All posts by mikeanderson123

Writing a Good Essay – Structure

SAT test preparation should focus on all aspects of the SAT- Math, Critical Reading, and Writing. In this, and succeeding articles, we will discuss various parameters that would help you do well on the SAT writing section, essay in particular. In this article on SAT test preparation, we will talk about how important is an essay structure.
Believe me, it is a bad idea to start writing an essay the moment you finish reading the essay prompt. The truth is that most students follow this suicidal strategy, believing that this would waste time. It would be worthwhile to understand that SAT test graders evaluate your efforts taking the whole of essay, and not just a part of it. So, what is the best strategy to do well on the SAT essay section? Among others, one of the best techniques is to create a general outline of the essay. Let me give you an example to illustrate my point here.
Suppose you have to reach your friend’s place, and you have not been there before. Which strategy would be better- taking you car and rushing into the traffic, asking for directions to his place? OR outlining the directions before setting out? Just as a traveler cannot do without maps, students would not be able to create a good essay without creating an outline. SAT essay graders look for a solid structure in an essay. There are three things a SAT test grader would look for in an essay:
1. Meaningful Progression of Ideas
2. Logical Progression
3. Introduction, Body and Conclusion
When you create an outline, it helps you focus on the essay. It also saves you time. In short, it gives you directions to create an impressive essay. Try a few SAT practice tests, and if you find yourself rambling and running short of time while writing an essay, you surely need to start creating an outline before writing an essay.
You must brainstorm before expressing your thoughts in the form of an essay. If you agree/disagree to a prompt, you should try to outline your thoughts to justify your opinion. Test makers and graders, both know that it is literally impossible for a student to elaborate every aspect of the question.
Here is what the structure of an essay should look like:
1. The Main Idea which Includes including a Thesis Statement
2. Main Body
3. Conclusion
These three points constitutes a proven formula for scoring high on the SAT essay. Do not underestimate or neglect this formula. It has worked in the past, and it will continue to work in future too. The Main Body can be split into two paragraphs. This would make the essay structure distributed across four paragraphs.
There is one mistake you may like to watch out for- skipping the outline process. NEVER think that the outline process would waste your time. On the contrary, by not creating an outline, you would be wasting your time, not knowing where to head while you write one paragraph after another, nursing the misconception that this will impress the Test Grader. Remember, all it takes I just a few minutes to create an outline. And this would guarantee a solid essay.

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Digital Exam Generators – A Bad Idea

There are several software programs available to teachers today that claim to digitally create standards based tests for teaching units that provide a variety of test question types. While this may be true, and it is quite amazing that these software programs exist, I do not recommend fully depending on any of these programs for testing purposes.
The problem with digital test generators is many of these programs offer a very biased approach to testing on a particular unit. While subjects such as Math or Science may not suffer as greatly from such bias, content areas like English and Social Studies tests that are created offer test questions by the creator that are often very one sided. To further explain, you have to have taught your unit to the test in order for your students to be successful, whether or not your interpretation of the material matches the test creator.
The problem that exists with subjective subjects as well is that students may have interpreted material to fit their own prior knowledge. Although they perhaps learned a new skill along the way such as a literary element for an important date in time, the factual material is not always all that s tested on. Studies show that in these digitally generated tests, students usually perform quite well when tested on hard, tangible material but often do quite poorly on comprehension type questions, not because they don t comprehend the question but because their interpretation of the material does not match that of the test generators.
Teachers should not fully rely on these test generators to create tests for students. A variety of personally written questions combined with the test generated questions would be the best alternative. There are most certainly questions that these software programs generate that are extremely well written. Combining teacher written questions along with the software programs will offer a more valid test as teacher questions can reflect a certain aspect of the unit while the test generators questions can offer another point of view.
Another program that has recently caught the attention of teachers is essay graders. While the test generators can truly be useful to creating more well-rounded tests, I urge all educators to avoid essay graders, at least with the current programs available. A number of colleagues and I conducted an experiment using our textbooks essay grading software a couple of years ago (the same software the company still promotes today). The program picked up on all spelling errors and many grammatical errors but failed to identify issues with essay organization, content, and most importantly plagiarism identification. Granted, the program was likely not designed to go so into depth with grading an essay, its short-comings are quite noticeable. Perhaps in the future, these programs will gain a bit more credibility, but for the time being, you re better off just grading your own essays!

