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School

Why a College Preparatory School is Important

For parents, it can be a tough decision to select a school for their children to attend. This process becomes even trickier when it comes to choosing high schools. Some high schools are marketed as college preparatory schools. Most of these programs require passing an exam before receiving an offer to join. These schools will be valuable for the academically ambitious student, and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Prestigious school reputation.

When looking at college applications, admission counselors can do a double-take because of the name of the high school. These admissions officers know which high schools provide a reputable, college preparatory education. The names of the high school carry a heavyweight on the application, as it reveals how academically disciplined these students are. Additionally, admission counselors view these students as well-prepared for the rigors of university.

  1. Teachers expect more from students.

As part of a college preparatory school, teachers know that the students are held to a higher standard. As such, they adjust the curriculum accordingly. These teachers come from great academic backgrounds and will push their students to do well. They tend to give a classroom experience similar to a university with lectures and expectations for students to take notes.

  1. Friendly competition among peers.

Students of college preparatory schools want to give their all and do the best that they can in their academics. With this, the competitive nature of the school will push students to work hard and learn advanced subject matters. More so than a cutthroat environment, these schools promote healthy ambition and motivation to do well in academia. 

  1. Diverse portfolio of programs available.

College preparatory schools are more likely to offer different programs such as Advanced Placement classes and the International Baccalaureate. Other examples are elective classes specifically focused on STEM material, or programs to help students determine a career pathway. These schools have programs designed to help students have a successful, educated future, making college preparatory schools a desirable choice for students.

College preparatory school can be a huge stepping stone in a student’s academic career. Students will definitely feel wholly prepared for university life and beyond. Fortunately, Acclaim has many top college preparatory schools near our locations in Southern California. Our services include test prep material catered for each prestigious high school to ensure your child admission to these fantastic schools! Register with us to develop your child’s passion for learning.

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Subjects

Which SAT Subject Test is for You?

Certain universities require students to take SAT Subject Tests along with the normal SATs. This is a way for colleges to further gauge what kind of person you are and how you will fit in on campus. However, there are twenty different tests for you to choose from. Here is a list of Acclaim’s trusted advice on narrowing down the selection!

  1. Choose the subjects you’re interested in.

If you take the SAT Subject Test based on topics you enjoy learning about, the exam will be a less stressful process. Brainstorm ideas on your favorite subjects in school, because you will most likely score better on these subjects than others. Additionally, try taking various sample tests to see which one suits you the most. Scoring well on these exams is fairly important for your college application, so choose the tests that you feel that you’ll perform best in!

  1. Take a test in a language you’re confident in.

College Board offers a few SAT Subject Tests on different languages. If you are bilingual and can comfortably speak the languages that are tested on, use your knowledge to take the test! Moreover, if you ever took a language class that you’re enthusiastic about, definitely consider taking that Subject Test. Your fluency in different languages will illustrate to universities that you are passionate about foreign cultures outside of your comfortable domain.

  1. Prepare for an exam within your career pathway.

If you are decided on your major or certain about the career pathway you’d like to pursue, choose the Subject Tests accordingly. For example, if you intend on being in the medical field, take a Biology exam. College admissions counselors will see that you are fervent about the field you are entering and have advanced knowledge regarding the concepts within your desired field. 

  1. Talk to an academic advisor. 

An academic counselor will be able to help you choose which SAT Subject Test would be best for your college application. Acclaim, for one, provides a premier college consulting service. Our staff will be able to guide you with a step-by-step process to shape your portfolio and help you get into your dream college! 

The suite of SAT tests that are required for students to take may overwhelm you. Regardless, following these steps will help you navigate the college application process in a simplistic manner. For even more special guidance catered to your educational needs, sign up with us at Acclaim to receive full benefits and services!

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School

4 Ways to Have a Productive Summer

Summer’s coming, which means that students will have plenty of time after the school year comes to a close. Summer is the perfect time for students to replenish their energy from stressful homework assignments and exams. We at Acclaim have a few ideas of how students of all grade levels can spend their summer so that they can feel productive and revitalized.

  1. Read a lot of books.

Many students can’t seem to find time to read for pleasure because of school. Get back into a wonderful hobby of reading during this upcoming break. Whether one reads a canonical piece of literature or a book from a school’s curated reading list, reading of any kind will improve reading comprehension abilities. In fact, Acclaim has released a top 5 ranking of literature books, which are excellent reads and able to keep students’ minds sharp!

