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6 Ways To Know It's Time For A Private Tutor
  • Posted on Tue, Dec 15, 2015 @ 08:12 AM
The Ultimate College Application & Essay Coaching Road Map
  • Posted on Sat, Dec 12, 2015 @ 10:12 AM

 The college application process can be exciting, confusing, and let’s face it, a bit overwhelming.

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The 10 Best Ways to Gain Academic Enrichment
  • Posted on Wed, May 27, 2015 @ 06:05 AM
3 Steps To Reducing Anxiety and Improving Academic Performance
  • Posted on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 13:05 PM


It has been estimated that millions of children nationwide are affected by severe anxiety (Hill & Wigfield, 1984). The negative impact that anxiety can have on a student is serious. While a mild amount of anxiety can actually be considered motivating for a student, student's with excessive amounts of anxiety can interfere with one’s memory, which can make it difficult to perform on a test or perform in other ways (Huberty, 2009). Students with severe anxiety can lead them to a lack of motivation, a lowered self-esteem, consistent issues with academic performance and even early withdrawal of school (Cowden, 2014).

Anxiety as it relates to academic performance is of significant importance to me due to my own experience with severe anxiety through my high school, college and early post college years. While I discovered tools in my adult years to help me cope with anxiety, I believe school would not have been so challenging for me had I had the tools then! It is in this vain that I have devoted so much of my time to researching academic anxiety. In this blog post, I share with you research supported steps that will help reduce the anxiety children experience and thus perform better academically. Ready? Let’s get started.

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Social Circles Affecting Your Student's Grades
  • Posted on Sat, May 09, 2015 @ 17:05 PM

Social Influences

It is no secret that students of all ages are influenced by their peers. These influences can range from affecting the way a student dresses to the way a student performs in school. Even as adults our social networks can influence the way we eat, travel, work or think. As adults, we know that one person doesn’t often influence our way of life. The same concept applies to young students. While one student might not make a change in your student’s academic behavior, a group of them can – whether it be for better or for worse. In this case a tutor could help.

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The Adverse Effects of Larger Classrooms on Today’s Students
  • Posted on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 @ 16:04 PM

The Classroom Size Debate

The size of students classrooms have always been a topic of heated debate. Parents, teachers, state and local education departments have a hard time agreeing on this topic. Studies have shown that students in smaller classrooms achieve a better education and level of learning. The problem with smaller class sizes is that schools will need to hire more teachers to accommodate the students. This leads to the problem of funding, because smaller class sizes means more money. 

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The Benefits For Your Child When You Read To Them
  • Posted on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 @ 13:04 PM

Education Starts at Home

There is an old saying that states "education starts at home." In keeping with the spirit of that saying, it is important that you spend time reading to your pre-schooler on a regular basis. Not only will the bond between you and your child become stronger, you'll be setting them up for academic success moving forward. Here is a look at some of the many reasons that reading to your pre-schooler is beneficial.

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Make Learning Fun
  • Posted on Wed, Apr 01, 2015 @ 14:04 PM
Learning does not always have to be a chore. Children often dread having to learn outside of the classroom, fortunately there are great ways to help children learn besides homework, lectures and tests. Adding playful learning to a family’s schedule is not only fun, but is also a great way for students to synthesize the information they learn in school.
It may seem like an arduous task for a busy family to incorporatate more learning opportunities into their schedule, but it does not have to be. Playful learning is a fun and easy way to help explore various subjects such as math, science and reading outside of the classroom through memorable activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. 

Each year, our school systems require students to be taught a standard curriculum. Since there is such a vast amount of topics that are required to be taught, lessons are often rushed and or skimmed over in order to begin next lesson.

Due to this, students are often deprived the proper amount of time that is needed to explore the concepts they are taught. In essence, children miss the opportunity to “play” with those ideas and tasks. Playful learning can help make those lessons more memorable, tactile and enjoyable.


Playful learning does not have to be complicated. It can be as easy as gamifying everyday tasks.

For example, one way to work on math is to have your child help you the kitchen. Not only can those tasks be yummy and enjoyable for you both, but they can also help your child to conceptualize measurement, time, calculation and basic counting.

