Friday, October 3, 2014

Hunter Test Day, Scoring, and Admission Information

Hunter Test Day, Scoring, and Admission Information

Test Day
If your child's name is misspelled on the admittance ticket, please make the correction on the student's ticket.
Do not bring your child to the exam if she or he is ill. There is only one exam, given on one day. There is no make-up exam for children who are absent on test day, regardless of the reason. The administrative fee paid at the time of application is non-refundable.
Make sure that your child arrives to the testing site on time. Check your ticket for the arrival time for your location.
PARENTS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ENTER THE TEST LOCATIONS NOR IS THERE A WAITING AREA AT ANY SITE. Below is a list of business and cultural institutions that you may wish to visit while you wait for your child.
Hunter College Campus Schools (94TH between Park and Madison Aves)
·         Starbucks Coffee:  96th Street & Madison Avenue, 96th Street & Lexington Avenue, 92nd Street & Third Avenue, 87th Street & Lexington Avenue, 85th Street & Lexington Avenue, 84st Street and Third Avenue.
·         Barnes& Noble Booksellers:   86th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues
·         New York Public Library: 96th Street between Lexington & Park Avenue
·         Metropolitan Museum of Art: 85th Street & 5th Avenue, opens at 9:30am (pay what you wish)
·         Guggenheim Museum: 5th Avenue and 89th Street, opens at 10am
·         Restaurants:   Along 96th Street, also Lexington and Third Avenues
·         Shopping: Along Third Avenue, 86th Street corridor
Hunter College West and North Buildings (68th and 69th Streets)
·         Starbucks Coffee: 66th Street & 3rd Avenue, Third Avenue between 60th & 61st Street, 69th & 1st Avenue.
·         New York Public Library:  67th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues
·         Restaurants:   Along Lexington and Third Avenues between 59th  & 63rd Streets
·         Shopping: Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue between Hunter College and 53rd Street
·         Central Park Zoo: 64th Street & 5th Avenue, opens at 10:00am, several indoor exhibits
Parents are not permitted to enter the pick-up areas without their tickets and are not permitted into the pick-up areas before the times indicated on the tickets. PLEASE NOTE that arrival and pick up times differ from site to site. Follow the instructions from your ticket only.

After the Test: Scoring and Admission
After the exam we will record the attendance. Once complete, our system will send an email confirming attendance to all those present for the exam. You may print this letter and turn it in at your child's school to ensure that the missed day is excused.
The multiple-choice sections of the test will be computer-scored and hand-checked for accuracy. The 500 candidates with the top scores on the multiple-choice sections of the exam will have their Writing Assignments read and scored by a faculty panel. Approximately 170 students with the top Writing Assignment scores will be offered admission to the HCHS Class of 2020. A limited number of students with the next highest Writing Assignment scores will be offered places on the wait list.
Children who are admitted to HCHS will not receive their scores from the entrance exam, and will not have access to that information during their time at HCHS. Those who are not admitted will receive only their multiple-choice score.
We will mail decision letters in mid-March. We ask that you NOT call, email, or come to our office to inquire about when you will receive a response. All letters will go out at the same time, and we will post on our website (www.hunterschools.org/hs/admissions) when they have been mailed.
We will not release scores or any other information about the exam by phone or email. If you have not received a letter of admission, wait list or denial by March 17th, please email HCHSAdmit@hccs.hunter.cuny.edu to inquire with your child's full name and application ID number.
Those who are offered admission will receive enrollment forms and be invited to Hunter Day, an introduction to the school which will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 25th, 2014. Please make sure to check your mail so that you do not miss being informed of the outcome of your child's exam.
We will not respond to inquiries or requests to review admissions decisions. HCHS will not rescore exams, reread essays, or reconsider admissions decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the purpose of the admittance tickets?
A: These are your tickets for student admission to the testing site and parent admissions for student pick-up. Students are required to have a ticket to enter the check-in location. Parents/Guardians are required to have a ticket to enter the pick-up location. Print both tickets and keep them in a safe place until the day of the exam; no one will be admitted without a ticket.
Q: Where do students go on the morning of the exam?
A: Students must report to the check-in location indicated on their tickets. Guides will direct them to their assigned test rooms. Parents are not permitted to enter testing locations or go with their children to the test rooms.
Q: Where are the check-in locations? What time should I be there?
A: Check-in sites are as follows: (Guides and Public Safety officers will be available at all sites.)
·         West Building, Hunter College: enter at 68th St and Lexington Avenue
·         North Building, Hunter College: enter on 69th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues)
·         Hunter College Campus Schools: enter on 94th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues)
CHECK IN TIMES ARE DIFFERENT AT EACH LOCATION - CHECK YOUR TICKET!
Q: What should students bring to the exam?
A: Students must bring two number 2 pencils with erasers and 2 black or blue ink pens to the exam. Students with cell phones will not have access to phones during the exam to avoid disruptions during testing. Calculators and other nonessential items are not permitted. Students should dress in layers that can be removed or added since the temperature in the rooms may vary.
Q: May students bring snacks or drinks to the test rooms?
A: No; HCHS student aides are available as escorts to the bathroom and to the water fountain. No eating is permitted.
Q: Where do parents wait for their child during the exam?
A: You will leave your child at the test location and return later for dismissal. Waiting areas and parking are NOT available. Please see above for some recommended places to wait during the exam. Make sure your child has a number to reach you in case s/he becomes ill during the exam.
You will pick up your child at the location listed on the Parent Ticket at the time designated. Different sites will begin at different times to ensure an orderly dismissal. You will not be allowed to enter the pick-up location before the time noted on your ticket.
Q: May the student go home alone or with someone other than parent/guardian?
A: No; parents/guardians must pick up their children at the end of the exam. At the end of the exam, students are dismissed at the designated pick up locations. Please make sure that your child has a number where you can be reached if you are delayed, or if s/he becomes ill during the exam.
Q: What happens if there is a storm or other emergency that cancels the exam?
A: If the NYC Department of Education orders ALL schools closed, the exam will be postponed to Friday, January 17th, 2014. Once the exam is administered there is NO MAKE-UP EXAM for students who are absent from the exam for ANY reason. The administrative fee is non-refundable.
Q: When will parents know the result of the exam?
A: Results will be sent to families in March. Please DO NOT CALL THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT YOUR CHILD'S EXAM SCORE.
If your child is one of the children offered a place in the entering class, you will be invited to come to the Introduction to Hunter Day on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 (3:00-6:00 PM).
Q: How is the exam scored and how are children admitted?
A: Immediately after the exam, the multiple-choice sections of the test will be computer-scored and hand-checked for accuracy. The 500 candidates with the top scores on the multiple-choice sections of the exam will have their Writing Assignments read and scored by a faculty panel. During this process they will be identified only by Admissions ID numbers. Approximately 170 students with the top Writing Assignment scores will be offered admission to the HCHS Class of 2020. A limited number of students with the next highest Writing Assignment scores will be offered places on the wait list.

