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ACT & SAT 2019-2020 Test Dates

By | ACT, SAT, SAT Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

It’s that time of year again! College Board and ACT have officially released their 2019-2020 test dates and we’ve compiled both below for your reference. Check out our downloadable and print-friendly PDF here: SAT & ACT Test Dates 2019-2020 And while you’re here, stop over to our Tutoring Resources page for infographics, comparison charts, and…

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Free and Low Cost Resources for Raising Your SAT and ACT Scores

By | ACT, College Admissions, Practice Tests, PSAT, SAT, SAT Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

In the wake of the college admissions scandal involving the Key World Wide Foundation and dozens of parents who resorted to bribery as a means of raising their children’s test scores and securing admission to universities I, along with the entire team at LA Tutors, feel called to say: there are so many ethical and…

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Choosing the Right College for You

By | College Admissions | No Comments

College acceptance letters are arriving, and now the ball’s in your court. Some of you may already have decided on your first choice and gotten accepted. Congratulations! However, some of you may have been accepted to multiple schools and have yet to decide where you will enroll. If this is your situation, then this post…

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But We Never Learned This! Math Concepts on the ISEE You Probably Haven’t Learned Yet in School (Part 2)

By | Independent School Admissions, ISEE, Test Prep | No Comments

Below you’ll find a detailed breakdown of concepts and material for each level of the ISEE(along with handy sample problems and solutions) that students may not have encountered yet during their normal schooling. Lower-Level ISEE On the lower-level test, a fourth or fifth-grader can expect to see these concepts from the fifth-grade curriculum, which might…

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But We Never Learned This! Math Concepts on the ISEE You Probably Haven’t Learned Yet in School (Part 1)

By | Independent School Admissions, ISEE, Test Prep | No Comments

“Help! I never learned this!” is a common reaction of students taking an ISEE diagnostic test for the first time, and for good reason. Unless they’re working a couple of years above grade-level, most students (before test preparation) will encounter math concepts and types of problems on the test they have never seen before. The…

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Building Vocabulary Skills for Life

By | HSPT, ISEE, Test Prep | No Comments

Last month, I discussed the importance of building good reading skills and habits. Another important way to “prepare early” for tests and improve general academic performance is to build vocabulary skills. A strong vocabulary is a huge help on virtually any standardized test. Some tests, including the ISEE and the GRE, directly test vocabulary knowledge….

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Building Reading Habits for Life

By | ISEE, Test Prep | No Comments

As a test tutor, I sometimes encounter parents who want to start preparing their students early for tests like the ISEE and SAT. While students should learn some test-taking skills and strategies, my best advice to those who want to “prepare early” is to spend more time reading. Reading comprehension shows up on almost every…

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Putting It Together: The Complicated Math of Financial Aid Packages

By | College Admissions, Financial Aid, Uncategorized | No Comments

If you are a top student and you play the financial aid game right, you could end up with multiple sources of free money: a needs-based grant, a merit scholarship from the school, and/or outside scholarships. The way your school combines these aid sources can be more important than the numbers themselves. It’s important to…

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Free Money for School! Tips for Applying for Private Scholarships

By | College Admissions, Financial Aid, Scholarships | One Comment

When I was a high school student (a long, long time ago), I knew that affording college was going to be a challenge for my family. Because of this, I paid careful attention to our school’s scholarship bulletin—which, at the time, was a paper posted on a bulletin board—and applied for numerous private scholarships, starting…

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Maximizing Your Aid, Minimizing Your Costs: Need-Based Grants and Merit Scholarships

By | College Admissions, Financial Aid, Uncategorized | No Comments

The FAFSA and Profile (discussed in these previous posts: Part 1 and Part 2) will determine your family’s financial need and “Expected Family Contribution” (EFC), but it’s up to the school and the government to determine how much you actually pay. Government Grants Certain forms of government student aid, such as Pell Grants and Cal…

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CHSPE vs. GED: What’s the Difference?

By | CHSPE | No Comments

CHSPE vs. GED: What’s the Difference? For individuals in California who wish to receive a certificate of high school equivalency—technically equal to that of a diploma—passing the GED (General Education Diploma) test and the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam) will serve the same function. There are, however, some important differences between the tests. “Early…

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Why One-on-One Tutoring?

