Thursday, 1 September 2016

SAT Essays - How to Take a Stand

On the SAT, you may be asked to choose sides in an argument and defend your position.
Frequently, the essay prompt asks students whether they agree or disagree with a given quote or idea. For example, here's a real question from a previous SAT test:
"Nothing requires more discipline than freedom."
Assignment: In your essay, discuss your view of the statement above. Be sure to use examples to explain your view. Examples can be from literature, the arts, politics, history, science, experience, observation, or current events.
For the purposes of the essay, you should either agree or disagree with the given statement.
Many students are wishy-washy, perhaps because they are afraid of giving the wrong answer. For example, an indecisive student might write:
Sometimes freedom requires great discipline, but sometimes it doesn't.
This position statement is bad, because it does not take a clear and decisive stand. These kinds of openings tend to lead to essays that wander and are unfocused. They also tend to get low scores.
If you agree with the statement in the essay prompt, you might begin with a simple but effective affirmation of the idea, like this:
Freedom requires great discipline.
If you disagree with the statement, you might begin by turning the idea on its head:
Freedom is the absence of discipline.
Both of these statements make a clear point, and would lead to completely different essays, in part because they interpret the word freedom in radically different ways. The first approach might go on to discuss political freedom, while the second approach is likely to focus on personal freedom. Either argument could work as the launching point for a strong essay.
On the SAT essay, there is no "wrong" answer in the normal sense. If the essay is about the statement "crime doesn't pay," you may decide to argue that crime does pay. The judges aren't going to grade your opinions. Instead, they are looking at how well you can defend them.

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Can Special Education Help or Harm Our Emotional Disturbed Students?

As a Special Educational teacher I have seen first hand how many parents are devastated to know that they child is a candidate for this program. Special education basically makes education tailored made for the special child. I had the pleasure of working with students who were labeled as being Emotional Disturbed. My students were known for having angry issues which erupted into verbal and physical aggression. These students have so many referrals that they had been kicked out of their districts.
I had to come into this classroom with some high expectations and along with not being fearful. Please be clear that in the beginning these kids were cursing and yes even tried to attack but I had to use Mrs. Murray's magic. It's an ancient Chinese secret (smile). I have to be honest, I had a terrific male Para who worked closely with me and he and I devised a plan to ensure these kids would be successful.
Even though these middle schools kids were rebels and difficult in their perspective districts I still had to believe in them. I had to "capture their hearts". It was most difficult because these kids came from adverse environments. I had to daily speak works of belief in them. You have to realize, these kids only hear negative and when you hear negative you live and repeat negative. Then I had to make sure my class room was highly structured and engaging. These kids behavior covered up their true learning ability. So, I had to make instruction high impact, believe in them, and understand why they had that type of behavior in the first place. Remember, behavior is learned.
When Teachers see kids like these sometimes they continue to set them up for continuous failure because they only see a problem not a solution. Now, I am glad to say these kids passed my class, they love learning, and their behavior is under control. Do these kids still mess up? Absolutely, but not as often as they did and now they recognized their behavior. I believe with proper strategies, along with support, and sheer dedication all kids can learn.
Teachers, we have to strive with all our might to help our Special Need students and we have to be prepared to teach in a diverse framework. We have to look at all aspects of the student and make sure we have done all that we could to impact that student in a positive way.
So you say, those with Emotional Disturbance can't learn? I know first-hand that they can and I have known strategies and resources that work. Will it be easy? No!! Will it take time? Yes!!! Will you pull your hair out? Sometimes!! However the feeling you get after seeing a reformed student is Priceless!!!

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Before Writing a Research Paper - A Checklist

Before writing a research paper, one should know how to read a research paper. One should always ask oneself questions when reading a research paper. Take for example, "The automatic generation of compilers from denotational semantic descriptions of the source code" would usually describe a research paper that is based on compilation.
However, please be careful of agencies who write research papers and the prices that they charge. Because a recently published research paper by scholars at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and two other universities suggests that virtual teams may extract an unexpected price. And there are people who go ahead and add their hard-won knowledge to a common pool, but may become alienated from their organization and may unfortunately even fear that they are sowing the seeds for their own replacement.
One can refer to sites that provide steps to writing a research paper in detail, a few quick links to meticulously search the site. One can also ask a Librarian for directions to reference material, who will give information that will help one to identify, locate, and evaluate information for one's research paper. There are more sites about writing a research paper from various Universities who teach one how to cite, and how not to plagiarize (which is important) and names of various dictionaries & thesauri.
It is usual that one's professor has assigned one a research paper to write on an archaeological culture or site and one unfortunately does not know what in the world to write on. But remember that there are several ways to find a good topic for a research paper, located right here.

