Archive for September, 2009

SAT Vocabulary: Learn Vocabulary Through Video!

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”—Albert Einstein

The Paul Barnwell Education Week article, “Literacy Accountability in a New-Media Age,” (, calls to question whether educators need to alter their age-old teaching tools and strategies in a “New-Media,” technology-driven world.  Barnwell highlights that students, surrounded by websites, blogs, and social-networking technologies such as, are called to interpret various forms of media these days, not just traditional print media. Academia, he says, is a bit behind – only recognizing literacy in terms of books and whether a student can draw the main idea from a passage. His suggestion is not to get rid of this general understanding of literacy, but to expand on it as it is becoming increasingly important for students in today’s world to be capable of effectively reading and interpreting various forms of media.

And so it would seem that incorporating online video into the learning process is advantageous for students of the “New-Media Age.” Here are a couple reasons to support this belief:

  • We live in a media-saturated world. Students today are surrounded by, become familiar with, and learn to understand their world through symbols, moving images, as well as through printed words.
  • Video is engaging. Video as an academic medium offers verbal, auditory, and visual cues that effectively engage students and holds their attention.
  • Videos are more fun! Students love watching and sharing videos. The phenomenon is proof positive that online video is a communication medium that is here to stay. Using video in the classroom gets students engaged and excited about learning.

Vocab Videos ( not only improves literacy in a real sense by teaching students vocabulary that will help make them better readers, writers, and interpreters of information, but also helps students become familiar with “reading” video and gathering information from different sources of media.  Give Vocab Videos a try!


SAT Vocabulary: College Admissions Essay Writing Tips (Part 2)


When applying to college SAT test preparation is important, but there is more to the college admissions process than standardized test preparation and SAT scores. English author, Samuel Johnson, once said, “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” And, in case you didn’t know—you want to please your college admissions officers!  Again, your college essay is so significant because it shares a part of your life story, allows college administrators to get to know you beyond your GPA and SAT test scores, and in a way personalizes your college application.

The core of the college essay writing process involves the drafting and editing stages. After you’ve brainstormed on a college essay topic that’s going to make you shine like the brightest college applicant star that you are, and outlined your college essay to establish its structure, you’re ready to begin writing.  And, while your college essay outline makes it easier to reach your total page count, don’t expect your freshly-written college essay to be immediately ready for submission. College essay writing, like any other form of writing, is a process. Drafting and editing, are two necessary steps that are going to help you submit your best work to colleges. Consider the advice below:

  • College Essay Writing—DRAFTING: Get your ideas down on paper in some rough form. Use your outline for structure and transform outline bullet points into complete sentences. Write as much as possible on your subject matter. This will make it easier to get rid of non-essential points and eliminate the process of scrounging for ideas just to meet the page count quota. A first draft will likely be messy and full of errors, and that’s okay.  The purpose of your draft essay is to get your main ideas and supporting points down on paper, not to compose a perfectly polished college essay.
  • College Essay Writing—EDITING: Your college essay rough draft is complete, congratulations! Now it is time to begin the editing process. “Perhaps this point would fit in better at this part of my essay,” or “Maybe this really doesn’t support my topic” might be a few of the considerations that come to mind while editing your college essay. Review every element of your essay with a critical eye. Do my ideas flow logically? Do I get across what I was aiming to convey? How are my spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation? Good editing skills and attention to detail will help you transform your rough draft into a polished college essay.

Again, the college admissions essay could be one of the most important essays you ever write. So, it is absolutely worth investing the necessary time and effort into each and every one of these writing stages.

If you found this advice helpful and would like some more assistance with college essay writing check out Vocab Videos and College Essay Organizer ( Look out for College Admissions Essay Writing Tips Part 3!


Vocab Videos Featured in Tech & Learning Editorial

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Vocab Videos Brings Humor and Entertainment to Standardized Test Preparation and Education through Technology

Vocab Videos Introduces Entertaining Videos to Improve Comprehension and Retention of Difficult SAT Vocabulary Words

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A-List Education, experts in standardized test preparation, academic tutoring and college admissions advising, announced today the launch of Vocab Videos, an entertaining and effective learning system that brings vocabulary to life. Leveraging humor, pop culture and engaging characters, Vocab Videos helps increase student understanding and retention of vocabulary words through verbal, auditory and visual cues. Vocab Videos teaches students more than 500 of the most frequently tested vocabulary words found in advanced high school English classes and on college admissions tests such as the SAT and ACT.

Recognizing the difficulty many students have learning new words through conventional means, A-List created Vocab Videos after intense analysis and research. This unique teaching system employs proven educational methodologies and helps connect high school students with the content and expand their vocabulary, while entertaining them along the way.

Parodies of popular television shows such as Lost, The Office, 24 and Gossip Girl appeal to students by making the content relevant, memorable and compelling. Students develop a more sophisticated understanding of vocabulary words and usage through Vocab Videos as compared to traditional methods, such as flashcards, that only promote short-term memorization.