By | High School, Test Prep | No Comments

Proven Effectiveness Numerous studies show that one-on-one tutoring by a highly qualified tutor is one of the most effective ways to increase grades, academic achievement, and test scores. It has also been proven to improve student attitudes about school, especially for the subjects in which a student is struggling. Individualized Instruction A private tutor hones…

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The Pros and Cons of Retaking a Standardized Test

By | ACT, College Admissions, GMAT, GRE, HSPT, Independent School Admissions, ISEE, SAT, SSAT, Test Prep | No Comments

After working through a grueling standardized admissions test, the moment of judgement arrives when you get your scores. If you got the score you were hoping for, congratulations! You can now focus your time and energy on the rest of the admissions process. If your score is much lower than you’d hoped, however, you have…

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An Overview of the GRE Quantitative Section

By | Graduate School Admissions, GRE, GRE Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

According to the ETS Web site, the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test measures “problem-solving ability, focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.” What doesn’t it test? This is not a test geared towards math majors; the actual math on the test is what you (hopefully) learned in high school. In…

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An Overview of the GRE Analytical Writing Section

By | Graduate School Admissions, GRE, GRE Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

What does it test? According to the ETS Web site, the Analytical Writing section of the GRE General Test “measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, specifically your ability to articulate and support complex ideas clearly and effectively.” It measures these skills by having you write two 30-minute essays: the Issue Essay and the Argument Essay….

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An Overview of the GRE Verbal Section

By | Graduate School Admissions, GRE, GRE Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

According to the ETS Web site, the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE General Test “measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among words and concepts.” To put it in simpler terms, it measures your verbal reasoning,…

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Do You Play Nice with Others? Advice for the Group or Team-Based Interview

By | Graduate School Admissions, Uncategorized | No Comments

Do You Play Nice with Others? Advice for the Group or Team-Based Interview Business schools want to see how candidates interact with peers before anyone’s even admitted, which can be very telling. It’s not actually an interview, per se, because there is no Q&A with participants. Each school conducts the group interview somewhat differently, and…

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The Right Way to Self-Proctor a Practice Test

By | ACT, CHSPE, College Admissions, GMAT, GMAT Tips, GRE, GRE Tips, HSPT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, SAT Tips, SSAT, Test Prep | No Comments

Proctoring an organized diagnostic/practice test is an easy job. All the proctor does is keep time and “babysit” a room full of quiet kids, right? So, why even wake up early and go into an office or classroom to do something you could do at home? One reason is that some students don’t take the…

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SAT and ACT Test Prep for Students with Disabilities

By | Accommodations, ACT, College Admissions, High School, Learning Differences, SAT, SAT Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

Sitting hunched over a desk and bubbling in an answer sheet for hours at a time doesn’t bring out the best in most students, but it can be especially overwhelming if you are a student with a learning disability and/or ADHD. While there is no magic formula to help you get a perfect score, the…

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ISEE Prep for Students with Disabilities: Part 2

By | Accommodations, High School, Independent School Admissions, ISEE, Learning Differences, Test Prep | No Comments

If you are the parent of a student with a disability, registering for the ISEE is a task in itself. Part I of this post discussed the unique requirements and characteristics of the ISEE, along with the process of applying for accommodations. Once a student is registered, however, there is an even bigger task ahead:…

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ISEE Prep for Students with Disabilities: Part I

By | High School, Independent School Admissions, ISEE, Learning Differences, Test Prep | No Comments

The demands of the ISEE can be overwhelming for any student, but it can be especially difficult for students with a learning disability and/or ADHD. Part I of this post will address the unique requirements and characteristics of the ISEE, along with the process of applying for accommodations. While there is no magic formula to…

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The New, Improved College Board Accommodations Approval Process

By | Accommodations, College Admissions, High School, Learning Differences, PSAT, SAT, SAT Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

For students with disabilities, applying for and receiving accommodations for College Board exams (including the PSAT, SAT, and AP tests) has been a daunting task–sometimes more daunting than actually taking the tests! Parents and school administrators often had to submit extensive documentation, and even then sometimes the request was denied and would have to be…

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Prepping for Video Essays and Long-Distance Interviews

By | College Admissions, Graduate School Admissions | No Comments

This guest post is provided by our friend Stacy Blackman. Prepping for Video Essays and Long-Distance Interviews An increasing number of MBA programs are making use of online video-interview platforms, where you must record responses to one or more short-answer prompts before your application is considered complete. Why do schools add this extra step? The…

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Why take the PSAT?

By | PSAT | No Comments

Why take the PSAT? Short for Preliminary SAT, the PSAT is administered to sophomores and juniors every October across the nation. While it is not officially a factor on the college application, there are many reasons for sophomores and juniors to take it, and to take it seriously. Here are just a few: You’ll have…

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Which ISEE section matters most?

By | Independent School Admissions, ISEE | No Comments

There are a lot of rumors floating around about which section on the ISEE is the most relevant to schools when considering admissions applications. Some educators profess that the Reading Comprehension section is the most important since reading skills translate across multiple subjects. Others indicate that the Quantitative Reasoning section is more crucial because it…

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Should you apply to B-school Round 3 or next year?

