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3 Relaxation Techniques to Try During a Study Break

Monday, February 5, 2018

Students often find themselves so overwhelmed the night before a big test or major essay is due that they become paralyzed by the stress.  And there are those dreaded days, scattered throughout the school year, when two or even three hefty assessments (quizzes, tests, projects, papers, etc.) are all due at once.  Uggh!

But don’t collapse under all of the pressure.  Do your best--or enlist the help of a parent, guardian, or tutor--to map out your study time, complete with breaks for food, drink, and vital restorative activities.  In a previous blog post, we recommended trying out a few simple exercises as a pick-me-up if you’re feeling sluggish during a marathon study session.  But if you feel just the opposite, as if you can’t seem to relax enough to focus, then we suggest instead that you employ a simple relaxation technique that will help you find the peace and calm that you need to prepare effectively for the next day’s challenges.

So, with this in mind, here are three relaxation techniques to dry during a study break:

Meditation.  According to Robbie Hartman, PhD, a Chicago-based health and wellness coach, “Daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress” (quoted by WebMD).  Resilience to stress is exactly what you’ll need to power through that study session, so move from your desk chair to the floor and settle in for the next 10-15 minutes.  Then, sitting upright with your legs crossed, close your eyes and focus on the recitation (either aloud or mentally) of a mantra, such as “all is well” or “I’ll be fine.”  WebMD recommends placing one hand on your belly to sync the recitation of the mantra with your breaths, and to let any stressful thoughts “float by like clouds.”

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Five Tips for Surviving an All-Nighter

Saturday, November 18, 2017

It’s that paper you’ve been putting off for weeks. Or that big project you’ve told yourself you would finish up. But here you are, the night before it’s due, nervously watching the clock as it moves from 8 PM to 10 PM, and before you know it, it’s 2 AM and you’re still not done. This situation calls for: an all-nighter. This may sound daunting, but fear not! Here are survival tips (from yours truly who has pulled many an all-nighter) that will help in your academic endeavors.

1. Sip, don’t chug!

If your first instinct is like mine (to start your all-nighter by chugging three Red Bulls), think again. While this will definitely boost your energy, it will also overload your brain and body with adrenaline, the neurotransmitter responsible for the flight-or-fight response. I’ve done this, and my hands ended up shaking so badly I couldn’t type, let alone concentrate on stringing a coherent sentence together. Instead, ingest the caffeine slowly so the inevitable ‘crash’ later on won’t be as drastic. Space the drinks out! If you know, for example, that three hours after a cup of coffee you begin to feel tired, start sipping your next caffeinated beverage half an hour before that; this will provide a small boost of energy and will help you avoid a crash.

2. Know your naps

When I pull an all-nighter, I hit a wall around 3 am—desperate for sleep, but not willing to put my paper/studying in jeopardy. Instead of downing another Red Bull, I’ll bargain with myself (e.g. ‘If I can finish this paragraph in the next ten minutes, I’ll take a ten minute nap’), set an alarm, and almost instantly lose consciousness.

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How to Survive & Thrive in AP Latin

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Augustus CaesarAP Latin is an extremely challenging, college-caliber course that requires a sustained, serious commitment from the student.  Classical Latin is a literary language: that is, fluency means being able to read literature at sight, as opposed to being able to speak and listen to the language with a native’s proficiency.  And for AP Latin, students are expected to be fluent at reading, translating, and analyzing selected portions of two particular works of Literature: Vergil’s Aeneid and Julius Caesar’s Commentarii De Bello Gallico.

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How to Survive & Thrive: AP English Literature & Composition

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

by Hannah Frank, special guest contributor

AP English

Literature and Composition is high-level reading and writing course that challenges students’ ability to comprehend and compose analyses of rich and complex literaturewritten in or translated to English.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP English Lit & Comp students to come up with six very useful tips--three “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and three “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

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How to Survive & Thrive: AP Psychology

Monday, January 23, 2017

AP Psychology is an advanced social science course in which students “explore how psychologists use research methods and critical analysis to explore human behavior” (College Board).  It’s a tough but fun course, and it’s considered to be the perfect offering for students who love both social studies and science.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP Psychology students to come up with six very useful tips--three “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and three “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

What’s fascinating about psychology is its real-life application. You’ll be able to observe these applications every day—and what’s a better way to study than hands on? My AP Psycho

logy teacher used to play Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” before every test he gave us as a way to calm us down; but due to conditioning, the one day he played the song when we didn’t have a test scheduled, our class dissolved into panic, as we’d associated the song with taking a hard test. But I’ll also never forget what classical conditioning is. Hands-on learning can be an excellent way to obtain and retain knowledge you’ll need for the exam.

