SAT Critical Reading Skill Builder using WSJ “Pebble Technology Becomes Kickstarter Test Case”

Posted on 7th July 2012 in Tampa English Tutor

“Smart Money for a Smart Watch” by Pui-Wing Tam. The print article appears in the July 2, 2012, edition of the Wall Street Journal on pp. B1 and B2.

You may be able to find it online under the title “Pebble Technology Becomes Kickstarter Test Case.”

Pebble Technology Watch image by Kmeron

This image of the Pebble Technology watch created by Kmeron and licensed under CC by NC and ND license 2.0) See more of kmeron's images at

Pre-reading Vocabulary:

  • test case
  • the poster child of
  • crowdfunding
  • venture capitalist
  • net worth
  • equity in a company
  • barometer of the market
  • transplant
  • delivering in volume
  • in the wake of (What does this piece of figurative langague mean? Where does it come from?)
  • fruition
  • cagey
  • buffering
  • frenetic
  • alma mater

Comprehension and inference questions:

What is the crowdfunding?

How does it work?

From the context, what is Kickstarter?

How does crowdfunding differ from the traditional way that most start-up companies are financed?

What is the general idea of the article?

What is the article’s structure?

What is the article’s tone?

Why is Pebble “the Facebook of the crowdfunding market”?

In what ways does Pebble Technology show how big crowdsourcing could be?

What do the venture capitalists see as the biggest challange facing the CEO of Pebble Technology?

What steps has the CEO taking to ensure that production goes smoothly?

What is the product?

How many orders did Pebble Technology get for the product and at what price?

After his crowdsource funding success, how many more orders did Eric get?

This reading comprehension exercise is licensed under CC Attribution Only by Eric Anderson.  Permission to copy and distribute the WSJ article can only be given by the Wall Street Journal.




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Photo of credit card reader by Square

Tampa English Tutor Now Accepts Credit Cards Thanks to Square

Posted on 16th May 2012 in Tampa English Tutor

Sure, it took me long enough. I have a request from a parent of an essay writing help client of mine to add credit card payments. I’ve always wanted to accept them. I thought about doing it through my local bank or PayPal but ended up trying out a service that I really like called Square.

Square sent me a free card reader that works with my iPad and set me up in a few minutes to accept credit cards for tutoring services. If you provide a mobile service and don’t yet take cards, I would certainly recommend looking at Square.

Thus far, the Square credit card reader has worked wonderfully.

Photo of credit card reader by Square

This photo of the Square Reader by Capsun Poe and licensed under CC ND 2.0. Learn more about Capsun by visiting his blog at

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Chart of GPA, ACT and SAT score ranges for Florida public universities

SAT and ACT Score Ranges for Florida Colleges and Universities

One of my favorite ACT prep students shared some information that she received from a friend of hers. As a participant in the AVID Program, her friend received information on the GPA, SAT and ACT scores of students accepted at several  of Florida’s public universities. Anyone interested in these numbers can find them in lots of guides to universities or get them from the schools, but I certainly appreciated getting these key numbers all in a nifty chart.

For those wondering what kind of SAT or ACT scores it takes to get in to a particular Florida public university, here is the chart:

Chart of GPA, ACT and SAT score ranges for Florida public universities

Thanks to SP for providing me with this chart of GPA, SAT, and ACT scores for FL Universities.

If you need help bring your SAT or ACT scores up, call Eric at 813.787.8959. He will help you with one-on-one private SAT or ACT prep at a very affordable cost.

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Picture of man in tie with open book in place of Face

SAT Reading Practice Exercise with Wall Street Journal Article

Posted on 3rd May 2012 in Tampa English Tutor

I have not posted here in a while. Shame on me.

At any rate, I spent part of this morning working a vocabulary-building exercise that uses “The Big Doubt Over Facebook,” which appeared in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

Picture of man in tie with open book in place of Face

Book face photo by Massimo Barbieri. Photo licensed under CC Attribution Only 2.0. See more of Max's photos at

For those who want to give the kid a little extra vocab practice and get the WSJ, here is the SAT Critical Reading practice exercise I created:

The Big Doubt over Facebook” Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2012. The link to the article is good right now, but no guarantees.

Pre-Reading Vocabulary

Before you read, define these terms with part of speech:

  1. Initial Public Offering (IPO):
  2. nascent
  3. dilemma
  4. lofty valuation
  5. revenue
  6. social media
  7. willy-nilly
  8. alienate
  9. highhanded
  10. animosity
  11. stymied
  12. quantifiable
  13. brand
  14. metrics
  15. ergo

In one or two sentences, answer the each of the following questions:

  1. What is the general idea of the article?
  2. How do the writers structure the story?
  3. What points do the writers make about the doubts about Facebook?
  4. What words would you use to describe the authors’ tone toward Facebook?

Eric Anderson is a freelance writer and SAT reading and writing tutor in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Contact him at eanderson216 at verizon dot net or by phone at 813.787.8959.

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DMV office interior image

Tampa Tutor Pasco Tag and Title Office

Posted on 13th February 2012 in Tampa English Tutor

Yuck. I had to spend part of today in the Pasco County tag office off of US 41.

To be fair, the clerks were nice and took good care of me, and I was in and out in record time.

I was a little disconcerted by the security guard asking me to stand against the wall but that’s only because of bad memories of other encounters with cops. Just teasing.

I asked for free WiFi and free soft serve and cake on the service comment card, but I’m not holding my breath.

However, the Pasco County tag offices are really missing the boat by not running bingo to balance the  budget. They wouldn’t even need to hire a caller.

No charge for the genius idea, Mike Olson.

This post really does not have much to do with tutoring but still might be useful to you because of a few things the clerks shared with me.

My step daughter turns 19 in a few days and is moving out. Although I was at the tag office to renew my license, I happened to ask a question or two about a car that we are planning to gift to her. What I learned might help you if you are planning to let the kid take wheels when he or she blows town for college or for good.

DMV office interior image

This image created by Brian Cantoni who writes about software development, mobile websites, and occasionally sports with wit and grace. Visit his blog at The image is his and is licensed under CC by 2.0.

First, I learned that if convenience is your aim, it is better for married persons to title a car with OR (rather than AND) between the names, so that either half of the couple can do business with the title office. Fortunately, we followed this tip with the car in question.

Second, I learned that if you have a kid leaving home and are going to gift a car to him or her, do it before he or she leaves and changes driver’s license addresses.

When the kid’s and your driver’s licenses match home address, the plate can be transferred at a lower cost because of a “family exemption.”

Using the exemption lowers the cost by $200.

OK, now back to your regularly scheduled educational programming….

Eric Anderson is an English, history, SAT, and writing tutor who resides in lovely Wesley Chapel, FL. Reach him at 813 787 8959 or at Tampa tutor at Tampa bay dot rr dot com. He shares his thoughts about whatever tickles his pickle here.



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