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Tampa ACT Tutor’s Student Becomes US Citizen

Posted on 28th June 2011 in English Tutor Success Stories

A special congratulations to one of my best summer ACT students on his becoming an American citizen. It’s been a long journey for him and his family. I wish him well.

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Photo of American flag taken by Jenny Brookins at the Aldersgate Camp and Retreat. Pastel on paper by Mark Waltz (2006). Photo licensed under CC by 2.0. See more of Mark’s photos in his Flickr photostream.

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Best 5 iPhone Apps for Building SAT Vocabulary

Posted on 18th June 2011 in Tampa SAT Preparation

Recommended iPhone Apps for SAT Vocabulary Building

For its portability and for the wealth of available study apps, the iPhone is a great study tool for standardized tests.  Here are some recommended apps for studying SAT vocabulary:

1)      IntelliVocab for SAT by Faqden Labs (Free):

Built by students at MIT, IntelliVocab uses algorithms to create a user-specific learning plan.  Sound complicated?  Far from it.  Simply enter your test date and skill level after opening the app for the first time, and you can begin practicing immediately.  The interface is incredibly easy-to-use.  The practice quizzes use multiple methods for learning vocabulary, and after each study session, you are provided with useful statistics to track your progress.  IntelliVocab also has a larger vocab list—over 600 of the most common SAT words—than many of its competitors.  What’s more?  IntelliVocab is free.  I highly recommend this app.

Apple pins by Rudolf Schuba

This image take by German photographer Rudolf Schuba and licensed under CC by 2.0. See Rudolf's photos on Flickr at

2)      Kaplan SAT Flashcubes by Jirbo, Inc. (Free):

Another freebie that is worth downloading.  The app uses “3D flashcards” that allow you to see the synonyms of a word and a sentence using the word.  There are two modes: Self Study and Multiple Choice.  The Multiple Choice mode is not as rich as IntelliVocab’s, but since you can get this app for no extra cost, it is worth getting Flashcubes for more practice.

3)      SAT Connect by Watermelon Express ($9.99):

This is probably the most comprehensive SAT app available today.  SAT Connect boasts over 800 practice questions, 7 mini-tests, 4000 vocab flashcards, and plenty of review material.  The app also has great feedback tools to track your progress.  SAT Connect is for those who want all of their SAT study materials available on their mobile device.  In addition, the app can sync with the desktop version of SAT Connect, which is available for purchase here:  $10 may seem a steep price to pay for an iPhone app, but it is well worth the investment if you are considering an all-in-one alternative to SAT study books.

4)      SAT Vocab Challenge by The Princeton Review ($4.99): Vol. 1; Vol. 2

This app by reputable test prep company The Princeton Review takes the award for the most well-designed interface.  There are 4 game modes: definition, synonym, antonym, or connotation.    Users can choose their answer by swiping away incorrect answers, thus training students to practice process-of-elimination.  Learning with the different challenge types ensures that students devote words to long-term memory.  SAT Vocab Challenge is available in two volumes with 250 words in each.  Each volume sells for $5.

5)      Flashcards Deluxe by ($3.99)

For those who learn best using flashcards, Flashcards Deluxe is the most intuitive flashcard app available in the app store.  The ability to create custom flashcards allows for maximum versatility while studying.  One advantage over other apps is that you can add new words to your flashcard sets as you encounter them in your other study materials or while reading.   The most useful feature is integration with Quizlet, a popular flashcard-making website where students can find user-made flashcard sets in any subject imaginable, including SAT Vocab and SAT Math.  Quizlet also provides a great platform for creating your own flashcard sets which can then be synced into Flashcards Deluxe.  Keep in mind that Flashcards Deluxe is not just for studying the SAT; it is a great study tool for just about any class or standardized test.

This post by Tampa SAT tutor Eric Anderson. If your son or daughter would like to work toward a better SAT score this summer, call Eric at 813.787.8959 or email him at


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That versus Which: Easy Explanation by Laura Brockway at

Posted on 16th June 2011 in Tampa ACT Preparation

When to use that and when to use which came up in a recent session with a student preparing for the ACT.

I started talking about restrictive and non restrictive clauses.

Pair of dolphin in the deep blue sea

This image created by Patrik Jones and licensed under CC by 2.0. See more of Patrik's photos at











As his mind numbed and he slid toward unconsciousness, I resorted to blabbing on about essential versus non essential clauses.

He probably would have understood the distinction between that and which better had I pointed him to an article by Laura Brockway on
Laura makes the distinction so clear that even I can understand it.

Check out her post about that versus which.

Eric is an English and history tutor in Wesley Chapel, Florida. He helps students prepare for the ACT and SAT. Call him at 813.787.8959.

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