Children who are admitted to HCHS will not receive their scores from the entrance exam, and will not have access to that information during their time at HCHS. Those who are not admitted will receive only their multiple-choice score. 

DRAFT: PRACTICE ESSAY: My Trip to the Central Park Zoo

 DRAFT: PRACTICE ESSAY

My Trip to the Zoo

On a seemingly perfect autumn afternoon in mid-October, my mother escorted three of my friends and me to the New York City Central Park Zoo. It was Columbus Day weekend—an absolutely perfect opportunity to explore all that the zoo had to offer. The night before our trip, my friends brought their sleeping bags and slept over at my house, in my room. We were so excited in anticipation of this trip that we could not hold it in. I must have slept just a few hours and even saw some of my favorite zoo animals- lions, tigers, and bears-  in my dreams.
By 8:00 am the next morning, we were on our way. My mother packed the three of us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (our favorite!) and plenty of water so we would stay hydrated on our journey. The first thing we did was hop on the subway- the F train- which led us directly to the center of the city. Just steps away, we arrived at the most magnificent place I have ever been to in New York City – Central Park.  The wind was rustling the leaves as we were mesmerized by the evanescent changing colors.
When we first arrived at the gates of the zoo, we were surprised by the large amount of visitors everywhere. Although we expected a crowd, we were certainly not prepared for the hundreds of people waiting to get in. After what seemed like an hour, my mother finally purchased tickets for my friends and I and we entered this magnificent place.
The Central Park Zoo was the most picturesque place- we could easily see the Manhattan skyline and the trails of New York’s most famous park. We were just steps away from Fifth Avenue. Cute wobbly penguins greeted us as we entered and an announcement was made that a Dolphin show would start in fifteen minutes. To the right, there was a cat exhibit featuring leopards from China.  We didn’t know where to turn first! A flock of sea ducks – aflutter beautiful waterfowl from around the world were on our next stop. Shortly after, we strolled over to meet “Gus” the Polar Bear, an icon of the Central Park Zoo. Near every exhibit, there was a detailed description of the animals and their origins. We even saw six banded mongoose pups that were exploring their home at the Central Park Zoo! This was the first time I had ever seen a pair of snow-leopard cubs and they were absolutely breathtaking. While watching them play behind the class, I pondered how I had never before seen such a beautiful thing.
The day flew by so quickly! At the zoo, we saw everything from penguins and polar bears to warm tropical rainforest critters. We encountered big cats in the big city at visited at least one dozen exhibits, including the Allison Maher Stern Snow of Leopards. I saw everything from the Emerald Tree Boa to the Dart Poison Frogs.  The alligators were hissing, grunting, and roaring while the snakes were hissing and sparrows were chirping. It was a perfect day.
Now it’s your turn. At the zoo, what did you:
1. See

