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SAT/ACT Test Prep Workshop

     It is a tradition well-established at Jeng Academic Center that this SAT workshop does not teach quick-fixes, test-taking skills, or last-minute crash-course-type approaches. All reading and writing materials are laboriously developed by Dr. Jeng, who believes in the acquisition of knowledge, not by learning the strategies for dealing with the tests, but by cultivating in learners the habit of focus and concentration and developing understanding of the topics under study. Time, an essential element for true learning, is required as a means of both intellectual digestion and mental growth.  The degree of mental maturity on the part of the students is best shown in their essay writing, the quality of which, again, is not a matter of filling up a rigid, formatted essay form but a reflection of the richness, complexity, and organization of an inner mind.  To cultivate and enrich this inner world, learners should come to the workshop with a learning attitude that fosters curiosity, interest, and passion in their pursuit of academic excellence and proficiency.

AP Classes

A few features stand out in the AP courses (Chinese, English, Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus) offered at JAC: complete understanding of the concepts, the request for students to read textbooks (missing in many high schools but indispensable for college learning), and the preparedness for AP tests. The study skills developed in these AP classes will become invaluable resources for college-bound students to continue to thrive in college. When it comes to academic strength, we look beyond our students’ needs in high school and plan for them a successful academic life in college.

AP Physics


Physics sessions at JAC will focus on clarifying the fundamental concepts of physics and creating intuition about how those concepts lead to and guide the use of mathematics to make sense of our world. Students will be encouraged to discuss and make predictions, and then test them both from a quick, intuitive sense, and a more rigorous, mathematical approach. Students can also receive individualized help for their homework, test review, and projects.


AP Calculus


Calculus is a subject with a small number of very important and deep concepts, and a myriad of ways to view and apply them. At JAC, we will focus on familiarizing students with the tools of calculus, and building a framework for understanding the motivation behind the operations. If necessary, review of previous topics will be offered in order to help make calculus make sense in the broader context of the mathematics landscape.


AP Computer Science


Programming is a skill that is becoming increasingly in demand, even in fields outside of tech. AP Computer Science is a course that introduces and explores the language of Java and the use of object oriented programming. At JAC, we hope to help students understand their own thoughts and be able to generalize and express them in code. Heavy emphasis will be placed on coding skills and pseudocode, with individual help on assignments and projects.

Debate and Public Speech


“Don't raise your voice, improve your argument."
         [Address at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa, 23 November 2004]” 
         ― Desmond Tutu


     In this increasingly controversial day and age, students must know how to properly and appropriately speak their minds and engage in healthy debate.  In this class, they are encouraged to learn not just what to think, but more importantly how to think.  This course aims to be a safe place where students will develop the skills to address an audience with logic, reason, and—above all—integrity.  

Public Speaking

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” –Dale Carnegie

To find one’s voice is to find one’s purpose.  Public speaking is a skill that requires patience, confidence, and practice.  Developing this ability is an essential step toward achieving academic success in multiple subjects.  This course is designed to offer students an opportunity to gain a broader perspective on the world around them through the ability to express themselves well. 

Online Etymology and Vocabulary Building

Best For Grades 5 - 8

Etymon  (true  sense)  +  -logia  (study  of)  =  etymology


     Etymology  is  the  study  of  the  history  of  words,  their  origins,  and  how  their  form  and meaning  have  changed  over  time.  By  an  extension,  the  term  "the  etymology  of  [a  word]" means  the  origin  of  the  particular  word.

     Etymology  can  be  very  fascinating.  It  will  help  answer  questions  like  “Why  does  this word  mean  this?”  or  “How  did  this  come  to  mean  this?” For us,  i.e.,  people  not  working  with  languages,  etymology  is  not  very  important,  but knowing  to  communicate  effectively  in  English  (written  or  verbal)  is  important,  and  I believe  that  a  basic  knowledge  of  etymology  will  help  in  understanding  the  meaning  of words  better. Amitabh  Bachchan  had  very  correctly  said  in  a  movie,  “English  is  a  very  funny language.”  This  is  because  English  is  a  mixture  of  many  different  languages  and  has been  evolving  continuously  over  time.  Words  that  were  used  20  years  back  may  not  be used  today  or  may  have  changed  in  meaning.  New  words  are  continuously  being  coined and  used.