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How to Write a Research Paper - Guide

Writing a research paper is kind of interesting as you dig into different interesting material to put in your paper. There various steps one has to follow in order to create a good research paper.
1. First, you should select a good topic. To build on the topic and thesis of your paper or report, it is important to read on the topic. Choose a topic which interests you, this will give you an opportunity to further your interest in the area and ease your stress in the research work. You then follow by narrowing your topic so as your topic is not too broad.
When given a topic it is very important to read and understand what the topic is talking about. To avoid mere accumulation of work, you must base your collection of material to answering a specific question. This question is called the thesis statement. It is very important as it guides you on what material to collect (pertinent material), it also guides the reader on what to expect on your paper.
2. After these steps, follow by acquiring appropriate reference material. This is done by selecting a bibliography. Be sure to take down all the possible references you need and where they can be found. Keep in mind that efficiency and time saving is increased when you're systematic, it is important to filter your resources in order to make sure that the information you put in to your paper and report is valid.
You should then collect notes and categorize them as per the topics you collect. This will help you maintain flow in your writing. You ought to have clearly in mind what you want this material to add up to before you begin writing. Therefore you should decide on an approach point of view where you control over your work.
3. After a preliminary research has been done, the thesis statement has been solidified and a method of research has been chosen, a brief outline must be written. You should have in mind that the only way to control data to help you gain support for your objective is by working out a detailed outline. The presence of an outline as a guide gives the research paper specific system and flow. This is important so that you do not go about the research work blindly and randomly. Now that you have an outline, you should proceed and start drafting your paper. Since this is a draft you should write as fast and spontaneous as possible. This will ensure general flow in putting down your ideas. The more you write the better since editing is easier than gathering material to write. Then, you should immediately go through your work to make spontaneous revision and clarify your work after which you can take a breather.
4. Editing follows, this is important because you check whether your work is understandable or not and if your grammar and structure are correct. While editing you should always reposition your sentences and paragraph to create flow. Follow by deleting and adding material to achieve balance. Once there is balance, look to insert transitional words. You can then proof read your work, if you're having second thoughts have someone else read it in order to gauge the probable reactions and criticisms on the research paper. In this way, you can make minor changes to the paper in order to make it more cohesive.
5. Finally, make a fine copy of your work. This copy should have ample spacing, generous margins, correct spellings and appropriate citation style used.
Tips & Warnings
1. The most commonly used styles are APA, MLA, and Harvard, although there are also other styles such as Chicago and Turabian.
2. Be sure not to hand in your work late.

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Plagiarism - Top 10 Ways to Stay Out of Trouble When Writing Your Dissertation, Thesis, Or Paper