2. Touch

3. Taste

4. Smell



5. Hear

Thanksgiving Holiday draft

DRAFT: PRACTICE ESSAY
My Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving

Smell: Over Thanksgiving, the scents of autumn emanate throughout our house. The aroma of the stuffing ingredients being prepared, the turkey is so much more than just an edible centerpiece for the table. The combination of the turkey roasting and burning fireplace are just some of my favorite Thanksgiving Scents. Thanksgiving as a whole possesses one of my favorite feel good aromas. As I perceive the scent of the roasting turkey, my olfactory nerves heighten. Yankee candle with a turkey and stuffing scent.
Taste: My family and I host a perfect traditional Thanksgiving dinner filled with green beans and turkey gravy. Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins. Minced gingerroot and dried orange peel enhance the taste of these spiced muffins. I especially love the whipped ginger butter served with these holiday treats.

Touch: I help cook food over Thanksgiving. The morning of Thanksgiving, I help my mother to set the table. As I place the chilled glasses on the table and set down silverware which we use just once a year for this holiday, I observe my mother with oven mitts, place down the hot dishes carefully one at a time. One of my family traditions the morning of Thanksgiving is to attend Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I always grasp my father’s hand firmly so I won’t get lost within the crowd.
Hear: At the parade I hear people struggling to speak over one another causing people to speak louder and louder. Hear Songs like “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”
See: The first holiday of the winter season is Thanksgiving. This is my second favorite holiday. My mother usually hosts a large Thanksgiving dinner for our extended family – nearly twenty people. This is the one time each year I get to spend so much quality time with my cousins and receive presents from my uncles and aunts. After eating a festive meal consisting of roasted turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, we conclude the evening by dividing up into groups and playing board games. This past year, my uncle downloaded an APP called Risk, where we gather troops and try to conquer the world.

Now it’s your turn.
Describe your favorite holiday: 
What do you:

Smell:

Touch:

Taste:

Hear:

See:


         


Hunter Homework and Descriptive Essay Tips


HUNTER HOMEWORK
READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY

You are to write 5 descriptive essays each week
(4 pages double-spaced single-sided pages)
starting every Sunday on various topics.

You must PRINT your essays and write all of them in the spiral notebook we provide. Do not hand in messy or sloppy essays. We will not read them.

Hand in only clean, neat, essays with good handwriting.

Be responsible. Do not lose your spiral notebooks or forget to bring your homework to class.

To help us edit, please DOUBLE SPACE (SKIP LINES).

Only write on ONE SIDE of the paper so we can EDIT your essay in red.

USE at least TEN ADVANCED SAT VOCABULARY WORDS for your essay. You may refer to the vocabulary books/ sheets/ packets.

Write an essay or tell a story about each topic.

Do not spend more than 45 minutes to 1 hour per essay, which includes drafting time.

Create a portrait as you write and use SENSORY details (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell)

You may refer to your vocabulary packets and transition lists as you write these essays.
TIP: Draw five columns on a piece of paper with each column labeled one of the five senses. These include taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell.
This list will help you keep your thoughts straight when describing your essay.
Using your five senses, write down sensations and feelings you associate with your topic
Good Luck!

WEEK 1
1.    Who is your favorite character from a book and why?
2.    What is the best thing you have ever written?
3.    Describe your best friend.
4.    Who do you admire or respect and why?
5.    If you could do one thing to make the world into a better place, what would it be?

WEEK 2
6.    Describe your favorite school teacher.
7.    Describe the greatest thing you learned in school.
8.    What is your favorite school subject and why.
9.    Describe what you like the most about New York City.
10. If you could live in another state or country, where would it be and why?

WEEK 3
11. What is your favorite color? Describe why.
12. Who do you want to be (professionally) when you grow up and why?
13. What mistake did you make that you learned a valuable lesson from?
14. What is the most favorite object you own? Describe its sentimental value to you.
15. Which friend has had the best influence on you? Describe the friend and cite examples.

WEEK 4
16. Describe the most recent thing you did during your spare time.
17. Describe your favorite animal at the zoo.
18. Have you ever built anything from scratch? Please describe it.
19. Describe a typical Sunday.
20. Where have you travelled recently? What was the trip like?

