Larsen Center

Test Preparation and Educational Consulting


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Test preparation and educational coaching include but are not limited to

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In one-on-one sessions, I assess how each student learns.

I believe we first learn by rote memorization but when we know enough that we need a mental filing system to organize our data, we fall into two camps: logical vs global thinkers. Understanding how you store and retrieve information is a boon in any study regimen. The biggest challenge for logical thinkers seems to be that they tune out when they are bored and are not generally adept at tuning in when new information is introduced. Accordingly, they have gaps in the curriculum that needs to be filled and they benefit from learning that they may not have all the necessary information at hand. I identify and fill the gaps. Global thinkers, on the other hand, tend to know the answer intuitively because they make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. However, they generally don't know why they are drawn to a particular answer. I show them what connections they are making so they can assess whether their logic is sound. My goal is to teach my students how to think, not what to think. I work with students one-on-one to reflect how they learn and teach them confidence in their own particular abilities.

I illuminate the bias of the individual test.

For every test, there is unique vocabulary that the test writers use to elicit the desired response. Just as there are multiple ways to express a thought, there are multiple ways to ask a question. Students may know how to find an average but they may also be confused by the words used in the question and fail to compute the average. Because many test prep companies write their own material, they have their own particular ways of wording a question. I track the language used by each test maker and alert my students to the differences. I show students where to look for the most important information, where to focus their efforts.

I help students figure out their blocks.

Sometimes students and their parents process material differently. Most of us parents tell our children how we solve problems. If the students and their parents naturally use different methods, getting either to convert is like asking someone to write with the other hand. I teach students to analyze the way they naturally do it, explaining that parents teach what they know with the best of intentions and that the student's method, though perhaps different, is also valid. This builds confidence yielding better scores. It also takes some practice.

I teach guessing strategies.

Some tests have penalties for guessing; some don't. Some students need more time than is given so we determine which kinds of questions to look for and figure out how many questions can be skipped to reach the desired score.

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Patty Larsen is a graduate of Pine View School, Duke University, and Stetson College of Law.

Starting the Larsen Center in 2003, Patty has helped hundreds of select students to reach their personal academic goals.

Addressing each of her students' individual needs, Patty coaches them in techniques that promote higher standardized test scores and generally improved academic performance at their current schools.

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Patty Larsen


— Hours by appointment

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(Strathmore Building on US 41
just north of Proctor)

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