Summer Plans Yet? There’s Still Time for a Killer Summer!

Spring is in the air, which means summer is just around the corner!

For college bound high school students, summer break offers a lot of unique opportunities. Sure, you could spend your days lazing by the pool and working on your tan. You could also use the time building up a stronger college application. (Better yet, do both – you deserve a little rest and relaxation, after all.)

What if your summer plans are nonexistent? Isn’t it too late to make plans now?

Nope!

While a lot of summer programs have application deadlines that have already passed, you still have plenty of options.

Pre-College Programs

Several renowned colleges still have applications open for their pre-college summer programs, including:

If you’re interested in programs like these, definitely don’t wait to apply – the application deadlines are right around the corner!

Travel

Interested in combining education and travel? C2 Education has partnered with Oxbridge Academic Programs to offer 7th-12th grade students with opportunities to study abroad. These programs combine the excitement of travel and the value of learning. Oxbridge Academic programs take place at some of the world’s most renowned universities in culturally rich cities. Students have the ability to earn course credits while gaining valuable travel experiences. Contact your local C2 Education center today to learn more about the opportunities available through Oxbridge Academic Programs.

Test Prep

It can be tough to balance school, homework, extracurricular activities, and test prep during the school year.  Make sure you’re putting these school-free weeks to good use to boost your chances for college admission. Why not use summer break to focus your efforts on SAT or ACT prep so that you can really maximize your scores? Or you can choose to set up your own rigorous self-study schedule or enroll in a summer test prep program. This summer, C2 Education is offering 40-hour SAT or ACT Boot Camps designed to help boost your SAT or ACT scores in just four short weeks. Contact your local C2 Education center to learn more about these limited time programs.

Volunteer Work

Gaining admission at your dream college requires more than good grades and test scores. Colleges seek students who will develop into leaders who will work to enrich their communities. You can show colleges that you’re invested in making the world around you better by engaging in volunteer work. There are plenty of resources to help you find great volunteer opportunities, but if you’re not already involved in service organizations like National Honor Society, contact your local C2 Education center.

C2 Education has partnered with Lion’s Heart, one of only 12 nationally recognized leadership organizations that offer the President’s Volunteer Service Award, to provide students with great volunteering opportunities. Lion’s Heart links student volunteers with hand-picked local volunteer opportunities based on each student’s passions and interests, and provides a platform where students can track their hours, leadership positions, and awards to build a volunteer portfolio to submit to colleges. Contact your local C2 Education center to learn more, and be sure to mention C2 when enrolling at Lion’s Heart.

No matter how you choose to use your summer break, make sure you use it wisely!

5 AP EXAM TIPS FOR A 5: AP EXAM PREP DONE RIGHT

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If you’re in an AP class, you’re probably well aware that AP exams are just a month away. You probably fall into one of two camps:

A whole month? I’ve got plenty of time to study! I’ll start next week.

OR

Only a month?!? I’ve been studying for weeks, but I’m nowhere near ready for the test!

Bet you can guess which camp we think you should be in.

For most students in most AP classes, AP exam prep is a marathon – never a sprint. These are intensely rigorous 3 hour exams, and many students will take two of these tests in a single day or several tests in a single week. Unless you’re a lean, mean testing machine, that’s a whole lot of really tough tests to take in a pretty short amount of time. For that reason alone, AP exam prep should be done over the long haul.

If you’ve been studying all along, you’ve done well in your classes, and you already started taking practice tests, you’ve got a great foundation for AP exam prep. If you’re doing okay in your classes and you haven’t taken a single practice test, you really need to get started ASAP. Either way, we’ve got some AP exam tips to help you survive the next month:

Tip #1: Start now.

You wouldn’t start training for a marathon just a couple days before the race, and you shouldn’t start studying for your AP exams with days to spare either. If you haven’t already started your AP exam prep, there’s no time like the present. Go get some pens and pencils and highlighters. We’ll wait.

Tip #2: Gather your materials.

Most AP exams cover a TON of information. You’ll need a few important things to be able to condense a whole year’s worth of stuff into something you can reasonably study in just a few weeks. First, get all your class notes. Hopefully you took really thorough notes (or perhaps a really generous friend took very thorough notes and will share them with you). One great way to start studying is to condense your class notes into a homemade study guide – basically, take notes on your notes. By rearranging and summarizing information that you’ve already written down once, you’ll help to cement it in your brain.

Next, get a good prep book. For most courses, C2 has its own custom books that we use with our students. Our teachers also pull from many of the same prep books you might see on the bookstore or library shelf. Look for a book with a couple of full-length practice tests and thorough chapters on all of the main topics covered on the exam.

Finally, get your hands on as many official practice tests as you can. The College Board typically publishes several years’ worth of practice material – both full-length tests and free response practice questions. You might also ask your AP teachers for any practice tests they might have on hand.

Tip #3: Take practice tests.

One of the hardest parts of AP testing is simply surviving the rigor of the test. For most AP exams, you’ll be doing A LOT of reading and writing – about 3 hours’ worth. Taking plenty of timed practice tests will help get you ready for the testing marathon ahead. Just as you would build endurance before running a marathon, you’ll want to build endurance before AP exams start.

Practice tests also offer a great way to review information and can help alleviate testing anxiety. The more you test yourself on the information, the better you’ll remember it. And the more familiar you are with the test format and question types, the less worried you’ll be on test day.

C2 is offering a FREE practice test in the month of April. This is a great chance to get some AP exam practice in.

Tip #4: Focus on weak spots but maintain strengths.

It’s natural to focus your AP exam prep efforts on the weakest areas, but it’s equally important to maintain your strengths. Let’s say you’re prepping for AP US History, and you feel really good about the post-WWII material that you just finished covering in class, but you can barely remember anything pre-Revolutionary War. If you focus exclusively on pre-Revolutionary War history, there’s a really good chance that you’re going to forget a lot of that post-WWII stuff in the process. When it comes to knowledge, use it or lose it. If you never review or test yourself on the stuff you know well, you might not remember it on test day.

