By targeting easier problems on the ACT, students can slow down and buy some time. (Photo credit: Wong Tong via Flickr)
Many students will be taking the April ACT this Saturday, April 13. For some teenagers, this is a nerve-wracking experience. In fact, at Omniac Education, our team of test-prep tutors often gets asked about test anxiety.
So, how can students overcome their nerves in order to be successful?
A large number of students have the academic ability to perform very well on the ACT, but their performance is sabotaged by crippling anxiety and "blank-out" syndrome.
With that in mind, we've compiled some tips for test-taking day that can help students to relax and boost performance.
1. Slow down, and take your time.
As anyone who has taken our test-prep class knows, our ACT tutors encourage students to use a personalized timing schedule for the ACT. Depending on what ACT score you aim to achieve, it may be in your best interest to focus solely on certain problems (the easy to medium difficulty questions) and simply guess on the harder questions. This will allow you to take more time on those easy questions, resulting in less stress, and a better score. Guessing on the more difficult questions is unlikely to affect your score negatively, providing that you take your time and answer a majority of the easier questions correctly. Omniac Education has developed a great timing schedule for the ACT; call us to find out more! Also, don't forget to bring a watch on test day; there may not have a clock in the testing room, and keeping track of the time is essential!
2. Don't be tired, hungry or uncomfortable.
It may seem obvious, but it's amazing how often students forget some of the basics on test day. If you are combating test anxiety, make doubly sure that your basic needs are met. Make sure that you get a good night's sleep on the night before the test; in fact, make sure that you are rested for the entire week before the test. Bring a snack (piece of fruit, granola bar, sandwich) to eat during the break. Dress in layers, so that if the test environment is too hot or too cold, you can adjust accordingly. Paying attention to the small things can make a big difference to your comfort level while taking the test.
3. Get physical!
It has been shown that by being physically active, you can improve brain function. So how can you do that? You don't necessarily have to get up at 6am on the day of the test and go for a jog (although if you want to...do it!). Just taking 15-20 minutes to briskly walk around the building or do some stretches will help get your brain and body moving.
4. Get mental!
It may sound cliche, but positive thinking is probably the most vital part of overcoming test anxiety. If you believe that you will do badly on the test, then you probably will! Getting around this problem is easier said than done, though. One thing that our tutors tell our students is that it is helpful to remember that you can take the ACT multiple times, in order to get the score you want. In other words: try to think of this test as just another practice test. While you might have the impulse to think of this test as being the key to your entire future, let us clarify: IT ISN'T. You will have another chance..and another...and another.
5. Practice makes perfect.
Another part of getting "mental" is practice. Practice, practice, practice! In our ACT classes, we provide all of our students with the "Real" ACT guide. In that book alone, there are five complete practice tests, and we highly encourage students to do all of them, prior to the actual test. The more you practice, the more comfortable you'll be. If you are short on time and there are some sections with which you struggle (e.g. math or science), then spend more there. Also, don't forget to practice the timing! Use a stopwatch and time yourself in the same way you would on the actual test day.
At Omniac education, we realize that test-taking can be tough and produce a lot of anxiety. However, we encourage all students to use some of the techniques outlined above, take a deep breath, and do their best. Good luck!
Questions about the ACT? Need more ACT tutor tips? Call us at (505) 203 4908 or email email@example.com.
Sarah McPhee is an Omniac Education tutor and former student. (Photo courtesy of Sarah McPhee)
At Omniac Education, we ensure that our students have only the best and brightest tutors in Albuquerque. One of these tutors is Sarah McPhee. Sarah is actually a former Omniac student who went through the ACT tutoring program in Albuquerque. As a result, her high ACT score allowed her to get a Regent's Scholarship at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Sarah then went on to complete tutor training and become an Omniac tutor! We caught up with her to find out about her Omniac experience as both student and tutor, and to find out what advice she has for ACT students:
How did you first find out about Omniac Education?