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Easy Essays – Follow Five Simple Steps to Write Your Best Essay Ever

Do you struggle with writing essays? Do you put off starting your assignment until the last possible minute, then dash through it to get it over and done with? Do you find yourself making any excuse to stop and procrastinate while you’re writing?
Here are five steps that make essay writing easy and even enjoyable:
Brainstorm about your essay topic
When you get given your essay question or topic, you might think “I don’t know where to start.” Or, worse, you might think, “That’s so easy – but how can I spin it out to 3,000 words?” Sitting and staring at your essay topic won’t help, though. You need to grab a blank piece of paper.
Got that sheet of paper? Good. Write your essay topic in the middle, and start to brainstorm. Jot down any major points that the topic raises, or any secondary questions that relate to it. Don’t worry about your ideas being good, or linking together, at this stage: just write down everything that comes to mind.
Make an essay plan
Once you’ve spent twenty minutes or so brainstorming, you’re ready to mould those initial thoughts into an essay plan. Decide on your thesis first; what do you want to say in your essay? Try to put this down in writing – it’ll form part of your introduction and your conclusion.
When you’re clear about your thesis, work out two to four points that you’re going to use to back it up. Write these down, along with any sub-points for each. Doing this now, rather than launching straight into your essay, means that you won’t run out of steam half-way through.
Collate examples to use in your essay
Now that you’re clear about the points you want to make, you can look for examples to back up what you’re going to say. This means going through relevant books, journals and articles to find experts in your subject who agree with you! Sometimes, you might even want to quote from a source and then disagree with it.
If you’re studying a subject like English or History, you’ll need to quote from “primary sources” or “first hand sources” (such as novels, in English, or diaries and letters in History). But don’t forget to bring in some literary critics or historians too.
Draft your essay in one sitting
Don’t get into the habit of writing a sentence or two of your essay, wandering the room for a while, writing another sentence, and stopping for a coffee break. Sit down, switch off your mobile – and your internet connection if you can – and get your plan and all your examples to hand. Then set a timer and start writing.
How long you need to draft an essay depends on how fast you write and on the word length, but try to challenge yourself: if drafting an essay normally takes you three hours, see if you can do it in two.
Leave your essay, then revise
Once you’ve come to the end of your essay, print it out, and leave it for at least a day. When you come to revise, sit down with the hard copy and a pen, and go through, marking any changes that you want to make. Don’t try to edit straight onto the screen, as it’s easy to get caught up in “tinkering” and miss the real problems.
If you have time, start a whole new document for the redraft; your writing will often flow much better if you rewrite each paragraph and even each sentence. The first draft was raw creation, this is honing and polishing.
One last thing – don’t forget that final proof-read when you’re done!

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Essay Editing Service – Essay Editors For Hire

Many students send their entrance essay to an essay editing service and get accepted to the program of their choice. The essay must distinguish you from the other applicants. Dream, design your life, and start taking steps to experience progress and achieve success!
Writing an entrance essay is not easy for most students because they are required to write about themselves, their life, motivations, experience, and future plans. A professional essay editing service, with superior editing and admissions consulting can help you gain an edge over the 1000s of applicants with similar academic credentials. College entrance essays are the primary tool used by the admissions staff to distinguish between the many college applicants with similar backgrounds. A professional college admissions essay editing service can help you express your ideas in a concise, interesting, and grammatically correct format that is sure to impress admission’s officers.
Looking for academic editing help requires browsing comparable freelance, academic editor qualifications, which makes it challenging to decide on the particular editor to hire. Consider the list of important academic editing business characteristics below before you hire and editor for your college admissions essay:
– The company provides proofreading and extended services to critique and tutor you about your academic admission’s essay.
– The service allows you to communicate directly to the writer, to help you and the writer gain a new perspective about the outline and content of your entrance essay.
– The essay editing service has the skills and professional experience to produce a well-written statement of purpose or admissions essays that set you apart from other applicants.
– The essay editing team is comprised of mature, responsible individuals with specialized knowledge on a wide variety of topics, to arrange and organize the flow and consistency of your ideas.
– The editing team’s academic and writing experience allows them to write a clear presentation of your vision.
– The proofreaders are accurate and possess excellent English grammar skills, with an “eye for details” such as spelling, punctuation, and capitalization issues.
– The essay editing business team is composed of creative writers that can add sentences or paragraphs when needed, to improve flow with transitional phrases, thereby strengthening the presentation of ideas and providing coherent support for the argument.
Don’t let less than perfect writing get in the way of your ideas. Essay style, voice, logic, and grammar require revisions and rewrites. An experienced essay editing service can help. Hire qualified college entrance essay services.

