Kate Dalby

About Kate Dalby

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So far Kate Dalby has created 31 blog entries.

Improve Your TJ Student Information Sheet (SIS)

The first year Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology (TJ) switched to monitored SIS administrations, we taught 35 students in five separate workshops what TJ says it is looking for on the student information sheet and essay***.  During those workshops we brainstormed topics to mention on the application and the candidates practiced writing answers to four prompts (three SIS prompts and one essay) under timed conditions.  We reminded the students that TJ admissions says pretty clearly that they are wanting to learn about “a semifinalist’s prior experiences, goals, and interests”.



September 2016 ACT Results

This summer Inspiring Test Preparation held three classes to help students get ready for the ACT.  In July we held a three-week class that covered both ACT and SAT, and in August students chose between a three-week class dedicated to the ACT and a six-week class to prepare for both tests.  Altogether 22 students participated in the classes and we have heard from ten class students so far.  We also provided one-on-one preparation for over twenty students but not all took the September ACT.

Of ten class students providing full scores, we saw an average gain of 3.7 points on the composite with a beginning average of 28 and an ending score of 31.7. (A four point gain in the composite is like a 140 point gain on the new SAT.)

Below is a breakdown of the data.(Updated 10/4/16)
1 ACT/SAT AUG 30E 29M 31RC 27S 29 36E 29M 33RC 30S 32 3
2 ACT AUG 25E 20M 28RC 25S 25 35E 24M 35RC 27S 30 5
3 ACT AUG 29E 25M 30RC 24S 27 35E 27M 33RC 27S 31 4
4 ACT AUG 25E 24M 24$C 30S 31 31E 35M 35RC 24S 34 3
5 ACT/SAT JUNE 28E 31M 30RC 29S 30 36E 34M 32RC 32S 34 4
6 ACT/SAT JULY 21E 32M 22RC 25S 25 30E 35M 24RC 33S 31 6
7 ACT/SAT AUG 26E 32M 30RC 25S 28 35E 34M 30RC 26S 31 3
8 ACT/SAT AUG 29E 29M 34RC 26S 30 36E 33M 35RC 34S 35 5
9 ACT/SAT AUG 23E 24M 27RC 29S 26 29E 27M 33RC 26S 29 3
10 ACT AUG 31E 24M 34RC 26S 29 34E 27M 31RC 27S 30 1
RANGE 25-31 29-35 1-6 pts

The Case of the Missing PSAT

Posted by Kate Dalby

When I started coaching the SAT back in the mid 80s, I would often start my evaluation of a student with his or her PSAT booklet from the previous fall.

Usually the students would get the scores back before the winter break in December, and I would get a flurry of calls over the vacation asking for my help. At the same time the students received the scores, they received the very PSAT booklets they used during the testing session.

These tests were a goldmine of information. I could see if the student miss marked, if there were careless mistakes, if a problem was overworked, and I could deduce much about the test taker’s habits. It was a great jumping off point and gave me concrete information that helped me come up with a plan of action to prepare the student for the SAT. (more…)


Why Choose Inspiring Test Prep for TJ Prep?

What sets Inspiring Test Prep apart from other TJ prep companies?

Aside from the fact that Kate Dalby, the instructor, has over 20 years of experience in TJ prep, Inspiring Test Prep provides comprehensive preparation and counseling for our students. We don’t just stop at teaching the test; we cover the essay, SIS, and general admissions counseling with our TJ prep course.

What makes us different?

  • Friendly and collaborative learning environment
  • Proven test taking strategies for maximizing accuracy and speed
  • Review of missing math concepts
  • Classes divided by math level
  • Small class sizes
  • Weekly timed practice tests
  • Weekly writing assignments
  • You can add-on private tutoring as needed with either Kate Dalby or her associate, Caroline Hesse.
  • Additional practice problems available upon request at no additional charge
  • Optional private essay sessions with Dr. Aimee Weinstein
  • Optional workshop for SIS/essay the week of the final round.

You can sign up for our TJ admissions prep courses here.


Letter to the Class of 2017

Dear Class of 2017:

Your time is nearly here – you’re about to start your senior year and all of the accompanying excitement will be yours!  It is going to be a wild ride, so hang on to your metaphorical hat.

The start of senior year also brings with it a lot of angst and stress in the form of college applications. You need to hone your college list, make last minute visits, and complete the actual applications, including the essay.  It’s a lot to think about and manage along with your regular classes, sports, and other extracurriculars.

Here’s where Inspiring Test Prep can help.  College counselors and the universities themselves recommend working through your common app essay during the summer and we are ready to assist you in doing it.  We even have a few options on how to do it.

Dr. Aimee Weinstein, our resident essay expert, has helped students get into such universities as Northwestern, Georgetown and the University of Vermont, to name a few.  This summer, she will run two essay bootcamps during which you will spend two hours on the first day learning what the colleges expect and best practices for writing, along with honing your own ideas.  On day two, for another two hours, you will have a working session supervised by Dr. Weinstein.  Dr. Weinstein will include two more reviews of drafts as long as they’re done by mid-September.

Just so you know, we focus on Common App prompts, but are happy to work on the Coalition app as well as any other essay prompts you have, even the small additional questions that individual colleges like to add.

The choice of dates for the Bootcamps are July 30/31 and August 14/15 and the cost is $500.

If those dates are not convenient for you, Dr. Weinstein is also available for private instruction.  For the same $500, you will get one 1-hour session face-to-face and four reviews of drafts by mid-September, with back-and-forth email as necessary.

Dr. Weinstein is also able to customize a package of lessons and reviews as you feel you need them.  You can register here or email Dr. Weinstein directly at aimee@katedalby.com.

Take some of the stress out of applying to college.  Get the essays done this summer and let us help you.

Have a great summer!