Archive for the ‘ACT test preparation metro Detroit’ Category

Michigan Chooses the SAT Over the ACT

February 9, 2015

The State of Michigan recently announced that the SAT will be replacing the ACT as the State’s high school assessment test beginning in Spring 2016.

While the ACT has been the more popular of the two exams, most colleges and universities accept scores from both exams. The SAT is administered by The College Board and is respected and used around the country.

SATstudent1The SAT is being redesigned to align with the Common Core State Standards newly adopted by the State. Common Core is a set of expectations of what students should know to be college ready. This is one of the reasons for the State’s decision. In addition, the bid from the SAT was $15.4 million less than the ACT’s bid.

Students can get a taste of the new SAT by taking the PSAT beginning in October 2015. Students must take the PSAT if they want to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship. Because the PSAT has been redesigned to align with the new SAT, it will provide a crucial practice for the actual SAT.

Students will be able to take the redesigned SAT for free as part of the state high school exam. The cost to take the PSAT is $14.

A Joint Evaluation Committee consisting of a high school principal, a local school superintendent, a testing and assessment consultant and a vice president at a community college made the recommendation to choose the SAT. The final decision was made by the State Administrative Board made up of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and state superintendent, or their representatives.

If you are looking for help in preparing for the SAT, be sure to give Optiminds a call at at (248) 496-0150. Our proven test prep instruction and skills can help you get the grades you deserve in both the SAT and ACT, as well as other placement tests. Learn more by visiting our website at: optimindsct.com.

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Educated Guessing and the ACT and SAT

November 9, 2014

takingACT1If your child will be taking the ACT or SAT, they will of course want to be as well-prepared as possible to answers as many questions correctly as they can.

But there are always those instances where you don’t know the correct answer for certain. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out an answer, your student needs to know that on both the ACT and the SAT it is more advantageous to make an “educated guess” than to leave a question unanswered.

On the ACT, there is no penalty for wrong answers on the ACT. If you answer a question wrong, it does not subtract from your overall score; you simply don’t get credit for the question.

On the SAT, you lose ¼ of a point of raw score for wrong answers, and earn one full point for each right answer.

Educated, or strategic, guessing means choosing the best possible answer based on all the information available. It’s the best way to find the right answer when you’re really not sure which choice is right.

Here are some tips for educated, or strategic, guessing:

  • To formulate an educated guess, you must have good information. So read test questions carefully.
  • Rule out the obvious bad choices.
  • Pay attention to details. Look for a tip-off within a test question.
  • Look for patterns. Use your experience in similar situations to predict the outcome of another.
  • Consider the simplest, most obvious solution as the best. Don’t overanalyze or consider information that isn’t relevant to the matter.
  • Use common knowledge and what you know. Practical wisdom goes a long way in making an educated guess.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Optiminds Offers ACT Test Timer Watches

October 9, 2014

TestTimerWhen it comes to taking the ACTs, your student can use all the help he or she can get.

Optiminds has been helping students prepare for ACTs and SATs, and now we are offering a product that helps test takers manage one of the most difficult and stressful issues about taking these tests—the timing.

The ACT Pacing Watch by Testing Timers is a digital watch and timer with preset times and specific markers for the English, math, reading, science, and writing test sections of the ACT college admissions and placement test.

The timer displays both total time used and total time remaining for each specific section, and has blinking markers that move around the periphery of the timer face to provide a graphical representation of where the student should be in that section.

All you have to do is pick a section and start the timer. The watch shows the total time for each section, and a countdown with the time remaining. There is a readout that shows how far along in the test you are with a small blinking light so you can tell if you are behind or ahead.

Students can use the watch to practice for their ACTs and SATs as well as when they are taking the actual tests.
The ACT Pacing Watch complies with ACT and the College Board (the company that distributes the SATs) test room requirements for noise-free and vibration-free watches and timers, with no computing functionality.

Get your ACT timer and watch to help your student prepare for the ACT test. Call the Optiminds office at (248) 496-0150 for more information.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Study Tips for Teens

May 23, 2014

teenstudy1It won’t be long before the school year wraps up for the year—but only after those final exams. Adopting some good study habits can help you perform better on tests and relieve some of the anxiety of taking exams as well.

Don’t wait for a looming exam to get into the studying groove. Get a head start by learning to take good notes all during the school year. Note-taking is a way of remembering what you were taught or what you’ve read about.