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The Ant and the Coffee Maker

It’s a catchy title for a story. It reminds me of one of Aesop’s Fables where there will be some lesson instilled in young minds who endure reading it. That’s probably not going to happen in this tale. Although, somebody might learn something from my mistake. That’s only a mere theory with no statistics to back it up whatsoever.
It started out just like every morning. I go to the bathroom, wash my hands, turn on the computer, and then I go make my cup of coffee. Once the coffee maker is started, I return to the computer to crank-start the ancient phone-line modem and connect to the Internet.
The coffee maker chugs and churns on the kitchen counter. It’s a two-cup model and it does just about the perfect job of brewing our favorite gourmet blend coffee. One of our few lavish luxuries. I brew one single cup, which is rather large, and when mine is ready, I set the machine up for my wife.
Once I finally get connected to the Internet, I am assuming that the coffee machine must be pretty close to finishing. It’s sad that dial-up takes so long, but that’s the undying truth to the matter. Just in case, I begin the process of checking out all of my favorite web sites, to obtain my sports news and stats, check the weather, and of course, my own personal author based web sites data. Now, surely the cup of coffee is complete and only awaiting the perfect amount of sugar and cream to be added and consumed with delight.
On this particular morning, I abandon one particular web site and leave the home office to retrieve my much anticipated cup of coffee. To my surprise, I hear another unfamiliar chug emanate from the machine as I approach it. What on earth could have slowed this process down, I wonder? Okay, the fact is, it could probably stand to be de-scaled, you know, the old white vinegar and water treatment that cleans the sediments out of the insides of the machine. It’s a fairly new coffee pot and, to my own chagrin, I realize neither of us has taken the time to exercise this important maintenance procedure in our quest to obtain the perfect cup of coffee on a daily basis.
I gather that it’s a little too early in the morning to start such a cumbersome task and promise myself that once my wife’s cup of coffee is done, later when she finally gets up, that I will undertake the procedure personally.
As I grab my cup of coffee, I notice despite the amount of water I put in, the machine has not yielded it back. Although the automatic shut-off switch is no longer illuminated, only a half of the cup is filled with coffee. I ponder putting some more water in the well after I lift the cover to see if there is any left inside, and to my surprise there is none. Where did it go? Did it evaporate? Was that the foreign chugging sounds I heard the machine make just a few moments ago? Was it steaming off the water that was supposed to go into my cup of coffee? I inspect the counter-top to ensure that I hadn’t actually spilled the water when pouring it into the well. As I notice the dry surface of the counter, I realize that I’m in denial that the coffee machine just needs a simple cleaning and resolve to my newly brewed cup of … espresso, I guess. No amount of sugar and cream will make this gourmet blend of coffee the perfect cup on this morning. It’s too strong, obviously because the proper amount of water did not brew and filter through the heaping ¼ cup of grounds placed in the filter trap.
I like cappuccino, so I settle for the strong coffee that morning. As usual, before returning to the computer, I set up my wife’s cup so all she has to do is hit the start button when she decides to finally get up.
The coffee is strong, but tolerable enough for me. I resolve in the fact that I will be making another one later on for my commute to work and the machine will be de-scaled for that cup, therefore, it’s not a complete loss.
I return to the computer and browse more sites and gather more data and statistics. Soon my mind is finally submerged in thought and the coffee machine de-scaling becomes low on the thought process. That is, until I take another sip of my coffee and grimace down the mouthful. Hey … it will wake me up proper, right?
