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SAT / ACT: Use the fix and find strategy on the writing section

The Language sections of the SAT and ACT can be problematic for students, particularly if their knowledge of grammar and grammar constructs is sub par.   The basic technique that mAke the grAde teaches is called “Fix and Find”.   With Fix and Find, the student would look at the question and try to ‘fix’ it themselves and then ‘find’ the answer from the answer list.

Here is a typical example from an SAT exam… The goal is to correct, if needed, the underlined section within the context of the larger paragraph.

from the text:

Yogurt manufacturers, food scientists; and government officials are also working together to develop additional solutions for reusing whey.

B) scientists: and
C) scientists, and
D) scientists, and,

This question is testing the students knowledge of semi-colons, coloons, and commas,  and their usage.  The student has the advantage of having the correct answer listed (see the recent post on Process of Elimination) so they can scan the potential answers to see if any are clearly incorrect, and / or, one appears to be correct.  The student then ‘fixes’ the sentence in their mind and ‘finds’ the correct answer from the list.

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The year 2020 has propelled all of us into unprecedented times. Each aspect of our lives has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, from our core choices of careers to the daily struggles of shopping at our favorite stores. There is no more vital area that has been impacted than the education of our children. This is where virtual learning and homeschooling comes into play.

Earlier this year, our entire nation was suddenly thrust into teaching our children at home. The balance of jobs and educational demands was juggled, as families and schools scrambled to adjust. For instance, many families were operating in survival mode, which is entirely understandable and acceptable in the short term. However, now is the time to move from emergency responses to that of choice, direction and empowerment.

You can thrive in either a distance learning or a homeschool environment. Your family can grow in purpose and vision as you become intricately involved in the educational journey together. Achieve maximum education for your children with these practical methods of success.

Help your child reach maximum potential through the offerings of mAke the grAde while doing virtual learning and homeschooling. Contact Dr. Greene for an individualized learning plan today. Allow him to partner with you to thrive in all of your educational endeavors.

Adopt a Positive Mindset

The reasons to be stressed about educational choices are obvious. We have never been less capable of predicting what the next year will bring, yet every challenge brings tremendous opportunity. This situation allows you and your children to embark on a quest for learning together. Your children will see you model what being a life-long learner involves. You will research, learn, assess and adjust along the way. In addition, make an intentional choice to choose joy in this journey of virtual learning and homeschooling.

Limit Exposure to the News

Part of adopting a positive mindset is taking mastery over the programming that you allow into your home. It is important to stay well-informed, but it is not wise for the latest headlines to invade your home’s sense of peace and safety. Consider your children’s ages and sensitivities to current events in making decisions about exposure to news sources.

The parents should filter information first and then give just the amount of exposure that encourages positive mental health and communication. It is okay to turn everything off and focus on your own family.

Instead of allowing the news’s negative nature to take away your family’s joy, redirect your thoughts to how you can positively impact the world around you. Do yard work for an elderly neighbor, record stories for younger siblings or family members and write notes of appreciation to grandparents, veterans and others in isolation. Take positive action to relieve the angst of the current unrest around you.

Keep Lines of Communication Open

Talk and listen to your children. Find out their fears and misgivings and share your own. Your children may be facing feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety and fear, but may feel reluctant to tell you. Encourage your child by providing a safe environment to express these feelings without quickly dismissing or redirecting them. Think of ways to manage and monitor challenges as a family. Take advantage of this virtual learning and homeschooling to foster open communication.

Develop a Schedule

Though a schedule does not have to be rigid, it does provide a framework to build for success. You now have the advantage of making a plan that maximizes your child’s sleep patterns and learning styles. People thrive through predictability and structure, so try to aim for having the same beginning and ending times each day.

Develop both an individual schedule for each family member and a centralized master schedule that shows important meetings, activities and objectives. This strategy will encourage the mindset of the family as a team working together for common goals. Be sure to include your important meetings, project deadlines and other items. Your children will see the need for being quiet and self-directed at points throughout the day.

Take advantage of color-coding and symbols that will allow your family members to identify and utilize the calendars in executing their days quickly. For individual schedules, you may color-code by subject or due date. For your master calendar, you might select a color representing each individual that best matches their personality or interest. Make all of your family’s schedules practical and easy to adjust and reuse.

Create a Designated Work Space

Set up a quiet space with few distractions. Make the area enjoyable by decorating with inviting colors and inspiring pictures, quotes and items that encourage your children to achieve their particular goals. The reduction of clutter in the workspace will increase focus on the tasks at hand.

