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The Value of the SAT Subject Tests

Considering taking an SAT Subject Test but can’t quite figure out why? Taking the AP exam for a subject and curious about whether an SAT Subject Test would be redundant?

SAT Subject Tests can be valuable if your university choice recommends them. The most important thing about the SAT Subject Tests is to find out whether or not the schools you would like to attend want you to take them! Unlike APs, the Subject Tests do not count for university credit but, rather, are used by universities to decide what level of understanding you have of a particular subject and where to place you in university courses.

Here’s a great overview of the SAT Subject Tests and how they might be useful to you.

Curious to learn more? Contact RLG today to find out whether and which SAT Subject Tests might be valuable for you!





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Take Your Interview Prep to the Next Level!

Rasul Learning Group
360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™

Congratulations! You got to the MMI stage of your application to medical school. Or you were selected to interview for your dream internship in a hospitality co-op program in Switzerland. Perhaps you were selected to interview for a CaRMS residency or fellowship. Or maybe you are about to interview for the promotion that will make your career.

How will you go about prepping for what might arguably be one of the most important interviews of your career?

Rasul Learning Group’s 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ was designed to make sure that you are absolutely ready when you enter the room for your interview. Zahra Rasul and the expert consultants at RLG have 15 years experience and a 99% success rate getting our clients the jobs they want and getting them into their first choice educational programs. This program is proprietary and RLG consultants take pride in providing the most thorough and exclusive interview prep in town!

Our system helps you to focus where it matters most— technique, content, and strategy.

1) Technique-360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ focuses on building and strengthening foundational interview skills, such as appropriate eye contact, voice intonation, personal presentation, etc. We can help you craft a flawless résumé or C.V. On this firm foundation, we build your interview confidence so that you can create rapport with your interviewer.

2) Content-We pay special attention to the relevant issues related to the field or position to which you are applying. Our highly knowledgeable consultants can help you to develop and express ideas about yourself and about contemporary issues that may apply to your interview. Our 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ draws on the shared knowledge and proven success of our entire team to ensure that your interview prep is a dynamic and collaborative process that precisely fits your needs.

3) Strategy-At RLG, our interview preparation strategies are designed to prepare you for even the most unexpected interview scenarios. Our team makes certain that you are able to generate relevant and engaging answers to difficult, on-the-spot questions. Many of our consultants are particularly passionate about helping you to shape your personal narrative and tell compelling stories. We also make sure that you can effectively communicate the great ideas and competency in high-level skills that got you the interview in the first place!

Please contact us today to start your 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™

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Grade 12 English Provincial Exam: Narrative Essay Prep

The writing prompts on the original composition portion of the English 12 final tend to fall into certain thematic categories. Therefore, students can prepare by compiling a list of story ideas addressing the typical themes. With luck, you will be able to draw upon a previously planned narrative to assist you during the exam.  Try brainstorming and developing a narrative related to each of the categories outlined below.

Overcoming challenges/dealing with adverse circumstances/learning an important lesson. Past exam prompts include:

  • Self-awareness leads to meaningful change.
  • Challenging circumstances lead to positive actions.
  • Each stage of life brings new choices.
  • Adapting to new situations in life is essential.
  • Certain events change our impression of life.

Responsibility/independence/maturity. Past exam prompts include:

  • With independence comes increased responsibility.
  • Our views of the past change as we mature.
  • Certain experiences can mark the beginning of maturity.
  • Keeping an open mind allows for growth.
  • Our journey into the future begins in the past.
  • Taking charge of your own life is worthwhile.

Family/relationships/connections with others in the community. Past exam prompts include:

  • Role models influence our lives.
  • Experiences shape relationships.
  • We learn the most from the people closest to us.
  • Forming meaningful connections may enrich lives.

An “interesting” experience/unexpected events/surprises/change. Past exam prompts include:

  • Differing points of view make life interesting.
  • Surprise can make life interesting.
  • The pursuit of freedom involves change.

Values/character. Past exam prompts include:

  • The important things in life endure over time.
  • A good life does not have to be complex.
  • The best gifts are the simplest ones.
  • It is important to have a realistic view of life.
  • Being sincere is important.


