August 2017 Test Event Parent Seminar Recap
Earlier this month, MEK hosted several parent seminars while students took CCSS evaluations, simulation high school admission tests, and practice college entrance exams. As each student gained valuable experience with important standardized tests, parents learned about the most significant aspects of our SAT/ACT Dual Prep program, the challenges of the HSPT, and the effectiveness of our new Vocabulary Lab.
If you did not have a chance to attend these seminars and would like to learn about what was discussed, please read more below!
SAT/ACT Dual Prep
Each parent seminar about SAT/ACT Dual Prep highlighted the strategy behind our unique test training curriculum. This program is effective for a few essential reasons:
- the combination of drills, training, classes, and simulation tests improves study habits, time management, and confidence
- our staff has spent months studying test characteristics and developing simulation tests closely aligned with the official College Board SAT
- we do not just prepare students—we train them like athletes to earn top test scores
- we also train students for both the SAT and ACT to help them earn statistically higher test scores
The Backbone of SAT/ACT Dual Prep: The SAT and ACT overlap in required skills and test content
We understand the nuanced differences and similarities between the two tests—we have built a unique foundation that can be applied on the SAT and ACT.
*We have developed nearly 40 unique simulation tests designed to highlight specific teaching points and expose students to a variety of difficulty levels. This process helps students hone their skillsets and content-related abilities for the Redesigned SAT and the ACT.
- Test Characteristics: our staff analyzes hundreds of official practice tests to outline their difficulty levels, most important skill requirements, and more. No one knows the SAT like we do!
Program Structure: “Break-In” + Test Training
“Break-In:” In order to succeed on both college entrance exams, most students need to “break” their old study habits and develop more efficient review methods. This process helps students become better studiers as well as build strong foundations in all key test subject areas
- Benchmark tests, or mini SAT practice tests, evaluate students’ understanding of important test content while familiarizing them with the overall testing process
Test Training: Students take full-length simulation tests during this half of the program and then engage in comprehensive review sessions with their instructors. Strategic placement of specific practice tests relative to official exam dates helps students increase test-taking capacity and improve their motivation.
As many of you know, the High School Placement Test (HSPT) is used by many private and catholic high schools to evaluate 8th grade applicants. To see the complete breakdown of the HSPT, please click here.
There are 5 main sections on the HSPT, each one testing the student’s ability to apply a specific skill:
- Mathematics–>problem solving skills
- Quantitative Skills–>math evaluation skills
- Language–>grammar and punctuation skills
- Verbal Skills–>word relationship and analogy skills
- Reading–>reading comprehension and analysis skills
Program Structure: 9 weeks, 3 classes–>1 official test
- Math Class: 2 sessions per week (covers Mathematics + Quantitative Skills sections)
- Language Class: 1 session per week (covers Language section)
- Reading Class: 1 session per week (covers Reading and Verbal Skills sections)
To learn more about HSPT Prep with MEK, please click here. We also offer several other High School Admissions Prep programs depending on the schools to which your child plans to apply this fall. Please review our program selection carefully to make sure you register for the one that aligns with your application plans!
*HSPT target test is in November 2017
Vocabulary Lab: Exploring the Power of Words
This parent seminar introduced families to the newest addition to our well-known MEK Lab program, which emphasizes efficient learning, immediate application, and skill reinforcement.
Vocabulary Lab teaches students in grades 4-7 to build a larger word bank by reading Common Core State Standard (CCSS)-aligned non-fiction articles. This Lab helps students…
- decipher the meanings of challenging words
- build new vocabulary study skills
- increase the size of their word banks
- identify vocabulary words in context
- pick up on context clues
- boost overall reading comprehension skills
*To read more about all Lab programs, please click here.
Unlike most programs and textbooks that encourage mere memorization, this program emphasizes application through weekly word exercises and vocabulary quizzes. Vocabulary Lab is closely aligned with the Common Core, meaning reading comprehension and study skills can be applied immediately in the classroom.
Course Material—Real News Articles!
Each Vocabulary Lab lesson features several components:
- CCSS-aligned news article from a reputable source: NY Times, BBC News, USA Today, the Washington Post, and more!
- Vocabulary list taken directly from article with kid-friendly definitions (10-14 words per lesson)
- 4-6 exercises (approx. 40 questions total) testing definition skills, analogies, synonyms and antonyms
- Quiz (sentence completions—word bank included)
Who needs Vocabulary Lab?
Students who struggle with reading comprehension typically have weak vocabulary skills. A vicious cycle ensues!
To learn more about how reading comprehension, vocabulary, and inference skills are connected, please click here.
Overall Goal: Helping Students Build Strong Foundations in Reading
As students expand their vocabulary, they develop the confidence and motivation to understand new reading material!
We hope those who attended the seminars found them helpful! We designed each seminar to give parents important information regarding the next steps in their children’s education. Please visit our Events page to keep updated about our free monthly events and evaluation test offerings.