I wish I had a better answer, but my mom actually found out about Omniac. She had been worrying about my consistent ACT scores, which were not quite where we wanted them, and was looking for a program that would give me the final push into the thirties.
What kind of class did you take with Omniac? Why?
At Omniac, I had one-on-one ACT tutoring with a standard tutor. We choose the one-on-one tutoring because I was in a tricky position; I needed to increase only 1 or 2 points but I was already scoring at a high level. The tutoring gave me specialized help that focused only in the areas needed to improve my overall ACT score.
What were some things that really stood out about your experience as an Omniac student?
I had taken ACT prep before and it had always been dry and slow paced. Omniac made the experience much more interactive and interesting while still maintaining the educational integrity.
What made you decide to become an Omniac tutor?
I decided to become an Omniac tutor because, having gone through the all the standardized tests and the college admissions process, I know how big of a difference a high ACT score can make, for both the schools you can be accepted to and what those schools are willing to offer you. I wanted to be involved with helping other students receive those same benefits.
What has been the most rewarding thing so far about tutoring?
The most rewarding thing that has come from Omniac tutoring has been the looks on students' faces when they learn that with a high ACT score, they can get scholarships and be paid to go to college!
As both a student and teacher, what advice do you have for current students?
Don’t be afraid of the ACT and don’t be afraid to take it more than once. I took the ACT five times! And in the end, it was worth the early Saturday morning frustration. The increase of 2 points made the difference between going to college and getting paid to go!
Are you a student who needs help with those last couple of points on the ACT? Need academic tutoring or college consulting? Our team of tutors and college consultants at Omniac Education in Albuquerque can help. Call us at (505) 750 4813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about tutoring programs in Albuquerque.
Scores on the SAT have steadily declined over the past decade. (Photo credit: derrenyork1968 via Flickr)
In our last post, we wrote about the low Science Reasoning scores on the ACT. Unfortunately, while a large number of sudents have sub-standard ACT scores, the outlook is even worse for the SAT. While ACT scores, low as they were, stayed the same relative to last year, SAT scores actually dropped two points from 2011. Even more shocking, SAT scores dropped six points the year before. That means that in just two years, SAT scores have plummeted by a whopping eight points! And that's not even the worst of it. In fact, since the new SAT format was introduced, in 2005, scores have consistently declined each year.
Omniac tutors have discovered that one reason cited for this steady decline in SAT scores is that a greater number of high school students simply are not learning college and career skills. Because of education reforms, teachers are under pressure to teach to a test, at the expense of actual curriculum and additional critical thinking skills. This means that students go into the test with significant disadvantages.
So what can Omniac students in Albuquerque do to avoid becoming casualties of these falling scores on both the SAT and ACT?
1. Know your test well. Are you taking the ACT, SAT, or both? In general, our tutors here at Omniac Education are big fans of the ACT, however, the college that you wish to attend may prefer the SAT. Do your research, to find the best fit for you. Don't hesitate to contact our expert college consulting team for more information and guidance. Also, be aware that the ACT is more focused on a traditional high school curriculum, while the SAT traditionally measures inherent skill, rather than material. This means that the skills needed for each test are different.
2. Go out of your way to supplement your regular classes. Don't rely on your regular school classes to teach you all the information you need. Some schools offer classes that are designed to prepare students for college, such as advanced placement or honors classes; ensure that you get into these classes. However, if you find yourself struggling academically, don't hesitate to seek help! Our great team of Albuquerque tutors can help you with that challenging calculus class, or guide you in perfecting your essay writing skills.
3. Don't hesitate to retake the test. Didn't get the score you want? Take it again. And again. And again, until you get the score you want. Of course, this is a great reason to start early. Taking the test (whether ACT or SAT) in your junior year is your best bet; this gives you plenty of time to retake the test in the fall of your senior year, and then again in the spring, if necessary. Don't forget that the college application process usually kicks into gear around January or February of your senior year; don't wait too long to get that test score!
