Five Essential Components for Success on the ACTScreen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.29.02 AM


Attitude - Success requires a positive attitude.  Think, “If it can be done, I can do it!”.  You need to really WANT to do well and you must squash the ANT (Automatic Negative Thinking) Eliminate all negative thinking during prep and during the actual test.  There is no room or time for negative self-talk during the ACT.  

Application - Work through retired ACT questions and take retired ACT practice tests before sitting for the real test. Understand the correct answer to every question you miss as question types repeat themselves on standardized tests.


Content - Fully understand the content that is being tested

Commitment - Make the test a priority.  Commit yourself to dedicated preparation and focusing on areas of weakness.


Time - Finding time for quality test preparation is usually the biggest challenge in the life of high school students today. ACT success requires quality focused preparation time:dedicated work on content and retired ACT questions, timed full length practice tests, time put into reading and studies. Testing time is tight on the ACT.  You must work at a fast pace. Pace increases when you know what to expect on the test and have confidence solving similar questions - practice questions from retired tests.  Pace increases with practice under timed conditions - time yourself when taking practice tests and working on practice test sections.  Read this post for suggestions specific to increasing reading speed.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

Soccer - College Admissions - ESPN - A Connection

Power of Social MediaI recently presented college admission information to a group of Penn Fusion Soccer Academy players and their parents at PFSA’s Fifth Annual College Night . PSFA players are fortunate to belong to a club that is led by such dedicated leaders as Mark Thomas and Tino Mueller who genuinely want the best for each and every one of their players.  At PFSA College Night, players and parents were provided valuable information about the college application process for students who would like to play soccer in college .  A panel of soccer coaches from D1, D2 and D3 schools presented recruiting and admissions information to the audience then candidly answered questions from the audience. 

This morning’s New York Times article reminded me of an important point that was made at Penn Fusion College Night:  Players (and parents), watch what you post on the Internet. A coach’s livelihood rests on your ability to make good decisions both on and off the field. If you come across as a risk, coaches will pass you by.  Your decisions can cost the coach his or her job.  Character and a history of good decision-making count.  As today’s article demonstrates, the consequences for social media decisions continue into adulthood. Think before you type…and again before you post.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

C or T?

BlankI heard the question "C or T?" at Ashley Merryman's Keynote Address at the IECA Conference earlier this month.  The more I thought about this question, the more relevant it became.  This simple question can be applied to many aspects of life, including standardized testing and the college process. C stands for Challenge and T stands for Threat.  These words can be applied to the way we approach almost anything in our lives.  The word we choose to follow has a proven impact on our performance.

Is the task at hand a challenge or is it a threat?

  • If it is a challenge, the energy exerted is positive.  The task is approached with excitement.
  • If it is a threat, the energy exerted is negative.  This negative energy can lead to mistakes and panic.

Whether you are sitting for a test, auditioning for a play, applying or interviewing for a job, school or college, playing an important game or match, or walking on stage for a presentation, think CHALLENGE, not threat.

Sandy Aprahamian EDNavigators LLC

Essential information about the SAT Writing Score and the Essay

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 10.23.14 AMSAT scores are back today.  Many students got up at the crack of dawn to check scores.  If you got the score you hoped for, congratulations!  If not, stay confident.  Don't let this score define you.  You are more than a score.  Sign up for the next test and continue to prepare.  A positive attitude is essential. After working with many students on SAT Prep, I have seen that SAT scores CAN be improved with dedication, practice and a positive attitude.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of work. There are strategies, but not shortcuts.  It takes TIME.  The SAT is a standardized test.  There is only one correct answer to each question.  With practice and preparation, it becomes easier to find that correct answer.

The one exception to the 'one correct answer' is the essay. The essay is graded subjectively and has many possible answers.  This article, written by Debbie Stier, the author of The Perfect Score Project, is an essential read for all students (and parents of these students) who are taking or have taken the SAT for ACT.  After seven attempts, she, a published writer, could not get a score of 12 on the writing.  Her friend, whose books have been USED ON THE SAT CRITICAL READING SECTION could not score a 12!!!  (On a much more positive note - you can still get a perfect SAT score with a 10 on the writing)

On a separate note, I highly recommend Debbie Stier's book, The Perfect Score Project to parents of students who are taking standardized tests.  It will make you laugh and give you a glimpse into the testing world of teens today.  My review of the book can be found here.

Sandy Aprahamian - Principal, Educational Consultant, EdNavigators


Building Strong Relationships with Teenagers

teen and parentThe Power of Moms is one of my favorite "go-to" websites.  The Power of Moms recently published a podcast titled Strong Relationships with Teenagers. I enjoyed listening to the podcast and wanted to share it.  Since I work with teens and am currently parenting a couple of teens, I found the podcast to be both helpful and reassuring.  It's not easy but it can be really fun.   The write-up below from The Power of Moms website summarizes the podcast well. Enjoy the podcast, enjoy your teens and keep up the great work as parents:)

Parenting teenagers is a whole new ball game!

