1. Who teaches the courses? How much experience do the instructors have with the SHSAT?
The SHSAT prep classes are co-taught by Olivia Ramsey and Jackson Jones, whose bios can be found on the teachers page. Last year was our first year teaching the classes at the workshop, but prior to that Olivia tutored students individually for the test and has done extensive research about its particularities. This will be her second year of teaching intensive classes. Her focus is the reading portion and helping kids master the Scrambled Paragraphs, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. She has years of experience of preparing students for standardized testing. Jackson is the math expert, and he has worked with students individually for many years preparing them for both the Regents exams and the math portion of the SAT. We feel very confident in our ability to prepare the students for this test.
2. How many students are in each class?
We cap the classes at 10 students. With 2 teachers, this allows highly individualized instruction and a clear focus on maximizing results for each student.
3. When is the best time for a student to take the prep course? If they take it in the spring, will they forget everything by fall? Is it better to do it in the winter, spring, summer or fall?
This would depend on the student. For a student who is fairly confident and comfortable with standardized testing, you could wait for the spring or summer. For a student is already worried about the test, it may be better to get a head start in the spring to defuse a little of the anxiety built-up around it. We highly recommend doing 3 courses. The Winter, Spring and Summer sessions are great intro courses to understand the nuts and bolts of the tests, and the Fall sessions will give students a time to really hone their strategies, get tons of practice, and go into the test feeling confident in their mastery of the material. The more practice and exposure, the better.
4. Do you provide the SHSAT prep book, or do parents have to purchase the course materials?
We will provide the prep book. We will be using the Barron's book as a base for the Spring & Summer sessions, and in the fall we will use McGraw-Hill to avoid overlap for students taking both spring and fall sessions. We will definitely be pulling material from other sources as well (Specialized High School Handbook, Peterson's edition, etc.)
5. Are tips given to continue practicing up until the test, as well as additional review materials or exams?
There will be a packet that student can take home with tips, additional review materials, and exams.
6. What is the structure of each class?
We begin each session with a diagnostic mini-test for both the math and verbal sections of the test. Once we have scored the tests, we will structure each class according to the needs of the group. Because the classes will be small (max 10 students), there will be a lot of time for individual study plans and instruction. Generally we will begin the session with a mini-lesson about a strategy or approach to a specific section, and then the students will practice, practice, practice. Ongoing assessments will inform our instruction, but generally the bulk of our time will be spent on strategies for scrambled paragraphs and logical reasoning. The math is also very tricky - and the Barron's book reflects that really well - so we will spend a lot of time on direct math skills instruction. As part of your child's enrollment in the course, we offer free practice exams to give them exposure to the real thing, assess their progress and see how they apply the strategies in the 150 minute time frame. This test would help indicate whether further instruction for each specific student would be needed in the fall or if self-study would suffice. We will offer another full length practice test in early September before the fall course as a way to see if a student could benefit from extra practice and/or re-enrolling in the course at the workshop.