PSAT score is known as the Selection Index, which is the sum of the three scores in each section. The Selection Index ranges from 60 to 240. The average Selection Index for students in eleventh grade in 2011 was about 143.

Your score report will include PSAT national percentiles, which allow you to compare your scores with other studentsin your grade level who have taken the PSAT/NMSQT. If you are a freshman or younger, your percentile will be compared to the sophomore level. For example, a student in eleventh grade with a percentile of 55 has earned a score better than 55 percent of all eleventh graders.

In the your skills section you will receive personalized feedback on your academic skills, based on your test performance. After reviewing this section, all students are able to log into My College QuickStart to try hundreds of practice questions that can help you work on the skills in which you want to improve. With the provided access code, you can also access the following:

Online Score Report: This is an enhanced score report that allows students to review each test question, their answers, and the correct answers along with explanations for each answer. This is extremely valuable to you since you will get your actual copy of the PSAT/NMSQT test booklet back when you receive your score report.

SAT Study Plan: A customized SAT study plan based on students’ PSAT/NMSQ.T test performance, highlighting skills for review and practice

Personality: A detailed personality test that helps students learn about themselves and discover majors and careers that fit their strengths and interests.

Major & Career Matches: Extensive information about majors and careers. This includes insights about what to expect and what courses you should take now to prepare.
My College Matches—a starter list of colleges based on students’ home state and indicated choice of major

There you have it. If you happen to have any questions, feel free to ask us. We are here to help you!

Important PSAT Facts

With so many exams to study for, there is one that tends to be underestimated. And that is the PSAT. It is actually more important than you might think. So listen up!

How the PSAT is Structured

The test is divided into three different components:

Critical Reading: 2 sections, 48 questions, 25 minutes each
Math: 2 sections, 28 questions, 25 minutes each
Writing Skills: 1 section, 39 questions, 30 minutes

Good News: NO ESSAY!

How the PSAT is Scored

The test scores range from 20-80 for each of the 3 components. Therefore the total scores range from 60-240.

The PSAT is also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). PSAT scores and grades are used to identify students who will receive the National Merit Scholarship. Scores of the National Merit qualifiers differ for each state, so will be up to you to research this.

When to Take the PSAT

The PSAT is given once a year in October. Although it is intended to be taken during your Junior year, it is highly encouraged that you get a head start and take it during your sophomore year as well.

What is the Difference between the PSAT & SAT?

The PSAT scores are presented on a different scale. Instead of each test being reported on a 200-800 scale, PSAT scores are on a 20-80 scale.

The SAT is much longer than the PSAT since it has an essay section. Without breaks, the SAT takes 3 hours and 45 minutes while the PSAT takes 2 hours and 10 minutes.

The questions on the PSAT are similar to the SAT except for the essay and also the PSAT has put less of an emphasis on Algebra II. The reason is because it is assumed that in for the age group of those taking the PSAT, many students may not have taken Algebra II just yet.

There you have it. Not only can you have an opportunity to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, but the PSAT is a wonderful way to begin preparation and build your confidence for the SAT. It is never too late to start!

Picking the Right University

So its that time of year where you seniors should be getting your acceptance letters. Be proud! A common issue that seniors tend to deal with are what to do when multiple universities accept you. If this is one of your biggest problems, then give yourself a pat on the back. The hard part is over. Now it is time to make the right decision in finding the best university for you.

Visit Universities Again

So maybe you visited a university well over a year ago, during the summer, and you really liked it. Try visiting it again while we are still in the winter. See if its cold weather doesn’t scare you off.

Sometimes people will find that they liked certain things during their first visit. But by their second visit, they realize that their taste had changed, and they are not as interested as they once were. This is okay.

Before you commit to any school, make sure you truly want to go there. Remember, this is where you will be spending the next four years of your life. Make sure you do it right.

Find the School That Matches Your Academic Focus

During your first visit, which may have been a year or two ago, you may not have been as serious about choosing the right school. Since then your priorities may have changed a bit. Just make sure that the school you pick now in the present still coincides with these college priorities. Don’t sell yourself short, and don’t take anything for granted. This is a huge decision for you, so let’s do it right.

During you first visit you may have been more focused on social aspects of the school. Do they have a fun night life? Will I make a lot of friends at a school like this? Now that you have a stronger understanding of your academic goals, you might be more focused on whether or not the university appeals to your academic focus. If you are seeking an engineering degree, for example, check out their engineering department. Meet your future professors. See if this is the right fit for you.

Calculate the College Costs

Do not ignore the cost, as this may be one of the most important deciding factors. If you have to take out student loans, make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you make the commitment. Aside from the cost of tuition, also look at the general cost of living such as paying rent, buying food, groceries, etc. All of this will add up in the long run, so start calculating it all right now.

Once again congratulations seniors! You have worked hard to get to where you are at. Now lets get you into the right college for you.

Effective Time Management Tips

It seems like the workload is getting worse this semester. You feel like you are sinking and can no longer keep up. Maybe you are not effectively managing your time. Try following some of our time management strategies.

Make a To-Do List

Write up a list every night for things that you need to do the next day. Establish the importance of each task and put whatever is most important at the top of your list and complete these tasks first. Then go onto the next task and so on. Once you complete your list, be sure to reward yourself for your accomplishments.

Use Extra Time Wisely

So you have that reading assignment due and you haven’t even started reading! Well instead of waiting till the last minute to cram an entire novel, read bits and pieces of it any chance you have some free time. You can find time to read while you are commuting on a bus or train, or waiting for your meal at the restaurant, or even on hold with a telephone operator. There will be plenty of opportunities during your day where you will be given free time so use it wisely.

Work at the Right Time

Everybody operates differently. If you happen to be better at math in the evenings, then do all of your math homework in the evenings. If you find that reading makes you sleepy, then do your reading assignments earlier in the day. Figure out the time of day in which you can complete certain tasks better and work this way.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

In order for your brain to be able to perform at its best, you must allow proper time to sleep. Not getting an adequate amount of sleep will only backfire on you as your brain will be unable to work effectively. Your tasks will be much more difficult to complete, and you will not be completing your work at your very best.

We understand that you are under much stress. Take a deep breath and utilize our tips in order to decrease stress and increase productivitiy.