Write down key facts that your teacher mentions in class or writes on the board during class. Organize notes by subject and make sure they are easy to read and review. You may want to recopy some of your notes while they are still fresh in your mind. Research has shown that the act of holding a pen and creating shapes on paper (writing down your notes) sends feedback signals to the brain, leaving a “motor memory” which makes it easier to later recall the information. Typing or digitally recording does not have the same cognitive effect.

Not all exams are created equal, so don’t feel the need to divide your studying equally between different subjects. Assess each exam in terms of difficulty and your own level of knowledge, and spend more time on the sections that you know will be more challenging for you.

If you start to lose your motivation while studying, try moving to the kitchen table or going to the library. This can help you get your focus back and potentially improve your memory of the material. Meditation has also been shown to boost focus and improve test scores. Try sitting quietly and focusing on breathing for five minutes twice a day to improve mental clarity.

Most of us can concentrate well for about 45 minutes. So break your study time into 45-minute chunks and take a 15-minute break. Studies have found that taking a 10-minute walking break can help improve your focus for up to two hours afterwards.

Snack on studying-friendly foods like dark leafy greens, whole grains, peanut butter, milk and seafood. Get your energy boost by eating a banana or an apple rather than consuming caffeine or energy drinks. And drink plenty of water because even mild dehydration can impair cognitive functioning and mental performance.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Get ACT Test Preparation at Optiminds

January 16, 2014

ACTtest1The ACT is a national college admissions examination that is used as a college admissions and placement test and measures the skills and knowledge needed for first-year college success. Additionally, the ACT includes a career exploration component that stimulates students’ thinking about future plans and relates personal characteristics to career options.

What is the difference between the ACT and SAT?

The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities. (See our January 9, 2014 post.) The ACT has up to 5 components—English, Mathematics, Reading, Science and an optional Writing Test. (You take the ACT Writing Test only if required by the college(s) you’re applying to.) The SAT has 3 components—Critical Reasoning, Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.

The SAT has a correction for guessing. That is, they take off for wrong answers. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.

The ACT has an Interest Inventory that allows students to evaluate their interests in various career options.

Upcoming ACT testing dates for 2014 are: February 8, April 12 and June 14. Optiminds’ ACT Testing Help and ACT Prep Classes are forming now.  Call our office at (248) 496-0150 for more information.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by visiting our website at: optimindsct.com.

Give the Gift of an Optiminds Program

December 9, 2013

Optimindsnotag3With the holidays just around the corner, most of us are wracking our brains to come up with gift ideas for our loved ones. Speaking of brains, you might want to consider gifting your child, spouse or parent with some brain training sessions at Optiminds.

Optiminds is a professional brain training and tutoring service headed by Jane Stewart, PhD. A brain development expert, Dr. Stewart has spent over 40 years helping people of all ages improve their cognitive and learning skills as a means to achieving their goals and success in life.

Optiminds offers something for everyone on your list—adolescents and teens, college students, adults and senior citizens. We will customize a course for sharpening specific cognitive skills, from memory and math and reading improvement to ACT and SAT test preparation. You’ll find brain fitness classes for baby boomers, programs geared to helping students qualify for college scholarships, and even a Cognitive Summer Camp. We also offer  life strategy programs, programs to facilitate home schooling and parent coaching, not to mention ADHD assessment and tutoring and working with Alzheimer’s patients.

Optiminds classes are held at our facility at 29688 Telegraph Rd. in Southfield. For more information on how we can customize a program for that special someone on your gift list, call us at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Stewart at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Optiminds Offers Coaching to Prepare for College Athletic Scholarship Programs

April 5, 2013

NCAA1If you are a high school athlete and you think you are good enough for a college scholarship offer, your grades will just as important as your athletic abilities. College coaches want to recruit well-rounded athletes who excel on and off the playing field.

If you want to play in a NCAA Division I or II school, you must have a 2.0 GPA (or better) in your core courses. The higher your GPA, the better. College coaches want to recruit athletes who will be successful in the college classroom.

Your scores on the standardized tests (SAT and/or ACT) are also important. Standardized test scores, taken in conjunction with your high school grades, are used to predict your academic success in college.

Optiminds coaching sessions can help you ensure that your grades are in top shape. One of our main areas of focus is on helping students qualify for college scholarships, and that includes NCAA scholarships. Our programs are designed to follow NCAA eligibility rules and NCAA Clearinghouse guidelines.

Here are some suggestions if an NCAA scholarship is on your agenda:

  • Consider taking one or more advanced placement courses if you high school offers them. This shows your dedication to taking a challenging high school curriculum.
  • Doing volunteer work and participating in extracurricular activities other than your sport shows that you’re responsible enough to handle the pressures of school and your sport, while still taking part in other activities.
  • Consider taking the SAT in your sophomore year. This gives you time to see which areas you need to improve on so you can get a good score later. Without good grades, some schools will not even consider you for an athletic scholarship.

