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  • Military Exclusive Opportunity for Tuition & College Credit Savings

    Until recently, tuition assistance has been available to military personnel since the late 1940’s.  However, due to recent budget cuts, military branches have been forced to suspend their tuition assistance programs.  “These cuts will have an impact on military families.  The National Education Alliance is subsidizing the cost of the in-depth study materials from iStudySmart.com to help out during the suspension of tuition assistance.  This will allow military personnel to continue to prepare for and pass exams to complete college credit.  Our goal is to support the military during this time,” said National Education Alliance President, Shara Wright.  The courses are normally $225 each but with the funds provided by the Alliance, military personnel can have online access to the iStudySmart.com traditional courses for $49.95 per month per course with the exclusive military discount on the SmartSubscription.  There is no limit to the number of courses which may be purchased in this manner.  iStudySmart.com’s test preparation materials are a flexible alternative to help military personnel complete college credit toward degree completion or for work related advancement. 

     

    Military members can prepare for their college credit equivalent exams using iStudySmart.com materials at the reduced rate and test out with DSST and CLEP exams.  These exams remain funded by the military.

     

    Students can TAP into a program that is:

    • Transferable: over 3,800 colleges accept credit by exam
    • Affordable: one course per month for only $49.95 – for military personnel
    • Portable: work at your pace – anywhere in the world

     

    iStudySmart.com is the only publisher of in-depth study materials endorsed by DSST, formerly known as DANTES Subject Standardized Test. Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth was recognized for its superior educational performance and Chief Master Sgt. Wanda Dillon stated, “Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth went from 5 graduates of the Community College of the Air Force to 77 graduates in one year and iStudySmart.com contributed to that success.” 

     

    For military personnel to take advantage of the iStudySmart.com discount, please email info@iStudySmart.com with Military in the subject line.  Members of the Military will be given a coupon code to use at checkout.

     

    About iStudySmart.com

    iStudySmart.com offers exam preparation for DSST, CLEP and EC exams that enable students to pass the first time and a path to the degree which accelerates your progress to completion, while saving a considerable amount of time and money along the way.

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  • Making the Transition from LPN/VN to RN

     

    Written by Roger Ruiz, RN, BSN, MBA

    The nursing shortage has created opportunities for LPNs to advance their education to become RNs… and maybe their only option for thriving in a diminishing LPN market. With a growing and aging population throughout the United States, patients are becoming increasingly complex to care for.  In the increasingly competitive healthcare market, hospitals favor hiring and retaining RNs over LPNs for many reasons.  Better nursing staff education will result in better patient outcomes. RNs have been trained to make decisions and perform patient care interventions that require critical thinking and decision making abilities…an area that LPNs lack not because they do not have the talent to do so.  Without the required formal nursing education to pass the state board examination and earn the designation of RN, many LPNs often become frustrated because they realize their shortcomings….not because they are not capable.  The “nursing law of the land” dictates that LPNs are limited in scope and practice.  Employers translate that into lower wages for LPNs as opposed to higher salaries for RNs.      

     

    In their journey to attain and retain Magnet status, many large hospital systems have removed LPNs from the acute care inpatient settings and re-assigned to outpatient care areas.  In reality and the broader scope of this matter, LPNs will likely be phased out the outpatient settings by attrition (taking early retirement, frozen wages, etc.).  LPNs may be retained only if they are enrolled and will complete an RN program within the next 5 years.  The message is clear, if the highly experience LPN wants to remain competitive in the health care industry….get your RN degree!  For fulltime working LPNs, an excellent choice to make the transition from LPN to RN is through a self paced distance learning program such as Excelsior College of New York.  Start your journey from LPN to RN by preparing to test out successfully and complete college credit through examination. 

    The time and money you use to finance your RN degree program are an investment in your family and most importantly….you!

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  • Military Servicemembers taking CLEP, DSST(DANTES) or ECE, pass the first time for FREE!

