Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

Going back to school after having time off for the holidays can be a tough readjustment for many students. Going back to the school day schedule and back to responsibilities like homework and SAT preparation can be overwhelming after vacation. A few simple tricks can help you to better segue way back into your routine.

Readjust Your Time
Try not to get too far off your normal sleep schedule over winter break. This means trying to wake up no more than an hour later than you normally would for school. Keeping yourself close to your routine will prevent the shock to your system when you have to start waking up at your normal time again. If you do get off schedule, start the transition a couple days before you go back to school, waking up a little earlier each day to help you adjust to the hour.

Think Through Your Schedule
It’s smart to spend some time working out a schedule while you’re on break and have some extra free time. Map out your planner for the next few months, setting goals and filling in all of your information. If you use a calendar on your computer and one on the wall or in a planner, be sure they are all up to date. Take an afternoon to clean your room, clean out your backpack, and organize your school files. This will help you to go back to your school routine feeling prepared for another semester.

Cross Some Things Off Your List
Whether its finally finishing up the last of your college applications or getting through some extra SAT prep work, winter break can be a time to get ahead of schedule. Having some things checked off your to-do list will make the transition back to the school day a lot easier. Plus the extra time is a great way to devote extra hours to your study plan. Anything you can do over break to help relieve some stress later on is well worth the time and effort.

Plan Some Fun
Make plans to get together with friends the first weekend after you go back to school or plan a shopping trip or dinner for one night during the first week. Having some things to look forward to in that first week back to school will make the last few days of break a lot less painful. You can focus on schoolwork again while knowing you have fun things planned on the horizon.

Top 10 Ways to Flunk the SAT

There are many ways to improve your SAT scores, you can take practice tests, create a study plan, and budget your time accordingly leading up to test day. If that doesn’t sound like much fun, there are also some surefire ways to flunk the SAT.

1. Forget answering the questions, use your time to make elaborate designs in the answer bubbles. Make zig-zags and swirls for the first few sections. When that gets old, try writing something out in Morse code. A’s are dashes and B’s are dots. The College Board will be impressed by your creativity!

2. Show up at the wrong testing center. Argue with the people there. When you realize that it actually was your mistake, sit on the steps outside and wait until it’s time to go home.

4. Take out your cell phone during the test. When questioned, explain that you need to use your lifeline and phone a friend for question 8. Put your friend on speakerphone and start reading questions aloud.

5. Forget a pencil; bring only a box of crayons. Answer questions with illustrations. You want to show off your skills and uniqueness with your 24-pack of Crayolas.

6. Read through the test, then use the pages as a way to practice your Origami skills. Who needs college when you have mastered the ability to make paper boats?

7. Leave the testing location halfway through. This test takes too long anyway.

8. Save all of your studying until the last 72 hours before the test. Stock up on energy drinks and stay awake the entire time cramming for the SAT. Study your heart out! Everything will be fresh! When you sit down to take the test, write your name and then immediately pass out on the desk. Goodnight, SAT.

9. Forget to wear your contact lenses or bring your glasses to the test. Spend the first part of the test squinting at the paper and holding it at various distances from your face. Run out of time on each section while you’re still working on reading the instructions.

10. Look at an SAT practice test ten minutes before you have to leave to take your test. Better yet, glance at it in the parking lot outside the testing location. No one studies for these things, right?

Ok, so you bombed it on the SAT. Maybe you didn’t try to, maybe it just happened or you had a legit excuse. The one thing to keep in mind is that you can take this test as many times as you want to and only your highest score counts. So stop beating yourself up and make up for it by preparing for at least three months prior to the test.

2011 SAT Test Dates and Registration Information

For high school students planning to take the SAT in 2011, it is time to start thinking about testing dates. To register for the SAT, students should sign in to the College Board’s Web siteĀ and complete the necessary steps.

There are three deadlines to keep in mind for each testing date: the original registration deadline, the late registration deadline, and the changes deadline. The main reason to register by the original deadline is to avoid extra fees for taking the SAT. Registration by the original deadline is $47. Registering after the deadline, but before the late registration deadline will cost an additional late fee of $24. Making changes to your testing date or location before the changes deadline costs an additional $24. Each deadline is at midnight Eastern Standard Time on the date indicated.

