Tag Archives: SAT

Not According To Script

The other day, a Staples student talked about the SATs.

He’d done fine on the math, he said.  And most of the verbal section was okay.  The writing section, though, was really hard.

Why? I asked.  Was the question difficult?  Did the 25-minute time limit seem too short?

No, he said.  He meant it literally — the writing was hard.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d actually written something by hand.

And, he said — as puzzled and angry as if he’d been asked to write in Chinese characters — “they made us sign our signature in cursive.”  He’d forgotten how to do that — along with being “pretty unable” to read script — and worried if printing his name would invalidate his score.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Along with losing the ability to read analog watches and non-GPS maps, today’s teenagers have lost the art of handwriting.  They learned their ABCs by typing, not printing, and ever since then it’s been peck peck peck (and now, thumb thumb thumb).

In class today, kids take notes on their laptops and iPads.  They don’t slyly pass notes on crumpled pieces of paper; they text.  Every paper they write is on the computer.  Actual handwriting is as old-fashioned as fountain pens.

Child development experts have noticed the trend.  They worry that youngsters who don’t write by hand miss out on developing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, even patience.

Writing by hand takes time — time to think about what you’re writing.  Yammering away on a keyboard is easy.  And if something doesn’t sound right, you just click “delete.”

I am, of course, writing this on a computer.  You should see what I’ve deleted already — actually, you won’t.  But I could write this by hand if I wanted to.  I even know how to use a fountain pen.

Just call me a 21st-century Renaissance Man.

Touting Tutors

Tutoring is big business.  Among the biggest — we’re talking both price and results — is Advantage Testing.

Alex Freedman

Advantage’s Alex Freedman recently opened a Westport branch.  If you think that name is familiar, you’re right.  Staples’ 1996 salutatorian, Alex went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard.  For the past 8 years he’s tutored nearly every test except kindergarten admissions:  SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, ETC etc.  (He’s also worked with Phil Ramone, Stephen Sondheim and Kander and Ebb, but that’s a different blog post.)

Alex is the real deal.  An outstanding classical and jazz pianist, as well as an easy-going, soft-spoken and incredibly intelligent man, he commands the toppest of top dollars.  Alex has quickly become the go-to guy for high-end Fairfield County tutoring.

But Alex is just as happy talking about Advantage Testing’s outreach program for underprivileged, high achieving youngsters.

The company sponsors a nationwide math contest for girls.  The inaugural event featured $44,000 in prizes.

In partnership with Harvard and NYU Law Schools, Advantage created a 5-week summer course for students from backgrounds underrepresented in the nation’s top law schools.  The program provides rigorous LSAT and application process preparation, as well as lectures by prominent lawyers and public figures.  Advantage also offers LSAT tutoring on a pro bono basis.

With Princeton University, Advantage supplies virtually all funding for Leadership for a Diverse America, an intensive SAT prep, college admissions counseling and leadership training program.  Alex has participated actively in this project (and the other 2 as well).

With all they’re doing, Advantage Testing is looking for tutoring help.  Not tutees — they need tutors.

Age and background don’t matter — though a strong academic resume is obviously helpful.  “If you’re intelligent and passionate about teaching, and want to work 1-on-1 with some of the best kids in the world — well, we’re a unique company,” says Alex.  “This is a great place to work.”

If you — or someone you know — wants to work with this high-end, highly outreach-motivated company, contact westport@advantagetesting.com.