Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hunter Admissions Exam Essay Tips

As seen on youtube

Hunter Entrance Exam Essay Tips


Note: These are just TIPS! Not a comprehensive understanding. You need to work on at least 2 dozen practice essays hand-graded by Kweller Prep tutors prior to taking the Hunter College High School Entrance Exam

Overall Comments:
            Format – The essay should be 4-5 paragraphs long; should include: An introduction, 2/3 paragraphs, and a conclusion. REMEMBER THIS ESSAY IS ABOUT YOU, use “I” instead of you.
            Spatial Awareness – DO NOT cram words closely together, DO NOT space out words too much, DO NOT write too little (leaving many blank lines on the essay), DO NOT write too much (going past the number of line numbers allotted for the essay). Both QUANTITY & QUALITY are equally important for the essay.
            Vocabulary – Use higher-level vocabulary but only if the vocabulary word makes sense to use in the context.  Don’t just use a “big” word for the sake of using a “big” word. You need to actually make sure the word fits into the sentence. Only use higher-level vocabulary that you know the definition of.  SPELL THE WORDS PROPERLY.  Using vocabulary improperly or awkwardly (not the right vocabulary word for the content of the essay) will hurt your essay grade, not help it.
            Contractions – Contractions are shortening words such as cannot to can’t.  DO NOT use them because they are too informal. Again stay away from “can’t”; instead use cannot. I don't care that you learned them for months at school. Stop using them on your Hunter essays!
            Sensory Details – Use adjectives/adverbs to describe parts of your essay.  The SHOW DON’T TELL method is key.  You need to be descriptive in order to keep the reader engaged, make the reader feel like they are in the essay, experiencing its content rather then just reading it. Know at least 100 adjectives and be comfortable incorporating them into your essay. Hunter is a HUMANITIES based school. The graders spend a lot of time grading the essay.
            Figurative Language – Use similes, metaphors, and idioms in your writing to make it jump out at the reader.  There are 3,000 students taking the exam, and 3,000 essays that teachers may potentially be reading, so make yours stand out from the competition.
            Punctuation – DO NOT use exclamation points or quotation marks.  This is a personal essay-- not a play or story, which means NO DIALOUGUE.  Kids should especially stay away from drawing any sort of hearts or designs or triple exclamation marks to prove a point (!!!) Watch for semi-colons and commas.  Commas are used to separate 2 related phrases that CANNOT stand-alone if the comma was replaced with a period.  Semi-colons are used to separate 2 related phrases that COULD stand-alone if the semi-colon was replaced with a period.  A semi colon (;) is stronger than a comma (,) but weaker than a period.
            Proof Read – You should be able to reread your essay at least twice during the exam. Look out for awkward, unclear sentences, grammar problems, structure and if or not you have followed the tips given to you by Kweller Prep.
            Intro: This should take up 3-6 sentences
                        -Must generalize the topic to a universal audience
-Must answer the essay prompt question
                        -Must NOT let the reader realize that they are reading an essay
                        -Must address the supporting paragraph topics without listing them

            Body Paragraphs: Each one should be 7-10 sentences
                        -Must stay on one SUPPORTING topic; if you start another topic then create a new paragraph
                        -Must refer back to the essay prompt question
                        -Must use the SHOW DON’T TELL method
                        -Use figurative language
                        -Have a clear flow of ideas; Transitions should be smooth from one paragraph to another.  Should have topic sentences and a concluding sentence, summing up the paragraph while relating back to the essay topic.  DO NOT use traditional transitions too much, i.e. for example, in conclusion, one reason is, another reason…
                        -DO NOT be repetitive
                        -Must summarize the introduction WITHOUT repeating the same sentences/phrases used in the introduction
                        -Must answer the essay prompt question again
                        -Must NOT let the reader realize that this is an essay and that this is the end of it without saying it outright, i.e. DO NOT use the phrase: in conclusion
                        -Concluding sentence must clearly indicate that this is the end of the essay without saying it outright, i.e. All in all Christmas is my favorite holiday and I cannot wait for next Christmas to come quickly enough.