You should have a working knowledge of important people, ideas, and their application. There are a lot of terms, but by making flashcards during each unit during the year, you can avoid last minute panicking over concepts from the first unit.

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How to Survive & Thrive in AP Biology

Monday, January 2, 2017

AP Biology is an advanced science course that challenges students’ understanding of biology through what the College Board calls “inquiry-based learning.”  Topics covered include evolution, cellular processes, genetics, ecology, and more.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP Biology students to come up with four very useful tips--two “how to survive” tips to help y

ou achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and two “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

1. Memorize the general workings of each process you learn, especially in the time leading up to each test. This class is largely centered around memorizing the details that make up the processes of life, so in order to get through it you need to put in the time and effort of memorizing the details of the various processes taught in this course. Take photosynthesis, for example: it is split up into two parts, the light and dark reactions which are further divided into smaller, more specific processes. Thus, you must learn many details in order to understand the process at the level you need to when you take the test.

2. Practice writing essays and free response paragraphs. Although this course is a science class, writing plays an important role and thus should be practiced constantly. Aside from the need to write in the free response section of the AP exam at the end of the year, it serves as a good indicator of whether you unders

tand a concept by determining if you can write a coherent summary of it.

How to Thrive:

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How to Survive & Thrive: AP Spanish Language and Culture

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

AP Spanish is the plateau (or meseta!) of classroom Spanish learning.  Not to be confused with AP Spanish Literature, AP Spanish Language and Culture is a rigorous course that challenges students to converse and write fluently in Español.  

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP Spanish students to come up with four very useful tips--two “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and two “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

1. Have a basic understanding of the many grammatical concepts—both elementary and complex—that the Spanish language is composed of, including conjugation rules for verbs, gender/number rules for nouns, and structure rules for different types of clauses (i.e. si clauses). Although some of these rules may seem incredibly simple, they are the basis of Spanish. So, to master the language, you must understand and review them. Do not rely solely on your memory of previous years of Spanish to bring your grammar to the AP level—many of these small details are easily forgotten, so make sure to review all of the grammar that you have learned thus far thoroughly.

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Why College in the UK Might Be the Best Fit for You

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chances are that when you’re preparing for college, you’ve considered places that are more than just a couple hours away. Perhaps you’re from New York and considering Stanford, or instead you are a Midwesterner looking at Williams or Duke. In any event, going to college is a chance to go off to a place potentially far away and make your own way.

So why limit yourself to only colleges in the United States?

If you are willing to give your passport a workout, there are a number of advantages to considering studying in the United Kingdom.

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How to Survive and Thrive in AP Calculus

Monday, September 12, 2016

AP Calculus is typically considered to be one of the toughest AP courses by high school students.  There are actually two versions of the course: AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC.  BC is the harder course of the two, mainly because its curriculum covers a wider range of problems.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP Calculus students to come up with four very useful tips--two “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and two “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.

How to Survive in AP Calculus:

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5 Awesome Twitter Feeds to Help with Your Internship Search!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

If you're like most ambitious high school students, then you might be thinking about doing a meaningful internship this summer. But how does one go about finding the perfect opportunity? Well, as it turns out, Twitter is a great place to start your search. After an extensive search, we've found the following 5 cool internship accounts, and we highly recommend that you check them out:

1. New York Internships (@nyinternships): Looking for a job or internship in NYC? This account Tweets about options in all areas, from beauty to photography to graphic design. Follow @nyinternships to check out fantastic opportunities in the city!

2. Fashion Internships (@fashionintern): Interested in the fashion industry? Check out @fashionintern for all opportunities in fashion, whether you know nothing about it or you’re looking to learn a specific skill for one the world’s top fashion brands!

3. Lauren Berger (@InternQueen): Are you a student interested in finding work in the real world? Follow @InternQueen for tips and job and internship opportunities in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and many other parts of the country!

4. DC Internships (@dcinternjobs): Looking for an internship or job in the capital of our country? Follow @dcinternjobs for awesome opportunities--especially if you’re looking to work for the U.S. government one day.