Tip #5: Build a support system.

You’re not in this alone. Your fellow AP students, your AP teachers, your parents, and your local C2 Education center are all pulling for you. Use these resources to help you through the next few weeks! Put together study groups with classmates, ask your AP teachers for review sessions or testing pointers, get your parents to do flashcards with you, and consider visiting your local C2 Education for some expert AP exam test prep sessions.

Get some first-hand AP prep.

C2 is hosting four separate webinars covering the most popular AP exams. Learn the ins and outs of each test and pick up some strategies to maximize your time before the exam.

Register for these AP prep webinars:

  • Science: Wednesday, April 11th at 8PM EST
  • History: Thursday, April 12th, 8PM EST
  • Calculus: Wednesday, April 18th, 8PM EST
  • English: Thursday, April 19th, 8PM EST

Your Tutoring Service in Severna Park Offers the Benefits of Good Grades

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Grades are not a measure of a person nor should they be the sole measure of anyone's academic success. Grades are a reflection of how much you have learned, but you can still learn a great deal without necessarily getting high grades.

That said, getting good grades is still very important. C2 Education, your college prep and tutoring service in Severna Park, offers the benefits of maintaining good grades. 

Boosts Confidence

There is a huge difference in how you feel when you get an A and when you get a C. When a student gives the best effort they can, it shows in their grades. And when they get good grades, they are motivated to keep up the good work and remain full of confidence. 

Better Social Life

A student who gets good grades obviously cares about their education and takes schoolwork seriously. In doing so, good students earn the respect of teachers and peers. 

More Opportunities in the Future

Even if you don't plan on going to college, studies have shown that students with higher grades in high school tend to be better off financially than those who received poor grades.

Some students might feel that grades don’t matter because they are planning on going into a field like sales. Some don’t feel grades are important because they don’t plan on going to college or are going into the military. 

But if a student strives to do well in everything they do, they will get good grades and be successful in their career of choice. Even if it is in sales. 

Employers Care About Grades 

Most small companies don't expect to see your GPA on a resume, but many large companies will require it. This means the difference between you landing a great job at a great company could come down to your grades.  

If you rely on a professional service to help you land a job, they will certainly want to know what kind of grades you have. Many companies use grades to determine if a student has the technical ability and competence to do a certain job. 

More Scholarships

Getting accepted to a good college is one thing, receiving a scholarship is a whole different matter. 

The last thing you want after graduation college is student debt. This can impact your life for quite some time. Better grades and higher test scores will help students get more money for college.   

Better Colleges

Speaking of getting accepted to a good college, good grades will land you at the better schools. And if you want to go on to graduate or professional school, your grades are even that much more important. 

The competition among applicants for college is high and one thing that could set you apart from the others are your grades. 

C2 is the smart choice for students who want to do better. We offer customized curricula, personalized attention and a wide variety of enrichment services for students from kindergarten through high school. Be smarter. Choose C2.

College Prep in Severna and the Importance of College

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A lot of families preparing for college admissions hear a lot about the importance of a college degree. They hear about which colleges will give you the most return on your investment and which major will pay the finest dividends and so on. 

But what these people don't hear is why college matters so much outside of the tangible metrics. It’s no big secret that having a college education pays off, studies show that college graduates can expect to earn $1 million more over their lifetime than those who just have a high school diploma. 

Having said that, college isn't cheap and some students will have to take out loans to complete their higher education. It may make some families think twice about the importance of a college education.

C2 Education, your college prep and tutoring resource in Severna Park, offers the importance of a college education.

All Around Happiness

Nearly 95 percent of adults who have a bachelor’s degree report that they are either happy or very happy with their lives. This compares to 89 percent of those without a college education who are happy or very happy with their lives.

More Likely to Own a Home

In 2016, a report was released by Zillow that found 75 percent of all home buyers were college educated while just over 10 percent had just a high school diploma. The other 14 percent had some college, but did not earn a degree.

You are Less Likely to Face Unemployment

In addition to the studies that show you will probably make more money than those who only have a high school diploma, earning a college degree is also a recipe for more career stability. Data show that those with a college degree represent under three percent of the workers who are unemployed. In contrast, over five percent of unemployed workers don’t have a college degree.  

Job Satisfaction

A report in 2016 by Pew Research showed that 60 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree believed their jobs gave them a sense of identity. The same report showed just 38 percent of workers with a high school diploma had that same sense of identity with their job. 

Workers who have a bachelor's degree are also far more likely to refer to their job as their career than workers with no college degree. 

Health Habits

A study by the Lumina Foundation found that people with college degrees have healthier habits than those who do not. The higher your education, the less likely it is that you smoke and have other unhealthy habits. 

The study also showed that there is a clear relationship between higher education and eating fruits and vegetables, exercising and even wearing a seat belt.  

Good Citizen

Studies show that earning your college degree is good for the community you live in as well. The report found that 40 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree volunteer in their community while only 17 percent of high school graduates volunteer. 

As you can see, it is quite clear why getting a college degree is so important. For SAT prep help or college tutoring, contact C2 Education today. 

“The Matrix is Everywhere”… Including the ACT Math Test

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You may recall the scene from the movie, “The Matrix”, where Laurence Fishburne’s character (Morpheus) says, “The matrix is everywhere. It is all around us.” You might be asking yourself the following - what is a matrix and how does it relate to math?

Not too long ago, matrices (plural of matrix) were a regular part of a student’s high school mathematics instruction. Some students would have learned about matrices and their operations in Algebra II to be able to solve systems of linear equations using Cramer’s Rule, inverse matrices, and possibly Gaussian elimination with reduced row echelon form. Even some teachers in the past even included matrix operations in Geometry to find the final image coordinates of figures following individual or multiple geometric transformations. These approaches allowed students to eventually be able to solve more complex problems and explore mathematics in more detail. For example in AP Calculus BC, matrices can be an efficient tool when performing partial fraction decomposition to make a complex rational expression easier to integrate. Beyond calculus, there is a whole course colleges offer devoted to Linear Algebra that studies linear equations and functions as represented by matrices and vectors and their extensions to various realms within mathematics and beyond. For example, cryptography sometimes uses a process of substitution ciphers and invertible matrices to break or decode encrypted messages.

