Students will not be tested sitting in skill level group conditions. I prefer to set up the teaching atmosphere the same way that the testing atmosphere will be established. Because I deliver training that is comprehensive and individualized to each student, I prefer to group different levels together. Over the years I have found that this reduces the self-consciousness of some students and the arrogance of others while stimulating natural, healthy competition. It also ensures that no assumptions are made about a student’s skill level and all students can perform their best on every single test element.
I create a Whatsapp group for everyone. This group is used for broad and general announcements and questions. I also communicate individually with parents via email or phone as needed to assure the student’s best interest is served. I schedule meetings with the parents and their student three (3) times during the one-year course.
Students (and adults) get bored if every assignment is a reading exercise, all classes are lectures, and every learning activity is the same, the same, the same. So, we regularly deliver information to our students in a “mix” that includes computer programs, reading, lectures, discussions, and in-person consultations. Our performance evaluation methods are a blend of testing, writing and discussion. We give immediate feedback to students on their performance of class activities and course elements - this is live and in person, as well as by email, phone and WhatsApp messages.
Generally, schools are not supposed to “prefer” any exam. All four-year establishments accept both tests. They are all given a conversion table that allows them to compare applicant scores fairly. Nationwide, all institutions “prefer” PSAT national merit scholar ratings as college acceptance and scholarship award criteria. Students cannot receive national merit rankings without taking the PSAT and SAT. The ACT is a required component of some states’ K-12 transcript records. The SAT is unofficially “preferred” at schools in the east (New York, Massachusetts), the west (California), at Ivy Leagues, and other high caliber schools.
For many reasons, we believe that every student should prepare for and take both the SAT/PSAT and ACT. Certain schools of thought maintain that this is unnecessary, adding extra expense and time to a family’s college goals. Having worked with thousands of students, we have seen the investment of taking both courses result in the following five distinct advantages:
- Preparing for the ACT assures higher scores reported by the public schools with mandatory transcript reporting of the March ACT
- Preparing for the SAT permits students to compete for PSAT National Merit ranking, arguably the greatest accomplishment achievable except for a perfect score.
- By taking both prep courses, students naturally better at one or the other exam, master the skills for both tests. Their new combined skill set maximizes potential scores on both tests
(Studies, including one that followed an entire group of students through the prep course and 2014 testing process, indicate that, of the students who took only the ACT prep course, 35% scored in the top 3% of scores (33-36). On the other hand, of students that took prep courses for both SAT and ACT, 65% achieved scores of 33-36 (top 3%). Thus, students who took the courses to prepare for both tests not only performed better than students who only took the course for one exam, but also achieved the highest scores.)
- Students enhance their ability to learn for the present and the future by working with the same material in different ways.
- The better test results achieved by taking both ACT and SAT prep courses increase scholarship opportunities and awards (not just National Merit Scholarships, but also all scholarships awarded for high GPAs and test scores).
Studies have shown that class sizes of 15-18 are the ideal size for optimal learning. I keep my classes at 12-15 in order to give students the attention you are paying for and to assure them that they get the opportunity to participate fully. I care about each student’s results -- partly because their results are my reputation, and ultimately because my teaching heart is rewarded when they succeed.
I use two books for every course. Book A is the work we do in class and book B is the work students do at home. Both books cover the same content, so that it is reinforced. In the next class we review each of the previous homework questions before moving on to new material.
We deliver our courses in two formats: instruction and testing. We instruct using course materials developed specifically for the TEN for TEN® program and testing is done via practice exams, extracted from test data in previous years.
Our first step is the pre-testing, which we use as a diagnostic tool to assess the student’s level of knowledge and test taking skills prior to taking our course. We use that diagnostic test score as a baseline measurement to gauge student progress through the course.
Our coursework is directed at learning the content of the material covered in the tests and the strategic techniques students can use to answer certain types of questions, respond to “tricky” questions and manage time. After each course, we test again, comparing our preliminary baseline measurement to subsequent practice test scores to gauge student progress.
At the end of the coursework, we practice, practice, practice for several weeks. It is well known that the more times these tests are taken, the more comfortable students become with them and the better scores they achieve.
In general, I give the personal attention each student requires to maximize test performance. As individuals and at varying times, students may require more or less attention from the instructor. Classes are taught in a question and answer format so there is open discussion and each student is called upon (another reason I keep small class sizes) to participate. Besides scoring answers, I am observant in class and watch as well as listen for indications that a student may be confused about or behind in a topic. In those cases, I initiate discussion and if needed, offer to schedule a phone call outside of class. Outside of class, I respond to student emails as soon as possible and at least within 24 hours. Finally, students are included in my regular parent-teacher conferences.