We’ve got you covered: Here are your college entrance exam basics.

How do I choose between the SAT and the ACT?

While the SAT and ACT are largely similar, here are some important differences that may affect which test you choose:
  1. The ACT includes a science section. If science and quantitative analysis (think: reading and analyzing graphs) are difficult for you, the SAT may be a better choice.
  2. Although both tests require you to adhere to a tight timeline, the ACT is definitely the tougher test if you work more slowly.
  3. The ACT allows calculators for the entire math section, while the SAT has both a ‘calculator-allowed’ and a ‘no calculator’ section. So if mental math is not your strong suit, the ACT might be more to your liking.
  4. Some colleges accept your ACT score in lieu of SAT subject tests, so if you take the ACT, you may get out of taking some extra tests.
  5. The ACT hasn’t changed for over 40 years while the SAT has changed several times, with a brand new redesign issued just last year. For this reason, many prefer the ACT. It is a tried and true test with a plethora of practice materials available. As the current SAT is brand new, the College Board is still figuring it out and the test fluctuates slightly every time it is administered.

How do I start?
With a diagnostic test. At IVY, each student starts by taking both of these standardized tests at our testing facility in Midtown Manhattan. This gives students a basis to compare how well they do in the two tests and establishes a baseline from which we can work towards a scoring goal in whichever test you choose. Many students are surprised that they feel naturally better at one test over another. That feeling of confidence is really important and we want you to take the test that makes the most sense to you. That’s something you don’t know until you try each one.

Mock testing is vital to success!
Surprise: the testing doesn’t stop with a diagnostic! Both the SAT and the ACT are long tests, clocking in at 3 hours, even without the optional essay. Because it is extremely important that students practice in the most efficient way, we strongly recommend that each student take 3-5 mock tests at our testing facility. We believe so strongly in the importance of mock testing that unlimited mock tests are included in the Test Prep Program fee.

Tutor Profile!

Chris Jacques focuses on SAT and ACT, successfully tutoring many of our students through the intricacies of both tests. In fact, he wrote our new SAT manual and coaches our Ivy tutors in test prep. Chris has been a full time tutor for over 6 years. Fearlessly, he took the new SAT in May 2016, so he can share the ins and outs of the testing process, including which testing centers are best.

 Testimonial!

“I thought I’d share the good news that my son was accepted by Harvard E/A last month. While his acceptance was most likely based on multiple factors, I am sure his strong test scores (i.e. SAT, SAT IIs, and APs) played a major part in their decision. We are extremely grateful to Chris for helping my son increase those scores dramatically.”
-Parent of 12th grader

 

What’s the difference between the SSAT and ISEE? Here’s your private school exam primer!

sat testing

     Thinking about independent or boarding schools, or switching from one private school to another? You need to think about and prepare for the SSAT or ISEE. What’s the difference between these two exams, and when should your child start studying? Both standardized test companies offer tests ranging from the elementary, middle and upper grades. Many schools accept either test. But contact the admissions office of each school to confirm they accept the test you prefer.

     The two tests are similar in duration and content, requiring that students master verbal reasoning, vocabulary, quantitative reasoning, math and reading. Both also demand writing samples, which they send unscored with the test results directly to the schools where your child applies.

    Some differences in content seem subtle, but can be significant for your child. Just like with the SATs and ACTs, we can advise your family on which test to take based on the kind of learner your student is. She is welcome to take each test at our midtown test center to compare. Our free diagnostic tests can help determine which test makes more sense for your child’s strengths. For example, the SSAT reports scores on two verbal and one quantitative test, while the ISEE score is comprised of 50% verbal and 50% math scores. So students strong in math sometimes prefer the ISEE, while language-oriented students sometimes opt for the SSAT. One key difference is the type of verbal questions.

     Both the SSAT and ISEE have synonyms; but they differ in that the SSAT has analogies, whereas the ISEE makes students complete sentences. These two similar standardized tests score quite differently, though. The SSAT gives 1 point for each correct answer and deducts one-quarter point for each wrong answer. But the ISEE does not penalize for wrong answers. There’s no harm in guessing. This is where tutoring can really help: learning to strategize the overall test and learning the essential process of eliminating clearly wrong answers in multiple choice and then guessing among the best options.