However due to the recent implementation of the Common Core State Standards, there was a restructuring of math content in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II courses. As a result, systems of linear equations and inequalities mainly to Algebra I - a course that PARCC-assessed and an exam whose passing score first became a Maryland high school graduation requirement last year. Despite the Common Core State Standard HSA.REI.C.9 stating, “Find the inverse of a matrix if it exists and use it to solve systems of linear equations (using technology for matrices of dimension 3 × 3 or greater),” the standard has a (+) sign in front of it - which means the standard is targeted for advanced courses. However, this means that matrices will likely be non-assessed on PARCC and therefore likely to not be taught to your child. While systems of equations and inequalities are likely to be revisited to some degree in Algebra II, most of the focus in that course is now being able to solve nonlinear systems graphically and algebraically; thus reducing the likelihood of your child receiving instruction regarding matrices.

Currently, there are only a handful of schools in our area (public and private) that are teaching matrices in any of their mathematics course offerings - and in most of those cases, only to a select group of students (namely, Algebra II Honors). This begs the question - what’s the big deal about matrices likely not being in your child’s high school mathematics curriculum?

 

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Answer: Matrices are still assessed on the Math section of the ACT exam. On the official description of the math section on the ACT website, matrices are fair game to be assessed in the following contexts:

  • Students will understand and reason with numerical quantities in many forms, including integer and rational exponents, and vectors and matrices.

  • The student will find solutions to systems of equations, even when represented by simple matrices, and apply their knowledge to applications.

While matrices are not a significant point of emphasis within the Math section of the ACT exam, at least one question involving matrices have been tested on several of the recently released ACT exams and administrations. Why is this important? Why have I spent all this time reading about something that may be asked perhaps only once on the test, if at all?

Answer: Every point on the ACT matters. Getting a question wrong can be the difference of a whole point on the Math section scale score that is used to calculate your composite score that colleges likely look at as part of your application process. That point could be the difference for admission and/or thousands of dollars in scholarships and grants.

While this piece focuses on matrices, there are other items that the Math section of the ACT exam assesses that schools have eliminated or taught to only certain groups of students - such as application and use of the Law of Sines and Law of Cosines (some schools teach this in certain Geometry classes, but many others wait until Pre-Calculus, if at all), and Logic (a staple of Geometry curriculum in the past that I haven’t seen since the change in standards). The same arguments made for matrices could be made for these topics that could have a tangible impact on your ACT score.

With the upcoming ACT administration on March 20 offered to all Anne Arundel County Public Schools juniors (as well as future tests available to all public and private school students in April, June, and July), now is a great time to enroll your child at C2 Education to receive high-quality tutoring and instruction tailored to your child’s needs from Dr. Ron, Mr. Josh, and/or myself.

Students at C2 Education see on average a seven-point improvement on the Math section of the ACT exam and a six-point composite score increase. C2 Education tutoring services are not limited to the ACT exam, as students average 121 points higher on the Math sections of the SAT exam and a 122-point increase overall. Our tutors also work with students for curricular tutoring in Mathematics (elementary through calculus), English (elementary and secondary), Physics (regular through AP), and college prep.

Please give us a call (410-421-8080), an email (severna.park@c2educate.com), or check us out (601 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Suite 202, Severna Park, MD 21146) to schedule a time to begin your child’s journey to improved scores and grades with a free diagnostic assessment.

This blog post was written by our very own tutor (and math wiz) Jonathan Maggart.

College Prep Courses in Severna Park and Why College is Important

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It is not uncommon for young people to question the need to go to college. They understand it is expensive and that there might be some debt involved, so they might wonder if it would be worth it.  

There is no doubt that college is expensive and that students who graduate from college have an average of $28,000 in student loan debt. And there are decent jobs out there that pay very well and don’t require a degree. 

Perhaps your recent high school graduate is eager to join the workforce and get on with their life and doesn’t want to spend four or more years in school. 

C2 Education offers tutoring and college prep courses in Severna Park and can tell you the importance of going to college. 

Higher Salary

A college education is one of the best investments you can make in terms of what you can earn every year. Studies show us that those with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn a lifetime salary of about $2.4 million while high school graduates will only earn an average of $1.4 million over their lifetime.

Even better news: A master’s degree could earn you $2.8 million over your lifetime.

Better Choice of Jobs

While there are plenty of jobs out there that don't require a college degree, the jobs you want probably do require a college degree. 

Without a college degree, you may land a job with a really good company, but be limited to how far up you can move because of your limited education. There are also many companies who only hire people with college degrees. 

Better Life Skills

College will do much more than just help you get a better job and better pay, it will help you make better life decisions. College students often develop the reasoning skills that can help out in many aspects of life. These skills will help when making big decisions like buying a house and may even improve self-discipline.

It's a New Experience

College is a good introduction to being an adult. You will be responsible for getting yourself to class every day and keeping track of other commitments. You will have to learn to be disciplined because nobody will be around to make sure you attend class, study for tests and finish your homework.

At college, you will meet new and different people from all walks of life. You may join clubs that give you a chance to pursue the things you find interesting and like to do. College gives you the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself. 

Satisfaction

Since your higher education will provide you with more freedom pursuing the career that interests and inspires you, not only do you enjoy your job more, you have a better outlook on life.

All too often, people are looking for a way to get out of a dead-end job, this is why they decide to seek a higher education. When you enjoy a rewarding career, your outlook is optimistic and you are a happier person. 

If you are interested in college prep or academic tutoring, contact C2 Education today.

