INCREASE students get ready for spring exams

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Students and tutors prep for spring SATs and ACTs using the Scarsdale Principle

INCREASE: Be Outstanding.

At INCREASE, tutors and students are preparing for the all-important spring standardized tests for college admissions – the SAT on May 2 and June 6, the ACT on June 13. These are the last test dates before school ends for the summer. Whether they’re taking the main exams or subject tests, studying for these exams is often added stress on top of an already packed schedule with activities and school finals.

Sitting for a spring standardized test is a common strategy for high school juniors, who hope to get this part of the application process over with. If they score well enough, they’ll be free to focus on other things come senior year. If spring scores don’t align with a student’s goals, he or she is going to have to continue to study and hope to score better in the fall.

What is INCREASE doing to help students prepare for the exams?

INCREASE’s approach is based on the idea that all students learn differently, but can succeed with the right study plan and the right help. INCREASE students start with an SAT/ACT diagnostic that helps them select the test, identify weak areas, and create a study plan going forward.

The INCREASE Tutoring Manager, Jeff Berman, explains the importance of the first meeting where tutors review the diagnostic score report: “Whether or not families want their children to start being tutored regularly right away, it is very important for the student to have an initial session with a tutor to review the diagnostic in depth and begin to get a better sense of both weaknesses in the student's approach and knowledge gaps that need to be closed.”

Tutors at INCREASE use something called the Scarsdale Principle to work with students on efficient test-taking. Simply stated, the Scarsdale Principle is: “Answer the question and nothing but the question”. High-achieving students who are otherwise accomplished test-takers often seem to forget that the SAT/ACT is just another exam. They worry that the exam is designed to test their ability to grind through mindless exercises, or is designed to trick them – and these students slip up in predictable ways. Students will read through three of five multiple choice answers, determine that C is definitely the right answer – and then keep reading the rest of the answers, “just to make sure”. This is a waste of valuable test-taking time, pure and simple – yet an all-too-common practice amongst high school students.

INCREASE tutors aim to get students out of these habits, and expect their work to translate into score improvements this May and June. As Charles LaCalle, INCREASE tutor, explains: “Becoming good at a standardized test is similar to becoming good at a sport. It’s about training and practice so that the particular techniques of a given test become second nature. A tutor’s job is to make sure that student doesn’t think twice when looking a problem by working with students until all test taking anxiety is removed. If tutoring is like a sport that must be practiced, a tutor is like a coach.
A good tutor facilitates learning for a student by teaching them the quickest way to get through a test. Any student could get a perfect score on an ACT or SAT with unlimited time constraints, but to succeed with time constraints it is critical to learn the quickest way to get through a passage or to get the answer to a problem.”

What’s next for INCREASE?

After the spring crunch, tutors will focus on creating summer study plans for students preparing for fall exams.

Parents and students interested in learning more or taking a free diagnostic exam can visit Increase’s practice at the following URL:

Visitors can learn more about Options for College at:

Contact: Abby Kelly
Options for College, Inc.
1115 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10010
Direct: 646-378-7870
INCREASE Main Number: 844-34SCORE (844-347-2673)


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Abby Kelly
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since: 02/2015
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