     Etymological  theory  recognizes  that  words  originate  through  a  limited  number  of  basic mechanisms,  the  most  important  of  which  are  borrowing  (i.e.,  the  adoption  of "loanwords"  from  other  languages);  word  formation  such  as  derivation  and compounding;  and  onomatopoeia  and  sound  symbolism,  (i.e.,  the  creation  of  imitative words  such  as  "click").


     Etymology  can  be  a  great  tool  to  improve  your  English  skills.  It  can  be  a  little  difficult  in the  beginning,  but  if  you  keep  at  it,  it  will  pay  off.  What  I  am  saying  is  that  when  you read  or  hear  a  word  that  you’re  unfamiliar  with,  look  it  up  in  the  dictionary  and  try  to  find its  roots.  For  example,

Amphoterism:  the  ability  to  react  in  2  ways.  In  chemistry,  an  amphoteric  substance  is something  that  can  react  as  an  acid  and  a  base. Derived  from  the  Greek  word  “amphoteros,”.  It  is  a  variant  of  “amphi-“  meaning “around,  about,  both,  on  both  sides  of,  both  kinds.”


     The  next  time  you  come  across  a  word  starting  with  “amphi-,“  you  will  have  an  idea  of what  the  word  means  (at least  you  won’t  be  completely  clueless,Tight?).  Splitting  words and  looking  for  their  roots  is  a  habit  that  will  take  time  to  form.  But,  once  formed,  your command  on  English  will  improve  by  leaps  and  bounds.  This  is  because  it  is  not  just  the word  that  tells  you  its  meaning.  It  is  also  the  context  in  which  it  is  used  that  tells  you  the meaning.

English Reading and Writing

     The art of reading is to cultivate the habit of reading great books, and habits are best formed when one is young. JAC offers reading classes for students from grades 3 to 11, with emphasis on vocabulary building,  mythology, poetry, history, biographies, and non-fiction classics.

     If Leonardo Da Vinci had to study human anatomy in order to learn painting, let all students study English sentence structures to learn writing. At JAC we offer in-depth English classes to 3rd graders and above, teaching them the lost art of grammar and syntax, and helping them develop various writing skills. Included in the course contents of JAC’s higher level writing class are basic logic concepts and training in argument mapping, all essential tools for clear, critical thinking.  

English for Grades 3 - 4


Here are some of the major objectives for the exercises found in this class:

1.         Expose students to the form of fables as well as culturally important examples.

2.         Model fluent reading for students and give them practice reading short texts.

3.         Give students practice copying texts accurately.

4.         Strengthen working memory through dictation, thus improving storage and manipulation of information.

5.         Increase understanding of the flexibility and copiousness of language through sentence manipulation.

6.         Facilitate student interaction with well-written texts through question and answer and through exercises in summary and amplification.

7.         Give students opportunities to creatively imitate sentences and whole fables.

8.         Introduce the concepts of main idea and character traits.

English from Grades 5 - 6

      This class will be providing instruction on key grammar and usage concepts and writing exercises to help guide students through composing a complete essay. Other topics covered will include types of sentences, capitalization, irregular verbs, irregular plural nouns, subject-verb agreements, gerunds and infinitives, conditionals, phrasal verbs, modal verbs and more. You will read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. Vocabulary will consist of academic words needed to get through high school and into university.


Maxim & Proverb:

1.         Expose students to various proverbs, pithy sayings, and life stories, especially from the Middle Ages, and challenge the notion that this period of history was unrelentingly dark and morally ignorant.

2.         Develop students’ appreciation for the usefulness of concise sayings and actions and how these ideas impact their lives. To demonstrate that ideas and words influence actions.

3.         Introduce students to the expository essay using a six-step outline. The predetermined outline helps students to organize their thinking into patterns of ideas.