  1. Learn a different language.

Students have the next two or three months to themselves — they might as well use this time to become a more worldly individual. Learning a new language will not only help one’s conversation skills, but they will also understand the historical contexts of that language’s culture. Learning how to speak in different languages come with many benefits, and will enrich one’s summer break.

  1. Sign up for a tutoring program.

In the span of summer break, it’s completely possible to forget how to write an essay or not know which formulas to use to solve specific math problems. Eliminate any need to dust away the cobwebs of the mind by signing up with a tutoring center. This way, students will be kept accountable for maintaining and improving their academics. Acclaim also has a plethora of programs available for students to help them get ahead and learn some new material!

  1. Keep track of your goals with a journal. 

In a journal, write a list of short-term and long-term goals to achieve. Summertime is a perfect opportunity for students to learn more about themselves and what they’re looking for in life. These goals can range from learning new scientific concepts to planning for college and deciding on a major. Our academic experts at Acclaim also provide excellent college consulting services, Students should clear their minds from the previous school year by journaling and defining how they want to advance their educational lives.

Though students may have an empty schedule during the summertime, they can always advance their academic careers. This will also help a student become more self-sufficient, allowing them to take charge of making decisions regarding their education. We at Acclaim hope that everyone has a happy, fulfilling summer!

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Subjects

How to Improve Your SAT Math Score

Countless students struggle with math throughout their academic careers. Regardless, math is a huge aspect of the SAT that can add or harm one’s score. Fortunately, the math problems on the SAT are often similar to past tests, displaying the same types of problems. For this article, our fantastic math tutor, Timothy, will be giving you some advice on improving your SAT Math score!

  1. Get familiar with the testing topics

Timothy asserts that “The first step in improving your SAT math score is to ensure that you’re familiar with the common topics that the test covers.” An example of a frequently observed topic is linear equations. According to Tim, you will see a quick increase in your scores once you have a better understanding of quadratics and SOH CAH TOA. The SAT Math sections are formulaic in their design. Once you are exposed to more of these problems, you will see that most of the problems ask the same questions but with different numbers. 

  1. Practice test-taking skills

After you learned the core topics tested in the SAT Math section, Tim recommends that you improve on your test-taking ability. He says, “Before answering a question, challenge yourself to eliminate answers you know cannot be right.” Furthermore, he suggests that you look for patterns in answer choices to develop guessing strategies. Along with your arithmetical capabilities, you will be able to score well if you can navigate through the pressures of the SAT.

  1. Figure out which answers serve as a “decoy”

Some SAT multiple-choice answers are designed to deceive you. Whoever sees past these tricks are the ones who will score well. Tim defines these deceptive choices as “decoys.” He gives an example of four choices:

a) 1

b) 5/2

c) 0

d) 2/5

With these choices in mind, Tim would lean towards choices B or D. Why? “If B were the right answer, then D would be a great “decoy” answer. A “decoy” answer is an answer choice that is purposely meant to be similar to the correct answer.” As you can see, the pattern is that B and D are both fractions, but the numbers are reversed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the answer will be either B or D, but the probability of B or D would be higher than A or C. 

The SATs are a critical moment for a high school student, as it is highly considered by admissions counselors at universities. We at Acclaim understand the significance of these tests, which is why we offer an array of services pertaining to the SATs, including the Subject Tests. For more helpful tips from our wonderful tutors like Tim, sign up to arrange a lesson with them. If you’ve been preparing to apply for colleges, read about how to decide on your major and how to achieve a perfect GPA!

Tim is one of our phenomenal math tutors. He is greatly experienced and very passionate about teaching his students. Get in touch with tutors like Tim here.


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School

Top 5 High School Literature Books to Read

High school students in America face similar English curricula, where they read the same books written by the same authors. At Acclaim, we selected five of the greatest books included in high school classrooms. Though all of these books are well known and loved, we decided not to include any of the canonical novels for originality’s sake. All of these books are renowned for their literary merits and are excellent for furthering your analytical abilities.

  1. Persuasion, Jane Austen. 

Similar to Austen’s acclaimed Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion is a classic Austenian romance with the archetypal characters. It is an excellent novel that highlights themes and symbols regarding social hierarchies and decisions. 

