Editor's note: I asked the experts at Noodle Pros to show us how to improve verbal scores on one of the most widely-used private school standardized admissions tests, the SSAT. I am most grateful to Rebecca Scott, Clarissa Constantine, Travis Chamberlain, Karen Lister, Loren Dunn, Jonathan Arak, Garrick Trapp and Neil Seltzer for their invaluable advice and expertise. ~Rob Kennedy
1. Make learning vocabulary a family competition.
Pick two to five words a day and keep track of who in the family uses the words correctly the most. Players get extra credit for using 2 or more words in one sentence. The more students can hear words in context, the better they will be able to remember the meaning. Let your child choose the prize for the week's winner. To improve reading skills, have children read short online articles to you and explain what they mean. Ask what the main idea is and ask how the main idea is supported. - Rebecca Scott, 17 Years Tutoring
2. Study root words.
You may not know what malfeasance is, but if you recognize 'mal' you'll know that it has a negative connotation - Clarissa Constantine, 18 Years Tutoring
3. Create a word journal.
You don't have to know a new word every time you hear it, but you should write it down and then create a flashcard for each word. Memory tricks are helpful. Example: The mean truck driver was feeling truculent. - Travis Chamberlain, 15 Years Tutoring
4. Read articles, not
Having raised four children, I can tell you that occasionally you will have to think seriously about providing some kind of tutoring for your child. Now, don't confuse tutoring with the specialized help which your child will require if she has special needs or learning difficulties. That is a completely different situation. I have written about that in When Should You Consider A Special Needs School
Why does your child need a tutor?
Think of tutoring as that extra help your child needs to master a skill or to understand a concept. I know that you are probably wondering why your child can't get by with the teaching she receives every day at her school. Truthfully, her teachers may be providing about 90% of what she needs to learn something. Now, I am not knocking your child's teachers. The reality is that every child learns differently. And sometimes it simply takes a little longer for the light to go on, for that "Eureka!" moment we all have when suddenly we get it.
In this brief video Alex of Prepped & Polished offers three characteristics to look for when you engage a tutor.
Personally, I used to struggle with learning history in high school. It most likely had something to do with the very dry presentation of world history which was in fashion back in the early 60s. But history began to make sense when an expert lecturer used a timeline to explain the events
Have you seen some of those lists with titles like 50 Things You Must Do Before You Graduate From College? I like the idea of lists. It keeps me focused. But honestly a couple of those lists I read made me wonder what on earth were they thinking. With tuition and fees running $50,000 and more at a private college, I thought that most of the items were a total waste of time and effort. Consequently I offer the following worthwhile things to do before you graduate from private school.
Get strong SAT scores.
This assumes that you are attending a school which prepares you for the SAT which is one of the standardized tests you take as part of getting admitted to college. The SAT just like the LSAT or GMAT tests your knowledge gained over several years. While you can certainly take a couple of practice tests to get a feel for the test and working to the clock, really the best preparation for the SAT is your day by day conscientious learning. You cannot cram SAT preparation.
Offer at least 5 AP's.
If you are in a high school which teaches Advanced Placement courses, then try your very hardest to take 5 AP courses. They are a lot of work. Some are very difficult. The upside is that colleges recognize the AP standard and may give you credit for introductory courses in the subjects you took APs in depending on your score.
Here is what
This event at The Hockaday School, Dallas Texas, was made very memorable because of all the parents who attended.