WEEK 5
21. What is your favorite activity at the park?
22. What do you wish to get as a birthday gift this year?
23. What do you think is the best invention ever?
24. What was the best movie you ever saw?
25. Describe your favorite character in a book or novel.

WEEK 6
26. If you could discover a cure to any life-threatening disease, which one would it be and why?
27. Have you ever owned a pet? If not, which pet do you wish you owned?
28. Describe your favorite piece of clothing.
29. Why do you want to go to Hunter High School?
30. If you could choose any profession (such as becoming a lawyer, doctor, pharmacist, accountant), which one would it be and why?


WEEK 7
31. If you could give money to any charity, which one would it be any why?
32. Describe the best vacation you ever went on.
33. Describe a cell phone.
34. Describe a treasured belonging you carry with you every day.
35. Describe your favorite meal.


WEEK 8
36.  Describe your dream house.
37. Describe a memory of a place you visited as a child.
38. Describe your ideal college roommate.
39. Describe the streets or path that leads from your home to your school.
40.  Describe your favorite fruit.


WEEK 9
41.  Describe a recent gift you received and its importance to you.
42. Describe a person you will never forget.
43. Describe a sport you play/ Describe your favorite sport.
44. What is your least favorite aspect of traveling? Describe a place where you have traveled.
45. Describe your ideal day.

WEEK 10
46. Describe a phobia (fear) you had and how you overcame it.
47. Describe what it would be like to meet a famous celebrity. If you have met one already, describe what the experience was like.
48. If you could add a subject or class at your school, what would it be? Please describe how this subject or class would benefit not only you, but also all your classmates.
49. Describe an obstacle you have overcome.
50. Describe your most memorable moment.

Week 11
Relax! Congratulations! You have completed 50 Descriptive essays!!!!



The Hunter College High School Entrance exam is on Friday, January 9, 2015. Please get plenty of rest the week leading to the exam. 

____
DRAFT

HUNTER COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL EXAM: HOW TO APPROACH THE ESSAY

*MAKE A BRIEF OUTLINE! Five minutes of organizing your thoughts at the beginning will end up saving you time when writing the actual essay.
Format – The essay should include an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion (roughly between 1.5 and 2.5 pages)
Remember this essay is about you! Use “I” instead of “you”.
Spatial Awareness – Do not cram words too closely together or space them out too much.
Both QUANTITY & QUALITY are equally important for the essay. Make sure EACH and EVERYONE of your sentences add to the quality of your essay in either the form of making past sentences clearer or by helping to answer the essay prompt.
Vocabulary – Use higher-level vocabulary, but only if it makes sense to use in the context.  Spell words correctly.  Using vocabulary improperly or awkwardly will hurt your essay grade, not help it. So, only use a high-level vocabulary word if you are absolutely sure of the meaning and how to use it.
Contractions – Contractions are shortening words such as “cannot” to “can’t”. 
Generally, avoid using them because they are too informal.
Sensory Details – Use adjectives/adverbs to describe vividly in your essay. 
The “SHOW, DON’T TELL” method is key.  You need to be descriptive in order to keep the reader engaged and make the reader feel like they are in the essay, experiencing its content rather than just reading it.
Figurative Language – Use similes, metaphors, and idioms in your writing to make it jump out at the reader.  There are 3000 students taking the exam, and 3000 essays that teachers may potentially be reading, so make yours stand out from the competition.
Expand Your Sentences – MAKING LITTLE THINGS BIG is the key method for this.  Take small moments within your essay and really make the reader experience those moments by using full, specific, and lively description.
Punctuation – Do not use exclamation points or quotation marks.  This is a personal essay-- not a play or story, which means NO DIALOGUE.  Especially stay away from drawing any sort of hearts, designs or triple exclamation marks to prove a point.
Proofread – You should be able to reread your essay at least twice during the exam. Look out for awkward, unclear sentences, grammar problems, structure and whether or not you have followed the tips given to you by Kweller Prep. Practice proofreading out loud at home. It will help develop your proofreading skills.

STRUCTURE

In terms of structuring your essays, some of you will find that it is best to answer the prompt with personal experiences and dive right into a narrative.  For some prompts, this method of essay organization works fine, but for others, it is a better idea to be rigidly organized.  Below you will find an example of how to organize the essay.