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Social Studies 11 Provincial Exam

To all the Grade 11 students preparing for their Socials 11 Provincial exam, here are some tips to help streamline your studying over the next few days:

1. Do not occupy yourself with the little details. Study from the past provincials (use the BC Ministry of Ed website as well as other sites, like to determine which kinds of questions come up all the time. There are certain questions that get tested over and over again (e.g. The Canadians at the Battle of Hong Kong in WWII fought with Commonwealth forces and were taken POW– that’s always the answer!), so familiarize yourself with those questions and target study accordingly.

2. Learn the 3-5 things tested in each section. For example, in the government module, in addition to understanding the different political ideologies and party platforms, be sure to know what an order-in-council is, how the amending formula to the Canadian constitution works, and when the notwithstanding clause has been invoked. Go through each module and try to identify the 3-5 main ideas that you need to master to do well on the multiple choice section.

3. Refine your POE techniques. For students who have been preparing for the SAT, you know how to use Process of Elimination to your advantage! Eliminate the answer choices that are way off base, and pick from what’s left. You would be surprised how much easier it is to select the correct answer from two choices than it is from 4 or 5 choices.

4. Tell yourself the Canadian history story. Write it out as a story beginning with World War I and move your way to present day. This way, you can connect all the big ideas together and slot the details into the story as you move through the decades. Break the story down by themes (e.g. Foreign policy: Interwar period is characterized by Canada’s growing autonomy from Britain; Cold War period is characterized by Canada’s warm and cool relationship with the US on military, political, social and cultural issues).

5. Practice, practice, practice. Doing old provincials is the only way to go at this point. Identify the way in which the essay themes and the MC questions are asked, and study accordingly. Pay particular attention to the Government module (12 questions out of 55 on the MC), and Human Geo (11 questions out of 55 on the MC), as those contain lots of points.

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Grade 12 English Provincial Exam: Approaches to Writing the Original Composition

The grade 12 English provincial is divided into four sections, with Part D assessing writing skills though an original composition. Valued at 30 percent of the entire exam, students are required to write a multi-paragraph essay of at least 300 words in response to a one sentence prompt. Examples of past exam prompts include “Happiness can be found in unlikely circumstances,” “Our views of the past change as we mature,” and “Forming meaningful connections can enrich lives.”

The original composition may be written as an expository, persuasive, descriptive or narrative essay. Students generally seem to fare best responding in an expository or a narrative style. Below are some tips to approaching an essay in these formats.

Expository Essay

  • An expository essay is basically an explanatory essay. Expository essays provide students an opportunity to show off their knowledge in a well-organized format.
  • This type of essay should be structured in the standard 5 paragraph set-up: introduction, three supporting body paragraphs, and conclusion. Organization is key. The thesis should be clearly set out in the first paragraph. Each body paragraph should start with a strong topic sentence that supports the thesis statement, and there should be smooth transitions between the paragraphs. Students should take care to avoid passive voice.
  • It is important to take time to brainstorm and map out the evidence for the supporting body paragraphs prior to writing the composition. Supporting evidence for the thesis statement can be factual or anecdotal, and can come from history, literature, or personal life experiences. Students can draw upon knowledge covered in Social Studies, History, English, English Literature and even Science classes. The weakest supporting example should be sandwiched in the middle of the essay.
  • After writing the first draft, reread the work carefully and edit with an eye towards ensuring variations in sentence structure and sophisticated vocabulary. The select addition of adjectives and adverbs will enhance interest for the reader.

Narrative Essay

  • A narrative essay is a story. It can be told in first person or third person, and should follow a rough chronological order. This type of essay provides the student an opportunity to show off their creativity.
  • This type of essay does not have a standard paragraph structure, but students should ensure that each paragraph is well developed and contains only one main idea. Each paragraph should contribute to transporting the reader effectively through the story. The narrative prompt can be repeated or paraphrased in the conclusion to tie the essay together. Dialogue may be included if it assists the story line, but given its tendency to quickly become unwieldy, it should be kept to a few lines.
  • Again, it is important to map out a plan prior to writing the narrative. Mind maps work well for brainstorming ideas. It can be quite effective to base the narrative on events from  one’s personal life or the lives of friends or family members, as that can add authenticity to a student’s writing. However, students shouldn’t be afraid to expand or elaborate on an event for the sake of drama or interest.
  • Once students have finished the first draft, they should reread and edit to improve sentence structure variation and vocabulary. For a narrative essay, it is particularly important to engage the reader through description, so students should ensure their final draft contains at least a few examples of imagery and figurative language.