With increasing frequency, colleges and universities are making use of Web-based plagiarism checking services to scan papers for stolen material. And the consequences can be dire: at one end of the spectrum, a failing grade for the assignment; at the other end, dismissal from an academic program. If you are intentionally plagiarizing in your paper, thesis, or dissertation, this should give you pause. But if you are not intentionally plagiarizing, there could still be reason for concern. Plagiarism checking software catches an ever-growing amount of appropriated material--and sometimes the student has not even meant to do anything wrong! In what follows, I'd like to offer some simple tips for avoiding plagiarism of the unintentional variety.
1. Know what constitutes plagiarism. Simply put, plagiarism is the use of the words or ideas of another person without giving credit to the person from whom they are borrowed. Right off the bat, this tells us something important: you can't simply change a few words of a borrowed text (so that the passage is no longer a direct quotation) and think that you are out of danger. Unless the material is "common knowledge," a citation is needed for any material you borrow--whether it is a direction quotation, a paraphrase, or even just an idea.
2. Know what your professor will look for. Even before the advent of the computer, professors caught students who plagiarized; the Internet has just made it much, much easier. So what might give a clue to a professor that the material you've presented as your own really came from someone else? 
  • Fluctuations in style
  • Vocabulary that isn't typical for you
  • Harsh connections between passages
  • Deviations in the point of view from which the text is written
  • Contradictions in the theories or positions maintained in the paper
  • The failure of the paper to address the specific topic assigned (suggesting it may have been borrowed or purchased)
  • The unavailability in your university/college library of the sources referenced in the paper
  • The use of exclusively Web-based sources
  • Recognizing the material (Your professor is probably an expert in this field, after all!)
On its own, nothing on this list is a guarantee that material has been plagiarized. However, the combination of several of these points will certainly raise suspicions and will probably cause your professor to dig deeper.
3. Know how anti-plagiarism programs work. If your college, university, or professor is using a Web-based anti-plagiarism service, it's a good idea to know what the program searches for. If you're intentionally plagiarizing, chances are that you won't outsmart these programs; if you're not intentionally plagiarizing, understanding the programs will help you to avoid plagiarizing inadvertently. Anti-plagiarism programs currently in use do a combination of the following: 
  • Search the Internet for word strings that may have been lifted. The easiest way to get caught plagiarizing is to take something from a source available on the Internet. You will almost certainly get caught, as even the simplest and cheapest programs do this much.
  • Search cached sources. Even if your source is no longer available on the Web, it may still be available to the anti-plagiarism search as long as it was on the Web at one time.
  • Search databases of papers, theses, dissertations, articles, and books, usually comparing your paper against millions of archived sources. This means that even print sources that have never been available on the Internet may turn up in the search.
  • Compare documents. This allows professors and universities to submit multiple papers (even over a number of years) to compare them for material that they share in common.
  • Make internal comparisons. The more sophisticated programs use algorithms to examine sentence structure and synonyms, allowing them to catch even paraphrased material that has not been copied exactly.
4. Don't cut-and-paste. By definition, if you are doing this, you are borrowing material, and you're likely to leave clues (see tip #2, above). NOTE that this rule applies even to borrowing your own material from papers you've written previously. If you ignore this rule, then be sure to cite the source of whatever you've borrowed.
5. Don't paraphrase without citing the source. Yes, it's plagiarism even if you change the words. If it's someone else's idea, a citation is needed. Always.
6. If you use someone else's words, always use quotation marks (or block quote formatting). No exceptions. Period.
7. Know your style sheet. Each academic style sheet (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian), has its own conventions for citing sources. If you don't follow the right conventions, you could inadvertently wind up being accused of stealing the material.
8. Beware of "common knowledge." This is the one big gray area--what really is "common knowledge"? If there's the slightest doubt in your mind, find the source and cite it. If you can't find the source, drop the material from your paper.
9. Get your work edited. Whether you rely on a professional editing service, a professor, someone from your college's writing center, or a really smart friend, a second set of eyes may catch what you missed, saving you a major hassle in the end.

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15 Most Useful Tips to Avoid a Nervous Breakdown During Exams