You can access and print your high school’s List of NCAA Courses at: www.eligibilitycenter.org.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Prepare for SAT and ACT Testing in 2013

January 15, 2013

If you are a high school student, there are six letters that are probably on your mind at any given time—SAT and ACT. These standardized tests are an important piece of the puzzle, along with high school grades and other factors, in helping colleges decide which applicants will do well if they are admitted. Many colleges use test scores to award “merit aid” scholarships, which is financial aid not based on need.

The ACT and SAT are different tests that measure similar but distinct constructs. The ACT Test is a curriculum- and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students’ academic readiness for college. Test scores reflect what students have learned throughout high school and provide colleges and universities with excellent information for recruiting, advising, placement, and retention.

The SAT and accompanying SAT Subject Tests are a suite of tools designed to assess your academic readiness for college. The SAT was designed as an aptitude test—it tests your reasoning and verbal abilities, not what you’ve learned in school. It lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge. Many colleges use the SAT Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection.

With competition to get into a good college so great today, many families turn to tutors to help boost grades and SAT and ACT scores. If your teen is preparing to take the SAT or ACT this year, Optiminds can help them prepare, identify types of problems they will encounter, and equip them with essential test-taking skills.

When it comes to tutoring services in metro Detroit, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

When to Consider Tutoring for Your Child

November 25, 2012

With the school year getting underway, many parents are looking for ways to help their children gain an academic edge whenever possible. Not long ago, needing a tutor was viewed as a sign that a child couldn’t keep up with his peers. Today, tutoring is an accepted—even expected—part of middle and high school education. Parents are often surprised to learn how common tutoring is, not only for children who are behind academically or have a learning disability but also for those who are bringing home good report cards.

Some points to consider if you are trying to determine if tutoring is right for your child:

Kids who are gifted are prime candidates for tutors because they are often not challenged enough in the classroom. A tutor can create a customized program that is both challenging and stimulating to help renew your child’s enthusiasm for learning if it has fallen by the wayside.

With states requiring testing of students every year in reading and math from grades three to eight, many parents are using tutors to improve their child’s performance. Often the scores from these exams are used to determine whether a child gains admission to a selective public middle or high school or whether a child is put on a vocational or academic track at school.

There is a higher expectation today to know more at earlier ages. Because standardized tests are so important, schools start prepping kids for them sooner. As a result, many middle school children are doing what once was considered high school work, while many high schoolers are taking college-level courses. Tutoring can help students keep up with things and meet the challenge of these higher expectations.

Tutoring can help fill in the gaps in classroom curriculum. Some states no longer emphasize spelling or grammar since that knowledge is not required for state tests. As a result, middle school children may know the definition of SAT vocabulary words such as “perambulate” and “quiescent,” but they don’t know how to spell such basic words as “independence” or when to use commas or semicolons. Parents turn to tutors to help their kids bone up on these fundamentals.

With competition to get into a good college so great today,  many families turn to tutors to help boost grades and SAT scores. If your teen is preparing to take the SAT this year, a tutor can help them prepare for the exam, identify types of problems they will encounter, and equip them with essential test-taking skills. Often, scholarships are directly linked to a student’s SAT scores. So it makes sense to invest ahead of time in tutoring so your child does better on the SAT and has a better chance at qualifying for a scholarship.

When it comes to tutoring services in metro Detroit, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

Make Optiminds Your Personal Tutor

May 12, 2012

Are you or your child struggling at school? Maybe all you need is a little tutoring from Optiminds.

Optiminds is a professional tutoring service that has been helping students of all ages improve their academic skills. We serve the metro Detroit area, including Southfield, Bloomfield Township, Royal Oak, Oak Park, and Farmington Hills.

It’s a fact that most schools today are not equipped to handle the individual demands of every student. Optiminds’ success is based on an approach comprised of customized, individualized exercises designed to stimulate targeted areas of the brain.

We tutor in math, writing, reading and speed reading. Our programs focus on everything from problem-solving, critical thinking and time management to study skills and test preparation. This includes ACT Prep, ACT Math Prep and ACT Reading Prep.

“This program has given me the tools to manage school, work and homework with less stress and more organization,” says Sally, a high school student who completed an Optiminds tutoring program.

If you are looking for experienced tutors in metro Detroit, give us a call today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.  Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping people of all ages improve their cognitive, memory and learning skills. To learn more, be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.


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