As always, don't hesitate to contact the team at Omniac Education for college consulting, academic tutoring, and test prep tutoring for the ACT and SAT. Call us here in Albuquerque at (505) 750 4813 or email email@example.com.
So far in 2012, only 31% of students showed college-readiness on the Science Reasoning section of the ACT. (Photo credit: epSos.de via Flickr)
The results from this year's ACT tests are in...with tragic results. The ACT scores for 2012 are shockingly low, with very few students showing college readiness.
Sad as the results may be, the breakdown of the scores by subject is a little bit surprising. Students scored highest in English, with 67% of all test-takers scoring at a college-ready level. However, the lowest score was in Science Reasoning, with only 31% meeting the benchmark standard for college readiness.
Thirty-one percent! That’s an appallingly low number. However, it’s especially appalling because Science Reasoning is possibly the easiest section on the ACT.
Our expert ACT tutors and academic tutors here at Omniac Education have seen that Albuquerque students get a low score in Science Reasoning not because the science itself is difficult, but because they simply do not know how to take this section in an effective way.
With that in mind, we are pleased to offer two fabulous ACT tutor’s tips for the science section.
ACT Tutor’s Science Reasoning Tips:
1. Don’t read the passage. Go straight to the questions!
That’s right. The makers of the ACT are devious, sneaky and altogether evil. OK, perhaps not quite evil. However, in all honesty, that big, long, confusing passage full of unfamiliar science words and lingo is, for most Science Reasoning questions, simply not necessary. By skipping the passage, you will save lots of time, and avoid the confusion of all those technical terms.
So, again: instead of reading the passage, just go straight to the questions. Read them; answer them. Don’t forget to use any tables or graphs that are referenced in a particular question.
2. Don't be afraid to draw, circle, and underline.
When taking the ACT, students may be wary of marking up their test paper. However, we at Omniac Education in Albuquerque encourage students to write and/or draw on the test as much as possible. This is especially true in the Science Reasoning section. With so much information coming at you, you need to keep things organized. Circling important words in a question and sketching figures are two ways to do this. Another way is to draw arrows on tables and graphs, to show increases or decreases in value. This simple action can help you eliminate wrong answers in a fraction of the time.
By using these awesome ACT tutor’s tips, you can boost your Science Reasoning score on the ACT significantly. With test dates coming up fast in both October and December 2012, it’s not too late to get that great score.
For more information on raising your ACT score, for ACT tutoring, academic tutoring, and college consulting advice, contact the expert team at Omniac Education here in Albuquerque, NM. You can reach us by phone: (505) 750 4318, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Something to smile about: you can save $120,000 or more with NM scholarship options! (Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr)
For Albuquerque students who earn a top score on the ACT, scholarships open up across the country, from balmy UC Berkeley to the ivy-covered halls of Harvard.
However, not everyone wants to go so far away from home. Many bright, high-scoring New Mexico students may prefer to stay within close reach of family, friends, frito pie, and the best green chiles in the world.
If this describes you, it's important to be aware of the different scholarships that are available to you in New Mexico. Our Omniac tutors are not huge fans of the well-known Lottery Scholarship
, but other options exist, such as the New Mexico Scholars Program
. This is a great option for high-scoring Albuquerque students who have limited financial means and wish to benefit from financial aid.
The New Mexico Scholars Program is available to you if you meet the following requirements:
- You are a New Mexico resident.
- You have an ACT score of 25+ OR you graduated in the top 5% of your high-school class.
- You will be enrolling as a full-time undergraduate student at the college of your choice before your 21st birthday.
- Your combined family income is less than $30,000 per year.
While an ACT score of 25 is the baseline for the New Mexico Scholars Program, this scholarship is extremely competitive
. A large amount of state scholarship money is devoured by the Lottery Scholarship
, leaving less for New Mexico Scholars. Therefore, having a score of 25 is no guarantee of getting in. Omniac's ACT tutors recommend an ACT score of 30+ to ensure your spot.
