Archive for the ‘ACT’ 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:

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:

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:

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: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at:

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:

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: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at:

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: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at

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:  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

Optiminds—Your Source for ACT and SAT Test Preparation

March 26, 2012

How well you do on your ACT and SAT tests can have consequences that will impact your education, career and life experiences. If ACT and SAT tests are in your future, Optiminds can help you take the fear out of these tests that have become rites of passage for today’s high school students. We have extensive experience preparing high school juniors and seniors for college entrance exams, including offering support and coaching for parents as their students utilize our programs. 

With summer not far off, there’s no better time to call Optiminds to arrange for assistance with your ACT and SAT test preparation. We can help you get the grades you deserve in ACT/SAT, High school placement tests, MEAP, ASFAB, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, and GMAT.  We will develop a customized plan that addresses key topics, including: 

  • Test Taking Strategies
  • Math
  • How to find the correct answer
  • Educated Guessing
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing Essays
  • Reviewing Grammar
  • Build Stamina
  • Speed Reading
  • Vocabulary
  • Developing a Manageable Plan for a Targeted Score

Optiminds Tutoring Services has ACT Prep Help featuring an ACT Prep Program with help in ACT Prep Reading, ACT Math Prep, ACT English Prep and ACT Review Classes—for students throughout metro Detroit. 

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the study, reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds brain fitness programs and cognitive skills training by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: And be sure to visit our website at

Optiminds Programs Make Great Gifts

December 20, 2011

When you are making up your Christmas list, why not consider giving an Optiminds program to a friend or loved one? We offer cognitive training programs for all ages—from Math Strategies for kindergarteners to Brain Fitness for seniors.

So if you know someone who needs a little help with test taking, memory improvement, reading or math, we can create a customized Optiminds program to get their year off to a great start. Here are just some of the targeted areas for which we can create a customized Optiminds program:

  • Boomers Brain Fitness
  • Study Skills
  • Test Prep
  • Problem Solving
  • ACT and SAT test help
  • Speed Reading
  • Time Management
  • Critical Thinking
  • Tutoring
  • Home School
  • Initiation
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Improve Cognitive Skills
  • Faster & Easier Information Processing

We’ll identify problem issues and design a variety of tasks that incorporate Mental Exercises, Visualization Techniques and Computerized Drills—plus recommendations on diet and physical exercise. We also develop Life Strategies programs for individuals of all ages.

Give us a call today for more information! Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping people of all ages improve their cognitive and memory skills. Find out more about Optiminds programs by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: And be sure to visit our website at

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