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s famous To Kill A Mockingbird is a sweet novel that also seamlessly portrays darker themes such as racism. The narrative form of the writing is critically acclaimed and certainly an aspect for students to analyze. Every character has their idiosyncrasies that one can critically think about.

  1. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

As Flaubert’s infamous novel, Madame Bovary is a masterfully written French romance. Madame Bovary, the titular character, is a woman who lives in the moment and romanticizes all facets of life. Her constant romanticization and superficiality lead her to empty disappointment and tragedy. Her eyes, along with Flaubert’s specific usage of color, are interesting aspects to observe.

  1. Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare

What’s a high school English class without Shakespeare? Instead of the stereotypical recommendations of Macbeth and Hamlet, we at Acclaim ranked Taming of the Shrew quite highly. This is a play about two wealthy individuals romancing each other with themes about hierarchies and gender roles. There are countless academic debates and theories regarding the feminism (or lack thereof) within the play, so read it and form an opinion yourself!

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

Wilde’s wildly controversial novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray artfully defines hedonism through a myriad of symbols. This novel is paradigmatic for students learning about identifying symbolism. It’s a hauntingly enticing book that will have you continuously turning pages!

All of these books are phenomenal and recognized by experts in academia. Acclaim also provides English tutoring resources, along with book club sessions, to help with comprehension and analytical skills. Furthermore, these books will also help you write better essays and raise your English grade. Happy reading!


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School

How to Improve Essay Writing

Regardless of grade level, students are always asked to write a few essays during the school year. Though people may say that English and writing are subjective, there is still quite a bit of structure involved in essay writing. Once you master this formulaic structure, you will see that your grades have greatly improved. Embed these tips in your next essay and you’ll see for yourself!

  1. Organize your body paragraphs.

Your teachers will determine your essay grade almost entirely on how you execute your body paragraphs. Write your topic sentence, body sentences, and conclusion sentence in that order. Ensure that your body sentences are relevant to your topic sentence.

Once you have written all of your body paragraphs, structure them by importance rather than chronological order (e.g., having your first paragraph talk about the beginning of the book, etc.). The first body paragraph should be extremely convincing, the second can afford to be of less relevance, and the last body paragraph must be the most engaging of all. Following this stringent structure will benefit you, as this is an efficient way of trimly organizing your essay.

  1. In your analyses, use specific words from your cited quotations to help you prove your thesis.

The key to demonstrating critical thinking in essays is through analyzing the author’s diction through quotations. Read the quotes that you plan to embed in your essay, and pick a few words that you think the author intentionally used to highlight a character or situation. By trying to see the book through the author’s lens, you will grasp a more solid understanding of the author’s point, along with key themes and motifs. Then, reiterate how these specific words pertain to your thesis statement.

  1. Write fluid sentences in your conclusion paragraph.

Many students have issues with writing their conclusion paragraphs. Some err by writing a simple sentence for their paragraph, while others list out their points in a didactic way. The key to a conclusion paragraph is to paraphrase your main points (your topic sentences for each body paragraph) and reiterate your thesis statement. Don’t add any new facts to your conclusion; this paragraph is dedicated to wrapping up the essay. Try to write your summarization in seamless sentences that will give your reader a sense of closure.

  1. Have a succinct, workable thesis.

Your thesis, depending on the paper, can only be about 1-3 sentences long. It is crucial that your thesis is a concise statement of your opinion of a novel. Additionally, it needs to be provable through quotations and concrete evidence. You must be able to expound on your thesis for a large portion of your essay. Try to formulate a specific thesis based on a broad observation.

Essay writing is vital for a student to develop and hone their communication skills. Though it may be complex, our phenomenal English tutors at Acclaim are extremely willing to help. Moreover, see a list of fine literature recommended for students to write their essays on!