How to keep your New Year's Resolution and #goals

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January is almost over. Will you believe it? We hope you are off to a great start this year. New Year's resolutions can be hard to keep. It takes time to learn new good habits and kick the old bad ones. Here are some tips for keeping your New Year's resolution and goals.

Choose a New Year’s resolution that will improve your life overall.-

For example, basic resolutions like staying focused, being healthier and being more positive are great for personal growth. Your resolution does not have to be epic or big. New Year’s resolutions are all about moving your life in the right direction. Making changes in your mindset or lifestyle will pay off in the long run.

Write down all of your goals-

January can be an overwhelming month. Too often, we reflect on past mistakes and stress over future goals. Unfortunately, obsessing over either can leave you feeling depressed and frustrated. Instead of living in the past or worrying about the future, try getting it all out on paper. Write down all of your concerns, lessons learned and everything that you hope to achieve this year. Journaling is an excellent way to do this. Reflect on how you’re doing without obsessing and be self-aware.

Put a date on your goals-

Once you decide what you want to accomplish, put a date on each goal. Again, having a journal for your goals is a good idea. If you miss a deadline, do not beat yourself up. Just set a new date and be persistent!  Push yourself but at the same time, be realistic about how much time you will need. Try turning your New Year’s resolution into a bunch of small goals with dates and pacing yourself.

Write your goals on your daily planner-

Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve, write your goals in your agenda. For example, if your goal is to get a higher ACT score, you will write in your agenda the days and hours you will be test prepping. It’s important to be consistent and your daily planner will help you stay on track.


 

6 Tips for Success in 2018

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2018 may not be here yet...but it’s going to be here in two weeks. Now is the time to plan for your best year yet! Here are six quick tips for a phenomenal new year. 

Be Self Aware

Think about what you want to accomplish, not what looks good or what other people think you should do. Focus on your strengths and focus on what you need to improve as well. Don’t just focus on one or the other. The world is super competitive and acknowledging your weaknesses is super important when goal setting. You want to have the edge! 

For example, if you’re good at writing but bad at math, focus on conquering math first. You can read and write all you want--but if you ignore your math problems, your GPA and ACT/SAT scores will suffer.  Focus on one concept at a time, just as you would focus on one grammar rule if you were having trouble with English. Instead of constantly saying “I’m bad at math”...say “I’m working on my math skills”.By reframing your mentality, your self esteem will improve and you will feel more motivated! 

Be Tech Savvy

Being tech and social media savvy is an asset. It’s also good to stay up to date and be ahead of tech trends for 2018. There is also the intersection of technology and education. If you are not into technology, 2018 is the year for you change that. There are many innovations on the forefront and there is a big demand for coders and techie’s! 

Think Small

Instead of setting one huge goal...set 10-12 small goals to achieve your big goal. Monthly goals are great too. Think of them as mini victories! 

Get on a Timeline

It’s easy to fall off track, especially in January. The new year seems promising but it’s easy to get distracted. To stay focused, come up with a timeline and dates to accomplish each goal. You can write these in an accountability journal. If you don’t make the deadline, no worries! Just rewrite the date and don’t beat yourself up over it. 

What’s more important is having momentum and confidence! Getting back up and being persistent is more important than being perfect. Successful people aren’t flawless. They make mistakes but they keep going and never give up. 

Keep Company

This could mean surrounding yourself around motivated friends, joining a study group or having a partner to hold you accountable (accountability partner). It has been scientifically proven that people do better in life when they surround themselves with motivational, positive people. You are who you spend your time around. Choose your company wisely and if a friendship is not working out, have the courage to say “no thanks”. 

Work Everyday

Train your brain to retain information by working towards your goal everyday. Whether it’s an education goal, a fitness goal or a passion project...work on it everyday! It’s better to work for 30 minutes to an hour daily than trying to cram everything in one day. Everyone is different and of course, some may prefer to work for longer hours. Try different things and see what works. One thing’s for sure...the more often you work, the better results you will get.


 

“Should I Take AP Classes?”

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Advanced Placement (AP) is a program that offers college leveled classes that you can take in high school. There are many advantages to taking these classes!

The benefits:

-Colleges love to see AP classes because they are challenging and show that you can manage the course load.

-AP classes are great for your GPA too! They make your weighted GPA go up. A weighted GPA runs on a higher scale than the regular 4.0.

-You can choose subjects you know you’d be good at. You do not have to take all AP classes. Instead, you can just take the ones in areas that you are strong in.

-AP classes help prepare you for college. When you take an AP class, you are taking a college level class. 

-These classes count for college credit. This means that you can save money on tuition! Who wouldn’t want to graduate sooner? (Unless you’re just there to party...which you are probably not!)

Yes, AP classes offer many benefits but they also require lots of extra work and studying. Here are some things to consider before taking AP classes:

Your strengths- which classes would you score high in? Are you performing at your grade level?  If you are struggling, it's best to get caught up then consider taking more advanced classes. If you are doing well, do you need to be challenged? AP classes don't just put you ahead of the game, they also offer an exciting challenge! 

Your goals - what kind of university do you want to get into? Are you aiming high? If your dream school also happens to be a top school, you may want to consider taking AP classes to have an edge over the competition. 

Time- are you juggling many responsibilities and extracurricular activities? How much time are you willing to put aside to study. Are you going to be able to study the required hours? 

Your GPA- How high do you want your GPA to be? Remember, AP classes can help you GPA but you must put in the work. You have to be willing to work hard because the classes are more advanced. 

6 ACT & SAT Vocabulary Hacks

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Use flash cards

Vocabulary flash cards are great for improving your vocabulary. You can make your own with common ACT/SAT words or you can buy them on Amazon. The best thing about flash cards is that they are portable, so you can practice anywhere!

Practice with a timer

Put aside a hour everyday to practice your ACT/SAT vocabulary skills. The more you practice taking the test, the better you will be. Like a muscle, you need to practice the test to ace the test. 

