Club Z! Tutoring

Eat Your Way to a Higher SAT/ACT Score

Eat Your Way to a Higher SAT/ACT Score

Ask any parent, or student for that matter, what factors into achieving top scores on important tests, like the SAT or ACT college entrance exams, and they’ll likely rattle off the usual suspects – hard work, focus, studying, reviewing materials, and practice, practice, practice! But there are so many other factors that go into achieving top scores on the SAT and ACT tests, including nutrition. That’s right – students can actually eat their way to higher SAT and ACT test scores! Or, at least they can set themselves up for success on these important tests by preparing with a nutrient-rich and filling meal on test day.

According to this recent article from Huffpost, students need nutritious meals in order to perform their best, but many schools lack adequate funding, and infrastructure, to provide suitable meal programs. The article states:

Studies have shown that healthier meals could increase student scores by about 4 percentage points on average. Healthier meals have also proved to help improve student attendance and behave better in class. However, our students are not able to realize their full potential because we are not giving them the tools to get there. Furthermore, our schools need additional resources and personnel to help create innovative lunchroom strategies and programs.

This logic holds true for students who are planning to take the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. This article from the Chicago Tribune also suggests a breakfast meal with high fiber, carbohydrates and “brain food” such as fatty acids to keep minds sharp, and stomachs from grumbling. When you consider that each test is roughly 3 to 4 hours in length, preparing ahead with a well-balanced and healthy meal means students can focus on recalling information they’ve studied more readily, instead of thinking about that granola bar waiting for them in their backpack.

For ideas on the best breakfasts for SAT and ACT test day, check out this article from Care.com or these ideas for “brain food for exams” from Pinterest. If you need help preparing for the content that’s measured on the SAT or ACT, call the experts at Club Z! Tutoring at 800-434-2582 and ask about taking our free diagnostic test.

10 Surefire Idea-Starters to Fight Cabin Fever this Winter

10 Surefire Idea-Starters to Fight Cabin Fever this Winter

Does the wintry weather have you worrying about how to keep your kids from getting cabin fever (a.k.a. keeping your sanity)? Here are 10 surefire idea-starters to help beat winter cabin fever:

  1. Build a fort. All you need are a few chairs and blankets or sheets and let your imaginations soar! This will keep your kids entertained for hours on end as they pretend it’s a fortress, a secret hideaway, or a special winter igloo. Help bring their ideas to life by checking out the best 25 blanket fort ideas on Pinterest.
  2. Indoor camping and a picnic. Take a blanket (preferably one that is washable) and spread it out on the living room floor. Make lunch together and then enjoy eating it as a family picnic-style from within the warmth of your home! For ideas on what to serve, check out these easy picnic recipe ideas from BuzzFeed.
  3. Make “play dough.” If you’ve got flour, water, and salt in the cupboard, you can make homemade play dough. If you want to take it up a notch, pull out some food coloring or vanilla extract! Not to worry if your little one ends up mistaking some for real food- it’s all natural and safe. Watch this YouTube video from Play Doh Kitchen for step-by-step instructions on how to make your own version of the gooey fun dough.
  4. Go exploring. Bundle up the kids and prepare to hit the town! Pretend you’re a tourist and see what new treasures you can find just down the street. There are plenty of free or low cost places to visit in your town, such as the library, your local fire station (call ahead to request a tour!), or an art gallery.
  5. Get crafty. It’s never too early to start on Easter decorations! Or work on creative thank you cards for Christmas presents.
  6. Have fun in the kitchen. Let your kids help you bake cookies, muffins, or pancakes. Sky is the limit! Blue and pink swirl pancakes? Why not?! Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink muffins? Sounds good to us!
  7. Play dress up. Leftover ugly Christmas sweaters from your aunt Norma? No problem! Let the kids have at ‘em and have yourself a good old fashioned fashion show. Your entryway can double as a super fabulous catwalk.
  8. Have a dance party. Crank up the tunes and let everyone shake their stuff to the beat. Come up with creative dances, or break into teams and have a dance-off. This one doubles as a great energy burner! Check out these family-friendly playlists from Spotify.
  9. Play board games or card games. When all else fails, don’t rule out the old board or card games. These may be old news to you, but it could open an exciting new world for your little ones. Even something as simple as Go Fish can help stave off even the most brutal winter boredom blues.
  10. Practice math. Ok, ok, we know this won’t make any of your children’s top-10 lists, but there ARE ways to make math fun! Find opportunities to practice math facts using every day items or activities in the home, and watch math confidence soar this spring! If your child needs some extra help with math, consider hiring a professional math tutor.
ACT vs. SAT – What’s the Difference?

ACT vs. SAT – What’s the Difference?