4.         Give students opportunities to creatively imitate and reshape proverbs and sayings.

5.         Develop the concept of biographical narrative.

6.         Introduce the idea of paraphrase as well as comparing and contrasting.

7.         Model fluent reading for students and give them practice reading short texts.

8.         Strengthen working memory through dictation, thus improving storage and manipulation of information.

9.         Increase understanding of the flexibility and copiousness of language through sentence manipulation.

10.       Facilitate student interaction with well-written texts through questions and discussion.

English for Grades 7 - 8

Syntax, Sentences, Paragraphs, and Essays (SSPE)


    This is a class designed for 7-8 graders, with a focus on improving the basic writing, reading and grammar skills required for high school English classes.  We will help you practice basic grammar skills, usage and mechanics instruction with detailed examples. You will recognize types of sentences, understand sentence structure, identify parts of speech and be able to proofread and discover your own grammar mistakes. You will read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension and use context to confirm word recognition and understanding. You will also learn how to write a research paper with proper in-text citations and references (APA format).


 It is a truth widely known that though the art of writing cannot be taught (since art is incommunicable), the craft of writing, like other crafts, can be taught, learned, and made easier by suggestion, criticism, and direction.


     With this understanding we design this new course- Syntax, Sentences, Paragraphs, and Essays (SSPE)- to help 7th and 8th graders transition, syntactically and intellectually, from middle school to high school, by teaching them the essentials of English syntax, sentence structures, paragraph developments, and essay writing.


     Words, phrases, and clauses are the elements from which sentences are formed. English grammar and syntax are simply formulated rules and principles by which these elements are combined into sentences. We understand that proper training in the syntactical principles is the prerequisite to clear and fluent expression of the writer’s feelings or thoughts. It can be said that the sentence is an organism, of which the soul is the thought, and the words its body. Such organism, like all living organisms, has certain definite laws that may be learned and applied. Our teaching goal is to familiarize our students with an intimate sense of the principles of expression and to help them apply these principles in their writing.


     After learning how to write sentences, students will proceed to learn the principles of paragraph development. A paragraph is a group of related statements that a writer presents as a unit in the development of his subject. Simply put, a paragraph acts as a unit because of the relation that exists between the statements it contains. These related statements represent a stage in the flow of the writer’s thought. If a paragraph is to make its proper contribution to the whole paper, it must do something. A good paragraph must first of all make a point—convey an idea or impression. It will do this only if each sentence in it contributes to a core of meaning which is the focus of the paragraph and which justifies the inclusion of the paragraph in the paper.


     The final task of writing an essay is to link all paragraphs to express clearly and unequivocally the writer’s opinions. Here students will venture into the process of organizing the overall thoughts and study the structure of an essay, ready to reap the reward of all past efforts in learning syntax, sentence structures, and paragraph development.


     So what can be summed up about this writing process? It helps one to understand what one reads, what one studies, what one thinks, as much as it helps one to compose a poem, to produce a novel, to write a letter, or to record the joy or sorrow of one’s daily encounters. It is a most gratifying life experience.

Creative Writing Grades 7 - 8

Breaking It Down to Build it Up:

Lessons in the Art of Writing with Conviction, Concision, and Creativity


The great playwright Anton Chekhov famously said: “Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” 


By focusing our attention on the importance of images, words, sentence and paragraph structures in an essay or other complete piece of writing, we will break through obstacles we imagine stand between us and writing with concision, conviction and eloquence. This class will assist academic and creative writers both by helping them access the skills necessary to be inspired by their subject matter as well as break down construction elements  with confidence so they feel ready to put ideas and language to paper, regardless of time constraints imposed by deadlines or the exam situation. 


The goal here is to hone voice, gain alacrity in cultivating and organizing ideas, and to embrace "showing not telling" in order to produce memorable writing. 

English for Grades 9 - 10



Thinking-Writing-Argument was first taught at Jeng Academic Center in 2012 to address the writing issues observed in the students who came to JAC for SAT training. It was found that many students lack a basic training in essay wiring skills, with little to none understanding of concepts in logical reasoning and argument building. In fact, few understand what it takes to write a strong, coherent, and convincing argument. At that time, College Board had not announced its decision to change the essay-writing format from the old 25-minute draft-type essay to the current 50-minute writing. This change justifies even more the need for a class like TWA, which focuses on logical reasoning, argument building, and overall essay writing strategies. Since 2012, the course contents have been expanded to include sentence patterns, principles of sentence construction, concepts in rhetorical grammars for syntactical fluency—as expounded by Professor Martha Kolln in Pennsylvania State University—and general strategies for paragraph development, as well as the structure and organization of essays.