Another example is to have fun with spring cleaning by having your student race to count how many action figures they have, or have them guess how many toys can fit into a bin. These spatial and counting skills are great assets to develop and finding active ways to include them into daily tasks can be easy and fun.

Geometry and physics are examples that can be difficult for many students. Investing in blocks, engineering toys such as Littlebits, Legos and rector sets help to set a student up with an understanding of the scientific method. Through continued use, students will learn from their mistakes as well as how perseverance pays off. 

Take a short afternoon trip to a Lego store and work with your student on not just creating the image on the box, but the infinite other creations that can be built. Another benefical game is to task your student with getting a marble from one end of the room to the other. Student will hone their spatial and engineering mind in order to come up with a solution

Not convinced? Call us for some added tips. Our tutors can help you devise some playful learning opportunities for you and your family.

Indoor/Outdoor Gardening/CultivationSuch activities might include:

  • Performing bedtime stories – or any book.
  • Exploring Nature - local parks and forest preserves can be an easy way to find learning opportunities.
  • Geocaching – “treasure” hunting in the digital world.
  • Making games/toys from everyday objects - Bozo Buckets, paper plate masks, building forts, etc.
  • Homemade Chemistry - i.e. vinegar and baking soda, food coloring, etc.
  • Family poetry and stories.
  • Photo Contests - nature or around the house.
  • Green Technology - composting, rainwater collection, etc.

There are so many ways to make learning playful and productive. In the end, these types of activities are more beneficial than the common routines of cartoon, video games and social media.Playful learning makes learning simple and even complex concepts more tangible, relatable and fun. Take some time and think about how you can integrate more playful learning into your student’s life.

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Spring Advice For High School Seniors
  • Posted on Wed, Apr 01, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

Finally! This is the month.

This is the month you’ve been waiting for, working towards over the past three years of high school, and now it’s time to make your choice.  Here are some things to think about:

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Benefits to Taking the ACT Test A Second Time
  • Posted on Sun, Mar 15, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

Is it really worth it to retest?

With a test like the ACT, practice makes perfect. Studying alone can help, but tutoring and practice exams have more of a positive impact on a students score. It's always important to consider taking the ACT multiple times.   

If a student wants to increase the overall average of their composite score, they should retake the test. The ACT uses a composite score which means, the final score is a combined average of the four sections of the test.

So, is the test really worth taking again? Yes!

Not every student will improve their scores, but according to the people at ACT.org 57% of students increased their composite score with a retest.
There are several factors that come into play the first time a student takes the ACT. 
  • A student might exhibit poor time management or test strategy.
  • A student might be more nervous or anxious.
  • A student might be sick, emotionally compromised (they are adolescents, after all), or poorly prepared.
  • Their expectations of the exam did not match the actual experience of taking the exam.

One section of the test can significantly impact the composite score. So, how does one make sure a retest is successful?

Learn from the First Test

Examine the scores from the first test and consider which sections need the most improvement. A private ACT tutor can impact the scores on each section dramatically. If a student’s English and reading scores were significantly lower than the Math and Science sections, a tutor's help can be the missing factor for success in all categories. If you need an ACT tutor in Chicago, Chicago Academic would be a good company to check out. 

Be Realistic

In the world of college admissions, the difference of 1-2 points on a ACT test can make the difference between getting into the right school or not. While its important to remember, students with an initial score between 18 and 31, only have a 1% chance of improving a score by 5 points. If the initial score is higher, there is a less likely chance a student will have any significant improvement beyond 1-2 points. 


It’s always better to take the test sooner rather than later. Taking the test within three months will help to retain the information and the strategy. If a student takes the test in April, be sure to register for the next test in June.

Don’t Stress

Remember the importance of remaining calm. Putting any unnecessary stress on the test can have an extremely negative outcome on your score. The best we can do, is to remember to take a deep breath and be sure we are well prepared and well practiced.

There is a reason that the ACT can be taken several times. The variety of reasons behind why a student didn’t preform the way they had hoped they would the first time is why they are given the opportunity for multiple tests. College entrance exams aren’t an exact science, having multiple opportunities ensures that each student has a fair shot.

Need ACT Test Prep?

Are you interested in tutoring for the ACT? Chicago Academic can help! Click here to contact us today.

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