Know Your Test Prep Sources

With the election only days away and all the talk of fact checking candidate statements, this is a good time to bring up the need to verify information found in college test prep material resources.

As the lead instructor and president of The Right Path, I have read thousands of test questions and countless test prep manuals from many different companies. I have used this information and knowledge gained from discussion with my students and other sources to uncover and utilize the best test prep practices from many sources, but most people cannot do this, so the question is how do you judge quality material versus some of the real junk that is out there if full time test prep is not your idea of fun?

Deciphering good versus bad test prep material can be tricky and requires a lot of work, but the time spent finding quality material is worth it. I have read books, with wrong answers, incorrect or misguided explanations, and very poor advice, advice that is not just bad in my opinion but that goes contrary to every other test prep manual I have ever read. Even the big names can make elementary mistakes. When advice presented is completely opposite of what most other sources say, red flags should be raised.

The best way to verify your sources is to talk to experts. Asking guidance counselors, teachers, college admissions officials, and other students their opinions on books, classes, online resources, and test prep materials is the best way to discover good material. Nothing beats a good recommendation from someone you know and trust to get you started.

After getting a few opinions, your work has just begun. When comparing books for self-preparation take the time to read a few reviews online and then pull the books off the shelf to compare. Compare layout, accuracy of diagrams, and recommended test procedures. Again, each test company will have slightly different approaches, but any that is too far off may be giving bad advice.

When choosing test prep materials, be sure to do your homework ahead of time. Nothing is more disappointing than studying for a test and finding out too late that you learned the wrong approaches, incorrect academic material, or misguided timing procedures, and you certainly do not want this to happen on a test as important as your college entrance exams!

PSAT and SAT Test Prep Sessions Now Added for October Tests

Due to requests for more classes, The Right Path is pleased to announce two additional classes now available to help students prepare for the October tests.

PSAT Test Prep

This class runs two consecutive Saturdays, October 6th and 13th, from 8:30 – 11:30 AM at the Baptist Church, Astor Road, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. Fee $180.

Topics Covered:  Test specific strategies (including guessing, timing and pacing, order of difficulty, and more), test directions and approach to questions, a brief review of the most commonly tested academic content, and sample questions and explanations.

Register Now for your PSAT Test Prep

SAT Test Prep – One Day Workshop

This class is one day only from 3:00 – 8:00 PM, Tuesday, October 2nd at the Baptist Church, Astor Road, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. Fee $180.

With only a few days left before their final SAT, what can seniors do at the last minute to improve their scores? This class will cover test taking strategies, approach to questions, and last minute tips to boost confidence as well as a review of questions and explanations to some of the most commonly tested question types.

Register Now for the SAT One Day Workshop


Test Prep – Does Visualizing Success Work?

A young woman a daydream.

While visualizing success is good in small doses, be sure it does not detract from your actual test prep experience.

When prepping for a big test, does merely visualizing success work? Well, no of course not, but it may help.

Who Visualizes Success?

Many of us have heard stories of professional athletes who can see themselves hitting the ball, making the shot, or kicking the winning goal. Recently, reports surfaced of the US Olympic swim team using visualization techniques to help them get the feel of cutting through the water for the win.

There can be little doubt that seeing yourself succeeding can help build confidence, but there is more to it than that.

Forbes reports in the article Visualize Success if You Want to Fail that Kappes and Oettingen performed four experiments using visualization techniques. The results showed that those who engaged in visualizing success did not perform as well as those who did not. Why not? One hypothesis is that visualizing success prevents individuals from keeping motivation needed for the hard work required to attain that very success. People can be lulled into thinking that we are capable of succeeding without doing more.

So Does Visualizing Success Work?

The answer, in my opinion, is that visualizing success is a wonderful tool for those suffering from test anxiety. Many great athletes, speakers, and successful individuals do use this technique, and it can be useful in relaxing an anxious test taker, but success based on visualization alone is a definite myth.

Becoming a world class athlete, a Nobel prize winner, or best selling author never comes through visualization alone. If you are using visualization in conjunction with the hard work required for test prep then it is a good tool, but it should be viewed as just a minor tool of many greater tools at your disposal.