    In the not so distant past Military servicemembers had their CLEP, DSST (DANTES) and ECE exams paid for no matter how many times it took to pass. So if they did not know the Biology material they could take the CLEP exam over and over until they passed and not worry about studying.  It made perfect since to take the exam multiple times without studying as long as the exam was free.  Why pay for study material when you can just retake the exams until you passed? However after a number of budget cuts this convenience to the military student was revamped.

    DANTES New Retest Policy: The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) announced they will only provide funding for initial testing for College Level Entrance Examination Program (CLEP) exam, DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) and Excelsior College Examinations (ECE) exams taken after May 20, 2010. If a retest is required for exams taken after this date, it will be at the expense of the servicemember. Retests will continue to be funded through DANTES for servicemembers who took a test prior to May 20 and take the retest before Dec. 11, 2010.” This according to Military.com

    Some exams can cost up to $350.00, imagine paying for that exam but receiving no credit, might as well burn your money right?  This policy makes passing the first time essential! In an earlier blog I talk about 7 Study Tips which can help military students pass the first time. Although this may be scary news to some or not news at all to others, it shouldn’t discourage you from testing out of college courses.  Testing out saves time, money, gives you flexibility, and allows you to study at your own pace in your own space. 

    “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” ~Vince Lombardi


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  • Testing Out Success: CLEP, DSST and ECE Exams


    Carswell AFB was recognized as a superior performer because of their use of Rosetta Stone and iStudySmart.com’scourses. Carswell AFB went from 5 graduates of the Community College of the Air Force to 77 graduates in one year and iStudySmart.com contributed to that success.
    Chief Master Sgt. Wanda M. Dillon at Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth, Texas


    Thank you so much for your help! I have passed all my requirements for graduation with my BA in Music. Your company has helped me to gain 24 general education credits!
    Maggie Bristol


    Just passed today with an unexpected A! This has been the most difficult course for me, but with iStudySmart materials, I passed on my first try with an A!
    Christine C.


    iStudySmart helped me to complete 3 upper level required course requirements and achieve 'A's on my examinations. The assignments and exams helped me to focus on the information that would be expected of me. iStudySmart saved me time and money.
    Terri 
     


    Yes! I passed with a score of 72 - the highest of my group of dsst test takers! I answered all the questions (797) in the study guide, and kept reviewing the answers over and over for about three weeks. I took the practice exam twice, and then focused on the ones I got wrong both times. After that, took the practice exam again. Each time I received a better score. I went into the exam confident I would do well, and came out quite excited and fulfilled in my accomplishment. I am glad I purchased the i Study Smart guide. Thanks!
    Confident Test Taker

     

     

     

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  • 7 Study Tips on “Testing Out”

    Taking a test in grade school, although scary at the time, seems like a distance but pleasant memory to most, so how did we make it this far? As kids we took multiple tests through grade school, middle school and high school yet we graduated. But as working adults we cringe at the very thought of test taking.  Will we look back on tests we take now and wonder what the big deal was? I think not. Most kids have one responsibility SCHOOL, now we juggle work, family, social obligations and continuing our education. Testing out of college courses using DSST, CLEP and ECE exams saves money and time, but for some seems daunting. So let me give you a few helpful hints.

    1. Study: I know it may seem obvious but reading + writing = retention.
    2. Sleep: Before taking the exam get a good night’s sleep don’t cram!
    3. Prolong knowledge: Instead of cramming, study a little each day
    4. Eat Well: Stay healthy and feel good, your brain is a vital organ feed it well.
    5. Use good resources: Textbooks, study guides and internet resources. You can buy really cheap textbooks at amazon.com, study guides at iStudySmart.com and two good internet resources are getcollegecredit.com or collegeboard.org.
    6. Eat a good meal before the test: a grumbling stomach can be a distraction that causes you to think of nothing other than that MacDonald’s sign out the testing center’s window.
    7. Don’t Stress: You are PREPARED!

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  • Study Guides for CLEP, DSST and ECE

    iStudySmart.com writes in depth study guides for CLEP, DSST (DANTES) and ECE (Excelsior College Exam)exams. Passing these exams allow students to complete college credit at home.  iStudySmart.com offers an online format so students can access their courses anywhere at anytime.  Students can study at their own pace in their own place. 

