Blog

01 Feb 2018

How to study more effectively

  • Hate to study?
  • Can’t concentrate for more than 15-20 minutes?
  • Manage to make average grades from what you retain in class and with the little studying you manage to do?
  • Tired of being average.

Studying is not the same as learning.  Here are some strategies to help you study effectively:

  1. Know your purpose. Scan the content to identify the most important concepts you need to know to achieve the top grade. Make a list of items to memorize. Quantify – only by being objective will you increase your productivity.

All goals should be “SMART”

  • S pecific (not something vague)
  • M easurable
  • A chievable
  • R ecorded (written down)
  • T imed (have a time limit)
  1. Limit studying time. Study for specific periods of time or to learn and master a specific concepts or problem set. Either way, be sure you study for 100% of the time you commit to – no smartphones, no internet, no TV, no distractions.
  2. Multiple Sources. Sometimes its not enough to know ‘just enough’. You might not completely understand a topic/concept or you may understand some of it but not enough.

To solve this dilemma, read/view/talk to multiple sources. Remember: one author may explain something better than another. Its vital to refer to different sources to strengthen your understanding.

Select the best sources. If there are high-yield versions of textbooks, pre-made notes optimized for retention, mnemonics collections, essential problem sets (and solutions), use them.

  1. Feynman technique. This Mental Model, named after Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize Winning Physicist, designed as a technique assist with learning new concepts as if you were explaining them to a complete beginner. His technique includes drawing diagrams, schematics and notes on a blank sheet of paper.
  2. Cultivate daily habits. The best approach to successful studying is to train daily for a relatively short amount of time. 30 min of difficult math problems every day is much more effective than 3 weekly sessions of 2 hours each.
  3. If you’re going to take notes, do it right. Note taking is associated with better retention rates than just reading or reviewing pre-existing notes.
  4. Don’t cram for tests. If you are going to do well in a test then you need to be relaxed. In the days before a test you should do nothing more stressful than a couple of hours gently reviewing your notes to assure yourself you know your stuff.
  5. Make a study guide. As the student puts together a study guide, he also is putting small chunks of information systematically into his brain.  An auditory or kinesthetic learner can talk out loud as he creates his study guide.
  6. Put together a study groupFor older students, it is a good idea to study the information with others.  It gives students the opportunity to make sure each student understands the material and has studied in a comprehensive manner.  Students can quiz each other on information and create outlines for possible essay questions.
  7. Use flashcards. If you need to memorize things, you need tools. Create your own or use one of the apps available
  8. Practice and test yourself. The best way to learn is to use the knowledge you are trying to acquire. You’ll figure out your weak spots in your understanding of complex concepts. There are resources online to test any kind of subject.
  9. Planning can reduce stress and anxiety. Set your goals, plan your studying techniques and stick to the plan.
  10. Cultivate the right mindset. Essential qualities of all productive students include: Diligence, Discipline, Direction and Durability.

Do exactly what you have to do daily, no matter what.

Think positively!  Try to imagine yourself getting an A+ on the exam.  Imagine getting questions you know the answers to, expressing yourself clearly and concisely, and feeling good about yourself and your performance.  Think about how good you will feel inside when the test is over and all your preparation has paid off.

 

 

 

 

29 Jan 2018

Everything you should know about SAT II Subject Tests

SAT Subject Tests—AKA SAT IIs—are slightly cuter versions of the SAT. Each Subject Test (there are over 20!) is one hour long and corresponds to material taught in high school-level academic courses. If you’re thinking about taking an SAT Subject Test, read on to find out everything you need to know!

1.) Who should take SAT Subject Tests?

You should take SAT Subject Tests if the schools you’re applying to require, recommend, or officially consider them. If you’re not sure where your top choice colleges stand, here is a comprehensive list of all schools that use SAT Subject Tests for admissions decisions.

Keep in mind that colleges vary in the amount of emphasis they place on SAT Subject Tests. Schools that “require” SAT Subject Tests, for example, will not even review an application that comes without them. Other schools, like Stanford and the University of Virginia, do not officially require Subject Tests, but applicants who don’t submit them will be at a sharp disadvantage. If you are applying to any school that “recommends” SAT IIs, you should absolutely take them unless your scores will mar your application.