While the initial idea of TWA was to introduce a way of thinking for students to avoid writing essays in any format-fitting style, it has always focused on the fundamentals concepts of persuasive essay and the thinking process during writing. Its goal is to help students become thinkers and writers capable of critical thinking and fluent in expressing their feelings and thoughts in a manner clear, logical, coherent, forceful, and orderly.  

This class is ideal for students in grades 9 to 10.

English as A Second Language

JAC English as a Second Language Curriculum


The ESL program at JAC is designed to assist students whose first language is not English to acquire proficiency in the English language. Students receive developmentally appropriate instruction in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing.  This class is designed as an introductory course to increase students’ ability to master English language skills. Students work on increasing vocabulary skills as well as improving reading comprehension and basic writing skills. Emphasis is made on acquiring skills necessary to function in an English speaking environment and to succeed academically in a classroom setting.

Listening and Speaking:     

The Listening and Speaking content of the course has three overall expectations, as follows:

Students will:

1. Demonstrate the ability to understand, interpret, and evaluate spoken English for a variety of purposes;

2. Use speaking skills and strategies to communicate in English for a variety of classroom and social purposes;

3. Use language structures that are appropriate for this level to communicate orally in English.


The reading content of the course has three overall expectations, as follows:

Students will:

1. Read and demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts for different purposes;

2. Use a variety of reading strategies throughout the reading process to extract meaning from texts;

3. Use a variety of strategies to build vocabulary.


The Writing content of the course has three overall expectations, as follows:

Students will:

1. Write in a variety of forms for different purposes and audiences;

2. Organize ideas coherently in writing;

3. Use the proper conventions of written English appropriate for this level, including grammar, usage, spelling and punctuation.

Methods of Student Evaluation:


A combination of the following methods will be used to evaluate each student’s performance:


  1. Class participation

  2. Writing assignments

  3. Homework and class assignments

  4. Quizzes

  5. Reports/projects


At the end of the course, students will be proficient in the following:

 1. Learn the eight parts of speech and how to use them correctly in speech and writing

 2. Learn all major verb tenses and be able to use them correctly in speech and writing

 3. Write in complete sentences

 4. Learn common American idioms

 5. Use correct punctuation and capitalization

 6. Be able to write a paragraph containing a topic sentence, body and concluding

 7. Increase knowledge of academic vocabulary

 8. Be able to use a dictionary to choose the correct meaning of a word in context

 9. Improve reading speed and comprehension

10. Recall information acquired from listening

11. Develop a basic oral presentation with PowerPoint or similar program                                       


1. Generation of writing topics for narrative and expository paragraphs and essays. Where do ideas come from? The importance of brainstorming at all skill levels in order to stimulate thinking, imagery, and details is vital. In addition, finding the balance between innovation and control, meaning organization of ideas for engaging, coherent expression in the English language.


2. Focus time on grammar principles, vocabulary enhancement, spelling practice and sentence structure as well as syntactical prowess for increased writing integrity and accuracy.


3. Getting into the deeper text to access meaning beyond obvious surface interpretations.

This work will expand the student’s understanding of various genres of writing, i.e., fables, parables, fairy tales, myths, and histories in addition to recognizing voice and structure differences in expository, persuasive, narrative and descriptive writing. Close listening and asking questions of both the text and author’s intention will help students reveal deeper meaning, develop philosophical thinking, and recognize important metaphors and symbolism.


SSAT and ISEE: ( Grades 4 - 8)

The Secondary School Aptitude Test (SSAT) and the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) are the two admissions tests used to determine placement into independent and private junior highs and high schools. They are also the first standardized tests that many students take. This course will pinpoint and remedy content or test-taking gaps and focus on problem-solving tactics demonstrated on the trickiest test questions. This course will help you write more effectively, build your vocabulary and improve your overall test-taking skills.  We offer customized homework assignments on areas in need of attention to help you effectively tackle the exam. 


TOEFL iBT: ( International Students)

     This class is designed to prepare students for the TOEFL iBT test. Its aim is to help improve academic language skills and test-taking strategies. Content and learning strategies will be customized to improve areas of weakness in grammar, reading, listening, writing, and/or speaking. By the end of the class, students will be familiar with the types of questions that are asked in each section and develop the English language skills that are necessary to be successful on the TOEFL iBT.

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