The good news? If you are a student currently scoring in the 25-28 range on the ACT, a score of 30+ is well within your reach. Contact the expert ACT tutors at Omniac for more information and guidance.
The New Mexico Scholars Progam can be used at any public post-secondary institution in the state, as well as at the following private colleges:
- St. John's College (Santa Fe, NM)
- University of the Southwest (Hobbs, NM)
So...you match the eligibility requirements; now what do you get?
The answer is: a lot. The New Mexico Scholars Program is a deal that's hard to beat. Regardless of which college you choose to attend, the program includes:
This means a potential savings of $30,000 or more per year, depending on which college you attend. It's renewable, as long as you continue to meet the requirements (although it can't be used for more than four years). That's a whopping total of $120,000 or more throughout the course of a four-year undergraduate degree!
You can apply for the New Mexico Scholars Program by contacting the finanical aid office at the NM school at which you are applying, and by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The New Mexico Scholars Program is just one more reason to ace the ACT and expand your scholarship options. Omniac Education offers a wide range of ACT classes, private academic tutoring, and college consultancy to maximize your potential. Call our tutoring team here in Albuquerque at (505) 750 4813 for more information!
It's time to hit those books again...or laptops, as the case may be. (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon, via Flickr)
Fall is in the air…Labor Day is around the corner…and this is it. You’re headed back to high school for the last time! If you're a high school senior, you may be experiencing a sense of both excitement and dread as your high school career comes to a close. This year is a time for wonderful experiences and milestones, but should also be a period of hard work and preparation.
Whether you are heading to a university, community college, or into the job market after graduation, there are ways to maximize this year and make it as effective and productive as possible. Here are ten tips for success from the expert high school tutors at Omniac Education in Albuquerque:
- Time management. This year, really make the most of the time you have. Carefully budget your school time (e.g. study halls) and leisure time to really maximize your senior potential.
- Take better notes. You’ve probably been taking notes for years, but this is the time to focus on developing excellent note-taking skills. Be thorough, consistent, and don’t forget to use them as a study aid for tests and quizzes.
- Polish your computer skills. Sure, we all use Facebook and email. But are you equally familiar with office programs like Word, Excel and Powerpoint? These programs are extremely helpful for high school and beyond; make sure that you know them well.
- Use the library. Whether it is your school library or a public library, it’s a good idea to get comfortable with card catalogs, research rooms, and other library tools. Many college professors do not allow students to use online sources exclusively, so this knowledge is invaluable after graduation.
- Be aware of deadlines. Most schools have a very tight schedule in terms of events that are relevant to seniors. Make sure you know the schedule for your homework, tests, college day, career day, college entrance exams (ACT, SAT) and other important events throughout the year.
- Read more. This is a great time to refine your critical reading skills. Both college and the job world require a high level of reading. Choose some challenging reading material at the start of your senior year to get your brain working.
- Watch the mail. Colleges are aware that you are in the process of making some important decisions. You will most likely receive a lot of unsolicited mail from colleges. Don’t just automatically throw it away; open it and see what options are out there!
- Start looking at colleges NOW. Next fall may seem a lifetime away, but most colleges require applications to be submitted in late winter or early spring. Don’t get left behind!
- Submit your FAFSA. Did you know that you can fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? Many students are not aware of the many options that are available for scholarships, grants and other forms of funding. Don’t miss out! Visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ for more information.
In next week’s post, we’ll take a closer look at the many scholarships available for students planning to attend college in New Mexico. Don't miss it!
- Ask for help! If you find yourself struggling with any of the above tips, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for assistance. Your senior year is one of the most important times in your life and it can affect your future in major ways. If you are interested in academic guidance, tutoring, test pretp, college consulting, or have general questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Omniac tutoring team in Albuquerque at: (505) 750 4813.