Still more schools neither require nor recommend SAT IIs, but will consider them if submitted. Such schools treat Subject Tests as supplementary information and use them to form a more complete image of a student. Some schools, like the University of Notre Dame, only consider Subject Tests that enhance an application. Contact admissions representatives at your top-choice schools to find out where they stand.

2.) What Subject Tests can I take?

SAT Subject Tests come in a plethora of shapes and sizes! The College Board offers the following SAT Subject Tests:

— English Literature
U.S. History
— World History
— Math Level 1
— Math Level 2
— Biology – Ecological
— Biology – Molecular
— Chemistry
— Physics
— French (with or without Listening)
— German (with or without Listening)
— Spanish (with or without Listening)
— Modern Hebrew
— Italian
— Latin
— Chinese with Listening
— Japanese with Listening
— Korean with Listening

3.) Are Subject Tests harder than the SAT? What about AP exams?

The SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests assess entirely different things. Neither is harder than the other. SAT Subject Tests are designed to measure how much a student knows about a subject. By contrast, the SAT presents basic content in new ways in order to evaluate students’ reasoning skills. In other words, the SAT tests your ability to figure out the best approach to a puzzling question about an elementary topic.

AP exams are much harder than SAT Subject Tests because they test college-level knowledge, whereas SAT IIs measure principles taught in high school-level classes.

4.) When should students take SAT Subject Tests?

In general, students should take Subject Tests immediately after completing coursework in the subject they wish to test in. For many students, this means testing at the end of freshman or sophomore year! Language and Literature Subject Tests should be taken either during the spring of junior year or fall of senior year, as multiple years of coursework in these subjects will benefit exam performance. If you are taking and doing well in an AP course, you should take the same subject’s SAT II as close as possible to the actual AP exam.

Keep in mind that not all Subject Tests are offered for every test date! Language Subject Tests with Listening, for example, are only offered during the November administration. Make sure to review the Subject Test calendar so you don’t miss your opportunity to test!

5.) Which Subject Tests should I take?

Students should take Subject Tests that reflect their academic strengths and interests. It is also a good idea to test in subjects related to one’s prospective major. An applicant to a prestigious nursing school who submits Biology and Chemistry scores would certainly look better than one who submits SAT IIs in Literature and French! Also, keep in mind that some programs and university departments require specific Subject Tests.

6.) How can I get out of taking SAT Subject Tests?

Believe it or not, several schools will waive their Subject Test requirement if a student has taken the ACT with Writing. This is because such schools see the ACT Science and Writing sections as comparable to SAT Subject Tests.

Beware, however, of this foggy path! Most students accepted to the institutions mentioned above do submit SAT Subject Tests. Furthermore, many colleges (including Harvard, Princeton and Columbia) require Subject Tests in addition to the ACT. Also, most colleges that “recommend” or “consider” subject tests want to see them—even if an applicant has taken the ACT.

7.) How should I prepare for SAT Subject Tests?

Sentia Education offers top of the line tutoring for all Subject Tests, but if you’d rather self-study, the following resources will help you get started.

24 Jan 2018

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Taking SAT Subject Tests

The SAT and ACT are the main college admission tests and students often forget about SAT Subject Tests. Many students don’t realize the benefits of taking a Subject Test because a number of colleges and universities in the U.S. only require students to submit an ACT or SAT score. However, there are several surprising reasons why you should consider preparing for a Subject Test.

Some schools actually require (or recommend) students take Subject Tests

The list is longer than you might think.

Each school has its own policy surrounding Subject Tests. For the schools on your list, visit each school’s website or contact the school directly to see if they require, recommend, or consider Subject Tests for a student’s application. Be sure to check specific majors or programs at your target schools – the entire college may not require a Subject Test, but the engineering program or science programs might.

What does it mean if a school recommends a Subject Test score?

For selective schools with low acceptance rates, at least two Subject Tests are “strongly recommended.” Your application will still be considered without submitting Subject Test scores, but you will be much more competitive with Subject Test scores to submit. Arre you willing to take that extra step to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Do you know your academic strengths and have enough confidence to submit an objective number measuring those strengths?

