I or Me?

I-vs.-Me

The easiest way to deal with these pesky questions about pronoun case is to cross out each pronoun and then read the sentence as if there were only one pronoun.

These are Correct.

You and I are learning grammar. (You are learning grammar.)

You and I are learning grammar. (I am learning grammar.)

Grammar matters to you and me.  (Grammar matters to you.)

Grammar matters to you and me. (Grammar matters to me.)

These are Incorrect.

You and me are learning grammar. (Me am learning grammar.)

Grammar matters to you and I. (Grammar matters to I.)

If you draw a line through the 2nd pronoun, you will find that you would never say, “Grammar matters to I.”  Yet, many people think this is correct and say it when they are trying to use formal English. Test each pronoun individually in the sentence and you will usually be able to hear if it should be in the nominative (I) or objective (me) case.

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Every Standardized Test is…THE SAME

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So what is a standardized test, really?  Usually when we think of the word “standardization,” we think of the limitations of a test to truly tell us about an individual. How can a test measure someone’s character, creativity, integrity, or intelligence?  Surely open ended questions would provide much more insight into what a person knows about any given subject. Why can’t the ACT do that?

Let’s pause for a minute and take a look at the company that writes the ACT.  ACT, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to create a test useful to college admission’s offices around the country.  Its biggest competitor is the SAT.

In order to provide this black and white assessment to colleges, the ACT must leave no room for subjective answers.  Every answer is either 100% correct or it is wrong.  Learning to identify wrong answer choices is a crucial part of understanding the ACT.

Every official ACT test administered on any given Saturday must be the same as any other given test on any other given Saturday.  Each test must cover the same material, test the same concepts in the same ways, and present the same wrong answer choices in the same wrong answer ways.  Otherwise, the test would not be standardized.  The ACT’s sole existence depends on making tests that are fair, equal, and THE SAME.

As a student, this is good news!  Standardization is  limited when it comes to creating a test that will represent the student as a whole.  However, standardization works in the student’s favor when he/she begins to understand and dissect the test.  As students, parents, and educators we have an amazing opportunity to shine. Let’s take it.

Ok, I’m in. So now what?

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This has been the question of the week. Ok, ACT Mom, I get it.  But where do I go from here?

Here is my best advice.

Parents, you should be involved.   I would encourage parents to purchase the “red book.” Take it apart and put it into page protectors or laminate it. We are going to be using these over and over again. The counseling office at your child’s school should also have a free copy of a real ACT test.

51rcRWxOOCL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Look over the test yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Is studying for the ACT something that is feasible right now in your family? Have an honest conversation with your student about his/her hopes and dreams for the future. Do they involve college? Is your student interested in a state school, private school, or community college? How much does all of that cost?  Go to your favorite school’s website. What merit scholarships are available?

How would your student benefit from a great ACT score? Does he/she need scholarship money? Is your student aiming to get into an Ivy League school where a great score is mandatory?

Develop a plan for your student’s success. If your child is young, you have time and you can move slowly. My 7th grader does the first 30 math problems on our ACT practice tests because they are usually the easiest. It is great practice for him and it is already building his confidence. If your student is a senior, there is still time. However, more time and focus will be required.

Take a baby step.   Assess where you are. Take another step. Assess. Get help where you need it. Practice and repeat what you already do well.

Above all, cherish this time with your children. Love them well during this season of life when their hopes and dreams are still fresh and alive. What a privilege we have. I look forward to our journey together.

Our Story. My Passion.

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When my oldest son entered high school, I began the daunting task of looking at the costs of college tuition. Our local university was over $20,000 a year for tuition, room, and board. Private schools ranged from around $30,000 to $45,000 a year. I gulped. I worried. I sighed. What was the average family to do? How did people go to college these days without amassing large quantities of debt?

Through some providential circumstances, I was introduced to the concept of standardized test prep. At the time there was not a lot on the market that dealt specifically with ACT prep. Kaplan, The Princeton Review, McGraw-Hill and Barron’s all published ACT Study books; however, they did not quite hit the mark.  Because it is illegal to republish “real” ACT tests, the test companies have done their best to recreate what they believe will be on the test.  However, studying tests not created by the test maker is of limited help.

I did a lot of researching online before I began.  I bought the “Red Book,” published by the ACT writers themselves, and got busy. I now had five real tests. I literally tore them apart from cover to cover and began to study them. I put them in sheet protectors, purchased dry erase markers, and began to take them over and over.  I saw the same patterns repeated on each test. I saw the same mathematical and grammatical concepts tested again and again.  These were STANDARDIZED tests.  In order to be fair and consistent, each test would generally test the same information and skill set.

I began studying with my son when he was a Freshman.  Every Saturday afternoon we would meet for 1 to 2 hours and work on standardized tests.  We prepared for both the SAT and the ACT, but eventually found the ACT to be more straightforward and more to our liking. It was a journey of starts and stops, mishaps and successes.   But it was a journey I will always cherish.  Two weeks ago my son graduated from high school and will be attending college in the fall with a full tuition, merit based scholarship based solely on his ACT score.

I have two more kids and it’s time to do it again.  My daughter will be a sophomore in the fall and we have plans to CRUSH the ACT.  I have decided that educating my kids on standardized tests is my part time job.  I would love for others to join us in the journey.  I would love to encourage other families who are looking for merit scholarships.  I would love to extend hope to students who want a future without debt.  The future is bright.

It’s a puzzle.

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The ACT is a puzzle. How do you solve it? You must first understand what is on the test. Fortunately, the ACT tells us.

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These tests are the window into the mind of the ACT test makers. We want to know how the ACT thinks. Every time we miss a question, we have a HUGE opportunity to learn. When you are first familiarizing yourself with the ACT, work slowly and analyze all of your mistakes. Was your mistake careless? Were you tricked by the wording? Do you not understand what the question is about? If you can figure out the concept that the ACT is testing and why you missed it, you will be well on your way to mastering the ACT.