Find out from your children what is most distracting to each individual and plan accordingly. One child needs absolute quiet, while another requires the “white noise” of a sound machine or instrumental music to function in the best way possible. To one child, a pet takes away focus from the study, yet for another child, the pet might bring comfort and a center for their attention. Take advantage of this opportunity to individualize your children’s working space to their strengths. Seek feedback and plan accordingly.

Feed Your Bodies before Feeding Your Minds

Proper nutrition is a must. Eating a good breakfast provides the fuel necessary for prime academic performance. Memory and attention are especially connected to proper nutrition.

Research healthy recipes together for high-protein, flavorful foods. Make this a positive, interactive part of the day that encourages communication and togetherness before turning the focus to the day’s demands.

Seek Proper Rest

To meet the demands of this uncertain time, you need ample rest. The benefits of proper sleep are remarkable. It increases immunity and restores energy for worn muscles and minds. Additionally, it sharpens focus and creativity and healing of body and mind. Limit late-night television and video games, encouraging everyone to charge their devices and turn off their electronics one to two hours before going to bed. Work out a schedule that may include earlier bedtimes and waking times for younger children and later scheduling for older family members. This strategy allows for staggered use of materials and equipment and time for personalized instruction.

Encourage your children to see the advantages of proper sleep and get their input on the amount of sleep that works best. Demonstrate your belief in an adequate rest by also getting the sleep that you need. This practice will allow you to prepare your family’s minds for the relentless demands of virtual learning and homeschooling.

Charge Your Devices While Charging Yourselves

A part of preparation is having all of your devices cleared, wiped down and prepped for the next day. Pull up the websites and bookmarks that you need beforehand to allow you to plunge into the tasks. Set up a charging station to charge your devices while refueling your mind with restorative sleep. Just the act of plugging in allows everyone to break away from their devices and “unplug” as a way to distress at the end of a long, productive day.

Inspire Self-Directed Learning

Take advantage of this opportunity to show your children that no one knows everything. Remind them that the future of their education does not rely on a pre-packaged program or particular teacher or expert. The responsibility for their success will increasingly fall in their own hands.

Select a topic about which the entire family has great curiosity but little knowledge. This choice might be in a practical area, such as a home repair, creative update or physical activity. Then, research together on methods, materials and strategies. Watch demonstrations, find capable instructors and learn and evaluate together. Actively experiment with the new endeavor, finding what works well and what does not. In every step along the way, you are modeling how to pursue meaningful education, self-monitor success, evaluate and make adjustments. The investment will pay out both short-term and long-term advantages.

Use the experience to springboard into practical methods for instruction. Encourage your children to take charge of their learning by forming questions, planning and anticipating what to expect from lessons. In this way, your children will see education as an endeavor to embrace instead of an experience to endure.

How Can We Help with Virtual Learning

By applying these winning strategies to your home-learning experience, you will set up your family for a memorable, enjoyable adventure. Don’t feel that you have to make this journey alone. Look to the experts around you for support, guidance and inspiration. We at “mAke the grAde” educational services stand ready to help you develop a flexible, winning system that maximizes education for your family.

Dr. Steven Greene, “The Success Doctor,” founded this academic services company in 1997 upon the philosophy that every student deserves individual attention.

Dr. Greene understands the climate of the current times and that each situation is unique. The structure of mAke the grAde gives much-needed flexibility, including one-to-one tutoring sessions, small group classes, online-based courses, educational podcasts and endless support through an online success community. Academic tutoring for all levels of math and branches of science is available, as well as preparation for SAT, PSAT and ACTs.

Help your child reach maximum potential through the offerings of mAke the grAde while doing virtual learning and homeschooling. Contact Dr. Greene for an individualized learning plan today. Allow him to partner with you to thrive in all of your educational endeavors.

What type of parent (or person?) are you? 

Parenting is a tough job.  No question about it.  It’s always been difficult but it’s been particularly challenging in the last four months  With the necessity for parents to simultaneously provide childcare, oversee education academics, and work from home.  This is very stressful not only for the parents but also for the children and the household overall.

Personal story here? I know how you feel because… 

Case study? A recent student…


How parents plan, or react, or ignore, the circumstances have an enormous impact on their household and on their children.    It’s very important that our children have leadership and structure so that they can maximize their education despite the stresses of the outside world.  Of course, this period of time is stressful for everyone, particularly, perhaps, children but also parents as well and everyone will cope differently with the stresses.

Having spoken to hundreds of parents since the outbreak in March I have determined that there are essentially are 3 types of parent – and for hat matter people –  in the world:

  1. Proactive People
  2. Reactive People
  3. Inactive People

So, which type are you?

