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Prepmatic SAT Vocabulary Prep

Prepmatic SAT Vocabulary Prep
If you are preparing to take the SAT, it’s encouraging to note that there are quite a variety of study aides out there to choose from—and study you should.  Most students can increase their scores significantly with regular review, and higher scores mean more scholarship money.

For those interested in the latest and greatest, a new product has just hit the shelves this summer, called Prepmatic.  Founded by a young entrepreneur, Elie Schoppik, Prepmatic is a “web-based application that combines traditional study methods with the latest research in memory retention,” according to BostInno, an online community publishing platform.

In my day, those ‘traditional study methods’ were flashcards we walked around with in our pockets, testing ourselves (and each other) on vocabulary and comprehension.  Nowadays, my teen-age sons and their contemporaries, who are never far from their computers and smart phones, don’t have to fish out the bits of paper flashcard that went through the laundry in their pockets.  They have Prepmatic.

Using an online, interactive, ‘intelligent’ process, Prepmatic helps students learn up to 3,500 SAT vocabulary words, without a single flashcard in sight.  Using a similar process, however, Prepmatic guides the student through a list of (relatively challenging) SAT words, prompting them to type both the word and it’s meaning, which are initially supplied on the screen.  After going through this process with 6 or 7 words, the program then requires the student to type the word when prompted and supply the meaning from memory.  It tracks their success (or failure), and tailors the program to the student’s academic needs.  After the student successfully completes 60 SAT vocabulary words, Prepmatic adds in SAT-style practice questions, but unfortunately I never progressed that far…

If students are fortunate enough to have a tutor (or mom) keeping them accountable and assisting their study, Prepmatic allows access to the student’s dashboard, with real time analytics to see how often the student has studied, and how successful they have been.  No cheating allowed here.  Tutor/Mom can then adjust the student’s work accordingly.

Interested people can try a free 5-day trial of Prepmatic at, while ongoing usage will cost $19.99/month. Considering the potential benefits of SAT study, measured by increased scholarship awards, that could be money well-invested.

Do you have more questions about high school tests?  I have resources available to help—just call me!
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Homeschoolers: Why Did You Take the PSAT?

Homeschoolers: Why Did You Take the PSAT?
Why did you take the PSAT?  Did you remember to register in time?  I was very encouraged the other day when Kitty said she and her friends remembered to take the test because of me!  After a hard day, that sort of positive encouragement can make my whole week!  Here is what she wrote:

Today my son took his PSAT test. Four or five moms were waiting for their children after the test and they told my husband that they were at the test that day because of me, his wife. But, he was quick to tell them that ACTUALLY it was because of you!

The day you sent out your emails about the PSAT I went into action and called our local school system. The registrations started THAT day!  Homeschoolers couldn't register until the next week, but it gave me time to get the information I needed. I told a few friends, who must have told some friends. So, in case you ever wonder if you're making a difference, YOU ARE!

I was like the people you described in your PSAT information. The whole concept of PSAT and SAT totally overwhelmed me, partly because of what they mean: My son is almost done with high school! I'm so not ready for that to happen, so I try not to think about it. But, you forced me to get my head out of the sand and take the steps needed to make the test happen.

Thanks again,

Even when your schedule is busy, quickly look over my "Calendar Reminders" in my newsletter each month.  That will remind you about key, time-sensitive tasks, like registering for tests.  Learn about the tests so you are prepared.  Next year, you will be all ready to go! Take the PSAT for Fun and Profit The Homeschool Advantage in SAT Tests

You can sign up for our free monthly newsletter here.
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How can Homeschoolers Earn an “A ”?

How can Homeschoolers Earn an “A ”?
In my homeschool, I provided a simple percentage grade for tests that we gave.  If they got 10 wrong and there were 100 questions, they got 90%.  But that’s only a grade for a test.  Sometimes homeschoolers don't use tests. Even if you do evaluate with tests, a test grade is only a PORTION of the grade you put on the transcript.

I worried about grading strategies was homeschooling high school.  Math and science were easy to figure out, because I’m a math and science person.  But when it came to English, I was completely confused!  I found help with a small, inexpensive book called “501 Writing Prompts” by Learning Express. Along with 501 writing prompts, it also can help you with grading English. It has a simple rubric (a chart that provides grading criteria)  for grading an essay on a 1-6 scale.  Why grade an essay 1-6? It would seem to make more sense to grade them 1-10, so you would be able to figure percentages easily.  But the 1-6 scale is the same score range for the SAT essay, so perhaps that is why.