Sample Structure:
            Intro: 3-6 sentences
                        -Generalize the topic to a universal audience
-Answer the essay prompt question
                        -Address the supporting paragraph topics without listing them
            Body Paragraphs: Each 7-10 sentences
-Stay on one SUPPORTING topic; if you start another topic, create a new paragraph
                        -Refer back to the essay prompt question
                        -Use the SHOW, DON’T TELL method
                        -Use figurative language and be descriptive!
-Have a clear flow of ideas: transitions should be smooth from one paragraph to another. 
-Have topic sentences and concluding sentences, summing up the paragraphs while relating back to the essay topic.  DO NOT use traditional transitions too much (eg: “for example”, “in conclusion”, “one reason is; another reason”)
                        -DO NOT be repetitive
                        -These paragraphs are where most of your sensory detail should be.
            Conclusion:
-Summarize the introduction WITHOUT repeating the same sentences/phrases used in the introduction
                        -Answer the essay prompt question again
-Concluding sentence must clearly indicate that this is the end of the essay without saying it outright (eg: “All in all, Christmas is my favorite holiday and I cannot wait for next Christmas to come quickly enough.”); avoid using “In conclusion”
-If possible, try to use a concluding sentence that will leave an impact on the reader.

ESSAY CHECKLIST
As you finish your essay for practice exams, homework, and especially for the actual exam, try to see whether you have been able to fully meet these recommended requirements:

-Does my essay answer the question asked in the prompt?
            Remember to answer all parts/aspects of the prompt.
-Does my essay provide insight into myself?
            Remember, the essay doesn’t just showcase your writing abilities; it is also a chance for your readers to get to know you. That is why the essay topic is always a personal topic.
-Does my essay stay on topic? Is it well organized?
            If you don’t stay on topic and/or are disorganized, the reader will get frustrated as they continue to read the essay.
-Does it engage the reader from the beginning and does it end memorably?  Does my essay avoid clich├ęs?
            You want your essay to stand out from the other 3000 essays.
-Does my essay have (for the most part) proper sentence structure/punctuation/grammar/spelling?
            Even though the essay readers understand that this essay was written under test conditions and that it is a first draft, minimizing mistakes shows your writing prowess.
-Does my essay fully let the reader experience the story within it through descriptive writing?
            From practicing “Show Don’t Tell”, “Making Little Things Big”, and just your use of sensory details, your essay should easily be able to put the reader in your shoes as they read your essay.
-Does my essay use every sentence in it to serve a purpose?
            Repetition should not occur in your essay unless it is a stylistic technique.  Use every sentence to do something different and unique, let each one add to your essay.
-Does my essay fill up 2 pages?
            The essay shouldn’t be too much over 2 pages nor should it be very short because you want to make each sentence count while still being able to clearly express your answer to the prompt; we feel 2 pages is a good amount of pages to strike a perfect balance between the two.
-Does my essay clearly go from one idea to the next with seamless transitions?
            Transitions ease the reader’s ability to see your train of thought; without proper transitional phrases or words the ideas in your essays are less well organized.
-Does my essay avoid excessive use of quotation marks, exclamation points, and question marks?
            Excessively using these three things makes your essay sound much more child-like and generic.  Sometimes less is more.
-Does my essay contain higher level vocabulary?
            You all should have a much increased vocabulary and should showcase with 3-5 words.


SAMPLE ESSAY DRAFTS

Here are some sample essays, which we feel showcase what a Hunter essay is looking for, written by your Hunter Instructors based on the prompts that you have been given:

Where do you see yourself in 20 years and why?

The smell of blood is suffocating even with my mask on. I slowly wipe the beads of sweat off of my forehead as I prepare to hand over the patient to the rest of the team. I carefully make my last insertion of the tube through the dark maroon artery of the left side of the heart. My fingers, accustomed to the task, no longer tremble. As I finish, I walk over to the sink, remove my gloves and feel the rush of soapy, warm water slowly carry away all of the germs on my hand. I apply the soft, gelatinous, strong-scented Purell for good measure. I walk out of the operating room with a triumphant smile; I can’t wait to share the good news with the patient’s family.
This is where I see myself in twenty years, a budding cardio-surgeon just entering his career. I see myself as someone who has conquered the confusion of high school, the self-independence of college, and the sleepless nights of medical school. From the practice surgeries with dead bodies to the copious amounts of knowledge I will have consumed from numerous textbooks, my goal will only be made possible by one thing, dedication.
My first steps into a cardiologist’s office were in 2nd grade, but the memory is quite clear. I was with my parents who were awaiting news about my grandfather’s operation and like most 2nd graders, I was unable to fully understand the situation. All I could see were the disgruntled looks on my parents frowning faces. But before I could ask what was wrong, I was interrupted by a tall man in a spotless, white coat. He spoke to my parents as I watched their faces change right before my eyes. My mother’s eyes lit up with hope and I heard my dad laugh for the first time in days. I immediately knew what I wanted to do when I got older; I wanted to bring happiness back into other families just as this doctor had done to mine.
From then on, my determination did not waver. Throughout high school, I volunteered in various departments at the local hospital. I spent most of college shadowing other doctors, trying to get a better idea of what they do while still managing to get through my pre-med classes with flying colors. I will surely spend many nights awake in medical school, learning more about the wonders of the human body. Hopefully, it will all come together to help me become who I want to be in 20 years, a cardio-surgeon looking forward to the years ahead. 

