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In This Issue:
Amid the Confusion, Some Helpful Advice
Becoming A Better Learner
Coach of the Month: Robert Johnson
Quick Links


Academic Success Partner of the Month

This month we're delighted to introduce our newest Success Partner, Lauren Leavitt and her company Educational Resources Consultants.

Lauren is a well-recognized authority in the field of post-secondary placements for learning differences. Having a daughter with learning differences of her own, Lauren is uniquely placed to guide parents of kids with learning differences through the challenges that come with planning their child's academic life after high school.

Educational Resource Consultants specializes in helping students with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome and other differences choose a postsecondary setting that will help them maximize their potential and let them thrive.

A highly sought educational specialist for over 30 years, Lauren has successfully assisted students and their families in the identification of appropriate programs at over 100 educational institutions throughout the United States and Canada.

She works closely with admissions departments of traditional colleges and universities, two year public and private colleges, transitional and preparatory programs and alternative educational opportunities.

With her extensive background and distinct ability to relate to each family that turns to her for help, Lauren has become an unmatched educational ally that families turn to time and again. For more information, email her or visit her website.

Looking for a Student Community Service Opportunity?

Meet Rickey Smith, social entrepreneur and owner of the sustainable food business Urban Green. He's started a community education venture called the Urban Green Kids Row program, creating opportunities for kids from diverse backgrounds to participate in many activities related to food sustainability, from planting seeds  to learning about how organic food is grown and harvested. For more info on a terrific community service and volunteering opportunity for kids, email Rickey, visit the website at

or call (800) 200 3320. 

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two-minute video we recently produced to give you a feel for who we are, our philosophy and the way we approach our work
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.

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Looking for a College Counselor or Ed Therapist?
We work and 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.

"The Entire Strategy For Scoring High on the SAT Just Changed."
That was the headline of our lead article this month that details the first significant changes  made to the SAT since 2005.
Change has been in the air. With implementation of new Common Core educational standards being introduced this year (and reported on in last month's issue), parents and students must now adapt to changes in our pre-eminent college exam. 
As with every shift in our educational landscape, there is no shortage of argument for and against the revisions. Some argue that the exam has been "dumbed down" with such initiatives as the abolition of the wrong answer penalty, which may encourage more guessing. Others believe the test will now reflect the requirements of life after school by doing away with obscure references and so-called "SAT words". 
In this month's edition we'll present reasoned argument for and against the changes and offer advice from educational experts on how to adjust and be optimally prepared for the new SAT in 2016.

At Academic Success, we're not only focused on meeting the challenges of the moment, but also equipping our students for those that lie ahead. 
Please call with any questions at (310) 823 4398 or


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All the best,


The Academic Success Team


"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

                                                            - Colin Powell

Education News 

Amid the Confusion, Some Helpful Advice


Beyond the controversy and heated argument surrounding the changes, it's easy to forget those who'll be most affected by the new SAT: the students. This helpful, informative piece by an educational author should clear up any confusion while also setting student's minds at ease.


A View From The SAT Trenches


As education officals, teachers and parents go into overdrive preparing for the new SAT in 2016, it's important not to neglect the kids taking the current test this year and next. This edifying yet humorous LA Times op-ed, written by a junior at Crossroads high school in Santa Monica, presents some good ideas that could help with the transition. 


SAT Changes: Bad For Education?


With so many of our students engaging in "text speak" and a lack of emphasis on writing in our schools, the decision to do away with the essay portion of the test has raised an outcry. This impassioned critique of the changes makes a strong argument for maintaining high academic standards with more rigorous testing, not less.

New SAT May Even Out The Playing Field


While there may be disagreement over how best to measure kids' academic achievement, the fact remains that in recent years higher scores began to correlate more often with higher income. This insightful piece makes the case for the SAT changes, detailing how the new test will put lower-income students in a better position to achieve success. 


Is The SAT Itself the Problem?
One thing the College Board would likely admit is that no SAT will please all the stakeholders on the educational landscape. That said, there are many who question the very existence of the test and its efficacy in giving students the best chance for advancement. This MSNBC online piece offers a broad perspective on the issue, citing research that suggests the SAT is a poor indicator of how students will fare in college. 

Study Tips 

Becoming A Better Learner

A lot of attention is given to helping students become more disciplined with regard to their study time. Half the battle is often won just by showing up on a daily basis and putting in the effort.
Yet it has also become clear to education experts in recent years that the key to academic success isn't just being willing to learn- it's also being an 
effective learner
Employing smart strategies to help yourself assimilate and gain a complete command of information can sometimes be the difference between good grades and high academic achievement. 
Thinking out loud about a subject is a fantastic way of cementing knowledge. Ask yourself questions, come at it from different angles, challenge yourself on your weak points. 
Drawing a knowledge map or diagram is another strategy that can help you to discover what you've retained from your study and class time. Putting the pieces down on paper can enable you to make sense of a subject in an entirely new way.
When taking in new information, check in and remind yourself of what you already know. This can clarify what you've already learnt and allow the new material to take root.
Inventing questions to ask yourself on a topic not only tests your knowledge: it usually opens up new pathways to explore that often deepen and strengthen your command of the information.
Learning can be a challenging process. Those students who are able to become better at learning will put themselves in prime position to have a more enjoyable, relaxed and successful academic life.

Coach Profile 

Meet Robert Johnson,
  Coach Profile of The Month  


With all the changes being announced for the SAT, we thought it was time to revisit the head of our Standardized Test Prep team, Robert Johnson. Robert specializes in standardized test preparation for SAT, SAT II's, the ISEE and ACT. This is what he had to say recently about the continuing need for quality test prep: "Although the College Board has stated it hopes to shift the culture of SAT test preparation, these upcoming changes will present an array of challenges to students.  What isn't changing is that hard work and taking practice tests will still pay off.  Just as in 2005, the new changes in the SAT are sure to engender some confusion.  Academic Success's Standardized Test Department has and will continue to provide students with not only the coaching but also the clarity that will help them to raise their scores as efficiently as possible." Robert has successfully worked with pupils ranging from fifth graders all the way to graduate students for the last fifteen years in a wide range of subjects including math, history and writing.

In addition to working as an educator, Robert has written and performed sketch comedy in New York City and recently gained his brown belt in Shotokan Karate, with a black belt to follow.

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
Academic Success, Inc.