How does your style of parenting impact your child’s academics?

Let’s take a quick look at each type of style and how they deal with the academic day.

Proactive parents / people 

Proactive parents plan ahead. They anticipate what’s going to come up in the future and they have a prior system in place to deal with it. In terms of parenting and academics these are the sort of people who arrange for tutoring and other types of support before their children might actually need it because they want to avoid any sort of issue. They never let a small problem become a medium or large problem.   These types of parents generally have lower stress because they do not allow circumstances to reach a point that would become stressful.   These are the type of parents who have their five structures of success in place and utilize the three tenants of Maximum Education.   They expect their children to be successful because their children are in a situation that leads to success.

Reactive parents / people

Reactive parents deal with things as they happen. They wait until there is an issue but they do act quickly once the issue arises. Academically speaking these are the sort of people who will call a tutor the first day after their student comes home with a subpar grade on a quiz or test.  Sometimes reactive people have a system in place where they have a support mechanism that has worked for them that they have used in the past and sometimes they don’t, so their stress level is going to vary depending on how quickly they can solve the problems in the moment.  Reactive parents probably have some aspects of the structures and systems in place, but often do not use them consistently.   They tend to be tolerant of imperfections and the inevitable ups and downs of the  academic cycles.

Inactive parents / people 

Inactive parents basically do not react or are not proactive in any situation. In the academic realm they take a laissez-faire attitude and they more or less allow the situation to dictate what is happening to themselves and to their children. This does not mean they don’t care about the children, but their expectation is that things will work themselves out, and that everything eventually will figure itself out.   Inactive parents  are not necessarily bad parents, and this is not intended as any indictment of their parenting skills,  however they tend to leave too many things to chance, and are often  unable to provide the structures and the needed skills and tools for their children to maximize their success.

So ask yourself, which type of parent am I? 

Or, which type of parent do I want to be?

Managing all of the information that you need to absorb as a student can be a delicate balance. It can become difficult at times to find enough time to study properly, manage your time, prepare for exams and organize all of your information. The following is how to manage information by doing the big job in small steps.

Set Your Schedule

It can become overbearing to deal with all of your responsibilities if you don’t create an organized schedule and stick to it. Rather than waiting until the day before an exam to study a large amount of material, set times during the prior week to chunk out your study sessions. This will allow you to absorb the information easier, and relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with studying for an important exam. Spending an hour out of each day to study is much more manageable than studying for several hours in one day.

Center Your Focus

Having assignments due for multiple classes at once is a tough reality, but you will need to complete all of the work on time in order to maintain your grades. Avoid multitasking on material from different classes all at once. Try to knock out the assignments for one class at a time, this will make it easier for you to stay concentrated on that subject.

Ask About the Details

The job of your professor is to explain the material in a way that you can understand, so don’t be discouraged about asking for more information. Even the smallest details on a study guide or assignment can have significant meaning, so ask for clarification on anything that you find confusing. Knowing as many details as possible about the work that you need to do will increase your ability to knock out large projects.

Contact Make The Grade

If you’re a student that is currently struggling with classwork and managing their schedule, contact Make the Grade. Our high-quality tutoring and consulting services are available at an affordable rate. Our tutoring sessions are able to be conducted directly in our office, or virtually through an online classroom. We can teach you valuable skills that will help you improve your grades and your overall life as a student. Give us a call at (215)-540-8378 or visit our website at to get in touch with us and learn more about our services.

High school is an important time in a young person’s life. It’s the period when they really begin to develop, both physically and emotionally, into the kinds of people they will be. Therefore, it is vital that you help give your child the best homeschooling experience possible. Here are some ways to know if virtual learning is right for your high schooler, and some of the best online resources for them to use.

Should I Homeschool my High Schooler?

There are a lot of myths about homeschooled kids that cloud people’s judgment on the subject. Some people believe that homeschooling makes kids socially stunted, shy and distant from reality. These myths are completely untrue, but that doesn’t mean that homeschooling is right for everyone. If your child is independent, highly organized, disciplined, and works best by themselves, homeschooling can be a highly enriching experience. Some kids thrive under the structure of public or private school and some kids are more productive by working on their own schedule. Either way is fine, just make sure to assess your child’s personality and temperament before you make a decision.

What Online High School Should I Choose?

There are thousands of accredited, online high schools in the United States, and many more throughout the world. No virtual learning program is a one size fits all school, and you should thoroughly research several of them before you make a decision. This can be a long process, so to help you out, here are some factors to consider before you start looking.