5. Viacom Careers (@ViacomCareers): Viacom is another great Twitter account if you’re interested in finding an internship or job in just about any discipline! Follow @ViacomCareers for the latest updates in job opportunities!

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4 Simple Exercises To Do During a Study Break

Monday, February 8, 2016

You’ve been hunched over that AP Environmental Science textbook for at least three hours, and now you’re struggling to make heads or tails of the latest paragraph.  You’ve already had two protein bars, your favorite fruit smoothie, and--as a last resort--a piece of sugary candy, but you still feel like your brain simply cannot absorb any more information.  

Does this scenario seem familiar?

If so, then you should consider espousing the ancient Roman ideal of a “sound mind in a sound body” (mens sana in corpore sano).  This philosophy, which some scholars attribute to an earlier Greek source, has been interpreted and applied in a variety of ways.  But for the sake of your study habits, think of it like this: if your body is healthy, then your brain will follow suit.  

So why not close that textbook for a few minutes and do some exercises?  You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to the books in the short term, and, what’s more, you’ll feel better overall in the long term.  We’ve culled dozens of fitness websites’ exercise suggestions, and here are four that we recommend trying out during a study break:

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5 Tips for Surviving an All-Night Study Marathon

Monday, January 25, 2016

It’s that paper you’ve been putting off for weeks. Or that big project you’ve told yourself you would finish up. But here you are, the night before it’s due, nervously watching the clock as it moves from 8 PM to 10 PM, and before you know it, it’s 2 AM and you’re still not done. Unfortunately, this situation calls for an all-nighter, which may sound daunting, but fear not! Here are survival tips (from a panel of college students who have pulled many an all-nighter) that will help in your academic endeavors.

1. Sip, don’t chug!

If your first instinct is to start your all-nighter by chugging three Red Bulls, think again. While this will definitely boost your energy, it will also overload your brain and body with adrenaline, the neurotransmitter responsible for the flight-or-fight response. We’ve done this, and our hands ended up shaking so badly we couldn’t type, let alone concentrate on stringing a coherent sentence together. Instead, ingest the caffeine slowly so the inevitable ‘crash’ later on won’t be as drastic. Space the drinks out! If you know, for example, that three hours after a cup of coffee you begin to feel tired, start sipping your next caffeinated beverage half an hour before that; this will provide a small boost of energy and will help you avoid a crash.

2. Know your naps

When we pull an all-nighter, we hit a wall around 3 am—desperate for sleep, but not willing to put our papers/studying in jeopardy. Instead of downing another Red Bull, we’ll bargain with ourselves (e.g. ‘If I can finish this paragraph in the next ten minutes, I’ll take a ten minute nap’), set an alarm, and almost instantly lose consciousness.

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Sound Body, Sound Mind

Monday, January 11, 2016

The ideal of the “sound mind in a sound body,” which may predate the Ancient Romans, can be found in a poem by the Latin satirist Juvenal:

You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.

ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death,

and deems length of days the least of Nature's gifts

that can endure any kind of toil…

Educators, psychologists, parenting experts--and the list goes on and on--have championed this expression, and we’re jumping on that bandwagon. Really, how could anyone argue with the importance of being both mentally and physically healthy? Our interpretation of the expression is simple and literal: we take it to mean that in order to be in your best mental shape--and, by extension, to do your best in school and on standardized tests--you must first make sure that you are in your best physical shape.

We’ve therefore decided to kick off the new year with our “Sound Body, Sound Mind” blog series, featuring topics such as follows:

  • Four Simple Exercises to Do During a Study Break
  • Four Relaxation Techniques to Try During a Study Break
  • The Top 10 Delicious Brain Foods to Keep You Energized
  • Five Healthy Drinks to Fuel Your Next Study Marathon
  • Five Fun Ways to Reward Yourself After Studying

This wonderful series will begin with our next blog entry on Tuesday, January 26th, and will continue throughout the winter and into the spring.

Stay tuned to this blog, and have a happy and HEALTHY New Year!

 

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How to Survive & Thrive in AP Latin

Monday, December 7, 2015

AP Latin is an extremely challenging, college-caliber course that requires a sustained, serious commitment from the student. Classical Latin is a literary language: that is, fluency means being able to read literature at sight, as opposed to being able to speak and listen to the language with a native’s proficiency. And for AP Latin, students are expected to be fluent at reading, translating, and analyzing selected portions of two particular works of Literature: Vergil’s Aeneid and Julius Caesar’s Commentarii De Bello Gallico.