Contact Omniac for the best tutoring and ACT test prep in Albuquerque! (Photo credit: Meathead Movers via Flickr)
Hey Albuquerque students!
The December 10th ACT represents one of the last times Albuquerque seniors will have to take the test before applications are due. And it's a great time for juniors to begin testing. So, to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to make this test count, we're offering a special deal for our upcoming ACT test prep tutoring class. For this class only, we're offering a $200 discount on our Standard Class (regular price is $599).
Our Standard Class includes:
- 14 hours of classroom tutoring instruction
- 1 hour of 1-on-1 tutoring instruction
- 2 diagnostic exams
- Omniac ACT Manual
- "Real ACT Prep Guide"
The class begins this Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 9am with a diagnostic exam and the first class session is next Tuesday, Novermber 22, 2011 at 6pm. So there's only a week to take advantage of this great deal. Omniac's expert tutor team is waiting to help Albuquerque students get top scores!
Would you like more information about our upcoming Standard Class, academic tutoring, or college consultancy advice? Contact us for more info or to register!
There are no real grades on the ACT, just a look at how you did compared to everyone else. (Photo Credit: MinivanNinja via Flickr)
Hey Albuquerque Students!
We're right in the middle of ACT season: the October 22nd results should be in very soon and December 10th will be here before you know it. And as you start to get your scores back and start to look at where you want to send your scores, the better you understand what the scores are, the better decisions you'll be able to make. There are two main things you should keep in mind when evaluating your scores: What the scores are (and are not) and milestone scores.
1. What the Scores Are (And Are Not)
The first thing you need to really understand is that ACT scores are not objective evaluations on how well you know a particular subject. It's a comparison of how you did amidst a sample group. An old joke goes that if a bear is chasing you and a friend, you don't need to be faster than the bear, just faster than your friend. It's the same way on the ACT. Since the ACT scores on a bell curve, shooting for an arbitrary number of correct answers on the test is actually less important than trying to score better than more people.
The important thing to take away from this is to not freak out if you find that the test is much more difficult than you expected. If a particular section is harder for you, it's probably going to be harder for most other people as well. So, your percentile isn't likely to go down by much. Alternatively, if you're very good at a subject, you could find your percentile going up as other people struggle more than you.
2. Work Towards Milestone Scores
Obviously, the higher your score is, the better. But some scores mean a little more to colleges, so if you're close to those, it's even more important to try to go up.
The first major milestone to hit is 18 or 19. Depending on what your school is, or what section you're on, getting an 18 or a 19 will exempt you from remedial classes. At UNM, for example, it takes a 19 on the English and Math sections to become exempt from those respective remedial classes, and an 18 on Reading.
Next, is a 20, which represents the 50th percentile. Although large, public universities will readily take students who test below the 50th percentile for instate students, since colleges look very poor when their averages are below the 50th percentile, this is a very important number for students applying to out-of-state colleges.
One of the more important milestone scores is a 24, which is the 75th percentile. This score can often grant automatic admission for students applying to larger, public universities, even out of state! In addition, a 24 is often one of the lower scores required to receive merit-based scholarships and out-of-state tuition waivers. Also, some selective, private schools (but certainly not all) will begin evaluating applications with this score.
The 90th percentile, or a 27, is the next important milestone. At this score, some of the larger and most extensive merit-based scholarships (such as Presidential or Regents scholarships) are within reach. In addition, many more selective, privates schools become serious possibilities with this score.
Finally, a 32 (and above) represents the 99th percentile. It's important to note, that, to a college, there is functionally no difference between a 32 and a 36. So, if you get anything in this range...Fantastic! You have the most options open to you.
As application season draws towards a close here in Albuquerque, across New Mexcio, and nationally , it's super important to know how colleges treat ACT scoes. And as you plan your test prep for December, it's equally important to know which scores will get the biggest bang for your buck.