Power of Moms Co-Founder, Saren, and her sister, Shawni, who runs the popular blog,71 Toes, have three teenagers between them plus a couple of pre-teens. They share what they’re learning about building and maintaining strong relationships with teenagers.

Some of the main tips they discuss:

  • Strive to see all the positive and fun aspects of parenting teenagers. Don’t buy into all the hype out there about how teenagers are so awful.
  • Ask good, specific questions and really listen to the answers. 
  • Embrace the notion that “if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.” Do your homework when it comes to their interests so that you can ask good questions and support what really matters to them.
  • Build up their self-esteem; give sincere daily compliments; look for the positive in what they do and who they are and make sure they know the good things you think about them. Make sure your eyes light up when they walk into the room.
  • Make sure they know they can talk to you any time about anything, that you’ll drop everything else to talk when there’s something big going on in their minds or in their lives.
  • Make sure you show physical affection to teens (a pat on the back, an arm around their shoulders, etc.).
  • Engage in at least one brief but meaningful one-on-one conversation with them each day (can be by text if need be!).
  • Ask for help. There will be many times that we’re faced with worries and issues beyond our own abilities. Pray. Ask for help from trusted friends and family members. Research possible answers.
  • Be humble. Explain and apologize when you realize you’ve been overly upset or overly demanding. Ask for their help. Let them know you want to do a great job as their mom but that there’s a lot you don’t know and you’d love to know what’s working for them and what’s not. Strong Relationships with Teenagers – Episode 65  by SAREN EYRE LOOSLI on Nov 5, 2013 • 10:16 am

What should you do the night before the PSAT/NMSQT?

What SHOULD you do the night before the PSAT/NMSQT?  

1.  Familiarize yourself with the test format, and question types




2.  Relax and get a good night's sleep


What SHOULDN'T you do the night before the test?


1.  Cram


2.  Panic


A relaxed brain is able to perform.  An anxious or panicked brain freezes.  Be calm and confident.  


Wishing the best to all of the sophomores and juniors taking this exam.


Sir Ken Robinson

Cover of "The Element: How Finding Your P...

Sir Ken Robinson has had a place on my list of favorites since I was introduced to his book, The Element, in 2009. Every time I read, watch or listen to Sir Ken Robinson I feel inspired and optimistic.
I agree with Sir Ken Robinson's belief that education is about finding each person's passion.  Education is not a cookie cutter process because humans are not cookie cutter creations.  We are each uniquely created and influenced by our environment and our peers.
An educational environment that is best for one student is not best for another.  Successfully educating students requires knowledge, creativity, and commitment to each unique child.  A student must be in a relaxed environment to learn and create.  A relaxed and inspired brain learns.
In the past, within hours of reading, seeing or hearing Sir Ken Robinson's work, my bubble of optimism began to deflate.  I would realize that the changes needed to improve education were too vast.   Vast change takes time and we have a generation that can't wait.
My desire to do something now led to EdNavigators .  Through EdNavigators, I help students, on an individual basis, to discover their passions, navigate their educational paths, overcome roadblocks**, and move toward their dreams.
Sir Ken Robinson will be speaking at Malvern Preparatory School on  Tuesday, October 1 at 6:30PM.  Kudos to Malvern Prep for hosting this forward thinker and popular presenter!  I encourage everyone who is able, to see Sir Ken Robinson at Malvern Prep.  This is the link to purchase tickets.


HELP-time_managementWho is the giant? In the eyes of many high school students and their parents the college application process is the giant. Try these simple strategies for shrinking this giant.

  1. Have a goal and motivation to reach your goal. (Campus visits are great motivators.)
  2. Create a big-picture list of what needs to be accomplished throughout the process.
  3. Break the project into small pieces and complete the steps one at a time.
  4. Create a check list and check the boxes so you can visualize your accomplishments.
  5. Use a calendar and work backwards from the deadlines.
  6. Start early (freshman year of high school is not too early)
  7. Use a project manager. (In the case of college admissions, this is an Independent Educational Consultant.)
  8. Be positive and picture yourself succeeding each step of the way.

Tackled with confidence and a positive attitude, the college application process can be a wonderful experience of self-discovery  and can lead to immeasurable rewards.

Sandy Aprahamian, Owner, Independent Educational Consultant, EdNavigators


Chances of Success: For Standardized Testing, College Admissions and Life

chances of successAttitude matters. If you think you can, you can.

In standardized testing, in college admissions and in everything you desire to do in life -

Squash the ANT (Automatic Negative Thinking)

Sandy Aprahamian - Owner, Independent Educational Consultant - EdNavigators