Posts Tagged ‘grammar’

28
Feb

How To Master the ACT Writing Section

If you’re in high school, and are a junior or a senior, there’s a good chance that you’re already turning your attention ahead to college. More specifically, you are probably researching schools and trying to determine where you want to go. Do you want a traditional four-year university? A community college? An online school? A school, such as Argosy University, that combines elements of online and traditional teaching? Do you prefer an institution that is public or private? There are certainly many questions to ask yourself at this point.

But before you start spending all your free time browsing CollegeBoard.com or Online-Degree.com, it is important that you take the necessary steps to improve your candidacy at whatever school you ultimately choose. This means working to maintain (or boost) your grades, adding extracurricular and volunteer work to diversify your application, and taking the SAT or the ACT so that you can be considered for admission in the first place.

Originally used primarily by Midwestern schools, the ACT has grown considerably in usage and popularity in recent decades, and it now surpasses the SAT in many regards. In 2005, the ACT added a 30-minute writing section at the end of its administration. The writing section, scored on a scale from 6 to 12, has become increasingly useful in recent years to colleges that seek to assess the expository skills of their applicants.

There’s a good chance, then, that the ACT and the ACT writing section will fall somewhere on your path from high school to your dream college. Here are a few tips for easily boosting your scaled score and mastering the writing section:

Have an introduction and a conclusion. Even if your introduction seems weak and your conclusion is only a couple sentences long, breaking up your essay into the standard expository format can translate into an automatic 2 point boost on your scaled score.

Pick a side and stick to it. The ACT graders don’t care which side of an argument you support. They do care, however, that you support one side and present an explicit opinion to that effect. A student that vacillates between the two viewpoints will not be viewed favorably when grading occurs.

In the introduction, start general and end with a thesis. No matter what the essay topic, starting the introduction with a broad observation and ending it with a prescriptive thesis is sure to immediately put your essay in the top half of scorers. If the essay question is: “Should high school seniors get parking privileges over underclassmen?,” you may want to start your essay with this generic statement: “People have long debated whether seniority should entail special privileges at school.” You can then provide a couple filler sentences and then transition to your thesis statement: “Seniors should (or should not) get parking privileges for reasons X, Y, and Z.” This is a standard thesis format that can be used for any essay.

Think outside the box. Picking a side of the argument and then giving obvious supporting reasons can leave you with an essay that receives solid scores. But if you want to fall in the 10 to 12 range, you can get an added point or two by thinking outside the box. Using our previous example, a standard argument for senior parking privileges may be that there needs to be some sort of method to determine spots, it’s fair because everyone will eventually become a senior, and seniors are usually more responsible by virtue of their age. An out-of-the-box reason, however, may be that seniors might need to often leave school during the day for college interviews or internships.

Acknowledge the opposing view. Acknowledging that the other side of the argument has some validity will get you 1 to 2 easy points on the writing section. Don’t go on and on about the strengths of the opposition, simply provide one sentence where you point out an argument on the other side.

These are the main ways you can boost your score on the ACT writing section. While it may be difficult to improve the quality of your writing and of your grammar, any student should be able to learn these tips and then apply them when the time comes.

By Jennifer Smith

02
Jan

Online Writing and Editing Tips

In the online world, success is all about generating traffic. Traffic is measured in terms of “hits” (the number of times your page is accessed by someone on the Internet). Your hit count is a measure of how many potential customers or readers you are reaching and is also used by advertisers to determine where they choose to buy ad space. The better written your content, the more likely readers are to return to your site again and again, thereby improving your hit count. But beware; writing for an online audience is very different than writing for a print audience.

Writing Advice

Online visitors don’t actually read, they scan. Online articles must be brief, informative and attention-grabbing to be effective. Headlines should be short and should clearly inform the reader of the article’s topic. Avoid exclamation points, jokes and puns in your headline unless you are writing a humor column. Use a conversational tone, but don’t be sloppy. Avoid slang, jargon or undefined abbreviations if you are writing for a professional site. Personal bloggers have more latitude in terms of language and tone, but the most respected bloggers adhere to professional rules. Remember that new readers will likely find you by entering one or more keywords into their search engine. Scatter the keywords a searcher is most likely to use throughout your text.

Editing Advice

Grammar, spelling and punctuation still count. So does accuracy. Check your writer’s facts, particularly in scholarly settings. Online researchers typically consult more resources than print researchers. Literate and correct content implies professionalism and expertise—two things that will keep researchers coming back to your site in the future. Rein in flowery writers and those fond of dependant clauses. Two short sentences make for better online reading than one long one. Base your stylistic corrections on the approved source guide for your site (Chicago, MLS, SLS, AP, etc.) Monitor keyword saturation. Gratuitous use of keywords can actually cause your search engine rating to drop.

General Advice

The rules for online content are different than those for print content. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Never underline a word or phrase unless it is an online link to another site. Always write in the active tense and use the fewest words possible to get your meaning across. “Experts consider blueberries a healthful fruit” is preferable to “blueberries are considered to be a healthful fruit by most experts.” Assume your audience can read at a ninth-grade level unless your site is directed at highly educated or technical audiences.

Search terms:
  • reflective clause
09
Aug

How to Pass Aptitude Tests

Potential employers, educators and other organizations provide aptitude tests for potential candidates. These tests gauge the intelligence and skills of the taker during a specific amount of time. Most aptitude tests are not completed in the allotted amount of time, but participants are expected to complete as much of them as possible. The tests are on general or employment-related topics and include multiple-choice answers. Participants take these tests on a computer most of the time, but some take it on paper using a pencil.

Discover what will be included on the aptitude test you will be taking. You can do so by simply asking the administrator what is on the aptitude test. Do research to determine sample questions for the type of industry you are taking the test for. You can also find sample aptitude tests that you can take to determine your strong and weak points. Do this daily until it is time to take the aptitude test.

Study sentence structure and basic English writing formatting for paragraphs, essays and speaking. Pay attention to how each sentence flows and the correct way of speaking without using slang or uncommon words. Verbal ability questions determine the participant’s grammar, understanding of analogies and ability to follow instructions. These tests help employers determine how proficient you are in communication. Data checking tests require participants to search for errors specifically for clerical-type jobs, and this study method is common for this section.

Practice basic and advanced math that includes charts for the numeric ability tests. These tests are generally basic, but they may include some advanced math and charts. Brush up on things you learned in high school and take time to learn new things that may have been confusing to you in the past.

Read instruction manuals for basic appliances around your home and search online for manuals for products you do not own. Following recipe instructions can also be beneficial to studying for this test. Abstract reasoning portions of the test have questions to determine your logic and solutions to questions. These questions determine your intelligence and ability to learn new things.

Reassess your personal knowledge concerning physics for the mechanical reasoning test. These tests assess your mechanical knowledge concerning topics including inertia, force, energy and friction. Study books about the movement of the human body and books about how magnets work. Utilize the time until your test to study and understand physics terms and how they apply to everyday life.

Study electronic diagrams concerning your chosen field of work if you plan to become an electrician or enter a mechanical field. Fault diagnosis questions determine how participants find issues and fix problems concerning electronics or mechanics.

Research the field you plan to enter and the company you wish to work for. Break the job title down and determine your expected duties. Work sample tests include scenarios of work situations and conflicts and how well the user can handle it. Knowing and understanding your potential job responsibilities will prepare you for this portion of the test.

Search terms:
  • aptitude tricks
  • how to pass aptitude tests
  • tricks for solving aptitude questions
  • fault diagnosis aptitude test
  • learn aptitude tricks
  • how to pass an aptitude test
  • s pass aptitude test
  • tips and tricks for aptitude test
  • tricks to solve time and work questions in aptitude
  • how to pass aptitude tests for job
Page 1 of 41234