    The online courses guide students through key concepts designed to make sure they learn the information that will be on their tests. Included with the assignments are sample tests and other study tools.

    All of the online study courses are the same format. The only difference is the subject matter. iStudySmart.com has over 60 courses within five major categories: Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Business and Nursing. The actual CLEP, DSST and ECE exams are all multiple-choice questions with the exception of English and Religions of the World, which have essay sections. The iStudySmart.com course sample exams are multiple-choice too and the computer scores your results to let you know your level of comprehension.

    Each assignment has a question, a reference to a section of the related text, and a place for students to type answers in an online form. Assignment questions and answers can be printed in an open-ended format, if desired.

    Each assignment question comes with the chapter reference to help students find the answers quickly. After a question is answered, it can be printed out for study.

    A sample exam provides a multiple-choice exam designed to emulate the proficiency exam a student will take. Each online course has a computer application built in that automatically scores the results. Therefore, students can review the questions they missed. They can reset the exam and try it again. In fact, they can take the test as many times as they wish.

    Each exam question is designed to help students recall the information they've studied. At the end of each exam, they're shown the questions they answered correctly -- and the ones they didn't. The exam results are designed to help the test takers determine their weak areas, he added.

    No instructors are involved as iStudySmart.com courses are designed to let students work through an entire course without needing outside assistance. However, they do have access to other students working on the same material via the iStudySmart.com forums. There are forums for adult learners, high school or college students, military, nursing, time management, testing companies, and a general forum for posting comments about distance learning.

    The online courses are completely self-paced. There are no time-limits. Once you have completed a course and feel comfortable with the subject matter, then you register to take the proficiency exam at a testing site nearest you. When you pass the exam, you can transfer it to the college of your choice as credit.

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  • CLEP, ECE, and DSST Study Guides

    For 26 years [Since 1986] iStudySmart.com, has developed study guides for CLEP, ECE, and DSST proficiency exams. With iStudySmart.com, they've transitioned their products and services to the Internet. However, it is very important to make sure the college you are planning to transfer proficiency exams is accredited. Accreditation is crucial when you're talking about the college where you are going to get your degree from. A student should know what his college's policy is regarding proficiency exams before beginning a course.

    This information can be found out by calling the appropriate Admissions department at the college, or by checking out iStudySmart.com's database of colleges accepting CLEP exams. In most cases, the database verifies which specific exams the colleges accept.

    iStudySmart.com helps students determine the proficiency exams to test out of and helps them locate the closest testing centers. After they've passed the proficiency exam, they transfer the score into their college of choice.

    Most colleges accept proficiency exams as college credit. However, each college has different requirements on the number of credits accepted and the specific proficiency exams they'll allow so you should check with your university of choice.

     

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  • Test Out of CLEP, DSST and ECE exams to Complete College Credit at Home

    Electronic education is increasing in popularity, which is good news for iStudySmart.com, a company that specializes in distance learning and provides online courses that allow students to comlete college credit by testing out of CLEP, ECE (Exceslior College Exam) or DSST (used by DANTES) exams. (These proficiency exams are accepted by over 3,800 accredited colleges and universities.)

    iStudySmart.com offers self-paced learning, complete with assignments and practice exams. Students buy the courses, study when they'd like, and take the exams when they're ready. The traditional courses cost $225* each. While every college treats scores differently, most courses are worth between three to six hours of college credit.

    Students will need to buy a textbook for each course. Students can buy the texts from the iStudySmart.com On-Line Bookstore. Of course, if students decide to pursue a degree, they'll have testing and college fees. However, federal loans or grants can't be used for iStudySmart.com courses.

    After registering at iStudySmart.com, students are given access to local testing centers for all exams, their own interactive study calendar, and access to forums for communicating with other iStudySmart.com pupils. Registration is free.

    "Registering is a marketing tool that we use to gather demographic information about our users so we can better understand their needs," David Wright, iStudySmart.com President, says. "Anyone interested in completeing college credit can register and find out how iStudySmart.com can help them specifically."