A little while later, my wife gets up. She stealthily approaches me from behind, trying to adjust her sleepy eyes to the bright monitor of the computer and ensure that I’m behaving myself on the Internet, and then she wraps her arms around my shoulders and neck and places her head next to mine for our first “good morning” kiss. Satisfied with the fact that I didn’t quickly close one window and was startled by her attack, I offer to get up and go push the button to the coffee machine. We have a joke … sort of. She tells me I make a better cup of coffee than she does, so I tell her it’s all in the way I push the button. I’ve extended this joke to the way I stir the cream in sugar in the final product. Counter-clock wise for several swirls and then one final clock-wise stir to slow the whirlpool of hot coffee down. It’s the one clock-wise stir I insist is the “flavor stir,” I tell her and she smiles, certainly not buying into my theory.
I push the button to the coffee machine again and listen to it come to life and begin the process all over again for her cup. Returning to the home office, I keep a watchful ear out on the chugs and churns to make myself aware if she is going to endure the same problem I did with mine. Much to my pleasure, when the cup is done brewing, the perfect amount of water has filtered through the machine and she now has a perfect cup of coffee sitting below the cone. Lucky her. I add her cream and sugar and do the whole counter-clock wise/clock-wise procedure, which produces yet another smile from her sleepy face and I hand her over the cup. She happily walks to the living room to sit on the couch with her coveted coffee mug and wait for the caffeine to kick in.
I tell her about my less than perfect cup of coffee and the fact that we need to de-scale the machine. She tells me the manual for the coffee maker is conveniently inside the cupboard right above it where we also keep the mugs, the grinder, and the coffee. To my horror, there are several procedures to de-scale the darn thing. It’s not rocket science. It’s repeating the same process over and over again and letting the machine cool down in between. I have to leave for work in just over an hour and now my second cup of coffee of the day has a threatened existence. I fervently begin the process, but before I do, I decide to unplug the machine and run water through the well and just tip it back out in the sink.
Now, considering the title of this story, I’m sure the reader is just waiting to find out why I chose to call it what I did. You can imagine what I discovered when I tipped the machine full of water over. There, at the bottom of the sink was a large, black ant. The big ones that grow almost an inch long. He had been sitting on the bottom of the coffee machine well and I had mistaken him for some sludge of some sort since he had been boiled for God knows how long and was not moving around. He was dead, of course.
Suddenly, my mind screamed out. I must tell my wife to stop drinking her coffee and I’ll just make her a new cup! Then, the rational part of my brain spoke up. My wife is totally “bugged” out by bugs. Pun intended. She has certainly already had a few sips off of her morning coffee. And this ant is undoubtedly the cause of the machine acting up incorrectly when it brewed my cup earlier. Maybe the ant was trying to drink as much of the water as it could so it wouldn’t burn as bad. Who knows? Only the ant and maybe God and neither one of them are talking to me. Listen, J. I say to myself. If you tell your wife that you just discovered this ant inside the coffee machine, not only are you going to ruin her first cup of coffee of the day, she’s also not going to be able to enjoy the next one or the one after that. All she’s ever going to remember is that the machine was breached by a bug once and it will never leave her. And it’s not exactly like I was feeling any adverse effects from the ant. I felt okay. It’s not like the ant was crushed and ground up in the coffee grounds and then brewed. It was inside the fresh water well. So we weren’t exactly drinking ant-flavored Columbian coffee. We were drinking filtered ant-enhanced Columbian coffee.