Preparing for college is a process that spans a student’s entire high school career and parents can play an important role in keeping the focus on the ultimate goal, even while students can get distracted with all the excitement of high school. It’s important to have a comprehensive college preparation plan in place starting in the student’s Freshman year, ranging from an academic “college prep” curriculum plan, to a skills-and-resume-building plan to broaden the student’s experiences in the real world. These include activities like volunteering, joining clubs, completing internships, and participating in other service opportunities. Your guidance in helping your child select and commit to these activities is crucial to making the experiences a success.  In addition to the college selection and application process, college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT are a major component of the process. It’s important for parents to understand these entrance exams, and help the student put together a plan to prepare for them and optimize their scores, so they have a better chance to get into the college of their dreams.

What is on the ACT and SAT exams?

The ACT (formerly American College Testing) is a four-part exam with an optional essay component. Though once only used by colleges in the Midwest, the ACT has grown in popularity in recent years and is now accepted by virtually every university. The ACT test includes:

  • English: 75 questions in 45 minutes. This test requires students to choose the best corrections for grammatical errors in a sample passage.
  • Mathematics: 60 questions in 60 minutes. This test includes 24 problems in Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra, 18 questions in Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry and 18 questions in Plane Geometry/Trigonometry.
  • Reading: 40 questions in 35 minutes. This test requires students to read passages and answer both factual and interpretive questions about them. Half of the questions are based on readings in Social Studies and Science; the other half are based on readings in Arts and Literature.
  • Science: 40 questions in 35 minutes. This test presents students with data (charts, graphs or summaries of experiments) and asks questions that require students to analyze and interpret data using skills typically taught in science classes.
  • Writing: One essay in 30 minutes. This optional test requires students to write an essay arguing their opinion about an issue presented in the writing prompt.

SAT Basics

The SAT (Stanford Achievement Test) is the best known college admissions test and has undergone several changes in recent years, including a revamping of the essay component in 2016. The latest version of the SAT includes:

  • Reading: 52 questions in 65 minutes. This test requires students to read passages based mainly on Social Studies and Science. Questions include defining vocabulary based on context clues, analyzing how the author creates an argument, and selecting supporting evidence.
  • Writing and Language: 44 questions in 35 minutes. This test requires students to read passages based mainly on Social Studies and Science topics, but the passages contain errors. Students are asked questions about correcting grammatical and vocabulary errors as well as questions about topic development and organization of ideas and evidence.
  • Math: 58 questions in 80 minutes. Students are asked to solve word problems based on scientific and career scenarios, sometimes involving the use of graphs or other visual representations of data. About half the questions allow use of a calculator while half do not.
  • Essay: One essay in 50 minutes. This optional test provides students with a reading passage that presents an argument on a topic. Students must write an essay that analyzes the author’s reasoning and rhetorical strategies. The essay is scored on its content as well as its organization and adherence to good grammar and standard writing conventions.

Which Test Should My Child Take?

Ideally, students are well served to take both exams. Because most colleges accept either, taking both the ACT and the SAT doubles your child’s chances of scoring well. Usually, because of the different pacing, format, and focus of the two exams, a student does better on one than the other.  So that study time is used most effectively, most students select and prepare for the exam that suits them the best. Your child will likely have a clear preference for one style of test. The best way to decide which exam is best for your child is to have them take full practice exams for both the ACT and SAT. Most comprehensive test preparation programs will include practice exams to determine the best test for your student. Club Z! is offering a FREE SAT or ACT diagnostic test, with detailed reporting and 30 days of access to their online study tool, now through May 30, 2018.

When Should My Child Take their College Admissions Test?

Both the ACT and the SAT are designed to be taken by high school students who have had three years of English courses and have completed Algebra I, II, and Geometry coursework. The ACT also features basic trigonometry, though the SAT does not. Taking the test in the Spring of their Junior year allows students ample time to learn the material they’ll need to know to answer the questions.  For the ACT, choose the April or June test date so that you can use their Test Information Release service, which provides a copy of all test questions and student answers along with the score. The SAT Question-and-Answer service is similar and is offered on the May test date. This valuable information shows your child which areas need improvement and can guide further independent study or work with a tutor. The Spring test date allows your child to brush up on skills during the Summer and retake the test in the Fall of Senior year, which usually leads to improved scores in time for inclusion in college applications.