I’m not very good with “rubrics” and in fact, the whole WORD rubic has always intimidated to me.  When we quit public school, one of the teachers questioned my ability to homeschool and asked skeptically “what grading rubric will you use?”   I've been intimidated by the word ever since.  But the book “501 Writing Prompts” provides more than a rubric.  It also provides a visual example of each grade, so you can SEE what a grade of 4 should be, and what a grade of 6 should look like.  That helped me a LOT – I think I’m a visual learner.

Here is a link to that book:  “501 Writing Prompts.”

For more information on how we used that book, you may want to read the article "Quick Essay Skills Earn Thanks."

Now that my kids are in college, I have seen a lot of examples of grading scales.  I have to say there aren’t any specific requirements for a grade of “A.”  Each teacher in each school district, and each professor in each college will have their own definition of an “A.”  Some teachers will come right out and say “I know what to give you, so I don’t need tests.”  Others will have a detailed analysis of what makes an “A” grade.  They may have a point system, with a different amount of points for homework, tests, quizzes, projects, and discussion.

As a homeschoolers, you have to ask yourself “what’s the point?”  As homeschoolers, we provide a grade that we know to be fair, without worrying that we will be sued or assaulted for unfair grading practices.  Remember, there is not a single “requirement” for an A.  There is only what YOU require for an “A.”  So really, however you decide to grade is fine.  And your requirements for an A are the “Real Requirements” for an A.

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Perpexed By Homeschool High School Tests

Perpexed By Homeschool High School Tests
Can my 7th grader take a CLEP? Also, I've tried to contact the local high school about SAT and ACT testing, but have not heard back from them. Suggestions? What would be a good reason for taking a CLEP?

Katy, a 7th grader CAN take a CLEP, but make sure you have a good reason, not just because they can. About the schools and testing, call the high school office or guidance counselor directly, or walk in and talk to them. If that doesn't work, choose any other public or private high school. Again, you want to make sure that a 7th grader has a good reason to take the college entry tests, ACT and SAT.

What is a good reason to take CLEP?  When your child has learned a college amount of material and finishes the subject and won't return to it again, and you want some proof of that knowledge.  For example, you may want to show a college admissions representative how much your child has learned.

Here is an article that may help on homeschooling college.

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What does the PSAT score really mean?

What does the PSAT score really mean?
What does the PSAT score really mean?

For many children, it's just a way to see how they compare academically to other children.  But since sophomores and juniors take the test, your score may mean something different depending on your child's level.  A sophomore taking the SAT is being compared to college bound juniors a year older, with a year more of math and a year more of every other subject.

The college board provides a chart for high school guidance counselors that can help you determine what the PSAT score means when you compare sophomores to juniors.  It's a little complicated to read, but if you really enjoy numbers and statistics, you could really dig it!

PSAT/NMSQT Percentiles and Mean Scores can be used to compare students’ performance with that of juniors and sophomores.

So remember, if your child takes the test as a sophomore, and the score appears to be below average. it may actually be better than average!

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Should We Take a CLEP Test After Every "A" Class?

Should We Take a CLEP Test After Every "A" Class?
Should you always take a CLEP test after every class your child gets an "A" in?  Not necessarily.  It depends on if the CLEP will help your child get into college - but there is one very important factor to consider!  Here is what one mother asked:
I read on your website that your son passed the CLEP test for Biology after taking the Apologia course. My son just finished taking that class from a lady in our community and got an A. Should I be having him take that test???
~ Kitty in Washington

My husband read that question and said, "Hey Lee!  I actually KNOW the answer to this one!"  LOL!  He's so cute.  Anyway, you can give him a CLEP test if you think a CLEP score may help him, but you want to make SURE that he can pass the test first.  Give him a sample test, make sure he can get 50% or better on it.  If so, then you can consider giving him the test for real.  Some colleges don't accept CLEP, but I still find it a useful tool for some outside documentation for classes taught at home.  Here is the website I have about using CLEP to homeschool college.

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If at first you don't succeed; test, test again!

If at first you don't succeed; test, test again!
Eva asks:  In the situation of a poorly completed test where it is clear either the student misunderstood the instructions or was truly ill, is it acceptable to ask for a "re-do" and record the score only on the second attempt? (9th grade spelling)

I absolutely encourage you to allow your daughter to retake tests.  The goal in homeschooling is completely different than the goal in other schools.  In a classroom setting, tests and quizzes are their only way to really assess kids.  In contrast, our goal is LEARNING.  Retaking a test or quiz can really help students learn. That's why I believe it's OK to provide solution manuals and teacher manuals during the learning process.  My own son learned upper level math without my help by using the solution manual on a daily basis.  I only took it away when he was ready for a test.  I know the strategy worked, because he has a great grade point average in electrical engineering.

Homeschooling high school is easier if you know how to avoid The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Homeschooling High School.“  Grab your free mini-course here.
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