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Subjects

Why Liberal Arts are Important for Your Child

With the advent of STEM and developments in technologies, liberal arts have been pushed to the backburner. However, a liberal arts education is just as important as a STEM one. Rather than dismissing one for the other, here are a few reasons why liberal arts are extremely valuable for your child:

  1. As your child immerses themselves more and more into their liberal arts classes, their critical thinking abilities will increase. This is vital for analyzing novels and fine literature, yet this capability can extend to their future work life. Your child will be in tune with their creative side, which will help them easily come up with innovative solutions to solve prevalent issues in their lifetime. 
  2. Your child will become more worldly and develop a panoramic viewpoint of life. The more literature your child reads throughout their life, they will understand not only the historical contexts of a book but also the psyches of great authors like Shakespeare. Also, they will learn to enjoy reading, which is an admirable, productive hobby that will allow them to critically think about world affairs.
  1. Having a good grasp of both liberal arts and STEM, your child will become a well-rounded individual. In countless books, STEM concepts are incorporated in popular genres such as science fiction or dystopian literature. With both fields of studies in mind, your child will be able to discern complex scientific concepts introduced in books, as well as analyze how those very concepts affect the story world. 
  2. Liberal arts caters to one’s emotions; with this, your child’s empathy for others will increase. They will invoke deep emotions for characters they intimately identify with. Your child will gain knowledge and education from books, but more importantly, learn how to be a better person.
  1. When your child has a solid mastery of liberal arts, they will surely become a better writer and communicator. This skill will follow them to high school and beyond, as they will be able to write a unique college admissions essay. This is an extremely useful skill to have, as it can impact their acceptance to prestigious universities. Your child will also be able to clearly communicate verbally and through writing, which is a refreshing quality.

A liberal arts education is just as valuable for your child’s future as a STEM one. Your child will learn to diversify their thinking and verbally elucidate their meaning in an effective manner. They will learn about various cultures and places through reading literature, and they can explore their interests further by learning more languages [link blog here]. Additionally, Acclaim also provides English tutoring for students to better their analytical abilities, so sign up for our tutoring courses to enrich your student’s academic life!

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Subjects

Why You Should Learn More Languages

With the age of globalization and technological developments, it is much easier to communicate with people from different parts of the world. Some languages can be difficult to learn, yet all languages are beautiful and have captivating cultures and backgrounds surrounding them. People can make the world a smaller place by learning different languages.

One reason to learn more languages is so that you can become more culturally aware and knowledgable about the history behind a language and nation. Every culture has a valuable past that involves beauty and tragedy, and it is necessary to respect different traditions and heritages. As you learn more about a country’s language and culture, you will become a more worldly, open person, not limited to ethnocentric beliefs.

Through learning different languages, one can learn words and phrases that are untranslatable to English. Some phrases and idioms may not make much sense in English, yet invoke an abstract emotion that is universally familiar to all humans. By understanding these phrases, you will feel closer to the culture, as you can clearly identify and relate to foreign words. In addition, you will feel more accomplished for understanding these complex phrases, as it indicates your improvement in the language. 

As you learn more about the language and culture of a country, one major perk is that you will appreciate different cuisines. Food is an essential part of a culture, so if you can order food (major points if you order it in that language) and understand the significance of it. you are on your way to being a more well-rounded individual. This conveys you as enthusiastic to try new experiences. Another small benefit is that you would learn various methods of cooking, so you can see how different cultures prepare food and compare the methods. 

Most importantly, you will be able to communicate with other people. Whether this means forming new friendships or obtaining a useful skill for a job, learning a new language can help you create meaning with other people. You will be able to bond with someone you would have at one point never been able to communicate with. Learning languages can allow you to listen to others’ life experiences, which you can use to impact your own life. 

Learning languages is an incredible experience that is not limited to simply learning its linguistics, but rather the entire culture that comes along with it. You will be able to understand different views and perspectives of the world — in turn, this will help you become a more empathetic individual. Acclaim offers a variety of foreign languages for you to learn, so contact us today to let us help you broaden your worldview!

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School

How to Survive AP Classes

If you’re taking any AP courses, you’re on track to be noticed by distinguished universities for your efforts. AP stands for Advanced Placement, and these are college-level classes that students can take in high school. Admission counselors see these classes very favorably, and AP courses can eventually benefit you. For one, you wouldn’t have to take these courses once you’re enrolled in a college, and you can save tuition expenses by graduating early! One caveat is that these classes are designed to be challenging, so here are a few ways to help you succeed in these classes:

  1. Complete all of the homework.

Your teacher assigns homework to help you further understand the lesson for the day. Sometimes, you may feel that the work is unnecessary and doesn’t supplement your understanding. Regardless, your homework is a core factor of your grade, so make sure all of your assignments are finished so that you can receive the points for them.