By | GMAT, GMAT Tips, Graduate School Admissions, GRE, GRE Tips | No Comments

For many business schools, Round 3 is the most competitive cycle for applications, meaning, there are many applicants and few available seats. At top full-time programs, the majority of acceptances happen in Round 1 or Round 2. So, if you haven’t submitted your application in the first two rounds, then when should you apply: now…

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What is a good GPA?

By | College Admissions, High School | No Comments

3.0? 4.0? 5.0? Your grade point average is only one part of your college application. However, combined with a transcript detailing your high school coursework, this weighted or unweighted number tells an important story to college admissions committees. Your GPA suggests how well you will perform in college, based on how you have performed in…

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How to Avoid the Mistake of Generic MBA Application Essays

By | GMAT, GMAT Tips, Graduate School Admissions, Test Prep | No Comments

On the surface, many applicants to elite MBA programs share similar backgrounds and traits. They are ambitious, driven, accomplished, and have strong academic records and impressive test scores. In short, they are leaders and achievers. But just because candidates share these characteristics doesn’t mean their MBA application essays have to beat the same drum. Unfortunately,…

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3 Key Questions that Admissions Committees Consider

By | 5 Interview Questions, Independent School Admissions | No Comments

So you’ve submitted your application and someone from the school of your dreams called back to schedule an interview.  Frightened? Overwhelmed? Don’t be… we’ve broken down the three main areas that admissions officers evaluate when interviewing potential applicants. The majority of private schools have stepped away from the “formal interview” and engage the applicant and…

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Scholarship Winner!

By | Scholarship Winner | No Comments

Matthew Kaplan, Tesseract School We at LA Tutors are passionate about sparking the creative genius in students and would love to commend those outstanding students who have a made a difference in the lives of others in some innovative or technological fashion. In order to achieve this, we have established a scholarship (awarded monthly) for students…

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The SAT Writing Section Overview

By | SAT, SAT Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

What does it test? The SAT Writing section tests your ability to identify errors in sentences, your knowledge of grammar and usage, and your essay writing skills. What types of questions does it include? The Writing section includes one 25-minute essay and 49 multiple-choice questions. The Essay accounts for 30% of the writing score, while…

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The SAT Mathematics Section Overview

By | SAT, SAT Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

What does it test? According to the College Board’s website, the SAT Mathematics section includes questions on arithmetic operations, Algebra 1, Geometry, Statistics, and Probability. It does not test concepts from Algebra 2, Pre-calculus, Calculus, or AP Statistics classes. The good news is that once you’ve mastered high school algebra and geometry, you should know all…

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The GRE Verbal Section Overview

By | GRE, GRE Tips, Test Prep | No Comments

According to the ETS Web site, the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE General Test “measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among words and concepts.” To put it in simpler terms, it measures your verbal reasoning,…

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The GRE Quantitative Section Overview

By | GRE, GRE Tips, Test Prep | One Comment

According to the ETS Web site, the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test measures “problem-solving ability, focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.” What doesn’t it test? This is not a test geared towards math majors; the actual math on the test is what you (hopefully) learned in high school. In…

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The ISEE vs. the SSAT

By | ISEE, SSAT, Test Prep | One Comment

Most independent schools require a standardized test as part of the admissions process, usually the ISEE or the SSAT. Many parents and students ask the question: What’s the difference? Before pondering the question too much, it’s important to check if the school(s) to which you are applying require(s) a certain test. In Los Angeles, many…

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Introduction to the ISEE

By | ISEE, SSAT, Test Prep | One Comment

What is the ISEE? The ISEE is a test required as part of the application to many independent schools. It is administered by the Educational Records Bureau. How much does it “count”? The test is one factor in the school’s admissions process, but some schools will weigh it more heavily than others. The best way…

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Who’s Afraid of the SAT Essay?

By | College Admissions | 2 Comments

Writing the SAT essay seems to be a daunting experience for some students, even if they have consistently aced every other section of the test. Judging from our own SAT tutoring experience with a wide range of students, there seem to be three reasons for students’ anxieties regarding the Essay:       Anxiety 1:…

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Redesigned SAT, Again!

By | College Admissions, SAT | No Comments

The SAT has changed once again, and this time the changes will be substantial. The last time the SAT had substantial changes was in 2005, when the College Board changed the score scale from 1600 to 2400. The primary reasons for the announced changes are to better assess the skills students are learning today and…

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5 Questions with Stephanie Klein Wassink

By | 5 Interview Questions, College Admissions | No Comments

Stephanie Klein Wassink is a college admissions expert and the founder of AdmissionsCheckup.com, a service that allows students to run their applications by three former admissions officers before they submit them, and Winning Applications, a college consulting firm. Based in Connecticut, Stephanie has over 15 years of experience in college admissions and was formerly on…

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