Test Anxiety and Preparing for the Exams

Test anxiety is normal and almost every student experiences some level of nervousness about the test. As a parent, you can help your student feel more comfortable by helping them feel prepared and confident as the exam approaches. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if your student is feeling anxious:

  1. Maintain a positive attitude when talking about standardized tests and the college admissions process in general. Your child will pick up on your positive feelings and this will lessen their worry and anxiety.
  2. Help teach your student early in high school how to prepare for quizzes, tests and exams by reviewing materials with them and helping them master study skills.
  3. Plan to have the student take the exam more than once so a single exam feels less significant, starting in the Sophomore year with the PSAT.
  4. Begin a test prep program early so that your child has time to get to know the exam format and master the topics that will be covered. Include a few practice exams to make them feel familiar with the test format. Start the prep at least eight weeks before the exam date, earlier if anxiety, a busy schedule or academic deficits are factors.
  5. Find a supportive, experienced, one-on-one tutor who can work closely with the student on improving performance and building confidence, and can help the student learn coping mechanisms to overcome their test anxiety well before test day.
  6. Practice concepts your student has learned for the exam aloud with them. Have them explain the ideas to you. By “teaching” you they will better internalize the material for themselves.
  7. Even if they stumble during the test prep period, express confidence in your child’s ability to reach their goal and remain steady and supportive. Keep their study schedule on track so that there is a consistent message that this is an important commitment and goal they can attain.
  8. Make sure they are well rested the night before the exam and get a healthy breakfast for increased stamina and alertness.
  9. Have your student prepare their things for the test the night before (pencils, calculator, water bottle, etc) so there’s no panic or rush in the morning.
  10. Be positive, calm and supportive all the way to the test center which will signal to your child that you have confidence in them.

For help with your SAT and ACT test preparation, call or contact a Z Prep! consultant today at 800-434-2582.

Are There Really Such Things as “Learning Styles”?

Are There Really Such Things as “Learning Styles”?

Students all learn at different paces, and in different ways. That is why Club Z!’s proven study skills program, Learning Built to Last®, begins with a learning style inventory. This helps Club Z! tutors customize a program to help each student’s unique needs. Understanding how students learn, or their preferred learning styles, leads to better understanding and retention of information.

Are there really learning styles?

The Learning Built to Last® study skills program starts with a proprietary Learning Style Diagnostic Test. This test helps students identify which of five learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, sequential, and/or global) they prefer. Visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles are considered sensory learning styles because they deal with learning information through your 5 senses; while sequential and global learning styles have to do with the order in which you prefer to learn information. According to the study skills experts at Club Z!, understanding how you learn best allows you to study more effectively, and improve your knowledge acquisition and retention.

In addition to the Learning Style Diagnostic Test, Club Z!’s Learning Built to Last® study skills program also includes a Study Skills Diagnostic Test, which identifies eleven different academic tools necessary for success in school, and shows which of those tools each student needs to use better. The results of the Study Skills Diagnostic include insightful details on a student’s memorization, concentration, writing, organization, test-taking, information gathering, time-management, anxiety, study habits, comprehension, attitude and motivation.

Students suffering from poor grades across several subjects often struggle more from a lack of study skills than anything else. If you’re curious to find out what kind of learning style best suits your student, Club Z! is offering a free Learning Style Diagnostic Test now through February 28, 2018. Simply call 800-434-2582 or visit https://clubztutoring.com/academic-tutoring/learn-study-skills/ to receive your free learning style diagnostic test and a copy of Club Z!’s 10 Study Tips Every Student Should Know e-brochure.

Club Z!’s Pre-K Tutoring Program Makes a Big Difference

Club Z!’s Pre-K Tutoring Program Makes a Big Difference

If you have a child that is turning 5 this year, you are no doubt considering your options for Kindergarten, and possibly wondering if your child is ready for the rigors of a structured classroom. Many parents feel pressured that if they don’t start early enough, their child will struggle. Simply turn on the TV and flip to just about any “children’s” station and you’ll be inundated with commercials telling you that your 18 month old can read, or challenging you to help your 2 year old learn to add and subtract! And while there are numerous studies lauding the benefits of early academic enrichment, how is a parent to strike that all-important balance of letting a kid still be a kid? A high quality Pre-K tutoring program, such as the one offered by Club Z!, can make a big difference!

The Importance of Early Childhood Education

The National Association for the Education of Young Children, a professional organization promoting excellence in early childhood education, praises the value of play in teaching children to build cognitive, social and physical skills. A good early childhood enrichment plan should incorporate play into its programming. This allows children to build pre-reading and pre-math skills naturally, and avoids making the learning process a negative or forced experience. That in turn helps children develop a love of learning and a natural ability to problem solve and develop higher level thinking. For example, letting your toddler play with plastic measuring cups helps him figure out how the cups nest into one another based on size and shape and also allows him to apply those same early critical thinking skills to other shapes and objects. And surprise – it ends up sneaking in important building blocks for geometry and other basic math!

