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Build Core Test Skills this Summer

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Students planning to write the SAT or ACT exams won’t want to miss the Core Test Skills Boot Camp.  Need to work on your math? Improve your understanding of grammar? Looking for insights into effective test-taking? Hoping to strengthen your reading comprehension skills? The boot camp has you covered. It’s a week-long deep dive into everything you need to know for success on both exams, and the skills students develop will serve them well during their regular academics as well. 

I sat down (virtually, of course) with Options’ Educational Consultant Monika Gay to chat about the course. Read on for our conversation. 

Build core test skills for success on the ACT and SAT exams

Marisa: Like me, you’ve been teaching writing, reading, and test-taking for many years. What’s your favourite topic to teach? 

Monika: I like teaching critical reading the most, and my favourite kind of question to teach is ‘Vocabulary in Context.’ In these questions, students are asked about the meaning of a word in a passage. For example, if I say “the student answered the question in a similar vein,” what does that word mean here? Is it the thing that carries your blood? Does it mean an underground deposit of a mineral? Or does it mean “manner or style”? I like any opportunity to think about words, and where they come from, and how to use critical reading strategies to figure out what they mean. Also, this gives me a chance to let the class guess which word in the English language has the most meanings. (It’s “set,” with more than 430 definitions in the Oxford Dictionary.)

Marisa: What’s the thing you hear most often from students? 

Monika: Mostly that they can’t remember having explicitly been taught the critical reading and writing skills we cover. For example, their teachers often tell them that a sentence is “wordy” or “awkward,” when actually they are making a specific grammar mistake. When they know what it is, they become stronger writers. Also, many want shortcuts for the critical reading section. I will happily teach them everything I know about test-taking strategy and techniques for different kinds of questions, but they also need to READ A LOT to build reading speed and comprehension. 

Marisa: Yes, I always hear students say they want the secret to faster reading. But as we know, the secret is just to read more! One last question: what’s the value of attending a week-long boot camp? 

The benefits of a multi-day workshop are that core test skills can be taught, tested, refreshed, and re-tested. This process allows students to truly understand new ideas through review and practice. It also allows us to cover all the principal grammar and reading skills for both tests, and it lets our math teachers cover many concepts as well. Also, the longer schedule lets us use examples from both the ACT and SAT, which gives students a sense of which test they prefer.


The core test skills workshop will be interactive, allowing students to put their newly acquired skills into practice. The boot camp takes place virtually from July 20th-24th, from 10 am to 1 pm. For more information or to secure your spot, contact us at info@optionssolutionsed.com or at 604-922-8456. 

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