I’ve used IEW materials with Jayme many years ago, but have never gone through their high school material. Now that Jayme freshman year is almost over, and words like “SAT” and “Personal Essay for College” are entering our vocabulary, I realized that a review of essays was definitely in order. I was eager to review this product!
What Was Included?
When we opened up the box, we found 5 DVDs, a packet of student handouts, and an expandable folder that not only has a space to keep the notes, but also offers plenty of models, checklists, and strategies. This is called a portable wall, and it’s a super helpful resource!
There’s also a code to activate video streaming of the lectures. But, streaming videos doesn’t work well for us on limited data, so we stuck to the DVDs.
Here’s what covered by the DVD lectures:
Part 1A – General Strategies for Essay Writing: Length and Structure
Part 1B – General Strategies for Essay Writing: Invention and Style
Part 2 – Understanding and Preparing for the New ACT Essay
Part 3 – Understanding and Preparing for the Redesigned SAT Essay
Part 4 – Strategies for the Personal Essay
I was super excited to see that the new SAT and ACT essay formats were included. I knew they’d changed, but wasn’t quite sure what was different. This was great for preparing!
How We Are Using This Product
Jayme and I are watching the DVD instruction together, and working through some practice activities. The first assignment was to write an essay on a given topic in 20 minutes.
We both wrote our essays and shared them, and now we’re dissecting those essays as we watch the instruction. We’re practicing writing introductions. Also, we’re brainstorming what style of essay would work best for a variety of topics. I kept finding ways to tie the instruction into blog posts, because that’s what I write. They really are a variation of the essay, and since Jayme is also blogging, it was a great way to connect personally to the instruction.
What I Thought
As I mentioned earlier, I loved the DVD portion. It’s over 6 hours long, and while we haven’t quite made it all the way through, every part we’ve watched has been high quality.
Andrew Pudewa tells it like it is, and I appreciate that. He shared the tip that helped me graduate with my master’s degree with a 4.0 GPA. I told Jayme to listen carefully as we rewatched that short segment.
The tip? To write what your teacher wants to read. You can’t use the exact same writing style and strategies in every class. Because grading written assignments like essays is so subjective, you must be adaptable!
Other things I liked about the lectures:
- Note taking is encouraged (something we’ve been working on!)
- Examples are given
- It’s engaging
- It really teaches a lot
Preparing for College Prep & College Entrance
The information presented definitely covered essays that your high schooler will need as the whole college prep/college entrance personal essay season of life rolls around. (I’m still in denial about how close that stage actually is…)
Definitely Recommend High School Essay Intensive
I definitely recommend High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing if you’ve got a high schooler. We’ll be finishing this up, and reviewing it again in the next couple of years.