Scott Farber, President of A-List explains, “I’ve worked with thousands of students and have seen firsthand how beneficial it can be to infuse educational materials with elements of entertainment and multimedia. Vocab Videos gets students excited about learning and parents and teachers see the positive results. We provide the necessary tools for students to excel in the vocabulary sections of standardized tests, including the SAT, ISEE, ACT and GRE.”

Vocab Videos offers a Web-based service with subscriptions available for $9.99 per month or $49.99 for a twelve-month subscription. Subscribers have unlimited access to content on the Vocab Videos website, including quizzes, review materials and video clips. (DVDs of Vocab Videos will soon be available on

A-List also offers Web portal customization and licensing agreements for teachers, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations enabling them to incorporate Vocab Videos into existing curricula. Vocab Videos can be used to enhance daily curricula, assist with standardized test preparation and generally prepare students for college. Schools and non-profit educational organizations throughout the United States are successfully instituting the Vocab Videos system.

About Vocab Videos

Vocab Videos ( is an entertaining and effective learning system that brings vocabulary to life. Leveraging humor, pop culture and engaging characters, Vocab Videos helps increase student understanding and retention of vocabulary words through verbal, auditory and visual cues. Vocab Videos employs proven educational methodologies to help students learn more than 500 frequently tested words found in high school level English classes and on college admissions tests such as the SAT and ACT.

About A-List Education

A-List Education ( is an innovative provider of educational services for students, schools, and non-profit organizations. The company is dedicated to helping students achieve their academic goals and successfully prepare for undergraduate and graduate studies. A-List’s services include standardized test preparation, academic tutoring and college admissions advising. Through private tutoring, classroom based programs and online services, such as Vocab Videos ( and College Essay Organizer (, A-List has helped thousands of students through its unique and highly effective programs and services. Using customized curricula and proprietary materials, A-List prepares students for standardized tests such as the SAT, ISEE, ACT and GRE. A-List is also committed to helping underprivileged youth and works with several nationally recognized non-profit organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Graham Windham and Year Up.

Keywords: Vocab Videos, A-List Education, SAT, ICEE, ACT, GRE, Scott Farber, Test Preparation, Test Prep, Vocabulary


SAT Vocabulary: Vocabulary Matters Long After the SAT Test!


Vocabulary is crucial in SAT test preparation as it can help raise SAT test scores significantly. Even if you’re not preparing for the SAT or ACT tests, a good vocabulary is beneficial to anyone who speaks the English language. Let me remind you of a few reasons vocabulary matters:

  1.  Speak well: Learn to articulate your impressive ideas using equally impressive vocabulary words. Blow a potential employer away at a job interview. Speaking well and intelligently is important both inside and outside the classroom.  
  2. Write well: Writing is a skill that you’ll likely need no matter what career path you choose. Whether you’re a presidential speech writer or just sending an e-mail to an employer, knowing how to write well is invaluable. Having a good vocabulary and an intimate knowledge of vocabulary words and language will help you get there.
  3. Read well: Better understand what you’re reading. Perhaps you’ll no longer require the dictionary at your side while reading the Wall Street Journal and the literary work your professor assigns. A thorough understanding of a vocabulary word’s meaning is an important part of reading comprehension.
  4. Score well: While a good vocabulary is useful for more than standardized testing, it also helps with SAT test preparation, ACT test preparation, ISEE test preparation, GRE test preparation and more. SAT Reading scores can increase up to 150 points by learning some big vocabulary words, SO LEARN THEM. It’s worth the effort.

Vocabulary really does matter, so make learning vocabulary a priority whether you’re in school or not. Sure, you can learn new vocabulary words using vocabulary flashcards or vocabulary books, but why would you?  Give Vocab Videos a try for a fun and effective way to speak, write, read, and score better.


SAT Vocabulary: College Admissions Essay Writing Tips (Part 1)


When applying to college SAT test preparation is important, but there is more to the college admissions process than standardized test preparation and SAT scores. The college essay gives you the opportunity to share a part of yourself that an SAT score or high school transcript cannot reveal. Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Harvard College, William R. Fitzsimmons, recently wrote in a piece for The New York Times, “One of the great clichés of college admissions is the exhortation that students find their own voices in the essay (and interviews)—and ‘be themselves.’ It’s a cliché because it’s good advice” ( 

The early stages of college essay writing, brainstorming and outlining, are perhaps two of the most important. If your teacher assigns you a 5 page paper, when you (finish procrastinating and…) finally sit down to begin, you’ll often find that it’s difficult to start putting your thoughts to paper, or perhaps that you’ve said everything you wanted to say after just one page. A little forethought could help you avoid these frustrating situations. Taking the time to brainstorm and outline will not only help you to save time in the end, but to write a better, more organized essay. Consider the suggestions below: 

