The Education Station Blog

ES banner@2x

We would like to share this collection of tips, tricks and advice from the Education Station team of experts, ranging from college admissions counselors, empowerment coaches, social emotional wellness experts, career counselors and master tutors and teachers. Learn from the stories, advice and perspectives of those who have dedicated their careers to education. We would love to hear from you about topics that are of interest!

May 2, 2019

HOW TO STUDY FOR AP MATH? 

By Sims Yun, Founder & Director of Academic Services and Tutoring

Sometime between my AP Calculus class and my AP Calculus test, I had a panic attack. I knew I hadn't actually learned anything from that class--truthfully, I had been coasting all year. I definitely wasn't interested in finding "best practices" in studying in high school (whatever that means), but I still managed to pass the test with a 4, relying on some cramming techniques I had perfected since middle school. Not bad for having slept through almost every class. If I could go back and coach myself knowing what I know now, though, here is how I would have handled it.

Preparing to study...

Winter is coming. Yes, studying requires preparation. Make sure you have water, pencils, erasers, a calculator (if applicable), and an old-fashioned timer. You will want to be in a quiet space, without your phone or with your phone turned off. Keep a copy of the official formula sheet with you--this will help you figure out which formulas, if any, you still need to memorize and which ones you can just look up during the test.

Practice Time!

The Pomodoro Technique: Set your timer to 25 minutes. Once those 25 minutes are up, you can take a 5 minute break. Rinse. Repeat.

Do a TON of high quality practice problems. You can find copies of past Free Response Questions here: https://www. collegeboard.org. Make sure that you are reviewing your mistakes, and not just looking through the solutions. There are four basic checkpoints you want to cover on these tests:

1. Vocabulary: What is a standard deviation? Are you remembering those weird Greek symbols and what they stand for?
2. Concepts: Would you know how to find the integral of a function if given a graph?
3. Formulas: Memorize these or know where they are on the reference sheet.
4. Calculator: this is your bff on the test.

Resting (yes... I said REST)

I know everyone tells you to relax before the test. Before you do, make sure that you are packed and that your calculator is charged. You want to get good quality sleep, starting AT LEAST 2 days prior to your test.

Yes, you want to study hard when you are studying, but remember that all you are doing at that point is inputting information into your brain. Your brain actually processes this information during sleep, so you aren't doing yourself any favors by pulling all-nighters with the Red Bulls, Coffee and Highballs. Plus, you are more likely to make stupid mistakes during the test itself (that's a terrible feeling... don't put yourself through that).

THE DAY OF THE TEST

The version of you that's going into the test isn't you. It's the best possible version of you. You have the the cunning of Tyrion, the ruthlessness of Joffrey and the raw ambition of Daenerys, MOTHER OF DRAGONS. That knife move that Arya did on the Night King? That's you on every single question.

In the wise words of Jon Snow, "Stick em' with the pointy end."

April 1, 2019

A College Counselor Processes Admission Decision Disappointments

By Christine Chapman, Founder & College Counselor

So it was a tough week for people who do what I do for a living. The great celebrations of admissions decisions are always wonderful, but helping students and families manage disappointments is difficult and emotionally tears me apart.

So, in the spirit of keeping it real, I want to just post some thoughts that have been in my head and heart now that it's April 1...and some things I want so much to tell students who are processing disappointments.

1) Being waitlisted or denied does not define you nor does it diminish your amazing achievements or the strength of your profile.

2) Although you may not receive acceptances from every single college/university to which you applied, remember, you will only be able to enroll at one school for Fall entry.

3) For most students who are looking at undergraduate entry now...remember this is one phase of schooling...and most will need to pursue graduate degrees. The right school for you is the one that will best prepare you for that next step--the one that will meet you where you are, support you and challenge you to be your best self in all areas of your life.

4) These decisions are not personal. It's hard not to take them personally, but please consider the numbers schools are sharing about the sheer competition of this application season. Know that some decisions this year didn't seem to make sense, even to those of us who do this for a living.

5) Breathe. Process. Regroup. And don't forget to celebrate your wins and your joys....and don't harp on or take to heart your losses.

And if you need a little help along the way...there are folks like me who do this work for a living who can offer perspective and want to be helpful. 

I'm holding space for all those who are processing these decisions as this crazy admissions cycle comes to an end.