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5 Stars Out Of 5
Fantastic! A must-read for every student!
September 8, 2012
Is your child hoping to attend college in the near future? Do you want to make sure he is prepared to write his SAT or ACT test? Do you also want to shore up your child's Christian faith before he pursues higher learning? If so, then look no further than James P. Stobaugh's SAT or ACT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student.
In the SAT or ACT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student, James P. Stobaugh has written a comprehensive program for mastering the SAT or ACT in the context of developing one's spiritual maturity. Although the books include practice in each of the necessary skills required for mastering the specific test, the focus of each guide is on working hard to grow one's faith with the aim of becoming one of the next generation's godly leaders. As such, the books are as much about one's spiritual journey as they are about getting into college.
Each book is very similar in content, although they do also have their differences. Both include information about their specific test as well as a sample test day schedule, a free download for helping hone essay-writing skills, and instructions on how to use the particular guide. Both also emphasize the importance of actively reading challenging literary works as the best possible preparation for writing the tests. Interestingly, Stobaugh states that he has "found that the best SAT scores come from students who have serious, disciplined prayer and devotional lives." Although this seems paradoxical, this is something I can attest to from personal experience.
Since each book is geared toward a different test, each contains a different amount of lessons: 150 for the SAT and 50 for the ACT. The SAT guide is intended to be used over the course of one, two, or three years. The ACT guide is intended to be used over ten weeks or 50 days, preferably in grade 11. The SAT takes more time to prepare for because it is an aptitude rather than a knowledge-based test.
The lessons in each book are similar in content, although they are laid out differently. Both include daily devotions and scripture passages, with a sample devotional journal to help students focus their time. Lessons also include vocabulary development, a reading journal for studying great literature, test-taking tips, and practice questions on math, grammar, vocabulary, critical thinking and reading. The ACT also includes science questions since science is a component of the ACT test. Attention is paid to essay-writing skills in both volumes. Answers are included for all questions.
The Appendices include vocabulary helps, a book list for each grade, a reading journal sample, and a devotional journal sample. The ACT guide finishes with indexes for Greek and Latin morphemes. The SAT guide includes suggested scriptures for prayer time (presented in the ACT guide as prayer points), test-taking strategies, a list of resources for developing critical thinking, information on the college admission process, an essay on the rise of secular universities, a sample transcript, and 50 sample college admission essays.
I cannot speak highly enough of these guides. Not only do they prepare students for acing their college entrance tests, but they also help students focus on what is really important in life. Students will consider what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) while also getting ample practice in the skills needed to succeed on their test. Furthermore, if your student has already mastered the art of essay writing, each volume could easily be used as the spine for credits in Bible, English Literature, and English Composition. I have not used these guides as of yet with my students, but I fully intend to do so before they graduate high school. In fact, I can't wait until we can get started!
These books were provided free, for review purposes, from Master Books. All opinions stated in this review are my own, and I was not required to post a positive review.
James Stobaugh is a graduate of Harvard and an experienced ACT and SAT grader. He has used that experience to write an ACT preparation course for Christian students which will aid them in earning higher ACT scores. This course focuses on developing the students' academic abilities, as well as their spiritual lives.
The ACT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student is divided into fifty chapters which can be covered one per day, or one per week. The course can be completed anywhere between fifty days and fifty weeks. Each chapter begins with a Scripture verse for memorization, a mini-lesson on prayer, and a devotional lesson to help develop the student's Christian worldview. Mr. Stobaugh includes his Christian emphasis, because he feels that a strong faith in God and a well-developed prayer life will help the student minimize stress, focus, and do well on the ACT test.
In addition to the spiritual aspect, the chapters also include test-taking insights, and a short review of information that will be covered on the test from 6 key subject areas. Each lesson reviews a concept in writing, math, English grammar, vocabulary, science, and reading comprehension. There is a free essay-writing workbook available at the Master Books website to accompany this course. When the entire course is completed, the student has reviewed 50 topics per subject.
The appendices include an answer key, as well as a suggested reading list of books that will expand vocabulary and help prepare the student for college. Other appendices also provide tips on expanding your vocabulary knowledge, developing a reading journal, and starting a devotional prayer journal. The final appendix includes a list of different word roots with their meanings, which will aid the student in deciphering the meanings of unknown words.
This book is not designed to provide a quick, last-minute refresher for the ACT. It is designed to be covered slowly, reviewing information over a period of time. This course can be used to earn half a credit in ACT Preparation. Obviously, with its Scripture verses and devotions, this book will not appeal to a non-Christian.
My 11th grade daughter didn't care for the devotional aspect of this book, as she has separate devotional studies. She merely wanted an ACT review course. However, she also decided that she didn't care for the style of this particular course. She prefers practice tests that are formatted similarly to the ACT itself, and can be used on a more short-term basis. While I can see the value in committing to this overall review/preparation course, she didn't feel the same way.
I would recommend this book for ACT preparation, but my daughter would not recommend it.
This book was provided free, for review purposes, from Master Books. All opinions stated in this review are our own, and I was not required to post a positive review.
A few months back, I reviewed the SAT College Preparation Course for the Christian Student from New Leaf Press. Thinking that the ACT version would be nearly the same, I figured there wouldn't be much to write about.
I was wrong!
The author, Dr. James Stobaugh, not only intends for this book to be used as a preparation tool to score well, but also to prepare the student for life's journey.