Describe your favorite activity in the park.

The synchronized pitter-patter of my footsteps grew louder and louder as I approached the haven where I spent most of my free time, the park. With each step I grew more excited, but also more restless for I could no longer wait to get there. Soon, my walking turned into running. The lush green trees and solid brick houses were mere blurs in my eyes as I jolted by them. I whizzed past the entrance gate, almost twice my height, still not stopping to catch my breath. The park was filled with numerous opportunities, but none could compare to the one I was headed towards: the monkey bars.
As I approached the grand structure, a smile swiftly crept across my face. Before even taking a minute to absorb my surroundings, I was already on the monkey bars like a cat that had pounced on its most prized ball of yarn. My hands came into contact with the icy metal as I climbed to the top of the monkey bars, preparing myself for the challenge before me. When I reached the top, I remained still for a while, looking down below and imagining I was atop the Empire State Building. As I snapped back to reality, I raised my arms and gripped onto the first bar, removing my feet from the solid structure and then letting them hang in mid-air. A bead of sweat dripped down my forehead as my muscles tensed up and my heart rate increased. I thought to myself, “If climbing the monkey bars was an Olympic sport, this would be the perfect preparation!” I regularly enjoyed the monkey bars and all of that climbing was beneficial to my health.
Still hanging onto the first bar, I let my imagination roam once again. To motivate myself, I usually pretended that being on the monkey bars was a journey. Essentially, the first bar represented my home and the final bar represented some completely different location elsewhere in the world.  Today, I was going to Paris, France.  Every time I felt like giving up, I would envision the wondrous aspects of Paris to keep myself motivated. Even when my palms became sweaty and it felt as though gravity might win this round, I pictured the sight of the Eiffel Tower and clung to the bars. I persevered and used all of my upper body strength to get from bar to bar. Before long, my fingers wrapped around the final bar and I could practically see a French poodle waiting at the end for me. Victory was mine!
Basking in pride, I leaped down from the monkey bars and stood at the bottom with my hands on my hips and the wind flowing through my hair.  The monkey bars had not only given me my daily physical exercise, but had also provided me with a fun mental exercise. Feeling accomplished, I gave the park one last glance and then headed for home, thinking the whole way only about what journey would lie ahead of me on the monkey bars tomorrow.  

What is your favorite time of day and why?

         Orange light creeps through the slits of the curtains as I roll around lazily in my bed, fast asleep. Suddenly, a shrill ringing begins to resonate through the room, violently disrupting the scene’s serenity. I groan loudly, irritated by the thought that it’s now time to leave the warm cocoon I’ve created with my sheets and blanket. Slowly, through sheer willpower, I rouse myself and get out of bed. I stumble to the bathroom, half-awake, until I reach the shower. I turn the cold, metallic handle and steaming water begins to gush out of the showerhead. Suddenly, my eyes come to life. The sensation of the water on my face immediately wakes me up. A new, energetic and focused me leaves the bathroom, ready for the day ahead.
         This is my routine every morning. It is always difficult at first, but I end up feeling the best that I feel all day. In the morning, I can reflect on my life since my brain is not yet clogged with thoughts from the coming day. When I wake up, my dreary eyes try their best to order me back to sleep, however, once I'm out of bed and awake, my brain becomes sharp and attentive. Once I am in the right state of mind, I reflect on all of the recent experiences I've had. My face lights up as my past emotions rush back to me. Without these moments, I would not appreciate all the positives in my life. The morning is the best time to do this.
         There are also very few distractions during the morning. At night, my eye catches the bright red mark of new Facebook notifications, my ears tune in and out of the television show blasting through my house, and my tired body fights to stay awake although it can feel the fatigue slowly growing until it hits its breaking point. It is very difficult to accomplish anything with all of this going on. In the morning though



, there are no beeps from friends' text messages, no loud music playing outside, and most importantly no feeling of fatigue constantly reminding you just how important sleep is. Without all of these focus-sapping events, I can focus on what lies in the day ahead and ensure I am properly prepared.
         The last great benefit of the early morning is experiencing everyone and everything start its day. When I step out of bed with the scent of a delicious breakfast wafting through my nostrils, I cannot help but start the day in a good mood. I come downstairs to see my father and brother, happily rushing their taste buds with powerful flavors of egg yolk and hot sauce. Once I finally get out of the house and the wind is rushing through my hair as I walk to the subway station, I am able to watch as all the people in my neighborhood start their days. The birds' morning chirps play as a recurring morning soundtrack, alerting all the people that it is indeed time to start the day. Watching and experiencing all of these various people and animals start their day makes the morning an even more enjoyable time of day.
         Days often fly by without us even noticing. Thus, it is important to find time each day to reflect on your life, the people in it, and what lies ahead. There is no better time to do this than early in the morning, just as the sun creeps over the horizon. I always love to watch the day begin. The morning’s serene sights and sounds bring clarity to my mind and I can simply relax my brain and focus. The equanimity of the early morning makes it my favorite time of day.