We consulted with two experienced AP teachers, a handful of tutors, and several recent AP Latin students to come up with four very useful tips--two “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and two “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

1. Master all of the rhetorical devices on the AP curriculum and become an expert at scansion.  Rhetorical devices, such as anaphora, anastrophe, and apostrophe (just to name three that often get mixed up--for obvious reasons!), feature in about 6-8 multiple choice questions and 2-3 short answer questions on the free-response section.  Because the rhetorical devices list is relatively manageable, mastering them can translate to guaranteed points on the exam.  And the scansion of dactylic hexameter, if thoroughly practiced, can also equate to 2-3 successful multiple choice answers as well as 1 short answer question.

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How to Survive & Thrive: AP English Language and Composition

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

According to the College Board, AP English Language & Composition “focuses on the development and revision of evidence-based analytic and argumentative writing and the rhetorical analysis of nonfiction texts.”  Many students who take the course or just the exam think of it as a good warm-up for the verbal portions of other standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP English students to come up with six very useful tips--three “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and three “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

1. Read cartoons. No, it’s not the time to pull out your old Calvin and Hobbes; read political cartoons. Analyze them. What are they trying to convey? What are they protesting or satirizing? These analytic skills are necessary for reading graphs, analyzing pictures, or parsing passages. Read news articles, and answer the same questions. Two of the essays on the exam are based on your ability to read passages or graphs and use them to form an argument. A smart way to create an argument or thesis is to reference back to the passage and the rhetorical devices used. Speaking of…

2. Do you know your rhetorical devices? The multiple choice questions focus on identifying and analyzing an author’s rhetorical devices, as well as understanding an author’s point of view and reasoning. You should have a working knowledge of tone, structure, grammar and the like and you should be able to identify them in a passage. What is the purpose of the passage?  

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How to Survive & Thrive in AP English Literature & Composition

Monday, November 9, 2015

AP English Literature and Composition is high-level reading and writing course that challenges students’ ability to comprehend and compose analyses of rich and complex literature written in or translated to English.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP English Lit & Comp students to come up with six very useful tips--three “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and three “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

Have a working knowledge of literary devices, poetic devices, grammar, and SAT vocabulary. This includes being able to identify, understand, and write complex passages. During the poetry section of your AP English class (or, if there is not, find poems from your review book or online) and test yourself. Do you know what’s going on in the poem? Do you know what poetic devices are being used? Can you identify the meter and tone of the poem?

Do your reading. Do your reading. If you are preparing to take this AP exam, chances are that you are in an upper level class, which means that the time for Sparknotes and online book summaries are far behind you. The author’s tone, writing style, and nuances are completely lost when taking shortcuts in doing your reading. The skills learned by reading many different authors is the ability to understand and analyze any piece of writing you may come across, whether on the exam, in college, or further in your life. Who knows—the stories and books you’re reading might even be on the exam!

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How to Survive & Thrive in AP Psychology

Monday, October 26, 2015

AP Psychology is an advanced social science course in which students “explore how psychologists use research methods and critical analysis to explore human behavior” (College Board).  It’s a tough but fun course, and it’s considered to be the perfect offering for students who love both social studies and science.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP Psychology students to come up with six very useful tips--three “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and three “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

What’s fascinating about psychology is its real-life application. You’ll be able to observe these applications every day—and what’s a better way to study than hands on? My AP Psychology teacher used to play Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” before every test he gave us as a way to calm us down; but due to conditioning, the one day he played the song when we didn’t have a test scheduled, our class dissolved into panic, as we’d associated the song with taking a hard test. But I’ll also never forget what classical conditioning is. Hands-on learning can be an excellent way to obtain and retain knowledge you’ll need for the exam.

You should have a working knowledge of important people, ideas, and their application. There are a lot of terms, but by making flashcards during each unit during the year, you can avoid last minute panicking over concepts from the first unit.

Be able to analyze a given situation by applying various concepts. This doesn’t mean being able to know that Pavlov’s dogs drooled because of classical conditioning (although that is important to know!); it means taking a multi-dimensional scene and being able to break down all of the underlying concepts and their contribution to the situation as a whole.