Preparing well in advance with a solid plan for SAT test prep and a schedule of when you will need to take the tests will ensure that you can register on time and go through with each test without changes. Be sure to choose the right test location the first time to avoid having to make changes after registering for the SAT.

Registration deadlines for each of the 2011 test dates are as follows:

For the January 22 test, students should try to register by December 23 or late registration by January 7. Changes are due by January 5.

For the March 12 test date, registration is due by February 11, late registration by February 25, and changes by February 23.

For the May 7 test, registration is due by April 8, late registration by April 22, and changes by April 20.

For the June 4 test, registration is due by May 6, late registration by May 20, and changes by May 18.

For students with religious observances on Saturdays, Sunday testing is available the day following each SAT testing date. To get a Sunday test date, students must use the code 01000 on their paper registration form. It is also necessary to submit a written explanation from the cleric on letterhead from the student’s religious organization.

Registering for the SAT early is also a great way to give students a firm deadline to design their studying plan. For some students, having that set date will help them to organize their SAT test preparation and stay on track in the months ahead.

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Junior Year SAT Prep Plan

Junior year is often the most busy and challenging year of high school. Many juniors have the most rigorous class schedule that they have had so far in their academic career. They are also balancing leadership positions in extracurricular activities, choices about colleges, and responsibilities both inside and outside of the classroom.

This is also the best year for students to get serious about SAT preparation. Juniors should plan out their schedule well in advance to allow plenty of time to study for the SAT and plan to take the test multiple times during the year.

Juniors have the luxury of plenty of time for preparation. They can take the test as many times as possible without worrying about deadlines for college applications. Juniors can space out the tests throughout the year so that they are able to study and focus on trouble areas in between taking the test. Many students will enjoy having the extra time to study and knowing that they are well prepared and even ahead of schedule on their SAT preparation.

Many high school seniors will have college applications due in November of their senior year. With many students opting to apply early decision to a college, applications are often due sooner than ever before. For these students, it is important to have their final SAT scores done by early in the fall.

Juniors can take an online SAT course that will allow them to study on their own schedule and work at a pace that feels right for them. With each SAT practice test, students will feel more comfortable with the format of the SAT and the material that they will need to know for the test.

Having SAT scores before senior year gives students a lot of relief and flexibility. They can focus entirely on preparing their college applications and choosing the right school without lingering questions about their SAT scores. Having SAT scores in hand will also ensure that students are applying to the right schools and choosing safety schools that are best suited to their performance on the SAT.

Junior year is a time to work hard and build strong time management and study skills. Solid efforts junior year will allow students to breathe a sigh of relief and enter senior year feeling prepared to complete the college application process.

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SAT Essay Tips and Tricks

The SAT essay section is part of the SAT writing section that is scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points. The writing section, added to the test in 2005, also includes 49 multiple choice questions that make up 70 percent of the writing score. Students have 35 minutes to complete the multiple choice questions.

Students then have 25 minutes to complete the SAT essay section. The essay will make up 30 percent of the total writing score. On test day, the essay section will provide each student with a prompt that asks them to write a short essay providing a point of view on an issue.

Writing skills are much more important than having prior knowledge about the issue in the prompt. It is important to use proper spelling and grammar throughout the essay and go back and check your work before turning in the test. This part of the SAT also tests how well students can put together a coherent argument and plan out their essay within the required time. Be sure to take the time to write an engaging opening and solid conclusion.

To prepare for the SAT essay section, it is important for students to get comfortable with the type of essay they will need to write for the test. SAT test prep should include plenty of online practice tests and time spent writing similar essays. Reading sample prompts during online test prep sessions will also help you to stay calm and work effectively on test day. When you take practice tests, always set a timer or keep track of your time so that you will know how long it takes you to complete an essay. This will help you to manage your time during the essay section of the SAT.