Underline key words and phrases

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a long or complicated reading passage. To save time, underline the most important parts of the passage. What you want to get is the main idea. 

Read directions carefully

There are two things that you have to worry about when you take the ACT/SAT reading test: the answer to the question and the actual question itself. It’s easy to get caught up in the answer that you forget the details of the question to begin with. Even if you have to reread...make sure you are clear as to what the question is asking. Unlike math, multiple answers on the reading test may look correct. Remember, there is only one right answer. Read all of the choices and select the answer that best fits the question, not your own opinions of the passage!

Read good literature, especially classics

In addition to flash cards, classic reads are a great way to brush up on your vocabulary. Reading classic or good literature has been proven to increase test scores! Reading is a great supplement to studying. 

Rephrase confusing questions

If an oddly worded question is throwing you off your game, take a step back and focus on the main idea of the question. If you have to take notes and rephrase the question...do it!! It’s your test and you need to understand what’s going on.

 

5 Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Fix Them

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Everyone makes mistakes! Here are five common grammatical errors and ways you can fix them. Don’t lose sight of why you write: to clarify your ideas. You do not want your sentences to be confusing or wordy. 

#1 Shifting Tenses

This is a common problem. Stick with one tense and double check to make sure you’re being consistent with your verbs.

Incorrect: I went to the movies last night and enjoys the exciting ending.

Correct:  I went to the movies last night and enjoyed the exciting ending.

#2 Run-on Sentence

This one is possibly the worst offence, because run-ons are painful to read and are confusing. The longer the run-on, the less clear your ideas will become. To fix this problem, you may have to reconstruct your sentence and delete multiple words. When in doubt, cross out the run-ons and start from scratch!

Incorrect: I went to play basketball with my friends because they were bored and wanted to go outside because we are full of energy so we are busy bodies and always have to be moving around and releasing energy.

Correct: I went to play basketball with my friends because we were bored and wanted to get out of the house. We are an energetic bunch and have to be in motion. 

#3 Comma Splice

The dreaded comma splice happens a lot. The comma splice is the incorrect use of a comma to combine two independent clauses aka sentences. For a quick fix, you can just use a semicolon (;). You could also just write two short sentences or combine the two ideas with words like “and” or “because”. 

Incorrect: I love my pink sweater, it’s so cute.

Correct: I love my pink sweater. It’s so cute.

Also correct: I love my pink sweater because it’s so cute. 

#4 Subject/Verb Disagreement

This common mistake is easy to spot. Usually, the sentence will sound kind of funny. Make sure you use the correct form of the verb for the subject. Also make sure you pay attention to whether the noun is singular or plural! To learn more, google “subject verb agreement” and learn what goes together!

Incorrect: The dogs chases the cat.

Correct: The dogs chase the cat.

Also Correct: The dogs are chasing the cat. 

#5 Pronoun Victims

In everyday speech, faulty pronouns are not as noticeable. “It” especially gets thrown out a lot in everyday conversations. Sometimes we use them grammatically correctly and other times we don’t. It happens! When faulty pronouns are used in writing, however, they are more noticeable. To fix this offense, make sure your pronouns are clearly connected.

Incorrect: Take the clothes and hats out of the drawer and then fix it.

Ask yourself: What is “it”? The clothes, the hats or the drawer?

Correct: Take the clothes and hats out before your fix the drawer. 

Suggested reading: For a fun read for all ages, check out “Super Grammar” http://www.supergrammar.com/ Available at your local library and bookstore!

Struggling with grammar? Call us at 410-421-8080 to learn about our one-of-a-kind writing program!

 

7 ACT Writing Tips

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The ACT essay is not just part of your overall test score, it’s a writing sample that the colleges can look at. This writing sample can weigh heavily because unlike your entrance essay, you received no help and performed it in a testing environment. Your ACT essay shows how you perform under pressure and reflects your critical thinking skills. These seven strategies will help you up your ACT writing score. 

1. Organize your ideas. 

You will have 40 minutes to complete this part of the test. Make the best use of your time by staying organized. Underline, brainstorm, and make a simple outline for your paper. Plan out your points and what arguments you will be taking. This part of the test will show how you are able to argue from different perspectives. To score those 12 points, you must understand all of the perspectives that are given and write effectively. Make sure you comprehend what is going on before even choosing a perspective or writing your essay.

2. Write clearly.

All too often, students thinking writing long, wordy papers with big words will result in a higher score. Actually, it results in the opposite: a confusing, unclear, unpersuasive paper. Instead of using big words, which often are Latinate and have obscure meanings, try using shorter more specific words. This makes it easier to express yourself. Also, clean up your paper. Wordiness is not your friend. If you have trouble expressing a thought, stop overthinking and sum up the idea in basic language. State your perspective clearly and analyze how your perspective relates to at least one of the three perspectives given.

3. Pay special attention to how you start and end your paper.

First impressions matter. Make sure you focus on all parts of your essay, not just the middle. With a captivating introduction, you will wow them. Make sure your paper is well-written and logical. If you are pressed for time, make sure you start and end your paper well, because you will be penalized if you are without a thesis and conclusion! 

4. Don’t forget your transitions! 

 Remember to use transitions throughout your paper whenever you change topics or introduce a new idea.

5. Allow time to edit your paper.

This may sound like a common sense but in the race against time, it’s easy to let a few grammatical rules or spelling errors slip. Don’t let it happen! Allow yourself enough time to re-read your essay. Remember, if your essay is full of errors and grammatical drama- you will lose points. You don’t want that. 

6. Add length.

It’s important to write at least two pages. To add length to your essay, make sure you are specific and give lots of details. Remember that if you are doing an introduction/thesis, opposing perspective, multiple body paragraphs and a conclusion- you can easily write a three page essay. Make sure you follow a consistent format, use transitions and develop your ideas well. Push yourself and don’t be afraid to go long. That’s why they give you all of that paper! 