How to Thrive:

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How to Survive & Thrive in AP Biology

Monday, October 12, 2015

AP Biology is an advanced science course that challenges students’ understanding of biology through what the College Board calls “inquiry-based learning.”  Topics covered include evolution, cellular processes, genetics, ecology, and more.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP Biology students to come up with four very useful tips--two “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and two “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

1. Memorize the general workings of each process you learn, especially in the time leading up to each test. This class is largely centered around memorizing the details that make up the processes of life, so in order to get through it you need to put in the time and effort of memorizing the details of the various processes taught in this course. Take photosynthesis, for example: it is split up into two parts, the light and dark reactions which are further divided into smaller, more specific processes. Thus, you must learn many details in order to understand the process at the level you need to when you take the test.

2. Practice writing essays and free response paragraphs. Although this course is a science class, writing plays an important role and thus should be practiced constantly. Aside from the need to write in the free response section of the AP exam at the end of the year, it serves as a good indicator of whether you understand a concept by determining if you can write a coherent summary of it.

How to Thrive:

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How to Survive & Thrive in AP Spanish

Monday, September 28, 2015

AP Spanish is the plateau (or meseta!) of classroom Spanish learning.  Not to be confused with AP Spanish Literature, AP Spanish Language and Culture is a rigorous course that challenges students to converse and write fluently in Español.  

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP Spanish students to come up with four very useful tips--two “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and two “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

1. Have a basic understanding of the many grammatical concepts—both elementary and complex—that the Spanish language is composed of, including conjugation rules for verbs, gender/number rules for nouns, and structure rules for different types of clauses (i.e. si clauses). Although some of these rules may seem incredibly simple, they are the basis of Spanish. So, to master the language, you must understand and review them. Do not rely solely on your memory of previous years of Spanish to bring your grammar to the AP level—many of these small details are easily forgotten, so make sure to review all of the grammar that you have learned thus far thoroughly.

2. Be able to speak, read, write, and listen at a basic level; all of these skills are central to the curriculum of the class and are ultimately tested on the AP exam. In order to get through this course, you must be comfortable in all these areas. The amount of work that you put into honing these skills will determine your success. To merely survive the course, significantly less effort is necessary than if you are working to thrive and succeed. To work on these areas, you can go online to find a Spanish article and translate it, write about it, and then converse about it in Spanish with someone you know who is also familiar with the language.

How to Thrive:

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How to Survive & Thrive in AP Calculus

Monday, September 14, 2015

AP Calculus is typically considered to be one of the toughest AP courses by high school students.  There are actually two versions of the course: AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC.  BC is the harder course of the two, mainly because its curriculum covers a wider range of problems.

We consulted with teachers, tutors, and recent AP Calculus students to come up with four very useful tips--two “how to survive” tips to help you achieve a score of 3 on the AP exam, and two “how to thrive” tips to help you earn a 4 or even a 5.  Here they are:

How to Survive:

Memorize the various different derivation and integration formulas. Because so much of the course is centered around these ideas, the brute memorization of the different forms allows for recognition and thus the ability to solve many different problems. You should memorize these forms as soon as possible; they are central ideas of the course, so you will need to use them all the time. This task is less daunting than it seems, as the integration and derivation formulas are very similar to each other (i.e. the integral of cos(x) = sin(x) + C (a constant), and the derivative of sin(x) = cos(x)*x'). There are not that many different forms, so memorizing them won’t occupy that much time.

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A Summer of Growth and an Exciting School Year Ahead!

Monday, August 31, 2015

We at Tutor Tango are very much looking forward to our third full year of helping students learn and succeed!  We’ve had a busy summer preparing for the school year ahead, and we’re excited to present a number of new additions--both to our tutoring team and our web site.  

First, we’re thrilled to announce a partnership with Test Innovators. Test Innovators provides the best diagnostic practice tests for the ISEE and SSAT, and Tutor Tango will be leveraging these tools as part of our online and offline (in-person) test preparation tutoring programs.  To this end, we’ve also added several new highly talented and experienced ISEE and SSAT tutors to our network of independently subcontracted educators.

We’ve also added several new tutors in other areas of critical need, including new expert SAT and ACT tutors, a few new exceptional tutors in math and science, and four gifted, seasoned learning specialists.  In addition, we’ve landed one of the best writing tutors from the San Francisco area, Kate S., who recently moved back to NYC and specializes in college essays, personal statements, and other forms of format-specific prose.

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Memory Science: Personalized, Byte-Sized Learning; the Perfect Complement to Online Tutoring!

Monday, August 17, 2015

You can walk into any classroom today and see that different students struggle with different things.

