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Academic Success Gazette 
Special Standardized Test Newsletter
In This Issue:
2009/2010 ISEE Test Information Released On-Line
Is the SAT "At War With Itself?"
Study Tip - Most Teachers Reject Wikipedia As a Reliable Source
Monthly Coach Profile
Quick Links
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How Academic Success Can Support You
At Academic Success we take great pride in finding the right coach to support the unique needs of each student we help.  Please check out the areas where we work on our web site and let us know how we can support you.

Academic Success Partner of the Month

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Sandra Dupont knows the teen years are the hardest - for everyone! Whether you're a parent whose relationship with your child isn't what it used to be or a teen whose parents don't seem to get you, a compassionate therapist can bridge the gap. Sandra's specialty is improving parent-child relationships during the challenges of adolescence. 

Sandra works on these skills:

*  Building better communication within the family
*  Creating a more peaceful home environment
*  Resolving issues from the past for a clean slate
*  Coping with the problems teens face today

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Check Out 826LA
Academic Success' favorite
826LA, offers writing workshops in local public schools and free after-school tutoring in its Venice and Echo Park facilities.  To see how this dynamic organization is making a real difference in our community, check out their blog or go to one of their free events.

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Looking for a College Counselor or Ed Therapist?
We  partner with excellent Educational Therapists and College Counselors throughout the L.A. area.  Give us a call and we can recommend the right fit for your child.
for a Student Community Service Opportunity?
Surfrider is a responsible and passionate organization dedicated to environmental education, clean-up, and progress. Read about the West L.A.Chapter's Teach & Test program at Santa Monica High, which empowers students, using lab equipment to test the water in Santa Monica Bay for contaminants.  Surfrider then studies and posts the results, and educates the community about the possibility of changing the effectiveness of water treatment facilities.

Finding the Right Coach with
Academic Success

With our team of coaches, there is one perfect fit for every student who needs support.  Check out our web site or call us to learn more about our coaching team.


For many Americans, fall means football, Halloween, and crispy cool days.  However, for students of a certain age, it also means the dreaded standardized test. 
Standardized tests have become a necessary evil of the academic experience.  As detailed in the article below, some college admission officers are beginning to wonder whether putting teens through this experience is actually worth the pain.  In the future, there is a possibility that these tests will become optional for many college applicants. 
Until that happens, teens will continue prepping for  the ISEE, ACT, SAT and SAT II's. While nobody can make these exams a pleasant experience, our trained test-prep coaches have the tools to help teens get their best possible score and ease the anxiety along the way.

Please call us with any question or concern at 310-823-4398.

Jamie and Eric

Education News

2009/2010 ISEE Test Information Released On-Line

826 logoThe Educational Records Bureau (ERB), which administers the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) has posted on-line its updated 2009/2010 Test Guide for their three tests - those entering the 5th/6th grade, 7th/8th grade and 9th-12th grade .  These are long documents (over 140 pages each) but are packed full of information.  Perhaps most valuable is that each document has a full-length sample test.
There is no better method of preparation than taking one of these sample tests.   We recommend recreating the testing environment as much as possible.  When Academic Success administers a practice test, we use the same time and break plan that the students experience the day they take the test. It is also important to find a quiet place, sit at a desk, and be protected from house distractions.  Nobody takes a real test laying on their living room couch with music on in the background, and the dog barking for attention, so make sure that you don't take a practice test that way.

Is the SAT "At War With Itself?"

SAT ImageAs admissions officers begin analyzing the data for how students performed on the new version of the SAT and whether those scores were reflected in their college careers, we may be seeing the beginning of a movement to abandon generic standardized tests.  Richard Atkinson, the former President of the University of California, has spoken out against the SAT as a useless tool full of meaningless questions, and has urged schools to make the test optional.  Atkinson prefers using tests that measure actual academic knowledge like the Subject Area Tests and the Advanced Placement Tests.  While the SAT may be looked at more critically, the ACT test has grown in popularity - it is up 25% in the last five years.    The questions on the ACT tend to be more straightforward than the SAT and many students are more comfortable with its format.  It is not surprising that the ACT has made inroads into the SAT's market share.  In the past, many prestigious universities mandated that candidates take the SAT, but that has changed over the past decade.  Just about every university admissions department that requires standardized test scores is now willing to accept either the ACT or the SAT.

Study Tips

Study Tip -  Most Teachers Reject Wikipedia As a Reliable Source

wiki logoOver the last several years, Wikipedia has emerged as a popular resource for students.  From detailing the colony cycle of bumblebees to the history of Arsenal Football Club, Wikipedia has become a super-center for encyclopedia information.   However, Wikipedia is an open site, meaning that anyone can contribute material into it.  While the site is policed by its users and is a great example of the Wisdom of Crowds theory, it may not always be reliable.  On many topics, competing schools of thought often battle it out in Wikipedia entries, and some people's work gets erased and replaced with an alternate version of "facts."  The more controversial the topic, the more often this occurs. 

While Wikipedia can be useful as a general overview in certain subjects, students should avoid citing it as a source for research papers. Teachers are generally leery of Wikipedia, and look for their students to cite more reliable, authoritative sources. In general, whenever a student is researching on the web, it is critical to scroll down to the bottom of any web page to confirm sources, citations and even do an additional search on the author to check out their credibility.

Coach Profile

Meet Ashley Daly
Coach Profile of the Month
ashleyAshley Daly is an eclectic academic coach. Mathematicians and mountaineers do not usually go hand in hand, but Ashley brings a variety of interests to the table.  While working on her Masters at UCLA's Teacher Education Program, specializing in Secondary Mathematics, Ashley teaches Math at Miguel Contreras High School in downtown Los Angeles. With her passion for social justice and her background in theater and outdoor adventure, Ashley looks for ways to connect with students using a variety of different levels. Her coaching technique is to make math accessible to her students by looking for ways to make it relevant in their lives. When she's not teaching, Ashley can be found leading backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, and camping trips as a guide for UCLA Outdoor Adventures.

We consider it a privilege and an honor to support students and their families throughout the Los Angeles area.  Please call us at any time; we welcome your thoughts and input.  We are available at 310-823-4398.
Jamie Altshule & Eric Altshule
Academic Success, Inc.