7. Avoid clichés and essay filler words.

Millions of high schoolers take the ACT every year. Stand out by avoiding clichés and “essay filler” words. It’s time to put your paper on a diet and clean up your vocabulary. Essay filler words are words that are either vague or add little to your argument. They are also words that are overused in general. These words are sometimes unnecessarily long or have too many definitions. Though some of these words may sound “smart”, ask yourself if they really mean anything. Are they helping you or hurting you?

Time is limited and these words can cost you time too. Examples of filler words are: principle, element (and we are not talking science here), approximately (instead of about), excellent (use of this word does not guarantee an excellent test score), and convoluted (unfortunately this word sounds just like its definition). Remember, you want to use easier to understand, shorter words. This way, you can be more specific and your paper will definitely stand out in a sea of wordy essays. The best way to do this is to know what you are talking about. The solution is as easy as that. 

 Are you struggling with writing? Call us at 410-421-8080 to learn more about our one of a kind tutoring program.






 

6 Easy Ways to Stay Focused During the Holidays

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The holiday season is a time for fun, family and days off of school. It can also be a time when distractions rule and expectations are high. Here are six easy ways to stay focused during the holidays and show gratitude for what you do have.

Plan Ahead

Plan what you want to achieve in 2018 while it’s still 2017. Instead of setting big goals, focus on what you want to do in January or for the rest of the winter, all the way through spring. It’s easier to see where you want to be in 6 months, rather than 12 months.

Get out of Holiday Mode

It’s wayyy too easy to use the holidays as an excuse for just about everything, from lateness and not studying to not every trying. The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is when the epidemic known as Holiday Mode can hit, making December feel more like a vortex where goals get sucked out of existence. There is hope though! Staying focused and motivated will help you resist the temptation to throw your goals out the window. Plan when you will be studying and when you will spend time with your family. It’s all about staying balanced. You can still have time, just make time to study and work towards your goals everyday.

Set smaller weekly goals to finish the year off with wins

If you are feeling overwhelmed, it may help to set smaller goals. See these baby steps as mini milestones that will lead to your big goal. Everything adds up in the end. Celebrate all of your victories and track your progress in a journal.

Improve your performance by focusing on the positive.

Fear is the worst possible motivator. Maintain a positive mindset to stay focused. Try meditating daily or using a relation app like Calm to get your mind right. Though the holidays are a time for getting awesome gifts, the materialism of it all can be downright depressing. Instead of focusing on what you are lacking, focus on what’s really important: the everyday blessing that you enjoy. Your family, your health, being able to have a good education and enjoying your favorite treat. The most positive you are, the less foggy your mind will be...making it easier to concentrate.

Study in the morning

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday festivities, especially during the weekend, so it’s a good idea to study in the beginning of the day! To retain information, studying everyday for less time is often more effective than studying a few times a week for longer periods of time. Review what you did the day before and tackle your weaknesses first.

Remember your why

When you want to forget about your goals and take December off...remember why you want to get into your dream school or earn an awesome scholarship. Your why will motivate you and also remind you that taking a month off is not a good option. You want to stay on your path. Never lose focus of your goal and act as if you’ve already achieved it! 

 

Five Tips to Help you Prep for Finals

Five Tips to Help you Prep for Finals

It’s time to prep for finals, and you need a win to finish the semester strong. So to help you, we’ve put together some tips to make sure you get the most out of your studying and preparation before the big test day. And don’t just take out word for it… these tips are all based on science! Tip #1: Don’t cram When you cram information all at once,

5 Quick & Easy Geometry Hacks for High Schoolers

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  1. Invest in tools and a calculator that you are comfortable using. Think practical over flashy even though calculators are not usually seen as fashion statements. To find your perfect graphing calculator, click here. Remember to use a clear protractor and ruler too. You will need the following: straightedge, ruler, compass, protractor, highlighters and preferably a mechanical pencil for precise marks.

  2. Focus on one concept everyday. Keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by focusing on mastering one concept at a time.

  3. Study everyday so you will train your brain and retain the information. Your brain is wired to learn by frequency. This is why studying everyday for 30 minutes can be more effective than studying one a week for five hours.

  4. Keep cheat sheets and flashcards with formulas handy and review often. You can buy geometry flashcards or make your own out of index cards. Keep your materials organized with an index card holder. These quick and easy tools will help you to retain the information and better understand the language. They are also easy to grab when you’re on the go!

  5. Get homework help. If you are struggling with geometry, do not sit around frustrated. C2 learning centers offer free homework help to current students. At our Severna Park location, students are in and out everyday for this reason. We provide a peaceful stress-free environment where they can truly focus.

Winter and Holiday Themed Books for Kids and Teens

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For Kids

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

The ultimate Dr. Seuss Christmas classic — no holiday season is complete without the Grinch, Max, Cindy-Lou, and all the residents of Who-ville!

The Story of Hanukkah by David Adler

No celebration of Hanukkah would be complete without recounting the events of more than two thousand years ago that the holiday commemorates. In a simple yet dramatic text and vibrant paintings, the story of the courageous Maccabees and the miracle that took place in the Temple in Jerusalem is retold. For readers who want to continue the festivities, a recipe for latkes and directions for playing dreidel are included.

Pablo's Christmas by Hugo C. Martin

On a small, dusty farm in Mexico, in the Valle de Guadalupe, a young boy named Pablo lived with his mother, father, and two little sisters, Isabella and Teresa…

Christmas means family: everyone gathered together in joyful celebration. But what if one beloved member is missing? That’s the situation so movingly explored in this exceptional—and stunningly illustrated—holiday tale, set in the Mexican countryside.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney

If there's one thing Llama Llama doesn't like, it's waiting. He and Mama Llama rush around, shopping for presents, baking cookies, decorating the tree . . . but how long is it until Christmas? Will it ever come? 

Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert

Here's a cultural crossover that pays off: a traditionally Japanese poetic form used to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah. There's one haiku for each night, and stepped pages add one candle to the menorah every time the page is turned. The simple poetry is set off perfectly by Karla Gudeon's vibrant, freewheeling artwork. A perfect gift, or good to reread each year, Hanukkah Haiku is a jubilant, unforgettable journey through the eight nights of Hanukkah.

The Shortest Day: Celebrating Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer

The science, history, and cultural significance of the shortest day of the year: The Winter Solstice!

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis

In an African village live seven brothers who make life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread or they will be turned out as beggars.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

A modern classic in the making reminiscent of the Penderwicks series, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street is about the connections we make and the unexpected turns life can take.

Grace at Christmas by Mary Hoffman

Grace loves everything about Christmas, especially acting out all the parts in the Nativity. But when strangers come to stay with Grace and her family, she wants to say "no room at the inn." Will Grace learn to give up the spotlight and make these new friends feel welcome?

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YA Books for Teens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This classic 1843 tale by Charles Dickens has all your favorite characters in their original telling: Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and the rest.

Winter Town by Stephen Emond

Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This charming classic takes place in the winter. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. The sisters face Christmas without their father, who is at war. 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia (Publication Order) #1)

Another great classic that has a winter theme! This iconic fantasy novel takes place in Narnia when it is ruled by the White Witch who has ruled for 100 years of deep winter. Yikes!

'Ex-Mas' by Kate Brian

The title of this YA book may sound a little campy and corny, but who doesn’t like holiday puns? Seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith's parents just left for vacation, and Lila's all set to throw the holiday party of the season. But when her Christmas-obsessed little brother, Cooper, discovers that global warming is melting the North Pole, he and his best friend, Tyler, take off on a runaway mission to save Santa. 

'My True Love Gave to Me': Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

Twelve romantic holiday stories by twelve bestselling young adult authors edited by Stephanie Perkins.

'Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares' by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn   

A whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist!

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Major motion picture in the works! A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda.


 

ADD/ADHD Teens: Studying Tips for the ACT/SAT

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if ADD/ADHD test takers had their own test? Of course it would! If it’s any consolation, most students find standardized tests challenging. ADHD teens have their own unique learning style and needs. Here are some ADD/ADHD tips for your best test score.

ADD MOTIVATION- Stay motivated by reminding yourself of why you are studying for the test. Make it the first thing you think about when you wake up, meditate on it, write it on your bedroom wall…remember it! In combination with your GPA and extracurricular activities, you’ll have an edge over the competition. In fact there is NO competition. You rock and you can do this! Have ADD/ADHD? Don’t let it keep you from achieving your goals…just add motivation to the mix!

Work Methodically- Studying for the ACT/SAT can get overwhelming. This is an invitation to give it your best, so take it as an opportunity to progress one step at a time, one section at a time. Figure out what you want to tackle first…math, reading, etc. and focus on your challenges. Do not try to study for all subjects at once. You will go crazy.
Pace Yourself- Look at how much time you have and how many hours you will commit in a day to reach your goals. Even a quick daily review can make all the difference and can prevent last minute cramming.

FOCUS!- Once you have learned how to pace yourself, it’s time to work on your concentration. Wear comfortable clothes and choose a place with minimal distractions so you can really focus. Sometimes ADD/ADHD means reading a passage again or taking extra notes so you don’t forget valuable information.  This will help you answer the questions the best that you can.
Keep a schedule- In the colorful world of ADD/ADHD there are many things structure is not one of them. Structure is something that you can create even if it does not come naturally and getting on a balanced schedule can really help. This schedule will include work/school, exercise, sleep and social activities. Don't forget your me time to recharge. Committing to studying for the ACT/SAT may be a challenge but little daily changes lead to big victories. Reward yourself when you stay on schedule!

Get plenty of exercise and sleep- Exercise and sleep are super important to a student’s ability to focus. Exercise every day and you will find that you will study harder and sleep better.
Consider a Tutor- Everyone has a subject that is their weakest. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, yet if you are struggling, it may be time to consider getting help. The one-on-one experience of having a tutor is unbeatable. They provide skills and expertise and can act as your motivator, your coach and the person who can fill in the blanks. We offer tutoring customized tutoring programs for ACT/SAT prep and work with students with ADD/ADHD and learning differences.

Feeling stuck? Take a free ACT/SAT test to see where you are with your test-taking skills. At C2 Severna Park, we provide a relaxing, constructive environment and have many ADD/ADHD students. Our tutors are the best of the best and our ADD/ADHD students find success after going through our tutoring program. You can call us at 410-421-8080 for more information.  Happy test-taking!
 

College Money Saving Tips

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Attention, college-bound seniors: You don't have to spend the big bucks to have an enriching college experience. Here are some ways you can save money while in college. Though you are most likely still in the application / college search phase, you'll find these tips useful while considering a college.

Think Maryland

College is a time for adventure and exploring new things. Staying in-state does not have to be boring...it can be just as adventurous and you don't even have to travel far for the holidays. Maryland has everything! There are country/rural areas, there's cities, beaches and there's even mountains! There's lot to explore and many historical sites are based here. Tuition is less as well and there's plenty of amazing schools right here in Maryland.

Financial Safety School / Scholarship Friendly Schools

These schools offer big scholarships for high performing students. If your application is awesome, they may offer to pay for most of your tuition.  Do your research. Find schools in your state, especially public colleges, whose standards match with your GPA and test scores. You want to have at least 1 or 2 safety schools in your college list. Iffy about applying to a public college? There's plenty of quality public colleges...just sort your school results by the schools with the best graduation rates.

Use Find Your Fit Tool to find your school

The internet has made finding your school so much easier. This online tool will help you to find a school that works with your financial needs.

Fill out the FAFSA

Fill out the FAFSA and stay up to date with financial aid news or visiting their website: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

You may be eligible for FAFSA even if you do not think that you are and it does not hurt to apply. For example, you may be eligible if you have a sibling who is already in college. 2 tuition = super expensive.