Get college credit before you even step foot on campus

Some schools allow students to bypass introductory courses if their Subject Test scores are impressive. This means you can fulfill required credits more quickly.

 

Subject Tests are different from the other elements of your application: they serve as bonus points and give admissions officers a clearer sense of what type of student you are, therefore making it easier to determine if you’re a good fit for the school.

If you know you’re proficient in chemistry, a solid Subject Test score in addition to a strong academic transcript could be indispensable information on your application. This also adds a substantial amount of credibility to your claim that chemistry is your strongest subject.

 

23 Jan 2018

Spring Semester – To Do’s

Hello, and welcome back from winter break! With your short reprieve from reality now over, we thought now would be the perfect time to remind you of your future realities: college!

Your school year is now about halfway over (yes, the technical midpoint of your school year is a month or so away, but winter break certainly seems like a midpoint), and that means you still have a lot of work to do. In addition to the mandatory schoolwork, you also have the odious tasks of college admissions to think about. So, with that in mind, here are our suggestions for what you should be working on for those frigid and gelid winter evenings!

Seniors
For the most part, your hard work should already be done. You’ve already applied to most of your colleges, right? If you have any applications left, complete them now. Literally. Right. Now. Do not delay anymore, as deadlines are final!

After your applications are in, wait patiently. Plan a reward for yourself for when those acceptance letters start to roll in. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get into your first-choice schools. That’s why you didn’t just apply to one school. In general, relax!

That being said, don’t slack in school. Keep up your hard work for a few more months, and make sure colleges don’t reconsider their decisions to admit you.

Juniors
You have the most on your plates this spring. Make sure you registered for winter or spring SAT and ACT administrations. Find out how many SAT Subject Tests you need to take for the schools you’ve been looking at, and register for those.

Next, study, study, study for the tests. Consult this blog for SAT and ACT practice questions, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from one of our talented and charismatic tutors.

Additionally, you should plan on visiting colleges in the spring and summer. Find out what schools are the best fits for you, and ask counselors at the schools what they need from you for your application. Try to narrow your list of schools down to a top 20 or 25. Sentia also provides college-consulting services, and our talented admissions experts would be more than happy to help you in your search.

Finally, keep up those grades! Your junior year is far and away the most important of your academic career, at least in terms of college admissions. Set a goal for yourself to get the best grades you’ve ever had in your life. A new year is a great (albeit arbitrary) time to turn a new leaf and become the best student in the history of the world. If you need help with your grades, don’t hesitate to ask Sentia for help there too. (See a trend, here? Ask for help in any areas of school. Better to be over prepared than underprepared, right?)

Sophomores
You should begin thinking of registering for standardized tests. You’ll need to take them at some point over the next two years, so you may as well get them out of the way earlier than the rest of your peers do. Take a practice ACT and SAT, and see which test is a better fit for you.

Regardless of which test you take, start improving your vocabulary now. Vocabulary is a major part of the SAT, but it can’t hurt you on the ACT to have an extensive vocabulary either. There really is no such thing as knowing too many words. And it is easier (and better) to learn vocabulary words slowly over several years, rather than cramming them into your brain a month before you sit for any tests. Read books and magazines at your difficulty level or even above your difficulty level, and improve your critical reading skills alongside your vocabulary.

You should also start looking at colleges and considering your options. Do you want to go to a big school or a small school? Close to home or far from home? In a city or in the middle of nowhere? Get at least a general idea of what kind of school you want to attend. Trust us. It’ll save you hours of time in the future.

Finally, keep your grades up. Having consistently high grades will make you a more attractive applicant to colleges, and now is also a great time to instill important study skills for your future academic career. If you need help with your grades, don’t hesitate to ask Sentia for help there too.

12 Jan 2018

How Do YOU Learn?

 

Most of us can learn anything we put our minds to.  However, we have a preferred way of learning. Get to know your learning style and study in the ways you learn best.

Everyone has a mix of learning styles. Some people may find that they have a dominant style of learning while others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. There is no right mix. Nor are your styles fixed.

There are Seven Learning Styles

  1. Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  2. Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  3. Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  4. Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  5. Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  6. Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  7. Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Research shows us that each learning style uses different parts of the brain. By involving more of the brain during learning, we remember more of what we learn.