First, look at the range of courses they offer. Then, research how flexible their courses are for achieving a diploma. Also, consider the academic support offered by faculty members, the technology they use, testimonies from graduates and tuition rates. Do this research alongside your son or daughter and listen to the sort of features they value in an online high school before deciding. It’s a lot of work, but it’s for your child’s education.

There’s no one way to homeschool your child. The nature of homeschooling is that the child’s schedule, methods, study habits and recreational time is mostly theirs to decide. However, that doesn’t mean that the quality of education a homeschooled child receives will always be the same. If you are interested in homeschooling your child, do the necessary research so that you’ll know they are getting the most out of their virtual learning.

Schools have been closed all around the country for months, and parents and students are all starting to feel the pressure. Because of COVID-19, we have had to face an obstacle in our children’s education greater than we’ve ever experienced. While virtual learning is helping kids stay on track, exercising their critical thinking skills and imaginations. A lot of students are struggling to adjust to this new method of learning. Many parents are having trouble trying to help their kids along. If you are wondering what you can do to encourage your children to keep up with their education, here are some strategies for helping kids stay focused, and also getting them back up to date if they fall behind.

 Keeping Your Kid on Schedule With Their Schoolwork

 Typically, when some extenuating circumstance has forced local schools to close, most people go into a ‘snow day’ mentality, where students, parents and teachers treat it as if it were just a regular day off from school. For many families, the first week of quarantine was thought of as an extended snow day, however, by the time they became fully aware of the severity of the situation, their children have come to believe that they were on vacation. This mentality is hard to reverse once it has been established, but it can be done. Here is how.

Negotiate a Schedule

 First, try to work out a schedule with your kids. Let them have an active role in deciding what hours of the day they will be working to give them a greater feeling of control and more respect for the schedule once it’s been created. Figure out together when they will wake up, go to sleep, work, break for snack, and relax. Then, once you have a schedule worked out, make sure you stick to it so they don’t fall out of habit.

 Keep Them Social

 Next, kids work best in social environments. Being with friends helps encourage them to focus, stay on task, and keep up with the curriculum. Therefore, try to encourage them to get in touch with their pals over the internet to work on assignments and have study groups. Frequent phone calls and video chats with friends will help them feel less alone and more energized.

 Make Time For Leisure

 Because most kids have always known their homes as the place where they can unwind, having to complete all of their schoolwork at home will likely feel odd to them. Therefore, let them have enough fun so that they don’t feel like they are imprisoned in their own homes.  You shouldn’t put education on the backburner. Allow them plenty of time for snacks, exercise, playtime, electronics and TV. Though, as stated above, make sure leisure activities are only done during their scheduled break periods so that work and play don’t interfere with each other.

 How to Help Them Rebound if They Fall Behind

 Knowing that you are numerous assignments behind in your schoolwork is a stressful situation to be in. A lot of people associate this feeling with college students, however, even elementary school kids can get worried about becoming overwhelmed with assignments. If you notice your children panicking about their schoolwork, or you hear from their teacher(s) that they’re falling behind, here is what you should do.

 Reduce Their Anxiety

 Anyone who has a lot of unfinished tasks piling up is likely to experience a sense of guilt and inadequacy (whether they are responsible for it or not). This guilt often makes them prone to ignoring their duties even more, creating a terrible downwards spiral. And kids are no different. So, if you and your child have come to the conclusion that they are significantly behind where they need to be, the first step is to stay calm and look at the bigger picture. This will help them realize that their workload is a simple series of doable assignments and not a ferocious monster looming over them.

 Contact Their Teachers

Next, try and get in touch with your child’s teacher(s) to let them know that your child is struggling with their work. For a lesson in pro-activity, maybe suggest to your child that they be the one to get in touch with their teacher(s). Either way, see if their teacher(s) can offer an extension on due dates, one-on-one lessons, clarifications on the curriculum, or any additional resources that might be useful. The vast majority of teachers are eager to assist and will try to do whatever they can to help their students succeed.

 Get Them Organized

 Finally, start the process of getting them reorganized. This means going through all of the assignments they still have to do, dividing them by subject, due date, and level of difficulty. Then, help them set a battle plan for getting back on track by setting aside a certain amount of time for each project until they are all caught up. There may be a little extra work for a couple of days, but they’ll know it was worth it when they are able to breathe easy knowing they have their schoolwork under control.

It’s chaotic these days. Nearly everyone is having to change the way they do things to make sure their responsibilities are met, and that goes for kids and teens too. Being educated exclusively from home is something that many children and parents are not used to, and the adjustment can be rough. However, with the right strategy and a little cooperation between kids and their parents, there shouldn’t be any problems too big to handle.