  • College Essay Writing—BRAINSTORMING: You’re generally given some degree of choice when it comes to the college essay. Whether you get to choose your own essay topic, or just the direction in which you take the college’s topic, make it your own. Brainstorm! Think about what you want to say, how you want to say it, and how you’re going to turn your thoughts into the words that will fill the number of pages the application requires. Use the choices you have to write about something that you’re passionate about, something that inspires you, or something that has contributed to making you the person that you are. If you do this, chances are you’ll have a lot more to say and you’ll be able to write with a lot more feeling because the subject has significance to you. This is your chance to show college admissions officers who you are. Really think it through for the best results.
  • College Essay Writing—OUTLINING: After you’ve brainstormed to find your subject matter and what you’d like your colleges to know about you, outlining can really help with the organization of your college essay. How will your essay be structured? What’s your thesis, or the general idea you’re trying to get across in your essay? What are the most important points of your argument or message? What are the sub-points of your topic? Remember: You may not be able to say everything you want to say because you’re often limited by length requirements, so choose the sub-topics that serve to support your position best. Outlining to create the basic framework of your essay offers invaluable assistance throughout the writing process.   

The college admissions essay could be one of the most important essays you ever write. Taking the time to write it well, to really find your voice in your subject matter, could pay off—big time.

If you found this advice helpful and would like some more assistance with college essay writing check out Vocab Videos and College Essay Organizer ( Look out for The College Admissions Essay and why it Matters, Part 2!


SAT Vocabulary: The Challenge—NY vs. LA

The wait is over Vocab Videos fans! In an epic battle of SAT vocabulary knowledge, citizens of NYC and LA are quite literally put to the test. The Vocab Videos SAT City Challenge sets out to reveal which city is more verbally-challenged, or at least most in need of a refresher course in SAT vocabulary. Does the East or West Coast have superior SAT vocabulary skills? We asked the question, now YOU DECIDE! Check out the hilarious NY vs. LA Vocab Videos Challenge! CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEOS


High SAT Scores: 5 Tips from Harvard Pros on Getting Ready for the SAT


  1. START EARLY:  Allow yourself enough time to get a handle on the test. The college admissions process is stressful, and SAT preparation can certainly be overwhelming, but giving yourself enough time to get familiar with the SAT will make the big test date a little less scary. 
  2. MAKE A PLAN: There’s a lot available to students for SAT test preparation: SAT tutoring, SAT classes, online SAT preparation, and SAT books.  Pick the study method that fits with the kind of help you need and establish a plan for tackling the test. Make a schedule; a little SAT prep a day, in some form or another, will go a long way. 
  3. LEARN VOCAB: Learning vocabulary is an important way to improve your SAT scores. About 1/3 of the SAT Reading section is made up of questions that are explicitly vocabulary-dependent, so knowing SAT vocabulary can increase your score by 150 points in total. Even on questions that don’t specifically test vocabulary, it’s easy for students to get confused by difficult words, so vocabulary can help in all aspects of reading comprehension.   
  4. TAKE FULL PRACTICE TESTS: Again, familiarizing yourself with the SAT is key! Take full-length SAT practice tests, and get to know the format and the kinds of questions that frequently appear. As miserable as it may sound, taking timed, full-length SATs under test-like conditions can be extremely beneficial when getting ready for the SAT. Just practicing sitting and taking a 3 hour and 20 minute test will make it that much easier to do on the day that it counts.  
  5. READ The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, AND OTHER LITERATURE: Prepare for the SAT Reading sections, and learn what’s going on in the world at the same time. You’ll be reading about subjects you’re not necessarily familiar with on standardized tests, so get a head start. Read, get a grasp of the content, and look up the meanings of any words you come across that you don’t know.  

If you found these tips useful, and would like some more help getting ready for the SAT, check out Vocab Videos and get started!


The Vocab Videos SAT City Challenge

Look out for some fun videos that will be making their way to the web shortly! We sent members of the Vocab Videos team out on the streets of New York and Los Angeles to test some unsuspecting inhabitants’ vocabulary. Who will win the Battle of the Brains—the East Coast or West Coast? Prepping for the SAT & ACT or not, Vocab Videos will make sure that you’re ready whenever vocabulary knowledge comes in handy!


Your Home for Learning SAT Vocabulary: The New Vocab Videos

WELCOME TO THE NEW AND IMPROVED VOCAB VIDEOS SITE! Please take some time and have a look around to see what Vocab Videos—the fun and engaging way to study vocabulary for the SAT, ACT, GRE, ISEE, or any high school English test—has to offer! Don’t forget to check out our…

  • Sample Videos: Meet some of our hilarious characters and see how Vocab Videos can get you through the test prep process and entertain you!
  • Vocab Videos Licensing for Schools and Non-Profits: We offer special licensing arrangements for schools and non profit organizations and can work with you to incorporate Vocab Videos into your curriculum. Fill out our form to get your students started with engaging SAT prep today!
  • Past Contest Winners: Our last contest got Vocab Videos fans in on the learning process, giving them the opportunity to create a vocabulary video for a SAT word of their choice. The results were remarkable. Check out our winners’ impressive video entries! We’ll keep you posted on the status of the next bigger and better Vocab Videos contest!

Enjoy the site, and have fun getting SAT-ready!

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