Strategies to use, depending on your preferred learning style:

Visual Learners

  • Use graphics to reinforce learning­­, films, slides, illustrations, and diagrams.
  • Color coding to organize notes and possessions.
  • Write out directions.
  • Use flow charts and diagrams for note taking.
  • Visualizing spelling of words of facts to be memorized.

 

Auditory Learners

  • Use tapes for reading and for class and lecture notes.
  • Learn by interviewing or by participating in discussions.
  • Have test questions or directions read aloud or put on tape.

 

Kinesthetic Learners

  • Experimental learning (making models, doing lab work, and role playing).
  • Take frequent breaks in study periods.
  • Trace letters and words to learn spelling and remember facts.
  • Use computer to reinforce learning through sense of touch.
  • Memorize or drill while walking or exercising.

Express abilities through dance, drama, or gymnastic

02 Jan 2018

Stress… What it is and how to make it work for you

The Oxford English Dictionary defines stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”.

Any one preparing for the standardized college admissions test knows that this definition is a perfect description of the feelings and emotions created by these tests.  But did you know that stress that is managed could actually be a good thing?

A 1979 London research study recognized that stress could be beneficial. Yes, you read that correctly – beneficial! The benefits of stress can be found in two main ways; First, stress can actually enhance performance and, secondly, stress from challenges, not threats, invite physiological responses that improves thinking by making the heart beat faster, adrenaline surge, the brain sharper and the body release a different mix of stress hormones which aid in learning.

You can rethink stress by understanding that it is a normal response when we care about what’s at stake.

Since stress is unavoidable, working out how to harness it may be wiser than trying to eliminate it.

Embarking on a mindful approach to the test prep process might sound hokey, or perhaps like a way of complicating a process that is pretty straightforward: study the material, take practice tests, get results. But being mindful is a practical and subtle way of managing stress – AND it puts YOU in control.

So… How can you be “mindful”

  1. Become aware of your thoughts. There’s a little voice in your head that’s talking to you constantly. 
What is it saying? How do the thoughts make you feel?
  2. Take a breath. When you become aware of a thought (any thought, positive or negative) take a breath. Let your thoughts come and go without analyzing them. Be aware of what happens to the feelings caused by stress?

Let your breath serve as a cue for you to be fully present in this moment. On the next exhalation imagine any tension in your body flowing out through the soles of your feet into the air. Let your tension go on the exhalation and on the inhalation breathe in relaxation.

  1. Guided Imagery. Guided imagery is a relaxation technique that utilizes the power of the imagination and all of the senses – what we feel, see, hear, taste, and smell – to create a relaxing scene. Guided imagery can be used to visualize positive outcomes, especially in stressful situations. For instance, if a student is anxious about an upcoming test, she imagines going through it in a calm and relaxed manner beforehand. This is called a mental rehearsal.
  2. Positive Affirmations. Positive statements can help students feel less stressed and more in control of their emotions. Examples of positive affirmations are:
    • I feel calm
    • I am confident
    • I can do well
    • Let go of (anxiety, fear, tension, etc)
  3. Question your thoughts. If your thoughts are of self-doubt or self-criticism, replace the latter part of the “What if” proposition with a positive quality that relates to the specific situation or preceding thought. Ask yourself:
  • What if I’m good enough?
  • What if I’m smart enough?
  • What if I have what it takes?
  • What if I succeed?
  1. Be willing to see the situation differently. There are objective facts about the college admissions process. There are tests (the SAT and ACT) for which you can prepare. College admissions officers will consider your test scores when evaluating your application. How you relate
to these objective facts is up to you. When you feel stressed out, anxious, or scared, tell yourself “I am willing to see this situation differently.” Keep an open mind, and stay willing to be positive and relaxed.

Test prep is a process, but when you bring your whole self to the experience, amazing things can happen.

 

 

18 Dec 2017

Colleges Aren’t Different. The Teachers In Them Are.

 

In a New York Times article titled, The Fundamental Way That Universities Are an Illusion,” Kevin Carey digs beneath the outer-most layer of schools – ultimately finding little in the way of a unified, coherent educational personality. When we peel away the outermost layers of universities, Carey writes, all that’s left are individual teachers – all armed with their own idiosyncrasies. The teachers, not the school, make the education.