Avoid overspending while back to school shopping

Dorm space is limited anyways. Buy what you need and don't overstock on items that you could easily get later on or that may be provided to you.

Use Your Student Discount

Discounts are not just for senior citizens. Student discounts come in handy and make for plenty of savings while shopping. Find which businesses offer them and shop there.

Manage a Full Course Load

Do you really want to be that guy or gal who spends forever in college and never seems to be able to graduate or decide on a major? A great way to end up as that girl or guy is to be unsure of yourself, constantly add and drop classes and never really manage a full class load. If you are unsure of what you want to do, seek academic advising. Stay on task, stay focused and don't worry if you don't have it all figured out. A degree, no matter what it's in, is still better in your hand than having nothing. If you do not manage your work load, you may have to spend even more time in school, racking up tuition costs. Yikes! Seek guidance, stick with your major and go for it! You've got this!

Get a Part-Time Job

Working while in school doesn't have to be a drag. It can be a fun opportunity to get real-life work experience, learn the workforce and make new friends. Find a job that works with your schedule, don't spread yourself too thin. School's the priority and nothing will ruin the money you're saving by working faster than flunking a class or losing an academic scholarship. Another advantage to working while in school is that it teaches you how to balance different things--you'll need that when you graduate! You can also build inter-personal aka people skills or even get a head start in your field. If you work in a store, you'll get a cool discount too.
 

Holiday Tips for High School Students

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The holidays are among us and though it’s a jolly time...it’s a season that’s full of distractions. From Thanksgiving to New Years, it’s easy to get lost in the vortex and forget your goals. Follow these tips to enjoy this holiday season without falling behind!

Stick to a schedule

-With the sun rising later, it’s tempting to sleep in later as winter approaches. By the time morning comes, it’s dark and who wants to wake up when it’s still dark?

-Avoid sleeping in too late anyways! Not only will you have less time to take care of your business but it also can make you lazier. 

Prepare for your family

-Know where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing.

-Work out how much time you’ll spend with your family, and how much time you’ll spend studying. Schedule fun time and work time so you don’t feel guilty about having fun. What are the holidays without fun?

Keep your moods up

-The holiday season can be cheerful but it can also be sad. The sun is out less, and with high expectations...we can dwell on what we do not have. Advertisements do a great job of showing teens and young people what their family is supposed to look like and what material things they should be getting.

-Giving back, volunteering, and expressing gratitude are great ways to combat this. As for gifting, try making gifts this year. Gifts from the heart will leave your family and friends touched. Just make sure you stick with something you’re good at!  

-For example, if you’re not good at crafts but enjoy writing, try writing poems and frame them as décor. 

Give Back

-Help your family decorate the house and tree, volunteer and donate toys.

-Help a friend study for a test or form a study group. 

Organize your study space

-With family visiting and days spent at home, instead of at school, boundaries can become blurred. Make sure your study environment remains a place where you can study and do your work.

-Add holiday cheers to your desk by adding plants and holiday themed décor. Be minimal, though! Less is more and you don't want your desk to be too busy. 

-Invest in a desk with drawers and keep your study essentials in order.

Dare to say “No”

-You don’t have to do everything and go to every gathering. Be polite and say “no thanks” if it interferes with your goals.

-You can always get together another time. You need to stay focused and spreading yourself too thin will catch up with you.

Do your work in the plane or car

-Let’s face it, sometimes taking a week off isn’t an option. When you know that you need to study and will be traveling during the holidays...bringing your work is a good idea.

-Winter break is a break from school but what about your other goals? Stay committed and focused and it will definitely pay off in the New Year!

-You don’t have to study for hours on end. Committing just one hour a day to studying for your ACT/SAT or AP tests will pay off big in the long run! Don't forget your GPA too! 

Study early in the morning

-Before family members wake up, start studying! You’re able to get a great deal of work done during one of the quietest times of day.

-This also works well for students with A.D.H.D. because there are less distractions and it’s quiet in the house.


 

How to Score High on Your ACT Math Test

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Take a diagnostic test to find out what your weaknesses are.

Take a diagnostic ACT math test to see what's going on. Find out which subjects are giving you a hard time. The math ACT will feature number theory, algebra, geometry, fractions, equations - the list goes on and to get better you need to know where you are. At C2 Severna Park, we offer a free ACT diagnostic test.

Find all of your mistakes and fix them. 

When you get your practice test back, find out which problems you got wrong. Were there careless mistakes? Were there mistakes that you made because you did not know how to solve the problem? See your mistakes as learning opportunities. Everyone makes mistakes.

Practice!

Practice the techniques until you are comfortable, then start practicing with a timer. You want to solve the problem in under a minute. By test day, you need to know your formulas and math facts. Having trouble learning your math foundations? Consider a tutor. All of our tutors are math experts!

Got some wrong? Try again!

Re-solve any questions you missed. You can do this by redoing the problem more carefully or looking at the right answer and trying to solve the problem with this information. You can try a new technique. See if knowing the right answer can help you figure out how to solve the problem. You may have an aha moment!

Now, here are some test day tips:

  1. If you have extra time, recheck your work by plugging in the answer or re-solve quickly. It doesn't hurt to double check.

  2. Who needs bubble trouble? Try bubbling your answers at once to eliminate the risk of bubbling errors and to save time. There is no need to be multi-tasking on test day. Just make sure you are wise with your time, so you can bubble all of your answers in at the end. Bubble clearly in your test book.

  3. Mark up your math booklet just as you would your reading booklet. Underline as needed and take advantage of your scratch space.

  4. Keep your calm and if you get stuck on a problem, skip it, come back to it later.

  5. Avoid careless mistakes. Read all problems carefully and make sure you know what you're doing. Are you finding the area? Are you finding the value of Y? Follow directions and make sure you know what you are doing. Make sure you enter everything into your calculator properly to avoid errors.