Archive for October, 2009

College Admissions: Vocabulary You Should Know

During the college admissions process, it’s not only important to know your SAT vocabulary—it’s also good to get familiar with some college admissions terms that you’ll be hearing quite often. Check out a few below:

  • Early Action: Early Action is a college early admissions policy  in which students apply to a school of their choice by an earlier deadline to demonstrate their interest in a school. As opposed to the regular college admissions process, early action generally requires students to submit an application by November 1 of their senior year of high school instead of January 1. There is restrictive early action and non-restrictive early action. Restrictive Early Action allows candidates to apply to only one early action institution and to no institutions early decision, while, these constraints don’t apply to the non-restrictive Early Action policy. Applicants, however, can reject admission offers in both types of early action.
  • Early Decision: Early Decision is an early admission policy similar to Early Action, but requires that students who are accepted withdraw their other applications and enroll. It is used to indicate to the college or university that the candidate considers that institution to be his or her first choice. Candidates applying early decision typically submit their applications by the end of October of their senior year of high school and receive a decision in mid-December. So remember: Early Decision differs from Early Action in that it represents a binding commitment—applicants must withdraw all applications to other institutions and enroll at that institution.
  • Rolling Admission: Rolling Admission is a policy used by many colleges in which candidates are invited to submit their applications to schools anytime within a large window. The window is usually more than six months long, and some schools do not have a previously specified end date (the window closes when all spots are filled). The university will review the application and notify the applicant of their decision within a few weeks from submission.
  •  (FAFSA): Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the official application students use to apply for federal financial aid for college.  It’s filled out annually by current and anticipating college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for all federal student financial aid (including Pell grants, Stafford loans, PLUS loans, and work-study programs).

Hopefully, this knowledge will make it a little bit easier to navigate the often complicated college admissions process.

And, of course, don’t forget to stay on top of your SAT vocabulary with Vocab Videos!


SAT Preparation: Tips for Handing College Entrance Exam Stress

Be sure to get a good night's sleep before your SAT!

Any test can be stressful. Let’s think of a few—a calculus exam, your road test, THE SAT. None are particularly pleasant experiences—agreed?  But college entrance exams, like the SAT and ACT, can be even more overwhelming since they mean a bit more than your average test. It’s important to be able to manage the stress that comes along with the inescapable knowledge that the SAT and ACT play a significant role in getting you into the college of your choice. Here are a few tips for handling the stress:

  • Take Practice Tests: The more comfortable you are with the test, the more prepared you’ll be come the big test date. Take as many SAT or ACT practice exams as you have available to get familiar with format, question types, and your time management abilities.  If you practice enough, the official exam will feel like just another practice test.
  • Don’t Cram: It’s unlikely that that you’ll learn something while cramming the night before the SAT or ACT that will better your performance on the test. Don’t overwhelm yourself the day before the test with all the last minute tricks you can learn, or by taking another full exam. It’s not going to help, and you’re not going to want to be falling asleep during the actual test with your number 2 pencil in hand. Instead get a good night’s rest. You’ve prepared, and sleep will certainly benefit you more than cramming.
  • Eat a Healthy Breakfast: Your parents were right—breakfast is the most important meal of the day, particularly before such a big test! Get your blood sugar up and your brain functioning most efficiently with a healthy breakfast. Plus, you’ll be taking your exam for quite a few hours and you won’t want to be hungry, or for your stomach to be growling too loudly in that quiet testing atmosphere.
  • Read Directions and Questions Carefully: Don’t get so stressed out staring at your first real SAT that it all becomes a blur. Read the directions to get into focus; and, READ QUESTIONS CAREFULLY. Knowing what’s being asked of you is a simple way to avoid careless mistakes.
  • Think Positively: It may sound corny, but believe in yourself and go into the test with a good attitude. Negative, “I’m going to fail” thoughts will only destroy the confidence you’ve been building throughout your test preparation. At this point you’ve done all you can, and now it’s just a matter of applying everything you’ve learned and practiced. Take a deep breath, keep a positive perspective, and know that you’re going to do just fine.