The students who are nervous and stressed out tend to forget what they have studied, especially in the exam hall. They fail to remember what they have studied simply because of the stress. So, the question here is how students can avoid the nervous breakdown during exams, when there is great pressure of studies. So, here is a list of tips on how to avoid nervous breakdown during exams.
1. Attend Classes Regularly
If you really desire to avoid stress during exams and succeed in your examination, then ensure to attend each class with sincerity, without skipping it. Attending lectures with sincerity and dedication will help you alleviate the stress level during exams and understand the subject better. This will make your studies enjoyable during exams, but not a burden.
2. Note the Lectures
Attending the lecturers regularly is not enough; instead you also need note down the important things said by the instructor during the lecture. Note down every incident that your instructor tells you, make diagrams carefully so that when you forget anything you can simply open the book and memorize it easily.
3. Be Prepared
You need to prepare yourself for the exam and ensure that you are well aware what you have learned. Make sure you have all the essays, books and notes handy with you. If you are not aware how the marks are allocated and what format the exam takers, then inquiry with your teachers or else simply visit the exam board's website for better understanding.
4. Make a Plan
Planning how much time you require for revision and how you can utilize it in the best way possible by making a timetable can greatly reduce the stress level during exams and help you avoid a nervous breakdown. The best trick suggested by management experts is taking the overwhelming task as a challenge and simply breaking it down into handy chunks for easy management. Possibly, you may need to spend more time in certain subjects than others. So, it is suggested to vary your timetable and routine so that you don't get bored reading a particular subject. You may update the plan regularly or when necessary.
5. Know When and Where You Work Best
It is best said that one must only work when they are highly alert. Different students have different body clocks. Some prefer to study at night, while some dawn lark and prefer studying during day time. The revision styles also different as some students like to study in a tidy library desk, while some prefer to read under the duvet along with their gadgets. So, wherever the students feel calm, relaxed and in control, it is the best place to deal with the exam stress.
6. Group Study
Several students are quite nervous, either due to fast approaching exams or because of the longer courses, and as a result they can't memorize the lessons appropriately. There might be a variety of topics that you couldn't understand in your classes. So, for such situations you may seek help from your fellow students who have sound knowledge about the particular topics. The group is studying not only help students to clarify things easily, but also make studies quite enjoyable and easier to memorize.
7. Stay Refreshed by Taking Breaks
According to psychologists, a person can only concentrate on things properly for 45 minutes at a stretch. Some of the neuroscientists have revealed that the longer a person tries to focus on things, the less their brains are able to deal with the things effectively. So, it is important to stay refreshed by taking breaks in between of your studies. Rather than cramming more on revision and taking stress to deal with exams, it is suggested to take breaks and do something different to avoid nervous breakdown during exams.
8. Eat Healthy
Eating healthy is very crucial and by keeping the blood sugar level stable students can avoid energy dips during daytime and can enjoy sound sleep during night, which is very crucial to deal with exam stress. If you are still nervous during exams, then definitely you will avoid having foods, but don't forget to drink lots of water. You may refer internet to find out a proper diet plan to alleviate the stress level during exams.
9. Try to Avoid Stimulants
Students sometime start consuming drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine as they believe that it is their stimulant that helps them to deal with the exam stress without knowing its adverse effects. All these things actually leave them craving more and excessive use may even slow or bring them down or over stimulate them.
10. Get Exercise
Probably, this is the best technique for students to deal with their exam stress. Bike riding, swimming, and a walk with your dog significantly reduce physical tension, resulting in body aches and pain which releases the natural feel-good brain chemicals.
11. Sleep Well
It is undeniable fact that the students often turn and toss for the entire night before their exams and as a result their body copes with lack of sleep and they find difficulty writing their exam papers next day. If you find difficulty sleeping at night before your exams due to stress, then try to do something repetitively. Sleeping is quite necessary before exams because it helps you to awake with a refreshing mind next day so that you can prepare yourself for the exam.
12. Relaxation is Necessary
Students who are anxious about their exams should always try to keep themselves relax and find a quiet and calm place where they can breathe deeply in & out, focusing their mind in some pleasant things or memories. They may try to do something that helps them to unwind.
13. Discussing About Exams With Someone
Almost every student finds their exams a stressful task, so you are not alone indeed. Discussing your worries with a family member, friend, student counselor or school tutor would help you to take the worries out from the system.
14. Revise
It is well said that practice always makes a man perfect! Once you, complete with your studies, it is the time to revise the lessons till the time you master them. You may even ask your family members or friends to take a test to check the accuracy level.
15. Keep it in Perspective
If you think that you have messed up your exam, and then don't panic, nothing can be done until you get your results. Simply getting worried won't help you; it may even decrease the chance of doing well your remaining exams. So, it is better to keep it in perspective.
These were the 15 most useful tips to avoid a nervous breakdown during exams. Students who think studies as a burden and often get worried and stressed during exams may try out these tips to alleviate the stress level and do well in their exams.

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Types of College Essay Topics That Every Student Must Know

Essays can be a tough assignment for many students. Although essays mean writing a series of paragraphs, putting one's thoughts in a correct way can be complicated. Knowing the rules to follow will certainly make one's work stand out among the rest. As there are several types of essays, below are the most frequently used and the rules to follow to make one's essay effective.
This type of essay focuses on an idea and the reaction of the writer. The essay starts with a statement or a question which is answered by the writer by providing his opinion on the matter. The opinion is backed up by a series of evidences or facts supporting the argument. The writer would then conclude the paper in a concise and clear manner. Examples include writer's opinion on an event, humanity and even politics.
Cause and Effect
Cause and Effect is the easiest type of essay as it is concerned with providing readers the cause and the effect or end result. This type allows writers to practice their organization skills while at the same time discussing the ideas they are interested in. The essay starts with either the writer deliberating on the cause, the effect or both. The body would then include details that would support the first statement such as incidents that led to the cause or effect. Topics that are often discussed under this essay type include environmental and civil or human rights.
Persuasive essays involve persuading readers to adopt the writer's view about an idea. In a persuasive essay, writers must choose which side of the argument they want to be on. Evidences must be specific to ensure that the idea that one is presenting is supported. Be logical and objective. Include facts, statistics and experts' comments as they help make the idea concrete; however, do not overdo these as they can bore the readers. Popular topics include drugs, health, gun control and other controversial topics.
Narrative essays are like storytelling as writers often write the essay in the form of a story, presenting readers with a particular plot that includes characters, a setting, the climax and the ending of the story. A higher form of narrative essay includes discussion of the point of view of the writer and the purpose of why the paper was written. Details provided in the story help support the point of view as well as explain the story. Popular topics include a person's life, success stories and travels.

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