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  • Giving Distance Learning the Third Degree

    By John F. Ebersole, President of Excelsior College

    1. Is the offering institution regionally accredited?
      Unlike other parts of the world, regional accreditation is the highest form of institutional accreditation in the U.S. It provides a type of quality assurance necessary for most tuition assistance programs, the transferability of credits earned, and the ultimate recognition of any degree awarded. 
    2. What is the success rate for students who enter the program?
      Do students who enroll finish? High drop out rates often indicate a poorly designed, or delivery, program.
    3. Will the offering institution allow you to sample a course before making a financial commitment?
      While a growing number of students around the world are pursuing entire degree programs online, the experience is not for everyone. See if it is right for you before making a final decision.
    4. What support services exist to help ensure your success? Can you register and order books online? Access tutors or advisors?
      The uniform accreditation standards for distance educational programs, as adopted by the six regional U.S. accrediting bodies, require that those student services typically found on a campus also be available online. This includes library access, financial aid counseling, registration services, etc.
    5. Can you truly study "anytime" and "anyplace" to complete the program being considered?
      Most distance programs allow for asynchronous study (student and faculty interact through online posting at different times) but some may require all students in a course to be online at the same time. Some institutions also require that some time be spent on campus. Such expectations should be understood up front.
    6. Will the institution that you are considering provide you with contact information of graduates?
      While a positive testimonial is not a guarantee, even a short conversation may provide valuable insight into the quality of the program.
    7. What about the faculty?
      While a concern for faculty mix is not unique to online learning, it can help in your evaluation of "fit." Adult students typically report that they are most satisfied with programs, regardless of discipline, which feature a blend of academics, who can provide a theoretical foundation, and practitioners, who can speak to their application.
    8. What financial aid options are available?
      Reputable distance education providers typically offer a variety of financial aid programs, as well as qualifying for employer-provided tuition assistance. If your program does not qualify for Title IV Financial Aid Programs, find out why.
    9. How long has the institution been offering education at a distance?
      While historic performance is not a guarantee of future quality or success, it is a factor to be considered.
    10. What is the reputation of the offering institution? Is the college/university widely known?
      Unfortunately, there are many bogus "institutions," which advertise online and in print, with names that are similar to those of legitimate colleges and universities. Such operations are not accredited, though they may claim otherwise. Do your homework.

    Used by permission from the author 

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  • Three Primary Testing Organizations: College Board (CLEP), DSST and Excelsior College

    In the world of college testing for credit there are three primary testing organizations, College Board (CLEP), DSST and Excelsior College.

    1. College Board is a not-for-profit member association that is part of Educational Testing Services (ETS), a non-profit organization. College Board is responsible for SAT, CLEP, and Advanced Placement (AP) testing. It is the policy of College Board to remain neutral and avoid recommending any study materials other than their own so as not to risk conflicts of interest.
    2. DSST is also part of ETS, but is wholly-owned and independently operated. They are the largest test center network in the world, primarily offering test-taking services. If you are planning to take certification or licensing tests for the American Medical Examiners, the insurance industry, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or many other professional groups, you will do so through a DSST test center. DSST is a part of DSST exams are similar to CLEP exams in that passing scores are equivalent to college credit.
    3. Excelsior College has been a pioneer in the development of accredited online degree programs to serve the needs of working adults. They developed their own challenge exams that allowed students to test for competency in different subjects. Excelsior recognized that many working adults already had considerable knowledge in some subject areas and having them complete a course in those areas was not a good use of the student’s time or resources. If you can pass an Excelsior College exam, you are demonstrating knowledge equivalent to having taken the class. Because the exams are thorough and measure competency well, other colleges and universities also accept passing scores on these exams as credit earned.

    DSST lists iStudySmart.com as a resource for in-depth study materials and has done so since 2002. In addition, a link to the iStudySmart.com website can be found on many college test center webpages because, again, iStudySmart.com materials and customer service have been found to be excellent.

    Since 1986, iStudySmart.com has worked hard to develop materials that would be quality test preparation and that would help students as they pursue their educational goals. Earning the recognition of professionals in the industry is a much appreciated reward.

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