Some students at the elementary school down the road might have a hard time doing fractions during math class while others might struggle with remembering the capitals of all 50 states.

Maybe a college student is in an Intermediate Accounting class, but her previous professor from Intro to Accounting only went over straight-line depreciation and never mentioned double-declining depreciation. She lacks that foundation she needs to succeed in her class. It is not her fault. Her previous professor just decided to emphasize a different topic of accounting instead.

Personalized learning is important because each student has his or her own individualized needs and focus areas to reinforce. Students learn in different ways. They come from different backgrounds. They even have varying academic foundations. When it comes to a student’s education, one-size does not fit all.

More effort will have to be put into identifying topics and subjects that each student individually struggles with. Maybe it is a teacher, a professor, or a tutor explaining it to them in a different way by using a visual graphic instead of writing it out on a white board. Maybe it means going over that biology material a few extra times to make sure the student understands it. Maybe it comes to a few extra hours of studying those GRE vocabulary words to guarantee you really have them down.

Thankfully there are many great opportunities, services, and tools out there to help personalize the learning of each student. Professors have office hours that students can attend and ask questions. Teachers are normally in their classrooms during lunch. There are great organizations out there like our friends here at Tutor Tango, who provide high-quality one-on-one in-person and online tutoring in all subjects, including standardized test prep.

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Students! Three Tips to Improve your Health This Summer!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Feeling lazy but want to get into shape this summer? Here are some tips to live by in order to get yourself going!

1. Set realistic goals! Don’t tell yourself you’re going to exercise for one hour every day when you know you’re not going to end up getting off your couch. Setting such lofty, unrealistic goals will only make you feel worse when you don’t accomplish them. Instead, start small and gradually push yourself. Tell yourself to run or exercise for only 10 minutes, then 15, then 20. Gradually you’ll be able to work out much longer than you ever thought you could!

2. Create a routine you know you can stick to! Setting realistic goals is only the first step; now you have to make sure you achieve what you want to accomplish. Deciding thirty minutes before that you want to go to the gym or run outside might feel right in the moment, but tomorrow or the next day you might not be motivated enough. Make a plan. Make a smart routine that makes you more compelled to actually follow through with it.  Create an exercise schedule you know you can stick to whether it’s twice, three times, or five times a week.  The important thing is to be consistent. If after a couple weeks you want to increase the amount of times you exercise, that’s great, but don’t set the bar too high at the start--you might end up overworking yourself, or you might scale back simply because you feel you did enough last week.

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Good Summer Reads--No Matter Your Taste!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

With summer almost here, it's time to decide what to read by the pool (or in the park...or even on the couch--whatever!)  We therefore turned to some of our trusted friends in the teaching world to find out what books they're recommending to their students.  But we didn't just ask English teachers; we also asked teachers of social studies, science, and even math.  Here's what they recommended (in alphabetical order):

What is the What? by Dave Eggers 

What is the What? tells the story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of 20,000 "Lost Boys" who escaped the horrors of Sudan's second civil war, walking thousands of miles to Ethiopia and, ultimately, resettling in the United States. This book is a treat, so beautifully written and so compelling that the pages fly by even faster than you want them to. David Eggers works magic, creating a character whose voice will stay in your head long after you've put it down.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr   

Marie-Laure, the blind daughter of the Paris Museum of Natural History's master locksmith, flees the Nazi occupation of her city at age 12 and finds refuge in the coastal town of Saint-Malo along with one of the museum's—and the world's—most precious gems.  Meanwhile, a German orphan named Werner, a phenom with radio circuitry, rises through the ranks of the Hitler youth and travels around Europe with a small squadron tasked with hunting down rebel radio operators until one day, when his path through World War II converges with Marie-Laure's.  The winner of the 2014 Puliter Prize for fiction.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver 

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Latin Students: Study the Classics this Summer in Florence or Rome!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CALDER CLASSICS

Summer in Italy 2015

Calder Classics invites high school students of Latin interested in Ancient or Art History to join us in Italy this summer. Over the course of a 2-week program limited to 6-8 students, the Classics will come alive daily as we translate Latin works such as Vergil’s Aeneid or Livy’s History of Rome and explore related ancient and art historical sites, all while immersing ourselves in the modern culture of either Florence or Rome.

Master Latin

Each day students & their mentors will read & discuss Latin literature by influential ancient Roman authors in a residential “salon” style environment.