Some stress before a test can actually be beneficial—it can push you to work harder and to put forth maximum effort, but too much test stress and anxiety will certainly take its toll on a student’s test-time confidence, so be sure to keep these tips in mind.

If you liked this advice, and want to reduce any test stress you might encounter by not knowing your SAT and ACT vocabulary—check out Vocab Videos!


SAT Vocabulary: Make the Most of Vocab Videos!

Making the most of the Vocab Videos study program involves more than just watching the videos. Don’t forget to make use of our extensive review material! The supplemental material is intended to give you a better understanding of the vocabulary, so don’t let it go to waste. In addition to watching Vocab Videos, the downloadable vocabulary study material is going to aid you in remembering your SAT vocabulary come the big test day! Check out what we have to offer and how you can work it into your personal study plan:

  • Vocab Videos Study Guide: Our study guide provides insight into the Vocab Videos study program. Learn how to best utilize videos, absorb vocabulary efficiently, and use review material most effectively. The guide will help you to craft your own individualized vocabulary regimen.
  • Vocab Videos Glossary: An alphabetical glossary of all Vocab Videos-featured words and their definitions is useful for organizational purposes. Teachers and students can keep track of what words they’ve mastered, and students have the option to review definitions even when they don’t have access to a computer.
  • Vocab Videos Definition Groups: These category lists group words by common themes. This valuable reference allows for an even more comprehensive understanding of the vocabulary. Definition groups are useful for helping students to grasp subtle differences in meanings and when to use particular words.
  • Vocab Videos Worksheet: Worksheets can be used to get students more involved in the vocabulary learning process, and to help them maximize vocabulary comprehension and retention.  They provide space for students to write their own sentences, synonyms and mnemonic devices and to build a clear understanding of the meaning of a word.
  • Vocab Videos Quizzes: Take a quiz after watching each Vocab Videos episode. Quizzes allow students to test their newfound vocabulary knowledge and to reinforce what they’ve seen in the videos.  SAT–style questions prepare them for what they’ll encounter on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, so it’s the ultimate review.

Learn vocabulary for standardized tests and English exams, and raise SAT scores 150 points with Vocab Videos!


College Admissions: Tips for Selecting Colleges, Part 2

During the college admissions process, when selecting which colleges to apply to and eventually the one to attend, it’s difficult not to let a college’s “name” play a role. After all, who wouldn’t be proud to have a college like Harvard, Princeton, or Stanford on one of those stickers you put on the back of your car? A college’s reputation, however, shouldn’t be a student’s sole reason for selecting a college. The “best” school a student gains admission to may or may not be the best fit for that student.  

Consider the college admissions tips and advice below:

  • Visit Colleges: Visiting the schools that you’re applying to and taking a college tour is far more than a good excuse to take a day off from school. Going to a college and exploring the campus for yourself is a good way to get a feel for the college. In fact, many students say that they know pretty much right away whether they can see themselves attending a school or not. What’s the campus like? What about the surrounding community? Does the school feel so small that you’re worried it could be like high school all over again? What are the students around you like? Could you see yourself here? It’s important to ask yourself all of these questions, so you choose the college that’s right for you.
  • The “Best” College vs. the Right College for You: It’s not that a college’s reputation is insignificant. It can certainly be important and influential, and it’s something that will understandably be a part of your college decision.  But, it’s not everything. There are a lot of good schools out there, and the most prestigious college you can get into is not necessarily the right college for you. Stay open-minded. You’re going to be spending what could be the best four years of your life here. Choose the college that you truly believe to be the best fit for you.
  • College is what YOU Make of It: When the college admissions process is all said and done and you’re getting ready to embark on this new chapter of your lives, regardless of where you’ve chosen to go to school—MAKE THE MOST OF IT! Up until this point, you’ve had little or no choice when it comes to class selection. Sure, nearly all colleges have their fair share of core requirements, but when you’ve completed those choose classes that interest you, ones you will benefit from.  It will be an entirely new academic experience—one that you could even enjoy! And, of course (although I’m sure we don’t really have to remind you to do this), HAVE FUN! College is a learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. Make your four years unforgettable.