Carey likens each teacher, in each wildly different department, to an entrepreneur—bringing to the table his or her very own approach to the education of students. The type of education students receive at U Penn, for example, wholly depends on the individual classes students take, the professors who teach those classes, and the departments those classes are in.

So is a Williams College education unlike a Northwestern one? That depends on the teachers. This understanding of what makes schools different is especially important to keep in mind during the college process; it matters less where you land, and far where you place yourself once you’re there.

On the outside, colleges might give off a distinct personality. But once you strip back a few layers, the outer coherence gives way to radical inner variation. A couple teachers will shape your education, not the school you attend.

If you want to read the whole article, click here.

07 Dec 2017

Choosing the SAT and ACT or to switch tests

You received the scores to your official SAT or ACT and it is not what you hope.  While this situation can be disappointing, is you took the standardized test early in the college application process, you may have time to retake it.

Now the question is should you retake the same one, or consider changing your focus and registering for the other college entrance exam instead?

Considerations to review before you decide.

  1. Avoid unnecessary testing: Taking both test offers no benefit. If you’ve taken a practice diagnostic test in both the SAT and the ACT and your scores are relatively similar, then stay the course and continue to focus on the test you just took or begin to focus on other elements of the college admissions process.
  2. Consider the causes of your low-than-expected scores: Why didn’t you achieve your score goal? Did you struggle with the exam content and format, or did circumstantial elements complicate matters?

Many factors can affect your testing performance, including anxiety, fatigue and illness. With illness, chances are slim that you would face the same challenge twice.

Extra preparation time before your next test date can reduce anxiety and fatigue.

If your poor performance was primarily due to circumstances or a lack of preparation, you should retake the same test. You will have less preparation to do, since you are already familiar with the format. You will also have a ready-made guide to which sections you should concentrate on studying.

  1. Compare test formats: With the recent redesign of the SAT, there is less separation between the two major college entrance exams, but there are still some differences.
  • The SAT has no dedicated science section – though science is included elsewhere on the SAT.
  • The SAT has a slightly different format for its math portion which does not allow students to use a calculator for the entire math section.
  • The ACT and SAT both have a big emphasis on  The ACT has a much larger focus on geometry and includestrigonometry, matrices, graphs of trig functions, and logarithms.
  • SAT reading questions are evidence-based, requiring students to cite specific lines and passages to support their answer choice.
  • The SAT and ACT require identical grammatical and writing skills for the English / Writing+Language sections, and for the essays. Not a single fact or concept is different on one test than on the other. If you learn all the material required for the SAT, you won’t need to learn a SINGLE new thing in order to get a perfect ACT score (and vice versa). It’s all a matter of strategy.
  1. Weigh your time constraints: Learning a new exam format and a fresh set of strategies can be time-consuming. Despite the similar content of the two exams, the different pace necessitates distinct answer-optimization strategies.

If you have two to three months available you have more options than only a few weeks until the next official tests.

In summary… Consider the causes of your poor performance, the differences between your test options and your available time before taking your next step.

 

24 Nov 2017

10 Reasons to LOVE Standardized Tests like the SAT and ACT

You’re probably adept at rattling off reams of reasons why you hate, hate, HATE Standardized testing.  Everyone does. It’s a grueling, difficult exam with tremendously high stakes. It’s a source of conflict with your parents & competition between your friends. Tutors are pricey, studying is boring, and between school, work, socializing and heaps of extracurricular activities… you don’t have time for this! And to top it all off: Standardized tests are terrible measures of one’s potential to succeed! This test is pure evil!

Or is it?

In this blog entry I will give 10 reasons why the SAT and ACT is not so bad… awesome, even!

10.) For some students, Standardized Tests are much needed second chance. If you’re like me and slacked off during freshman and sophomore years of high school, the Standardized Tests are great ways to demonstrate newfound focus and academic potential to colleges. Coupled with a strong junior and/or senior year transcript, good Standardized Test scores will make you a viable candidate at many universities, even if you messed up parts of your high school career.