Hunter Entrance Exam Test-Taking Tips



Hunter Entrance Exam Test-taking Tips

·      Always be aware of your time
o   Leave some “breathing room” for sections that you know you will struggle with
o   Save the most difficult questions for last
·      There is no penalty for guessing so do your best to eliminate answer choices and take an educated guess
·      Be well-rested and confident when taking the test
o   Being nervous, hungry or otherwise in a bad state of mind will affect your performance more than you think


·      Outline your ideas for the essay à make sure each paragraph transitions to the next
o   May seem time-consuming but can end up saving you time when you have a good grasp of what you need to write
o   Be sure to include the structureà intro, 2 or 3 body paragraphs, conclusion
·      Use more advanced vocabulary and phrasing
o   If you read a lot-which you should-try to copy some of the sentence structures of your favorite author
§  You get better at writing by learning from others and emulating their style
·      Longer essays tend to score better but make sure you have something interesting to say with every sentence
·      Make it a story! à every sentence, paragraph, and idea should flow and transition into another
·      Make reader WANT to read more à a captivating introduction-with some high level vocabulary-is especially important
o   First impressions are crucial


·      Reading the sentence aloud-but quietly, you’re in a test-can help you find mistakes
o   Don’t rely on this completely! Know your grammar rules.
·      Tense agreement, noun-verb agreement, adverbs, pronouns, proper nouns, etc.
·      Don’t be afraid to choose “no error”! Have confidence in yourself.


·      Practice your reading speed and comprehension through repetition and reading techniques
o   Getting used to reading at a “testing speed” is important à it’s not necessarily important to know every detail-although it would be great if you can-but enough to answer the questions
o   Techniques such as reading the introductory and conclusion paragraphs or learning the idea of a paragraph through its topic sentence
·      Grasp the author’s tone
o   Does he use a lot of words with a positive or negative connotation when talking about something? Does he use a lot of extreme words to show his emotions?
o   Ask questions like these to better understand the main idea of the passage and more easily answer questions


·      Know topics such as geometry, algebra, probability, and coordinate system
·      Learn efficient but organized “scrap paper technique”
o   There’s plenty of space to do your work so use it instead of solving problems in your head
§  Helps you be less prone to making mistakes
o   However, make sure your work is organized and clear so you don’t confuse yourself with work from different problems
·      Use the multiple choice to your advantage à you can save time by plugging in the choices that seem most likely for algebraic equations and other questions
o   “Guess and check” except you know the right answer is in front of you

Monday, December 3, 2012

SAT perfect 12 sample essay college board

SAT Sample Essay (page 699)
Can Success Be Disastrous?
            Growing up in twenty-first century America, one is brought up with the perception that they are living in a time and place of unparalleled opportunity; that the world is at their fingertips. The determination for reaching the top is one often instilled into children at a young age, in tangent with the values of their society. Indeed, the “American dream” is one in which success is the ultimate goal, and many become the products of their upbringing and will settle for nothing less. However, sometimes people get consumed in their drive for success, caught up in their pursuit of a single goal until it becomes their lone reason for living, only to find that success is not at all the equivalent of happiness. This theme is one that has permeated throughout scores of great literature, particularly within the novels “The Great Gatsby,” and “Brave New Word,” with both of these works presenting the darker aspects of success.
            F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” tells the story of an affluent society during America’s Roaring Twenties, a time characterized by its rampant consumerism and economic prosperity. It was a period during which many were able to make quick fortunes, one such man being Jay Gatsby – a member of the “newly rich” whose motivation lies in his need to succeed. Outwardly, Gatsby’s purpose for amassing his riches stems from his effort to impress and woo Daisy, the love of his youth, who is also a member of the aristocratic “old rich.” However, as the novel progresses, it becomes evident that the only thing attracting him to Daisy is the wealth and affluence that she symbolizes, the world of grander and social success that she represents. His infatuation with the world of material wealth leads him to be blinded by the need for success, and it is this very success that corrupts his life and ultimately leads to its end.
            In Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” the protagonist, John the Savage, is driven by the achievement of a single goal as well, although this time it is not for the purpose of material wealth. Having grown up alienated from his community on the Reservation, John’s life is characterized by an all-consuming desire to leave his world behind in favor of the image of another, better world that his mother has drilled into him. However, when he succeeds in this venture, he finds that this new world and everything it stands for is utterly abhorrent to him, and the fact that the very thing he spent his whole life aiming towards; abandoning the Reservation for a glittering utopia, has brought him such misery upon his attainment of it, crushes him and drives him to suicide.
            The stories of Jay Gatsby and John the Savage provide poignant illustrations of the dangers and drawbacks of success. Although each character succeeds in the achievement of their goals, this success fails to bring them the happiness or fulfillment that they expected. Instead, it proves to be disastrous, leading to the untimely death of both protagonists, and in the process, stressing the continuous relevance of the age-old saying: “Be careful what you wish for.”