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Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips

Chicago Booth School of Business is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. This application is designed to evaluate candidates on their ability to handle the Chicago curriculum, contribute to the community, and grow in their careers. This year Chicago has discarded a longer essay on your career goals in favor of two short essays and the creative powerpoint presentation question.
Academic ability will largely be communicated through your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points, though intellectual curiosity can be demonstrated in essays and the interview. Community focuses on your demonstrated leadership, team building skills and community involvement, as well as your fit with Chicago Booth and the perspective you will share with your classmates. All MBA candidates are ultimately looking for a degree that will enhance their career. Chicago Booth wants to know about your track record of success, expectations for the MBA, and plans for the future.
Chicago Booth’s open-ended creative presentation or essay confounds many candidates. Whether you choose to write an essay or prepare a four slide presentation, take a step back from the unique format and think about the question strategically. The power point format simply gives you the freedom to express that answer in words, images, graphics or some combination.
The best presentations will be simple, evocative and expressive. Remember, content is far more important than creativity of presentation.
Short Answer Essays
Please respond to the following two essay prompts:
a. My favorite part of my work is… (250 words maximum)
This short answer essay is the only explicit inquiry about your career in this set of essays. It is notable that the essay question focuses on passions, not goals. For a question like that it’s important to distill your career aspirations and feelings about your work into a clear statement. Think about why you go to work everyday and the moments that inspire you at your job and in your career. Ideally your career passions hint at what drives you on a deeper level and fit with your personal and extracurricular pursuits as well.
b. I started to think differently when… (250 words maximum)
Chicago is a school with a tradition of intellectual rigor, and the second short answer essay focuses on how your thinking has evolved over time. This question gives you an opportunity to discuss something that has changed your thinking fundamentally. This could be an experience at work, home, or in an extracurricular activity. It could even be a travel experience or something that you saw someone else go through.
For example, perhaps a trip to another country changed fundamentally your ideas about society and economics. Or watching a family member struggle with an illness convinced you that preserving health was a fundamental goal of your own life. Whatever the experience was, make sure you are able to succinctly describe it and the way it changed your thinking.
Presentation/Essay
The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective. In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the rest of the application, what else would you like us to know?
This creative essay offers you a blank slate to express yourself with any content you choose. When approaching the question focus first on content, and then on delivery.
This is the ideal opportunity to bring in any aspect of your overall story that does not fit in any other essay. Think about any aspects of leadership, teamwork and intellectual curiosity you have already presented in the previous essays, and where the gaps are. If you wrote about your professional experiences in prior essays, the presentation could focus on personal stories. If there wasn’t enough opportunity to outline your core career passions in your resume or other essays this could be a place to illuminate that detail.
If you decide to write an essay response, you have enough space to tell a story that describes something new about yourself. If you decide to prepare a power point in response to this essay question, refine your story to its key elements. Four slides is a limited amount of space to communicate a lot of detail. Can you use photos? Drawings? If you use words, keep them clear and focused. Take every point up a level, so you are communicating a vision rather than a thesis.
Reapplicant Question: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)
This reapplication essay question gives you the opportunity to focus on your thinking and development rather than any tangible changes you have made since you last applied. Of course, if you do have new accomplishments like a promotion or higher GMAT score that will be of significant value to your re-application.
If you do not have any new hard changes to your profile this essay is an opportunity to show that you have done the work to evaluate your candidacy and have made changes this time around. The word reflection is explicit in the question, and the admissions committee will be looking for your thoughtful consideration of Chicago, your future and your MBA plans.

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Digital Exam Generators – A Bad Idea

There are several software programs available to teachers today that claim to digitally create standards based tests for teaching units that provide a variety of test question types. While this may be true, and it is quite amazing that these software programs exist, I do not recommend fully depending on any of these programs for testing purposes.
The problem with digital test generators is many of these programs offer a very biased approach to testing on a particular unit. While subjects such as Math or Science may not suffer as greatly from such bias, content areas like English and Social Studies tests that are created offer test questions by the creator that are often very one sided. To further explain, you have to have taught your unit to the test in order for your students to be successful, whether or not your interpretation of the material matches the test creator.
The problem that exists with subjective subjects as well is that students may have interpreted material to fit their own prior knowledge. Although they perhaps learned a new skill along the way such as a literary element for an important date in time, the factual material is not always all that s tested on. Studies show that in these digitally generated tests, students usually perform quite well when tested on hard, tangible material but often do quite poorly on comprehension type questions, not because they don t comprehend the question but because their interpretation of the material does not match that of the test generators.
Teachers should not fully rely on these test generators to create tests for students. A variety of personally written questions combined with the test generated questions would be the best alternative. There are most certainly questions that these software programs generate that are extremely well written. Combining teacher written questions along with the software programs will offer a more valid test as teacher questions can reflect a certain aspect of the unit while the test generators questions can offer another point of view.
Another program that has recently caught the attention of teachers is essay graders. While the test generators can truly be useful to creating more well-rounded tests, I urge all educators to avoid essay graders, at least with the current programs available. A number of colleagues and I conducted an experiment using our textbooks essay grading software a couple of years ago (the same software the company still promotes today). The program picked up on all spelling errors and many grammatical errors but failed to identify issues with essay organization, content, and most importantly plagiarism identification. Granted, the program was likely not designed to go so into depth with grading an essay, its short-comings are quite noticeable. Perhaps in the future, these programs will gain a bit more credibility, but for the time being, you re better off just grading your own essays!
As technology continues to develop on a day-to-day basis, the issues with these programs will likely disappear. For now, it is best to still rely on yourself and what you know you ve taught your students to create solid and credible tests and accurately grade student essays.

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