We understand that selecting the right professional to aid you or your child, when it comes to education, is an important task. The team at Shane Beatty Academic Mentoring will do everything in the process to make sure all questions you may have before and during the process will be answered. Below are just a few of the common questions that we have been asked. If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to ask!
Learning to ride a bike is a good analogy for learning to take standardized tests. There are not many manuals on how to ride a bike. Balance, steering with handlebars, and pedaling in a coordinated manner are primarily learned through experience. Learning a new coordination of thinking and behaving on an SAT or ACT is similar. Both require experience and practice to find balance.
For standardized tests, there is also curriculum to consider, and the process can be far more complex than learning to ride a bike. Student efforts in English and math at school do not always translate well to these tests, but when dialogue is mixed with practice on standardized test problems, a new thinking and behavior can be shaped while a student performs and finds his or her way to mastery (akin to one holding onto the back of a bike seat until another starts to ride on his or her own).
Two important issues present themselves in critical reading: comprehending the passage and understanding the semantics and psychology of the answer choices. Timed reading is often subject to passive reading that lowers critical comprehension. A student may read and “hear” the words, but does not cement the ideas in his or her working memory. A student should recognize reading and comprehension as two separate, coordinating acts. Answer choices are often written with semantics that make wrong answers sound good and right answers sound poor. For instance, a passage may write about “fish in a river” and then call them “natural resources” in an answer choice. Furthermore, psychology is used to extend answers beyond the passage’s meaning. For instance, a passage may write about research on great white sharks and an answer choice may state that a researcher was afraid (with the intent for a test taker to project his or her own perspective onto the passage’s). The important point is to understand that standardized testing is not necessarily correlated to reading ability.
While there can be many reasons, the most important factor to understand is that the requirements in class and the test are entirely different. Classroom math is typically taught by examples and repetition in homework, then a test is given that is highly representative: verbatim directions and problems. While math on standardized tests certainly repeat curriculum and problem types, they disguise each problem differently, so there is a real need to actively determine what to do, something that hardly happens to the prepared student in the classroom. Further complicating the matter is that the “directions” are not directions at all: the math problems on the SAT and ACT never direct a student as to what to do to solve a problem.
The upside of two potential tests is that the choice increases the number of venues to score higher. The downside is that extending preparation to both tests can dilute the efforts in each. However, many of the skill sets, in terms of how to think and behave, can transfer from one test to the other. One considerate approach is to take a practice test (or an abridged test) of both an SAT and an ACT and determine how a student scored, what strengths and issues in thinking became apparent, and what kind of comfort level did a student feel. Attention should also be given to not just how a student scored, but what will be required to get a better score. Further considerations can simply be logistical: schedules, available time and effort level, and other stresses of life. Periodically revisiting a test that may have seemed the lesser of the two may provide surprisingly beneficial results at some later point. In short, there is no clear answer as each individual thinks, learns and reacts differently to changing in order to become more aligned with each tests’ expectations.
The basic difference between the workings of the SAT and ACT is that the SAT presents itself with questions that are more concerned with critical thinking skills. The SAT is far more aligned to test reasoning ability than curriculum. For example, there are more complex math questions using basic curriculum than simpler questions with higher curriculum. The SAT’s reading passages require “extended” reasoning (meaning one has to read inferences and interpret the passage rather than recall concrete details and recognize plot). On the other hand, the ACT is a more content-based test, and more straightforward, but there is a need to move at a faster pace than the SAT, faster than most students feel comfortable going.
The strength of empathy and insight for the way people think and behave during intellectual tasks. Carefully observing thought processes, actions, omissions, insights, and assumptions has been my focal point for twenty years. The considerate analysis of others’ efforts has offered me deep insight into universal patterns of how we think and behave. Right and wrong answers are subordinate to the thought processes, feelings, and behaviors that lead to them. So when a wrong or right answer is bubbled in, my first reaction is not to correct or praise, but to understand what went into choosing that answer and how can, or should, that process be reinforced, changed, or developed in order to become more robust and aligned with the task at hand.
An optional, free initial consultation is available to discuss the parameters of working together.
The current rate for new students is $195 per one hour session. All materials, extra use of space, and additional consultation is inclusive. In the event that a session is over or under an hour, the time billed is prorated and rounded upward in 15 minute increments.
A billing and cancellation policy will be sent to clientele upon confirmation of the first appointment.
Time spent editing essays is recorded and monitored on a shared Google document and applied to the same hourly rate as above.
School year sessions are available from 10am to 10pm Monday through Thursday and until 5pm on Friday. Saturdays may be requested at a fee of $30 per hour additional to the normal hourly rate (Saturdays may require being put on a waitlist due to demand).
Our office provides several rooms for private study sessions free of charge to clientele. Students can take advantage of rooms to complete standardized test assignments as well as other academic work.