Describe your best friend

We are social creatures, incapable of living without family and friends. Friends are a part of life. We talk to them with as much confidence as we do with our own selves. They are our support, there when our entire world seems to be freefalling, strengthening our confidence, shielding us from our difficulties, and helping us grow as they grow besides us.  With so many relationships defined as friendships, it becomes difficult to single out a best friend and yet for me the answer has always been athletic, supportive, and kind.
             My best friend is athletic. The signs are quite clear when you shake his hand, the palms of which have been toughened by his constant usage in dribbling basketballs and throwing baseballs.  His tall broad frame has definitely been an asset as he played on his high school basketball team.  His long and quick feet always keep him a step ahead of everyone else. Playing alongside him is fun but never as much fun as playing against him. The constant badgering that we give each other, teasing each other to miss shots or strike out only to feel even happier when we don’t, clearly is meant to serve as motivation to outdo one another.  The constant competition and support has been endless throughout the years. 
My best friend is supportive.  From attending each other’s games to yelling at the referees when certain calls don’t go in favor of our teams, we hold to pull each other up.  The never-ending support is a great thing to have.  We shared laughs, watched each other cry, and cried in return.  We shared hoodies and shoes as well as music and favorite TV shows. When we are together, even rainy days seem brighter, the rain doesn’t seem to pour so hard, the thunder doesn’t seem so scary, and we feel as though we can take on the world. His support has kept me sane through years of school, through the issues I felt I could talk to no one else about, the things I felt too uncomfortable to talk about with my parents. He felt the same way.  We became each other’s reflections on a lake, always there looking out for one another.
            My best friend is kind.  His support had come from his innate kindness, always putting others before himself.  I remember a very specific day in sixth grade. We were walking towards school, I felt squeamish about an exam that we had spent studying for all last night.  In my head I kept on repeating the state capitals but he just calmly walked along with me providing answers for all of my questions. Suddenly he stopped, we were still twelve blocks away and only had ten minutes until class started.  I had stopped as well but continued asking him the capitals of this state or that.  But he was unresponsive, I looked up to see a cat in his arms, but its eyes were closed and one of its legs bent in an unnatural way.  He had spotted it carefully with his light grey eyes.  He didn’t think twice, my friend started walking backwards and I followed without question.  We walked the three blocks back to his home where his mother gladly took the cat and promised to go to the vet.  I was amazed, he had a test that now we were sure to be late for but he had no worries.  He only explained that there would be many more tests ahead in our lives but we just assured that there would be many more days left for this cat.  Even now my heart swells up at his constant understanding of a bigger picture of helping each other on this journey of life, whether it is a cat or human being.
            My best friend is athletic, supportive, and kind but he is also so much more.  He is the reason I strive to be a better person.  He is the crane that holds me up as I feel like I’m being dragged down by the problems in my life.  He gives me advice from school to sports and shares my tastes in music and television.  He is not just a friend, he is my best; he is Ray Surti.


Essay Tips: How to Write a Descriptive Essay:

Descriptions can be objective or subjective depending upon the purpose of your essay:
-Objective description focuses on the object itself rather than your personal reactions to it. Here, your purpose is to present a precise, literal picture of your subject.
-Subjective description conveys your personal response to your subject and tries to get your reader to share that response. Here, your purpose is to choose words and phrasing which might indirectly reveal a response to your subject.
Description, in trying indirectly to convey your response, will depend upon figures of speech to sharpen your using subjective language. Simile, metaphor, personification, and allusion are essential tools for crafting subjective description.
Description, whether objective or subjective relies upon detail. Your aim in description is not to tell the reader something, but to SHOW it. Whether objective or subjective, you need to select details and words which convey your dominant impression. Your reader should be able to close his or her eyes and “see your essay come to  life.