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June SAT

One more day!

This is typically the time when students approach “panic mode”.

Do any of the following sound like you?

1) Staring at a question repeatedly without your brain processing the information?

2) Making silly errors that you would not ordinarily make?

3) Running out of time on sections that are normally fairly seamless for you?

4) Frantically reviewing math questions and concepts, feeling like the information just isn’t sticking?

5) Sleeping with your SAT book either next to or even in your bed??

Here is our biggest piece of advice:


Congratulations! Your studying has come to an end. I promise you will not learn anything new in the next 24-48 hours. Close your books and hide them. Watch a movie, spend time with your friends or family, go for a run, and go to bed early!

If you MUST do anything — the only productive options are to review your examples for your essays or review your vocabulary words. But no opening books! The information is in your heads already, and will resurface on Saturday morning.

Good luck, happy gridding, and don’t forget your number 2 pencils!

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Grade 12 English Provincial Exam: Breaking Down the Multiple Choice

Many students find the English 12 provincial difficult to study for. The texts and theme are different for each exam, so unlike knowledge-based tests, there is nothing to memorize (aside from a laundry list of literary terms and devices). Students can prepare, however, by familiarizing themselves with the exam format and types of reading passages and response questions, which remain consistent for each exam. Below is a detailed break-down on what to expect from the multiple choice.

Skills Assessed

The multiple choice questions are designed to evaluate your skills in four reading comprehension categories. The most basic is the ability to retrieve information, which involves answering questions by locating the pertinent information within the text. You must also be able to recognize meaning by understanding how to reformulate information in the text and identifying a range of literary terms and devices. More challenging is the ability to interpret texts, inferring ideas or linking concepts that are not explicit in the reading. Finally, you will be required to analyze texts, evaluating elements such as purpose, viewpoint, and character, and synthesizing information from more than one source.

How to Recognize Question Types

Retrieve information – These questions have no particular form or clue words, and may start with any of the ‘5 Ws.’ However, they will be quite straightforward, such as “What caused…” or “Why did X…”

Recognize meaning – Most of these questions will ask you to identify a literary device used in a part of a passage. Another question commonly asked is about the form of the poem. Examples of typical questions are “What sound device is used in line 3?” and “What term best describes the style of the poem?”

Interpret texts – These questions tend to ask you to draw an inference from a quotation about a character, or character’s beliefs, or purpose. Clue words to watch for are “imply” and “suggest.” For example, a question may ask “What do lines 2-4 imply about character Y?”, or “What does sentence 3 suggest about the purpose of Z?” Other common questions require you to identify the central idea of the text, or conclusion that can be drawn, or the mood of a passage.

Analyze texts – These questions usually ask about the similarities or differences between some aspect of the synthesis passages, such as how the character’s goals differ, or in what respect two characters are the same. Another common question is how one character would “most likely respond” to another character’s situation.

Frequency of Question Types

Each multiple choice question assesses your skills in one of the above categories. A look at the multiple choice questions from past provincial exams available on the BC Ministry of Education website ( reveals that the number of questions from each category has remained fairly stable over the last several years. Here are some patterns that arise:

  • There will be 22 or 23 total multiple choice questions.
  • You can expect 2 or 3 questions testing your ability to retrieve information.
  • There will be around 7 questions testing your ability to recognize meaning.
  • Interpreting texts will be a focus of the multiple choice sections, comprising around 11 questions.
  • There will be 2 or 3 multiple choice questions testing your ability to analyze meaning.
  •  There will be 5-8 questions that ask you to choose the “best” answer (meaning that more than one answer may seem plausible).
  • There will be 1 question on a graphic image (e.g. chart, timeline etc.) that accompanies one of the reading passages.
  •  You should expect 1 or 2 questions about tone or mood.
  • There are generally 5 or 6 questions that require you to identify literary terms and devices.
  • At least 1 or 2 questions will touch upon your existing knowledge of vocabulary.


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