If you are serious about test prep and doing well on your ACT and SAT, spend a little time on visualizing success and a whole lot of time on real test prep.



What is a Testing Plateau?

A plateau

A testing plateau is the leveling off of your test scores.

The term testing plateau is one not many students have heard of before, but the concept of testing plateau may be one they are familiar with anyway. The term plateau brings to mind a leveling off of raised land, and a testing plateau is much the same idea.

Students should take a practice SAT (called the PSAT) and the practice ACT (called the PLAN) during their sophomore or junior year of high school and then take the actual SAT or ACT about twice.

Some parents and students think taking the SAT or ACT many times will continue to raise test scores, but reality shows different results. After taking a standardized test twice, most students reach their testing plateau. The testing plateau is the highest score one is capable of achieving under normal circumstances.

The testing plateau takes into consideration the rigor of academic coursework, natural ability, and test prep. While a testing plateau is a reality, you do want to be certain your testing plateau is as high as you are capable of.

The two best ways to raise your testing plateau is to take the most challenging classes you are capable of and get involved in test prep. Test prep should include understanding the layout and format as well as test specific strategies, a review of academic content, and taking and analyzing multiple practice tests. If you are unsure of where to go for test prep or to request information about online test prep or hosting a class near you, contact The Right Path.

Once you have reached your testing plateau, accept it and relax. This number will help direct you toward schools you are most suited to. You can now narrow down the list from the thousands of colleges and universities in the United States and begin researching in earnest the best choice for you.  Do not stress about test results any longer. Now it is time to enjoy the rest of the college admissions process.



Today’s Test Prep Vocabulary – Root Words – “ducere”

The conductor in a street band or parade

The conductor leads his orchestra.

Today’s Root:  ducere, ductus

– to lead, to draw out,

Word Building:

abduction – to take, steal,

conduct – a way of acting, especially when leading as in conductor or the ability to draw out and transmit heat.

Used in Conjunction with Other Word Parts:

subduction – tectonic plates shifting under one another

aqueduct – drawing out of water

Sample Sentence:

Although she had never heard the word, she was able to deduce its meaning.

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Test Prep Doesn’t End During Summer Vacation

A beach chair and umbrella

You can always bring your favorite test prep manual on your summer vacation!

Summer vacation is not the time to quit test prep. Just because school is out for the summer does not mean you should take a vacation from test prep. Most students have more free time over the summer than at any time during the school year. Even those working can usually find a few free moments to squeeze in some learning, and they should.

In fact, without the pressure of schoolwork, classroom tests, extracurricular activities and athletics, and, with less pressure socially, summer vacation is the perfect time for test prep. Taking just a 20-30 minutes each day to brush up on test taking skills can be worth a lot of points, and what better time than now.

There is no excuse for not prepping for the big test over your summer vacation so get started now!

Five Quick Ways to Improve Your Test Scores This Summer

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SAT – Who We Serve – College Board 7-26-12

Mercer University, Georgia

Mercer University is one of many that uses SAt scores as part of its admissions process. More than 75% of Mercer students score above average on the SAT.

What is The College Board?

As a not-for-profit membership association representing more than 5,900 colleges, universities and schools, the College Board leads national and international efforts to improve access to and readiness for higher education.

via Who We Serve – College Board.

The College Board is not just about standardized testing and test prep. It is a nonprofit agency that has been assisting students in their college searches for over 100 years. Today it is best known for its college admissions test, the SAT, which is used by most four year schools in the college admission’s process.

Did You Know This About the College Board?

  • The College Board assist students from middle school through college graduation as well as the counselors who work with those students.
  • The College Board works with approximately 7 million students. Most of these students are located in the United States, but international students may also choose to take the SAT if they decided to attend an American university.
  • Approximately 23,000 high schools and 3,800 colleges use the College Board’s services.
  • More than 1/2 of the public high schools in the United States are in contact with the College Board regarding the PSAT/NMSQT alone.
  • Over 3,000,000 SAT exams were administered in 2010.
  • Minorities taking the SAT has gone up 78% in recent years.

For more information, check out the College Board’s website.

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