Structuring the Descriptive Essay:
I.  Arriving at the main idea: What are the details? In what order should the details appear so they support your thesis and narration/story/main idea? Should you move from a specific to a general description of the subject? Should you move from the least important to the most important feature? What is your thesis? Your purpose? Your audience? Specific details are important for the descriptive essay.
II.  Selecting and arranging the details: As you move through the description you must keep aware of your use of descriptive words and work at maintaining the flow of your description. Keep in mind the overall movement of your essay. Tailor it to work with the flow by not focusing description that will distract the reader.
III. Formulating the thesis statement: Your thesis should convey your main idea while it also points in the direction your descriptive essay will take. The sequence of events is an essential consideration in formulating
your thesis.
Formatting the Essay: here, you orient your reader by stating your thesis and by using your main idea details to create a mood in which you will write the descriptive essay.
Body – here, you rely upon interesting details and logical sequencing for events and the use of chronology or transitions to keep your reader connected to the purpose of your essay.
Conclusion restate the thesis or review key points and the important details

Transitional  Words  &  Phrases  Use  at  least  ten  transitions in  your  essay!

Using transitional words and phrases

helps papers read more smoothly, and at the same time allows the reader to flow more smoothly from one point to the next.
Transitions enhance logical organization and understandability and improve the connections between thoughts. They indicate relations, whether within a sentence, paragraph, or paper.
This list illustrates categories of "relationships" between ideas, followed by words and phrases that can make the connections: Addition:
Also, Again, As well as, Besides, Coupled with, Furthermore, In addition, Likewise, Moreover, Similarly

Consequence:

Accordingly, As a result, Consequently, For this reason, For this purpose,
Hence, Otherwise, So then, Subsequently, Therefore, Thus, Thereupon, Wherefore
Highway traffic came to a stop as a result of an accident that morning.


Contrast and Comparison:

Contrast, By the same token, Conversely, Instead, Likewise, On one hand, On the other hand, On the contrary, Rather, similarly, yet, but, however, still, nevertheless, in contrast
The children were very happy. On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, their parents were very proactive in providing good care.

Direction:

Here, There, Beyond, nearly, opposite, under, above, to the left, to the right, in the distance
She scanned the horizon for any sign though in the distance she could not see the surprise coming her way.

Diversion:

By the way, Incidentally
He stumbled upon the nesting pair incidentally found only on this hill.

Emphasis

Above all, Chiefly, With attention to, Especially, Particularly, Singularly
The Quakers gathered each month with attention to deciding the business of their Meeting.

Exception:

Aside from, Barring, Beside, Except, Excepting, Excluding, Exclusive of, Other than, Outside of, Save
Consensus was arrived at by all of the members exclusive of those who could not vote.

Exemplifying:

Chiefly, Especially, For instance, In particular, Markedly, Namely, Particularly, Including, Specifically, Such as
Some friends and I drove up the beautiful coast chiefly to avoid the heat island of the city.

Generalizing:

As a rule, As usual, For the most part, Generally, Generally Speaking, Ordinarily, Usually
There were a few very talented artists in the class, but for the most part the students only wanted to avoid the alternative course.

Illustration:

For example, For instance, For one thing, As an illustration, Illustrated with, As an example, In this case
The chapter provided complex sequences and examples illustrated with a very simple schematic diagram.

Similarity:

Comparatively, Coupled with, Correspondingly, Identically, Likewise, Similar, Moreover, Together with
The research was presented in a very dry style though was coupled with examples that made the audience tear up.

Restatement:

In essence, In other words, Namely, That is, That is to say, In short, In brief, To put it differently
In their advertising business, saying things directly was not the rule. That is to say, they tried to convey the message subtly though with creativity.

Sequence:

At first, First of all, To begin with, In the first place, At the same time, For now, For the time being, The next step, In time, In turn, Later on, Meanwhile, Next, Then, Soon, In the meantime, Later, While, Earlier, Simultaneously, Afterward, In conclusion, With this in mind,
The music had a very retro sound but at the same time incorporated a complex modern rhythm.

Summarizing:

After all, All in all, All things considered, Briefly, By and large, In any case, In any event, in brief, In conclusion, On the whole, In short, In summary, In the final analysis,
In the long run, To sum up, To summarize, Finally



ABSTRACT VS CONCRETE WRITING
The word “abstract” might remind you of modern art.  An abstract painting, for example, does not normally contain recognizable objects.  In other words, we can't look at the painting and immediately say "that's a house" or "that's a bowl of fruit."  To the untrained eye, abstract art looks a bit like a child's finger-painting--just brightly colored splotches on a canvas.

Avoid abstract language—it won’t help the reader understand what you're trying to say!
Examples:
Abstract:  It was a nice day.
Concrete:  The sun was shining and a slight breeze blew across my face. 
Abstract:  I liked writing poems, not essays.
Concrete:  I liked writing short, rhythmic poems but disliked rambling on about my thoughts in those four-page elongated essays. 

Abstract:  Kweller Prep is a great program.
Concrete:  Kweller Prep really knows how to help us turn our thoughts into good stories and essays. Kweller Prep tutors always start class with a beaming smile and they teach each student how to become a great writer.