  1. Buy and use a prep book.

Prep books are useful because they offer specific strategies to help you on the actual AP exam. It will inform you very clearly of the time constraints you will have, and give you tips on how to efficiently eliminate wrong answers. Additionally, these books provide some textbook material for you to review before your tests and AP exam, so it will help you obtain a good grade for this class.

  1. Use different notebooks for each AP class you’re taking.

If you’re taking multiple AP classes, it’ll be easier for you to maintain focus if you devote a single notebook for each AP class you’re taking. If you’re taking just one class, take really detailed notes in a manner that will help you, whether that includes different colored pens, highlighters, or sticky notes. It is crucial that you consolidate one notebook for an individual class so that you can learn the material to your fullest potential.

  1. Have a tutor help you.

AP classes are meant to be difficult, and your teachers will expect much more from you because of the level of this class. With that, they will also grade harder on assignments, essays, and tests. Having a tutor who is an expert on the subject will be beneficial to your performance in the class. Your tutors might have also taken an AP course for this class, so they will know exactly how to help you. At Acclaim, we also provide tutoring services for an array of AP courses, and we can support you in achieving a fantastic grade in the class!

  1. Try past AP exams on the subject.

To help you score well on the actual exam in May, make sure to answer some of the sample questions that CollegeBoard provides. They also release exam questions that were actually asked in previous years, so it will give you a good idea of what kind of questions will be presented on the test. This will also help you master the knowledge you need to pass your class with the grade of your dreams!

AP classes are stimulating and challenging, and it is a large step to put your goal of attending a good college into fruition. Another step would be obtaining a good GPA; if you stay motivated and eager to learn as you are now, you can also achieve a 4.0! Sign up for our AP tutoring sessions at Acclaim to succeed in your AP courses and receive our expertise to get you into your dream school!

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School

How to Prepare Your Child for the SBAC

Towards the end of the school year, elementary school students are expected to take the SBAC, or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. These exams are designed to comprehensively test your child’s knowledge of the concepts they learned over the past year. To score well, your child needs some preparation so that they can focus for long periods, as the assessment is administered over the course of a few days. Here are a few suggestions so that your child can perform at their potential:

  1. Eat a good breakfast. 

Make sure there is plenty of time for your child to eat from different groups of the food pyramid. When your child eats nutritious carbohydrates and vegetables, in particular, they won’t be hungry during their test. In fact, they will have copious amounts of energy to concentrate during SBAC.

  1. Get some good sleep.

Make sure your children get some quality sleep before their exams. There’s no point in trying to cram for these exams, as these are rather a personal reflection of your child’s learning progress. Along with your child’s nutrition, their sleep will also affect their performance, as they might feel tired and cranky during their test. To combat this, help them get ready for bed particularly early so that they get their rest!

  1. Give them a rundown of their schedule.

Though their teachers may inform them about their test, reiterate to them about their testing schedule. Alleviate them of their nerves, as this is simply an assessment of what they have learned. Since the SBAC will affect their typical class schedule, it’s good to let your child know about these changes. It is also a good opportunity for you to encourage them to try their hardest on the test so that you as a parent can observe what they learned, and what specific concepts they need to improve on.

  1. Let them take it easy that week.

Exams are already stressful, and these tests are held for a few hours at a time. Be a little lax about their studies this week and let them play and blow off some steam. Their classes will probably also have less workload than usual, so this is a good time for them to recharge from the intensities of school. Reading is an example of a pleasurable and stimulating activity they can do! 

  1. Tutoring will help ensure that your child is prepared for the SBAC.

Connect your child with a tutor throughout the school year so that your child can develop mastery in English and math. Acclaim has plenty of qualified tutors to help your child understand complex concepts, which will ultimately allow them to score higher on the SBAC. Scoring well is crucial to your child’s learning, and tutoring will help them get ahead of the curriculum.

Following these tips will help your child perform to their maximum potential during the SBAC. It is imperative that they can focus on these exams because it determines what level they are at with certain subjects. Moreover, it speaks to how effectively they have been learning in class. It’s definitely beneficial if a child attends a tutoring program after classes, as it is a supplement to their education. Our tutors at Acclaim can boost your child’s learning, and see how effective our online tutoring programs are!