     Another contrast: students can take the SSAT multiple times throughout the year, including February 11, March 4, April 22, June 10 of 2017; the ISEE limits students to testing once every six months, or only once during each admissions’ cycle. Psychologically, this puts more pressure on students taking the ISEE, if they have no recourse to retake the test and improve scores. Make sure you register for these tests well in advance as the test sites fill up quickly. Registering any later than a month in advance may cost you a late registration fee.

    Our tutors have scored exceptionally well on standardized tests during their own school years. Subsequently, they are trained to teach the content and strategies for all the standardized tests. We also emphasize sensitivity to the emotional needs and learning differences of each of our students. The big question everyone asks: how much time will my child need for (ISEE or SSAT) test prep? This is, of course, relative to each student. How diligent a studier is she? What’s his baseline score? Ivy Tutors offers free mock tests to our clients at our test center. We highly recommend an early evaluation test to establish a baseline and then at least one more test later in the process to chart progress and establish a comfort level with the test-talking process. If the practice test results come close to the goal score, we suggest about a month of light review, say 1000 problems. Otherwise, if there is a large gap between the first diagnostic test and the target score, we recommend anywhere up to 4 months with 3,000 practice problems.

For more information please contact Ivy Tutors Network www.ivyleaguetutors.net  richard@ivytutorsnetwork.com 800-476-0596

For more test information contact the SSAT or the Educational Records Bureau directly. SSATB www.ssat.org or call 609-683-4440   ISEE www.erblearn.org or call 800-989-3721

 

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Visiting Colleges: A National Journey

collegeahead

It seems at this point in my college process, I think of the states not by name, but by what colleges I’ve visited. So instead of Ohio, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusettes and California; its Oberlin, Kenyon, Johns Hopkins, Goucher, Middlebury, University of Vermont, Wheaton, Pitzer and Occidental to name only a few. Continue reading

Entering the Common App: The College Admissions Process

graduation

Well, it has finally begun. After three years of college being no more than a hypothetical for me, the common app has finally kickstarted the very real college admissions process. It’s somewhat terrifying to go into a virtual pen with hundreds of thousands of other students armed only with a few numbers, a list of activities, and a 650-word essay that is supposed to define who I am as a person.

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The SAT and Me: A tutoring Experience

Who knew three letters could engender (SAT word guys) so much fear in 11th graders nationwide? The SAT, bane of almost every junior in high school’s existence; the monster under our beds, and the test emphasized by almost everyone as one of the most important days of your school career. And as I soon learned, a completely learnable test.

SAT test

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SAT Tips to Ace Reading Comprehension

The SAT is all about confidence. Whether you’re learning tricks, memorizing vocabulary, or taking weekly practice exams, SAT/ACT preparation is about getting to know the exam and gaining confidence in your skills. Over the next few months, we’ll be revealing some of our top tutor tips, so stay tuned!

Reading Comprehension 101 – Underlining

sat reading tips

Reading comprehension questions on the SAT follow the same order as the events in the passage. While reading the passage, try to underline important details, key points, main ideas, and significant descriptions. When you get stuck on a question, underline key words in the answer choices you are deciding between, then go back to the part of the passage that relates to the question and look at what you underlined. Do you see matching words in the underlined area of the passage and anything you underlined in the answer choices? Or do you see synonyms? If so, you have a high contender for the right answer! Underlining helps you stay focused on what’s important in the passage. Matching underlined text between the passage and the answer choices lets you eliminate distractors and work with answer choices that relate directly to the passage.

What’s that sound? Ivy League Tutors Network joins Twitter.

It seems Ivy League Tutors is stumbling into the new age of social media. That’s right, we have a twitter account. If you’re ever looking for some interesting education related articles, news about ILTN, or pictures of our mascot Fifi the bowl cat, check in at http://twitter.com/Ivytutorsnet for all the latest.

Ivy League Tutors Network's mascot

Of all the comfortable places in our office where Fifi could get her daily 20 hours of sleep, she prefers this mixing bowl. We think it is the cutest thing. Stay tuned for more about Fifi-the-bowl-cat’s work day!

Making the Switch: My Private to Public School Transition; the SHSAT Journey

shsat journey

I had been in a private school setting all my life. Since the age of 5 I was situated at a K-12 manhattan private school where the teachers were called by their first names, where creative writing was a department by itself, and where classes were as small as 8 students to a teacher. I hadn’t considered — or even thought about — any kind of schooling other than the education I had received for nine years. But soon the benign elementary years fell to the more vicious middle school era, and after a few years in an environment where I felt increasingly isolated, I decided to look for other education options.

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