The SAT essay section is graded by two readers who are provided with detailed criteria for the essay. Each reader independently scores each essay on a scale of one to six. This system has proved an effective way to score the SAT essay section. Studies by the College Board have shown that the readers rank the essay within one point of each other 98% of the time. If there is discrepancy between the first two readers’ scores, a third reader will read and score the essay.

Preparing for the SAT essay section through online test prep and practice essays will help you to do your best work on test day. The ability to write an interesting and coherent short essay is a skill that will be important throughout the college application process and during your college years.

Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter parenting is a term that is used to describe parents who are so closely involved in their child’s life that they seem to hover around them like a helicopter. Often this is taken to the extreme when a child’s academics are at stake. While there is nothing wrong with parents taking an interest in their children’s lives, schoolwork, and activities, helicopter parents often take this interest to the extreme to the point that it becomes detrimental to the child.
SAT preparations and the college application process can be particularly trying times for helicopter parents and their children. A helicopter parent may attempt to oversee their child’s SAT test prep and college applications, pushing them to excel at all costs and on the parent’s schedule. Often, this is detrimental to the child who may feel discouraged with their parent’s expectations and stifled by the pressure.

For students, having a helicopter parent can be frustrating, especially during the years when they are faced with some of their first important adult decisions. While parents should encourage their high school student to dedicate time to SAT test prep, practice tests, and time to applying for colleges, it is important that these decisions are made with the child and not for the child. This is the time that high school students should be learning to take charge of their responsibilities and plan their own schedules.

The best thing that a parent can do for their child during SAT prep and the college application process is to prepare them for independence. This means taking an active interest while allowing them the space to step up and take responsibility. This will help them to form the skills that will allow them to function after leaving home, perform well in college, and make good decisions. Often encouraging independence means allowing your student to make decisions with your guidance, not making decisions for them.

Children of helicopter parents can easily feel lost in college and out on their own. They may feel a lack of self-sufficiency and unable to make good decisions without parental approval and involvement. Parents can prevent these things by empowering their child to learn and grow, getting comfortable with making decisions that are right for them. Taking a step back can be a critical step in your child’s success.

Time Management Tips for Students

Time management is the key to success for students. Being able to budget time, prioritize, and plan ahead are skills that will help you to stay on top of academic work while making time for other responsibilities and activities. With part-time jobs, test preparation, academics, extracurricular activities, and a social life, it’s no wonder many students feel overwhelmed. Developing strong time management skills will help to bring everything under control.

Keeping a daily to-do list can be a great starting point for students who want to get a better handle on their time. Once you have written down everything that needs to be done, go back and prioritize each item on a scale of one to five. Ones are things that must be done right now, fives are things that have no urgency, and everything else falls somewhere in between. Make a goal to cross off all of the ones, twos, and threes by the end of the day, or whatever makes sense for your schedule and list.

Strategically breaking down school assignments, like a large paper, is a skill that can translate to other things as well. Break down your study time into manageable blocks of time well in advance and you won’t be scrambling the night before a big test. For high school students, breaking down your college search process into steps and you’ll be much less stressed senior year. Forming good habits early on will help carry you through college and beyond.

Preparation is critical to good time management and keeping track of your schedule is where it all begins. Find a method that works for you, whether it’s your online calendar or your day planner. Get in the habit of writing down assignments and checking them off. Break assignments down as you receive them and don’t be afraid to ask a parent, teacher, or mentor for help and advice if you feel overwhelmed. These people are often more than happy to offer their tips and support.

Setting aside a specific time of day for studying is another method that will help build good time management skills. For some students, studying immediately after school allows them to enjoy the rest of the evening and feel relaxed. For others, a few hours after dinner is the practical time to devote to work. Whichever time block makes sense, consistency will help you build a schedule that works for you.

Your High School Junior Year SAT Test Prep Plan

Junior year can be a challenging year for high school students. Many students will be taking challenging courses, making plans to visit colleges and make decisions about the future, and keeping a strong GPA for their college applications. Junior year is also the time to focus on SAT prep.

Juniors should begin preparing for the SAT as soon as possible so that the process doesn’t have to be rushed. For most students, SAT test prep will involve an online course or traditional class, plenty of practice tests, and time spent studying material for the test.