Dive into Italy's Rich Art, Culture and History

Whether visiting Botticelli’s Primavera & Birth of Venus in Florence or the Colosseum & Imperial Fora in Rome, we will discuss the history & broader themes of these cultural treasures as well as their connections to the texts we read.

Live the Italian Life

While staying in a beautiful villa on the Oltrarno in Florence or atop the famous Aventine hill in Rome, students have the chance to experience an Italian lifestyle.

Register online today for our 2015 Summer Programs in Florence & Rome! Any questions call 917-533-3712 or visit calderclassics.com

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How to Take Better Notes in History Class

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Of all of the courses you are required to take in middle and high school, history may demand the most careful, diligent note-taking.  Unfortunately, history textbooks often complicate matters, as they tend to present an overwhelming amount of information in the form of text, sidebars, graphics such as tables, charts, and maps, and images such as photographs and illustrations.  On top of all of this information, your teacher presents his or her emphasis on historical events, facts, and dates through lectures, PowerPoint presentations, videos, and other methods of teaching.  

The question, then, is how do you go about organizing all of this information most effectively in order to prepare for the next essay or test? We’ve consulted with our expert history tutors, and here are four simple tips that will help you take better notes and get organized for that next major assignment.

Tip #1: Take straightforward yet thorough bullet-point style notes in class.

Some history teachers move through material in class quickly, so it’s important that you develop an efficient and systematic note-taking method that will enable you to thoroughly record the most important information.  Bullet-point style notes are an effective way to boil all of the information your teacher covers down to what’s most essential.  For example, if your teacher is lecturing on Muslim Spain, your notes might look like this:

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Tutor Spotlight: 5 Questions with Kevin T.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tutor Tango is excited to welcome the versatile and dynamic Kevin T. to our online tutoring network.  Kevin has been teaching and tutoring for the past four years, and he holds a BA from the City University of New York, as well as a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He tutors a wide range of subjects, from Algebra and Geometry to English and Spanish, and he also has experience with test prep.

We recently talked to Kevin about his teaching and tutoring experiences, and here are the highlights:

1. What inspired you to become an educator?

When I became truly conscious of the education gap and the need for more effective solutions to help younger people to improve their lives, I decided to join the effort. I noticed the problem of students who wanted to learn more, but they suffered from inadequate educational structure in too many of their school districts. As a board member at one my children's high schools, I am even more dedicated to making sure that the students I tutor can receive the help that they need to get ahead and surpass some of the obstacles preventing them from the opportunities that they crave and deserve.

2. What qualities in a tutor do you think are most important?

I wholeheartedly believe that a tutor must be understanding of the student's individual needs and goals. In addition, a tutor must have a focus on ensuring that the student is going through the critical thinking and learning process with a guide, rather than a person who will essentially do the work for the student and hope that the student picks it up along the way. Tutors have to possess a solid understanding of alternative ways for students to experience that epiphany where their work starts to come together with their understanding.

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How Math Study Habits Lead to Exam Success

Monday, January 5, 2015

Math classrooms around the country echo with cries of "I did so much study, but the questions on the exam were nothing like the homework!" In the corresponding staff rooms, teachers and professors shake their heads, knowing that the questions were just like the homework (if not EXACTLY the same). What is going wrong? 

Most people understand there is a connection between homework and class performance: if you get behind on homework, you expect your grades to drop. However, we may not know what makes good homework. As a student or parent, it is tempting to think that quick homework is good homework - you couldn't be doing math fast if you were no good at it, right? To understand what might not be so good about quick homework, let's think about what happens when you can't do a problem: you go to your notes/book/tutor for a similar example and see how to proceed. This results in you finishing the problem quickly; in fact, you are normally just fine after you have seen the trick to getting started. Does this sound familiar? It should: it's completely logical and a good basis for study. 

BUT... 

The problems start when this is your ONLY form of study, because in an exam, you don't get a nudge. 

It doesn't matter how good you are at completing a procedure, if you don't know where to start. The thought process of analyzing a problem and working out a plan for its solution is at least as important as being able to execute that solution. In fact, it is this very skill that makes mathematics required of so many non-quantitative college programs; the ability to break down an unfamiliar problem and build up a strategy for its solution is vital to many careers. By referring to an outside source, you take a shortcut and borrow somebody else's strategy. This is fine for laying foundations, but eventually, you will need to be able to come up with ideas of your own and formulate a plan of attack. 

How?

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