If you liked this advice, and if you’d like some help getting into the colleges of your choice—check out Vocab Videos!

Share Features Vocab Videos!

Check out the article below, or find us on

An Interview with Scott Farber: Word Learning.

Written By: Michael F. Shaughnessy Senior Columnist

1)      I understand that A-List Education has introduced a new product, Vocab Videos. What is this all about?

Vocab Videos ( is an entertaining and effective learning system that brings vocabulary to life. Leveraging humor, pop culture and engaging characters, Vocab Videos help increase student understanding and retention of vocabulary words through verbal, auditory and visual cues. Vocab Videos employ 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 like the SAT and ACT.

2)      How long are these videos and how many are there?

The videos tend to run 20 seconds to no more than a minute and currently there are over 500 words available on the website, with plans to develop many more over the coming year.  We wanted to make them short enough to keep the focus on illustrating the word itself, but the individual videos also come together to form “episodes” with extended plot lines and featured characters.

3)      I hear that Vocab Videos engages students by using popular television shows.  What are some of these shows?  Are you using the A- TEAM?

Getting students to engage with vocabulary content isn’t always easy.  We realized that an innovative method had to connect the Web 2.0 world and pop culture elements high school students see every day.  The VV episodes parody popular shows including Gossip Girl, Lost, 24 and the Office, as well as horror movies and Will Ferrell’s off beat sports movies.  As yet we have no videos using the A-Team, but the possibilities are endless.

4)      Are they in DVD or VHS format?

Vocab Videos are available through a Web-based service with monthly subscriptions of $9.99 or a twelve-month subscription for $49.99. 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 and in retail stores. There are no VHS versions.

5)       You are using a basic premise that I believe the Dolch lists espoused to help them learn  the most frequently found vocabulary words- was this your intention?

We found that many of our students struggled to learn words using traditional flashcards or by simply looking up new words in a dictionary.  We decided to develop a system that would make it easier and more enjoyable for students to expand their vocabulary by engaging them with verbal, auditory and visual cues.

Similar to the Dolch methodology, we recognized that many students are visual learners but we wanted to go a step further and introduce the video component. Vocab Videos provides students with a real-world illustration of the meaning of the word and a visual memory that they connect to that word. Furthermore, we found that incorporating humor into the videos is a highly effective technique for connecting students to the content and promoting retention.

6)   These words seem to be found in advanced high school English classes and on college admissions tests.  How did you come about choosing them?

Recognizing the difficulty many students have learning new words through conventional means, A-List created Vocab Videos after intense analysis and research. We reviewed dozens of standardized exams and ran word frequency queries through a database.  In addition our experience working with thousands of students (as well as individual teachers and school districts) gives us a unique insight.  This 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.

7)      How has this “A-List Education” made studying easier and more enjoyable?

A-List 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. Our goal has always been to really make learning more fun while leveraging technology and creativity to empower students and teachers.

8)      Do you have a web site where I can learn more? Or an 800 number?

You can reach A-List education at and Vocab Videos at The number is: 646.216.9187


College Admissions: Tips for Selecting Colleges, Part 1

During the college admissions process, it’s very important to select a broad range of schools.  Colleges’ admittance selection can often be a crapshoot—there are a lot of variables. How many students are applying to this particular college this year?  How did I do on my SAT compared to everyone else who is applying to college? Is a school looking to fill its remaining spots with a particular “kind” of student? Because you just never know what a college’s ultimate decision is going to be, it’s important to apply to a wide spectrum of colleges. Visit college websites to get some sort of profile of the previous year’s class, and consider the useful terms below to categorize the colleges you’re applying to:

  • Safeties: These are the schools that you will most certainly gain admission to. Your SAT scores and GPA more than meet the mark—they exceed it.  If the unfortunate circumstance occurs that you’ve been rejected from or waitlisted at all of your colleges, you still know you have a spot at your safety schools.
  • Possibles: These are the schools where your SAT scores and GPA are right on target, and with your impressive activity resume and superb college essay (see our College Essay Tips blog!), you’ll be more than likely to gain admittance to your “possible” colleges.
  • Reaches: These are the colleges that are somewhat of a long-shot, but that’s okay. Of course it’s important to be realistic (which you are by placing schools in this category!), but it’s still good to have a few of these types of schools on your list. Sure, your SAT scores and GPA are lower than what the school typically requires, but you just never know. A college admissions officer could be blown away by your essay. The possibility makes it worth a shot.

The college admissions process is stressful, but to eliminate the anxiety and uncertainty that can surely come from not knowing if you’ll receive admittance to your college choices, consider applying to a few of each category of colleges.

If you liked this advice and want some help staying stress-free during your SAT test preparation, check out Vocab Videos!


SAT Vocabulay: Bring “Edutainment” to Your Classroom with Vocab Videos!

Entertainment + Education = “Edutainment”

If you’d like a more formal definition, “edutainment” typically seeks to instruct its audience by embedding lessons in some familiar form of entertainment. Combining entertaining video with SAT vocabulary, Vocab Videos wants to bring edutainment to your English classrooms!

Here are a few reasons Edutainment works in the classroom:

  • It’s Innovative: Students are used to learning from textbooks, worksheets, flashcards, and other typical educational materials. Edutainment is something new. Traditional methods like vocabulary flashcards simply give you a definition. And, a stack of 500 flashcards can be overwhelming for students. Vocab Videos uses humorous video to not only to tell you the definitions of 500 SAT vocabulary words, but to illustrate those words’ meanings. 
  • Gets Students Excited about Learning: Students like a change of pace. Ever notice how ecstatic they get to watch a movie for class? It’s because it’s not something they get to do every day. Vocab Videos gets students excited about learning SAT vocabulary! Because the material itself is entertaining, and it’s coming to them in a manner that doesn’t feel like “studying,” it works for students.
  • Gets Results: If students are motivated to learn the material, they’re not going to mind studying it.  Vocab Videos presents vocabulary in a manner that is digestible and entertaining for students, so that they actually enjoy learning it. This makes students and teachers lives easier as students learn crucial SAT vocabulary that will not only boost their SAT scores, but benefit them in their English classes. After all, an improved vocabulary promotes literacy—making students better readers, writers, and interpreters of information.

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Edutainment that can increase your SAT score up to 150 points? Give Vocab Videos a try!


Vocab Videos Classroom SAT Program Featured on TV!

The Vocab Videos program in Paramus High School was featured on a special segment on News 12 NJ. Check it out!

See how educators are helping with SAT preparation and incorporating technology into the classroom. Students are learning essential SAT vocabulary, and having fun in the process!

  • Students, Vocab Videos is a fun and effective way to learn SAT and ACT vocabulary that can increase your SAT score up to 150 points!
  • Parents, your kids will enjoy Vocab Videos and it will help them get into their top-choice colleges!
  • Teachers, Vocab Videos can enhance vocabulary lessons and it gets results!

Check it out in action at Paramus High School, and consider giving Vocab Videos a try!


SAT Vocabulary: Engage Your Classroom With Vocab Videos!