9.) Critical reading passages are really interesting! Here, I am going to let you in on a little secret: if you approach the critical reading passages with a focused, open mind, you’ll find that they are super interesting! It’s easy for students to say that critical reading passages are dry and boring–this is an excuse for disengaging from the material and not trying your best. I have NO idea why so many adults reinforce this ludicrous idea. Reading  passages come from recent (good!) novels, present wide-ranging scientific ideas & personal perspectives, and debate important issues. What is boring about this?!

8.) You’re entitled to a treat when you’re done. Twinkies, burrito, day at the beach… take your pick!

7.) Studying for the Standardized Tests teaches you important stuff you don’t learn in school, like good grammar (and, in turn, good writing skills) and how to think flexibly about math, apply strong problem solving techniques and use the math they do know in flexible ways. It asks that students go beyond applying rules and formulas to think through problems they have not solved before” In short, studying for Standardized test math promotes cognitive creativity.

6.) There are lots of available resources to help you prepare. Because so many students take the SAT and ACT it’s fair to say the test has been cracked. Not only are numerous books devoted to divulging essential content and strategies, but Sentia Education is also excited to pair you with an expert tutor, who knows exactly what material you need to know to score your highest.

5.) Misery loves company. You and your friends may grow closer through complaining about taking the SAT, ACT and SAT II Standardized Tests. Also, the fact that the eleventh grade class is simultaneously suffering promotes a feeling of community, a feeling of: I know this sucks, but we’re in this together.

4.) As you practice, you get to see the results of your hard work pay off.
Most students who work with a (good) tutor, or study a lot independently will see a big increase between their first practice test and their final score. Seeing this payoff is fun, encouraging, and will remind you that you can accomplish a lot when you work hard & put your best foot forward.

3.) You have more than one shot to take the test, and colleges will only consider your highest score. So you can relax a little. Unlike most of the exams you take in school, the SAT isn’t a one shot deal.

2.)  Completing the SAT, ACT and SAT II’s are a rite of passage, and an accomplishment that promotes confidence. Throughout life, you will be forced to face scary challenges head-on. As you meet & succeed in the face of these challenges, you will grow more confident in your abilities.

A driving instructor (shout out to Tony from Formula One, best driving instructor ever!) once told me that high school students face two, seemingly insurmountable tasks: the driving test, and Standardized Tests. Completing these tasks means proving to yourself that you can complete these tasks–that you are strong enough to succeed and persevere despite a mountain of pressure. Knowing this about yourself is invaluable.

1.) And most importantly, the SAT or ACT get you into college! Despite all its unpleasantness, these Standardized Tests are your ticket to college–one of the most exciting and challenging parts of life. This is the ultimate reward of the college admissions Standardized tests!

11 Nov 2017

Know the Difference Between a Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash

Nailing the crucial difference between these types of punctuation can nudge experienced readers in your favor—something that is incredibly important during the college application process. The hyphen, en dash, and em dash are distinguished by, at most, a few pixels on your screen and their uses are similarly nuanced.

The Hyphen

Used to join intimately linked compound terms, the hyphen clarifies the relation among different words.

Example: “Long-term exposure to tobacco smoke can increase your risk of cancer”

The words “long” and “term” are meant to jointly describe the word “exposure”.

Other Examples: high-risk, free-for-all, eye-opener, all-American

The En Dash

The en dash is slightly longer than the hyphen and it is meant to denote items related by distance or time1.

Example: We are looking for students ages 13–20.

This can also be applied to date ranges and prefixes fixed to proper nouns if they denote a temporal relationship.

Other Examples: April–June, pre–Revolutionary War, 30–50 feet long

The Em Dash

The em dash is the longest of these punctuation marks and is also the most versatile. It works like parentheses to add a thought or an extra piece to the sentence. The use of the em dash is more subjective and is meant to enhance the reader’s experience than to denote a relationship between two words.

Example: I went to the concert—something I thought was a great idea until it rained.

The em dash can replace parentheses, colons, and commas, depending on how you’d like to use them. Keep in mind you shouldn’t be using more than two em dashes in a sentence

Other Example: My brother—the one who originally hated the idea—was totally on board this time around.

 

Check out these great resources for more details on proper punctuation: