A New School Year and the SAT

20 Aug

Students are gearing up for the 2014-2015 school year. Many juniors and seniors will be taking the SAT this year, and want to do well in order to help with their college applications.

Here at D&D, our SAT workshop has been one of our most popular offerings. We are looking forward to helping even more students achieve their goals this year.

We currently have a workshop scheduled for Saturday, September 27, from 10 am until noon. Our two hour session features:

  • Certified instructors
  • Test-taking tips and tricks
  • Testing practice
  • Targeted strategies for improvement
  • SAT workbook published by the College Board

If you’re interested in enrolling your student, contact us today. Spaces are limited.

No need for SAT prep? We also offer a number of other services. This is only a partial list, so let us know if there’s something else you need.

SAT Mini Camp

12 Feb

We have another SAT prep class coming up on February 22, from 10 am until noon. There are only three spots left! Sign up today at ddleearningservices.com.

New Offering: Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment Mini-Camp

30 Jan

We are now offering prep sessions for future educators who need to take the Pennsylvania Educator Certification PAPA Test.

Our two hour sessions feature:

  • Test-taking tips and tricks
  • Testing practice
  • Targeted strategies for improvement

Prices:

  • $60 for individual registration
  • $30 per person for groups (up to 4 people registering together)

Dates:

  • February 8 and February 22, 10 am – Noon (pre-registration required)
  • March 1, 8 and 15, 10 am – Noon (pre-registration required)

Contact us for additional availability; we can accommodate most schedules!

Happy Holidays!

17 Dec

We hope everyone is having a great holiday season! Remember, if you or a loved one needs help figuring out how a new (or even an old) piece of technology works, we are here to help. In addition to our tutoring services, D&D also offers training for “kids of all ages,” on everything from Microsoft Office to Facebook. Contact us today for more information.

Start Out the New Year With…an SAT Mini-Camp!

24 Nov

January 25th is another SAT date, and we are once again offering our popular two-hour mini-camp, which includes test-taking strategies, practice questions and an SAT workbook!

  • When: January 11, 2014 from 10:00 am until noon
  • Where: 15 E Main St, Annville, PA 17003
  • Cost: $65, which includes a workbook with 10 practice SAT tests

There are a limited number of spaces left, so contact us today to sign up.

Homework Club

31 Oct

For November and December, we’re proud to offer our Monday homework club at 15 E Main St in Annville. The club is  where students can come to work on whatever homework they have, with a tutor nearby for general assistance.

Because space is limited, we do ask that you call or email us at least 24 hours in advance to schedule.

Here are the dates the club is open:

  • Monday, November 4, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Monday, November 18, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Monday, December 2, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Monday, December 9, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Monday, December 16, 3:30 – 4:30 pm

The cost is $10 per session, or all five sessions for $40. Contact us for more info.

The Myth of the “Math Person”

28 Oct

Here’s an interesting article from The Atlantic

SAT Tips from the College Board

22 Oct

The November SAT date is right around the corner! Here are some tips straight from the College Board. We’re looking forward to our upcoming SAT mini-camp this Saturday, and we’re going to have more exciting news in November. 

SAT Mini-Camp Time

30 Sep

November 2 isn’t that far away! If your favorite high school senior is signed up to take the SAT next month, a quick refresher course may be just what he or she needs. We know there are plenty of options to do it yourself, but sometimes actually sitting down with a small group of fellow test takers can be more productive and beneficial. At the same time, we don’t believe in charging a small fortune. So if you want that extra help without breaking the budget, why not sign up for an SAT mini-camp with D&D Learning Services? Details are listed below and are also available at our website, ddlearningservices.com.

What: SAT Mini-Camp

When: Saturday, October 26, from noon – 2 pm

Where: 15 E Main St, Annville, PA 17003

Why: To give you that extra edge on the test

How: We will review basic test-taking tips and also go over as many practice test problems as we can fit in

Cost: $65.00 (including SAT workbook)

Contact: matt@ddlearningservices.com or 717-644-5693

Remember, if this day/time doesn’t work for you we also have individual tutoring services available!

10 Things All College Freshmen Should Know…But May Not

24 Sep

As I enter my tenth year of teaching college, I’ve come to realize that not all high school college preparation programs are equal. There are those that focus strictly on academics, assuming that intellectual prowess results in collegiate success. There are also those that focus on test-taking tactics, in the hopes that once the student is in, she will find her way. Few, however, focus on the nitty-gritty aspects of higher education that all students will have to navigate. Below are the top ten trip-ups I see…as well as how to avoid falling into them.

10) All-Nighters Don’t Work

Many students believe they can make up for lost time by “cramming” the night before a big exam. Others believe that because they “work best under pressure” that they can wait until the last minute to write a research paper. Neither is effective. What is effective is organization. If the teacher does not provide a calendar and benchmarks, download your term’s weekly and monthly calendars and mark your homework, assignment, paper and exam due dates. Count backward to determine how much you need to do each week, and note each on the calendar. Create benchmarks to keep you on track. Allow time for surprises, illness, work and personal responsibilities. Stick to it.

9) Teachers Don’t Need TMI

Few college teachers require a doctor’s note when you’ve been out. If you stay out of class for a good reason (illness, bereavement, accident), you still have to keep up your work. If you stay out of class for a poor reason (good surfing conditions, April 20th, girlfriend/boyfriend’s parents are out of town and you have the house to yourselves), you still have to keep up with your work. Further, do not tell us if you are going in for gonorrhea testing. Yes, I really did have a student share that little morsel with me. And for all that’s holy, do not ask, “What did I miss?” or its backwoods cousin, “Did I miss anything?” the minute the teacher walks into the room on the day of your return. Instead, look to your syllabus and schedule of assignments, check with a study buddy for notes, and if need be, see your instructor during office hours.

8) Communicate With Brevity

While communicating with your teachers is essential, keep extraneous chatter to a minimum. Office hours are filled with emails, logistics, syllabus-writing and textbook-selection, scoring and grading, and meeting with students who have special needs. While we love opportunities to answer questions or help you along your way, we do not enjoy multi-page manifestos written late at night. Be clear. Stay on topic. Most importantly, if you have a complaint, see us personally, and keep it objective.

7) Select Essay Topics/Project Questions Wisely

Many teachers offer open-ended choices for essays and projects. This enables students to study and research information that is both of interest and relevant to them. However, beware the controversial undertones of hot button topics. Teachers are people; we have opinions. Some of us carry those opinions into class with us; others try to leave them at the door. If you know that a teacher holds the opposite opinion to you on a value-laden issue like capital punishment, abortion rights/restrictions, gun control or marriage equality, don’t use this assignment as an opportunity to persuade him or her to your way of thinking. Likewise, don’t use this assignment as an opportunity to suck up. We spot it a mile away and it detracts from the assignment goals.

6) Ask For Help

There are literally billions of dollars available to students who are having difficulty in their academic coursework or the college experience. From ADA to TRIO and tutoring services to crisis counselors, colleges actively attempt to retain students. If you don’t know whom to ask for help, start with a teacher or an advisor. We will connect you to the right people. One more tip: Do it early. See #10 above.

5) Treat Teachers With Respect

We have all had teachers who treated us unfairly (my story involves a frustrated math teacher who threw a white board across my seventh grade class room and hit me as I sat in my seat). It does not, however, help to live in the past. The vast majority of teachers recognize everyone has a tale to tell, and many of us also recognize that we may have occasional personality conflicts with students. To mitigate this, we employ strict rules, expectations and policies (see your syllabus) to prevent favoritism and to use in grading. Your role in this is to treat your teacher as you would a work supervisor: with respect and professionalism. One note: If you truly believe you are being targeted, see your advisor, a trusted faculty member (don’t identify the teacher you have the beef with) or, if your college has one, an ombudsman.

4) Take Responsibility For Your Education

As an adult, you will experience occasions when other adults are wrong. These people (including teachers, advisors and other school officials) will give you bad information, make mistakes, and cause you to spend more money, time and energy resolving problems that could have been avoided all together if they had checked up-to-the-minute information. That is why you must always take responsibility for your own education. Double-check everyone’s information against program requirements, carefully read every syllabus, and organize yourself (again, see #10 above).

3) Get Involved

Some educators call it the “X” factor–the connectivity that students feel to their school. It influences both retention and success in academics, not to mention making the entire college experience more enjoyable. How do you increase your “X” factor? Seek out a club, activity or student representative opportunity. You’ll meet like-minded people, feel less isolated, and who knows, you may discover a life-long friendship.

2) Buy The Textbook

I know this sounds like a “Duh,” but you’d be surprised at how many students come to class unprepared. Every quarter, students put off purchasing their textbook until the second or even third week of the quarter. In a 10-week quarter, that’s 20-30% of the time (and possibly the points). So, in addition to paper and pencil, you’ll need to buy, borrow or rent the required textbooks (occasionally, libraries will stock copies of particularly popular textbooks, but it’s not common). Similarly, consider purchasing any non-required materials that your teacher “recommends.” You’ll find bonus information, as well as some additional exercises, anecdotes and examples to help you when confused.

1) Get to Know Your Teachers

Research has shown that teachers grade those students they know well less consistently. More importantly, the grades tend to increase, not decrease, in proportion to how well they know the student. So how do you get to know them without the pitfalls outlined in #8 above?

Three tips: One, sit in the “T-Zone.” That’s an imaginary “T” across the front of the room and down the middle aisle–it’s where the highest-scoring students choose to sit (again, education research). In addition to putting you shoulder-to-shoulder with students who do well, your teacher will see your smile every day and begin to recognize you.

Two, visit during their office hours. Find a solid question to ask or comment to make. My personal favorite is when a student takes the time to tell me that something we discussed in class held significance due to something in their outside-class lives. Again, be brief: 8-10 minutes maximum.

Three, ask questions. It’s the best way to ingratiate yourself with a teacher. We need those questions to let us know if we’ve missed some key points, as well as that you’re listening. (Remember, we’ve spent a minimum of six years in college studying this topic for a reason. We’re excited about it, and want you to be, too.)

While all of the above guidelines will help to sail a steady academic course, it’s up to you to recognize that college is a great gift, inaccessible to many people in the world. It’s a place for you to become better, and find ways to make the world better. Take the opportunity to do both.

Lori Pollard-Johnson is a certificated teacher, and taught elementary school prior to her current position as an English college instructor. When she’s not wielding a scoring pen, she’s at the keyboard creating fresh fiction: children’s, YA or adult mystery. Her children’s novels, The Truth Test, and Recipe for a Rebel, as well as her young adult novel, The Lie, and adult mystery, Toxic Torte, are available at Amazon, as well as via e-book marketplaces.

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