Tampa English Tutor Tips for Tackling Paired Passages on the SAT

Posted on 27th March 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

Paired passages give many students taking the verbal sections of the SAT difficulties. It’s easy to see why students hate paired passages because they require decoding two passages and using higher order thinking to make comparisons and draw conclusions.

The key to scoring well on SAT paired passages questions is to approach them systematically. This is the approach that I teach my Tampa SAT tutoring students:

  1. Read the first passage
  2. Pay attention to tone, point of view, and conclusions
  3. Answer all of the questions that pertain to the first passage only.
  4. Read the second passage–noting the differences in tone, point of view, and conclusions
  5. Answer the questions that pertain to passage two–referring back to the passage as needed.
  6. Answer the passages that pertain to both passages.

Paired passage SAT questions are much easier if you attack them this way. You will not have to try to keep both passages in mind if you attack them one at a time and save the questions about both passages for last.

What other tips have helped you score better on SAT paired passages?

If you are struggling on any section of the verbal SAT, call Tampa English Tutor Eric Anderson at 813.787.8959 for a private one-on-one SAT tutoring in Tampa, FL.


Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 3/27/2009 1:20 PM


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Tampa English Tutor Reveals 4 Keys to Better Writing

Posted on 5th March 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

Some students give up on writing better because they convince themselves that only “born writers” can write well. Born writers begin life looking for an outlet for a Dell laptop so that they can bang out 500 words before nap time.

(Photo by Lucas Cobb and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.)

Let’s begin from these premises: Writing is a skill, and mere mortals can learn to write well.

I remember a job interview for a web content writing job I had with a CEO of search engine marketing company. “The way to rank a website on page one in Google isn’t a secret, but it requires work that’s tedious,” he said. “Most people aren’t willing to work at it for as long as it takes to achieve.”

Tampa English Tutor thinks that’s equally true of learning to write well. They may not act on the knowledge, but most students know how to improve their writing:

  • Read Good Writing – Find good writers and read them. Good writing can be found in the Wall Street Journal,

Tampa Tribune, and Sports Illustrated. Read the best writing you can find about topics that interest you.

  • Practice Writing – Writing better requires writing frequently. Start a blog, keep a journal, and make time for writing.
  • Revise Your Writing – You are not a bad writer because your first draft sucks. Good writers separate themselves from average writers by their willingness to revise more often and more extensively. Even when you’re convinced your piece of writing is a final draft, set it aside. Look at it again after a day or two.
  • Proofread Your Writing – Tampa English Tutor Axiom: Trust not the MS Word spell checker to catch grammar or spelling errors. Make proofreading a habit.

Students who use these four keys are destined to become clearer thinkers and better writers.

Tampa English Tutor Eric Anderson is a Stetson University graduate and the owner of I-Tutor-English (http://www.I-Tutor-English.com). The company provides affordable private English and history tutoring in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel. Reach Eric at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 3/5/2009 3:11 AM

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Private Tutor in Tampa, FL Learns a “Now I do” Lesson

Posted on 3rd March 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

On my step daughter’s birthday, I learned she had been doing poorly in PreCalculus. She’s always been an A or B student and a gifted math student. When she first mentioned that she was finding her homework harder, I offered her an encouraging word about her better-than-average math skills.

She was totally lost in the class. She has been bringing home “refrigerator door report cards” for so long that my wife and I stopped monitoring online grades. But the missing progress report came up in conversation at my step daughter’s birthday party.

“Hey, I haven’t seen your last progress report, have I?”


“You’re doing okay, I mean there isn’t anything I need to know, is there?”

“I’m getting a D in Pre-Calculus. It’s hard. Really hard. The cheerleader next to me gets it, and I’m lost. Can you get me moved out of there?”

Not really. Not in the middle of the third quarter.

I was angry when I overheard this conversation. I ask about my step daughter’s schooling every day.

I had asked about her classes, but I wasn’t tuned in to the answer she gave. Having never really struggled in a class, she was ashamed to tell us that she wasn’t getting an A or a B. I’m not sure what she imagined we would do, but we hired a private tutor immediately. ( I know a very good math tutor for any readers in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel.)

Today, the school’s online system shows that she has a B!


She got the one-on-one academic help she needed to get her bearings in Pre-Calculus in two 2-hour sessions. Hiring a first-rate math tutor for my daughter has helped deepen my understanding of the emotions that my Tampa, FL tutoring clients feel when they bring in a private tutor.

It’s also reminded me to listen more carefully and to use the online grade tracking resources that most schools offer parents.

One of my favorite IB American Government tutoring clients complained that he had been telling his son the same things about study habits that I was teaching his son as a tutor. His son ignored him, but listened intently to the same advice from his college admission’s adviser and his Tampa, FL Private Tutor. I thought I understood his frustration at the time. Now I know that I do.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 3/3/2009 3:16 AM

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