Keeping students engaged in the classroom can undoubtedly be a struggle for educators. Incorporating Vocab Videos into English classes is a fun and effective way to change up a monotonous vocabulary lesson, and teach high school students the SAT vocabulary they’ll need to know for their SAT test. Here are a few suggestions for incorporating Vocab Videos into your vocabulary teaching lessons:

  • Word of the Day: Accompany an SAT vocabulary “Word of the Day” definition with a hilariously entertaining video that illustrates the word’s meaning. The videos’ humor will give students something to look forward to each day, and students will be learning an SAT vocabulary word that they’ll need to know for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Don’t just watch—get involved! Encourage students to use the vocabulary word when possible throughout the day in their speech, writing, and classroom interaction.
  • Episode per Week: One SAT vocabulary word a day not enough? Or are you working on a tighter schedule in preparation for the SAT or ACT? Get into an entertaining educational routine by watching an episode a week. Watch the video once through, and review individual SAT vocabulary words throughout the week. Teachers also have the option of giving students a quiz at the end of the week to ensure that they’re retaining the material. With each video clip running about 30 seconds, an episode is only about 10 minutes long, so the video time won’t interfere much with your daily teaching routine. But, don’t forget these are a productive 10 minutes! Students are learning SAT vocabulary words that will not only help them on standardized tests, but will help them be become better readers, writers, and English students!
  • Homework Assignment: If watching Vocab Videos in the classroom isn’t an option, assign episodes or a certain number of SAT vocabulary words for a take-home assignment. Each student can login to their individual accounts from a personal computer, and it won’t even feel like homework! Reinforce definitions by using the SAT vocabulary words in class, and quiz students to make sure that they’re learning the definitions. No two students are exactly alike, so viewing Vocab Videos from home in addition to watching them in the classroom could be advantageous. It gives students the opportunity to spend more time reviewing the SAT vocabulary words that they’re struggling with.  
  • USE THE WORDS: No matter which vocabulary study plan you choose, don’t stop at watching the videos. Use these SAT vocabulary words, and really get involved in the vocabulary learning process. Make it a challenge. Encourage students to use the words as often as possible in classroom conversation and writing assignments. Make up a rhyme or story centered around a few of the vocabulary words. Again, the goal is for students to get a real understanding of these SAT vocabulary words’ meanings. If a student truly understands the definition of a vocabulary word, he or she will be able to recognize and understand it even within an unfamiliar context as it might appear on the SAT or ACT test. Furthermore, having a good vocabulary will be useful far beyond SAT test preparation!

Have fun learning vocabulary. Give Vocab Videos a try!


SAT Test Preparation: Knowing Your SAT Vocabulary Words Is Worth 150 Points!


When it comes to vocabulary, the rich get richer.

Knowing your SAT vocabulary words, can help you better prepare for the SAT and increase your SAT score up to 150 points! So, putting in the time to learn the right vocabulary words  is well worth your effort. Here are a few tips and tricks for getting your SAT vocabulary down pat:

  1. Watch Vocab Videos: Sure, you can learn your SAT and ACT vocabulary by using flashcards, but why would you? Watch Vocab Videos. Not only is video a more engaging and entertaining method of studying your SAT vocabulary, it’s also a more effective SAT test prep tool. Research has shown that people remember more effectively when they have visual and auditory cues. Instead of just telling you the definition of a vocabulary word, video allows students to see a vocabulary word’s meaning in action.
  2. Repeat: We know that watching a vocabulary video once isn’t enough to remember a vocabulary word forever, so watch the vocabulary words that you’re having some difficulty with again. When it comes to vocabulary and retaining the meaning of vocabulary words, repetition and reinforcement are essential. Watching vocab videos multiple times, allows your mind to really absorb the visual memories the videos offer.
  3.  Quiz: Test your SAT vocabulary knowledge and take advantage of the Vocab Videos quizzes. Confirm that you’ve successfully learned the SAT vocabulary words that the videos define and illustrate. The quizzes, modeled after SAT style questions, also provide excellent preparation for standardized tests.
  4. Get Involved: Go the extra step to really get involved in the vocabulary learning process. Make sure you know each vocabulary word so well that you would be able to recognize and understand every word in any context, or manner in which the words present themselves. We’d even suggest writing some of your own sentences using the SAT vocabulary to make sure that you truly grasp the words’ meanings.

There’s no reason not to take advantage of this concrete way to increase your SAT and ACT scores. Give Vocab Videos a try!