Finding a High-Quality Pre-K Program

Early enrichment programs focused solely on drilling information and helping children memorize facts and figures, without the incorporation of play, seem to gather the most criticism. For example, in a 2011 article in the New York Times, Allisaon Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley (ranked #20 by U.S. News amongst all national universities) had this to say about such “drill and skill” programs, “The best you can say is that they’re useless,” said Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who compared the escalation of supplemental education with Irish elk competing to see which had the biggest antlers. “The result is that they go around tottering, unable to walk, under the enormous weight of these antlers they’ve developed,” she said. “I think it’s true of American parents from high school all the way down to preschool.”   

Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Readiness Preparation

As parents, one of our primary roles is to help our children develop into independent, capable adults. It doesn’t hurt to help a child begin flexing those cognitive muscles early in life, but balancing it out with healthy doses of play, imagination, and make-believe seem to offer the most well-rounded and effective approach. Some simple ways to do this are to participate as a partner in your child’s play by taking on assigned roles, imitating him and letting him imitate you; encourage your child’s thoughts and ideas throughout each day by listening and offering opportunities for her to talk to you about what she’s doing; and make sure your child has plenty of opportunities to express himself – verbally and also through crayons, stickers, clay, etc.

Club Z!’s Pre-K Program Makes a Difference

Parents who are interested in taking it a step further are encouraged to check out the Club Z! Kindergarten readiness program, Let the Learning Begin, which is designed for children ages 3-5. Each lesson in the program is designed to take place in a one-hour time span, with 30 minutes dedicated to tutor-initiated activities and 30 minutes dedicated to child-initiated activities. Tutor-initiated activities include any lesson or activity that is selected by the tutor. Child-initiated activities include any lesson or activity that is selected by the student. This can take the form of structured or un-structured play – the child can either choose to engage in a lesson plan/activity relative to their expressed interest, or they can simply choose to engage in open play time. The tutor’s role is to relate the activity or the open play time to the cognitive, emotional/social, language and/or motor skill development goals associated with that day’s theme.

After 20 years in the tutoring industry, we’ve learned a few things about what it takes to help students succeed.Sure, we may be biased, but we truly believe that no other tutoring company cares as much about its clients, or goes to as much trouble to ensure their satisfaction and success as Club Z! Our personal touch is evident in everything from the initial consultation with you and your child to the placement of a perfectly matched tutor. This commitment to quality and academic success truly makes The Club Z! Difference. Our tutors are thoroughly screened and background checked prior to hiring. Through our proprietary “Z! Tutor Match” system, we go to great lengths to match them with students based on personality, learning preferences, and academic strengths and weaknesses. And with our “Z! Guarantee” you get the right tutor every time, guaranteed!

The Z! Tutor Match

Our proprietary Z! Tutor Match process ensures that we match the right tutor to your child every time! In fact, we’re so confident that you’ll love our tutors, we guarantee the match. Through our Z! Guarantee program, if you are unsatisfied with the tutor selected for your child, simply let us know and we’ll make a more suitable match ASAP. It’s that simple! How can we be this confident? Our Z! Tutor Match is made based on the following 4 criteria:

  • Academic Strengths: Our tutors are experts in their subject area(s) and are matched with your student based on his/her academic weaknesses. Many of our tutors are certified teachers, and all possess an educational degree and relevant tutoring experience. In addition, all are thoroughly screened and background checked prior to receiving a student assignment.
  • Availability: Our tutors are matched with your student based on your scheduling preferences. Whether it’s after school, weekends, evenings, or during academic breaks, our tutors can accommodate even the busiest academic or athletic schedules.
  • Personality: We match our tutors with your student based on complementary personality traits.  The introduction of an encouraging third party with whom your student can relate can often restart a fresh flow of learning.  Plus, the same tutor will teach the child every time so that rapport can develop.
  • Teaching Style: Our tutors are matched with your student based on his/her preferred learning style.  Our tutors are effective because they understand the personality, interests, and learning style of their students.  We believe that when a student is seen as a whole, both learning and self-esteem can flourish.


Whatever path you take, parental involvement in your child’s early education is a critical component to successful cognitive, emotional, social, physical and language development. Listen to your children. Give them an opportunity to grow naturally into their own persons. And praise them often.

“Parents and families play an enormous role in shaping a child’s social and emotional development. Early relationships with parents lay the foundation on which social competency and peer relationships are built. Parents who support positive emotional development interact with their children affectionately; show consideration for their feelings, desires and needs; express interest in their daily activities; respect their viewpoints; express pride in their accomplishments; and provide encouragement and support during times of stress. This support greatly increases the likelihood that children will develop early emotional competence, will be better prepared to enter school, and less likely to display behavior problems at home and at school. This is why many preschool programs include a focus on parent involvement.”

– National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Early Childcare Research Network (2002)

To find out more about how Club Z! can help your child prepare for Kindergarten, call 800-434-2582 (CLUB).

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