High school students can choose to take the SAT as many times as they want. For this reason, students may want to take the SAT for the first time in the fall of junior year so that they have plenty of time to take the test again in the winter or spring. It can be smart to use the summer before junior year for SAT test prep and focusing on what you will need to study while preparing for the SAT.

While you can continue to take the SAT during senior year, most students will prefer to complete the test during junior year. This will allow seniors in high school to turn their attention to college applications and making decisions about where they will be going to college. Students will also want to have their final scores before they begin sending out their college applications.

Once you receive your first SAT scores, you will need to decide whether you will want to take the test again to improve your scores. Colleges will accept the highest reading score, highest verbal score, and highest math score and combine them to find your final total SAT score. Due to this scoring system, there is no disadvantage to taking the SAT multiple times to improve your score.

Additional SAT prep after taking the test once can help you to focus on trouble areas that revealed themselves during the test and to increase study time on the subjects that need the most improvement. Developing a realistic plan to prepare for the SAT will help you to approach junior year with confidence. Carrying out your plan will help you to enter senior year with your best possible SAT scores.

Paying for College: What You Need to Know

Paying for college can be challenging, but there are many options available to help. It is important to start thinking about it early and develop a plan for how you will pay for a college education. If a parent or other relative will be helping to fund your college education, it is important to have a conversation with them about how much they are prepared to contribute. For students who will be paying their own way, there are several options to make this more manageable.

For many high school students, a part-time job can be a great way to save money for college. Weekends, after-school hours, and school breaks all provide a great opportunity to gain some work experience and make money to put away for college. The summer months provide the perfect time to work more hours and save. Be sure to plan a realistic work schedule during the school year that will allow you to earn money while also keeping up with your academic schedule.

Scholarships and grants are a great way to pay for college. By beginning the process early, you will have time to apply to the many scholarships available both nationally and locally. Websites such as Fastweb are a great resource to find scholarships that match your profile. It is also important to seek out local resources in your community. Many high school guidance offices will be able to help guide you through the application process and recommend good sources of financial assistance.

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will let you know if you qualify to federal grants or loans to help pay for college. Once you are accepted to a college, you will also be able to weigh the financial aid options available from that institution. Most schools offer both merit-based and need-based financial aid for incoming students. The Federal Work Study program is another resource available to students. Through this program, students earn a set amount of funding by working a part-time job, typically in a department on campus, while going to school.

There are many resources available to help students pay for their education. By exploring options, planning ahead, and getting applications in on time, students can devise a good strategy to pay for college.

What You Should be Asking Your High School Guidance Counselor?

The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to make time to speak with your high school guidance counselor. Guidance counselors can be a great hub of information and a wonderful resource throughout your high school career and college application process. The more information your guidance counselor has about you and your goals for the year and for the future, the better he or she can help you to succeed.

For underclassmen, guidance counselors can be very helpful in planning out your courses for upcoming years. Ask them what they recommend based on your past transcript and what you are interested in studying. Guidance counselors can often help you to find information about college requirements for high school courses and help you to put together the best schedule to meet your needs. They can also help you to build good study skills and be sure that you have the right tools to do well in your courses.

When it comes to SAT preparation, guidance counselors can be a great place to go for advice. They can help you to identify goals and organization skills to develop a preparation plan. A good plan for test prep will ensure that you can come away with the best SAT score possible. Guidance counselors have helped many students through the process and can be a great source of advice.

Guidance counselors are a great resource when you are applying for colleges. Not only can they help you to prepare the best application possible, but they can help you to work through the college search process and weigh the various options available. Based on your transcript and SAT score, counselors can also help you to be sure you are applying to a range of schools to provide you with good options.

If you can communicate openly with your guidance counselor about what you are looking for in a college experience, he or she can help determine if your current schools are a good match. Ask if there are students from your school who went on to your college, they can often help answer questions about the application process and the experience they have had in college so far.

Having an open and positive relationship with your guidance counselor is a great step to success in your academic career. He or she will be able to advocate for your needs, support your decisions, and help you to make good choices about college and career plans. Making an appointment and asking the right questions can make all the difference.


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