Do you need to know more about ACT scores and how they're used on your college applications? Our expert tutoring, test prep and college consultant team can help. We're the best in Albuquerque! Contact us to schedule a free introductory consult!
Omniac is proud to offer two special offers through Living Social!
Hello, Albuquerque students!
The Test Prep Offers is a comprehensive plan that briefly covers all areas of test prep for either the ACT or SAT, and college admissions. It will have a cost of $50, and will include:
- a Practice ACT or SAT test
- a College Consulting session
- one hour of ACT or SAT tutoring
Our academic tutoring offer differs slightly, in that it will focus on the student's high school curriculum, cost $60, and will include:
- a one-hour high school Strategy Session
- three hours of Academic Tutoring, for any high school class or subject.
The services provided by these offers would normally have a cost of over $250, so this is a fantastic value. However, both of these deals will expire in three days, so time is limited!
If you're ready to take advantage of these great offers, please visit our Living Social page! Or, if you have any questions about the offers or any of our normal programs, please call our expert tutoring, test prep and college consulting team here in Albuquerque at (505) 750-4813!
College admissions can be very confusing when students and parents when they first get started. However, once you get some good information, it's as easy as reading a map. (Photo Credit: miketually via Flickr)
Hey Albuquerque students!
College admissions is getting harder and harder with each passing year. Some of you parents may remember this being a relatively easy thing: just take a test and then fill out an application to one or two schools and that was it. With more students applying to college than ever before, the process has gotten much more competive, and students and parents often find themselves a little overwhelmed by the enormity and complexity of the task. To help parents wade through this labyrinthine process though, here are three things you can do to get a clear picture of admissions (and for free too).
1. Attend an Omniac College Night
Our expert team of tutors and college consultants host several College Nights and Financial Aid Nights at various Albuquerque and Santa Fe high schools each semester. Our College Nights are where we give parents some of the more basic information about colleges: how different schools look at applications, what roles the ACT and SAT play, etc. We also spend a significant amount of time answering questions from the audience. This can be as general or specific as you need and we'll either answer it right then and there, or find the answer later and get back to you. Financial Aid Nights, however, are obviously much more specific about the information we give out, but we'll also spend as much time answering questions as we need. Unfortunately though, while we'd love to host an event at every Albuquerque and Santa Fe school, not every one invites us to do so. So talk to your school to find out if we have any events coming up!
2. Take a practice ACT or SAT
Believe it or not, standardized tests are among the simplest parts of the admissions process. They don't take very long and there are concrete steps to improving on them. And the very first step is to take the test. Not only will giving yourself more experience with the test make you more confortable taking it, taking a practice test will let you know where you're at right now. Having that previous score is very important, and one of two things will happen because of it. Either you'll get a score that you're happy with, and you can go into the real test with more confidence and have an easier time of it. Or you won't get a score that you're happy with, but you will know exactly where your problems are and will have time to fix those before the real thing.
3. Attend an Omniac Introductory Consult
Our College Nights will give out lots of useful, but general, information about college; and taking a practice test will be invaluable to beginning the process of raising your test scores. But it's our Introductory Consults where you and your family will sit down for an hour (for free) with one of our College Consultants to discuss YOUR specific situation. In the consult, we'll go over how colleges look at applications and the admissions process, what the ACT and SAT mean to schools and will then provide an action plan for you to start the process. Our highly-qualified tutors look at any scores and transcripts that you have and will find out as much as we can about your situation so that we can give you a clear idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you can put your best foot forward on your applications.
Obviously, these things are just the beginning of the process and all of the real work of admissions still needs to be done. But a combination of College Nights, practice tests, and Introductory Consults will give you a good map of the admissions process so that you can avoid some of the confusion that besets so many parents.
Ready to get started on the process? Ready for academic tutoring, test prep tutoring, or college consultant guidance? Contact us to schedule a practice test or an Introductory Consult, or to find out more about our College Nights. You can also call our tutor team at (505) 750-4813 to schedule a test or a consult!