"Come to Mt. Moriah, young people, where God demands everything and nothing must be taken for granted. The ACT is a great opportunity, but first, join me on Mt. Moriah!
Hebrews 11:17 (the first commentary on Genesis 22) says, "By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son." This man Abraham was called by God into the Promised Land. And he went. He was promised many descendants. And he waited - even into his nineties. And God gave him a son...but now he must go to Mt. Moriah.
Dr. William Willimon tells of a congregant who said to him one day, "I am looking for another church because when I look at that God, the God of Abraham, I feel I'm near a real God, not the sort of dignified business-like...God we chatter about here on Sunday mornings. Abraham's God could blow a man to bits, give and then take a child, ask for everything from a person and then want more. I want to know that God."
Do you know that God? A god who means business? Not some existential reality grounded in warm fuzzy feelings, but a God who brings chills up your spine. Not the God whom we meet on the silver screen, full of maudlin aphorisms, who can barely manage happy endings.
No, the God of Mt. Moriah is the God Abraham meets in Genesis 22, the God Moses meets in Exodus 3 in the bush that is on fire but does not burn, the God who does not make polite conversation. This is the God who struck Annais and Sappirah dead for their lying and intrigue. This is the God who Abraham meets this day. This is the God who is leading you in this new century, in the post-Christian world. He means business, young people.
This is the God you will meet in this ACT preparation book..."
Each of the 50 lessons within this ACT preparation course includes: Devotional that can be journaled, Test-taking Insights, Test Practices, Math, Vocabulary, Reading, English, Writing and Science. This book also has a through explanation of what the ACT is, what the test measures and how it compares to the SAT which serve to complement the study materials.
Ideally, this course is to be used everyday for about 50 days (1 lesson per day) OR for a year (1 lesson per week) depending on when the desired testing date is scheduled.
As in the SAT review, reading is emphasized as the best way to build vocabulary. Students are encouraged to read 50 pages a day from books suggested on the supplied reading lists.
Now that I own both books, I feel very well equipped and confident in helping my soon-to-be-high schooler. Our next step is to figure out his target colleges and their admissions test requirements!
I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
This book is very detailed, easy to read and it covers the ACT subject matter such as English, Grammar, Math and Science in each lesson. It can be used over an entire year or within fifty days and there is enough variety in the curriculum to afford extra discernment and not miss anything. The ACT is written with a biblical worldview and in a manner that is not intimidating.
My only concern would be expressed as a word of caution on some of the reading recommendations, which may pose a conflict for some family convictions. However, the reading list is long and detailed, again allowing for personal discernment without taking 'away' from the book or the goals. This book can be used by any student gearing up for the ACT, beginning at or near the tenth grade learning year.
* Truly a help for highschool and I received a free copy of ACT & College Preparation Course from Newleaf Publishing/Master Books for my honest and frank review. No other compensation was received. Please see my disclosure policy for details. Thanks!
There are two basic ways to prepare for college entrance exams. One way is to study the test and take multiple practice tests while memorizing a vocabulary list. That is the most common way. While this may help some students it can also do more harm than good and even lower test score results in the long run. I know. Our family has tried this method in the past and even with the use of testing software the results were disappointing.
Another, far better way is to actually teach the student the material that is used to make up the test in the first place. Enter the ACT & SAT College Preparation Courses for the Christian Student by James Stobaugh. Both of these books are COMPLETE courses of study that are in a devotional format and literature based. I believe that home school parents will find these courses to be a very valuable help in directing their students toward preparing for the SAT & ACT exams. Let's examine them more closely.
The ACT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student is a large 332 page soft cover volume that consists of fifty lessons to prepare a student for the test. In the introduction, you will find out exactly what to expect from the ACT test and be able to choose from a ten week plan or 50 day plan to complete the lessons and prepare for the test. Each lesson begins with a scripture and prayer points. There is also a short passage to read and study. The lessons contain vocabulary, math, reading and English components as well as writing and science. There are answer keys in the back of the book and you can download a free essay workbook to use along with the course.
The SAT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student is a 425 page soft cover book that consists of four different components: A daily devotion, reading and vocabulary exercises, math and verbal exercises and test taking strategies. The introduction answers common questions and has a handy chart to help in plotting the course as a three, two, or one year plan in completing the fifty lessons. The book also includes sample essays and a downloadable workbook to be used along with it. There is great emphasis on critical thinking and essay writing as well as a comprehensive reading list in the back of the book.
I find both of these courses to be wonderful resources and think that they would be beneficial even if your student is not planning to attend college at all. After completing either or both of these books, your student will have a solid background in literature and vocabulary as well as learn essential writing skills that will benefit him throughout life. He will also have spent a great deal of time in scripture reading and prayer which will help greatly in the test preparation process.
One word of cautionÃ¢â¬âwhile I recommend these books highly, I must also state that the parent must be aware of the fact that these are very intense and structured courses and may not be a good fit for all students. I only say that because some students do not do as well with a course that requires a lot of writing and might find it difficult to adhere to such a rigorous course of study. The parent and student will have to make that determination together. That being said, I would highly recommend these books for all homeschoolers who intend to make college the next step in their academic careers. They will give a solid foundation in preparing for college level materials and serve the student well.
I received this complimentary copy from New Leaf Press for this review. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed here are my own.