How to use prep books

When you study for any standardized test, the first item you probably use is a prep book. The market for various test prep books is vast, especially when it comes to widely-taken tests, such as the SATs. That’s why it can be difficult to choose the right one. A lot of people, me included, have purchased a prep book from the most well-known publisher only to find out that it isn’t as helpful as advertised.

Prep books aren’t the thing that will get you through your test safely and successfully – that’s what study sessions are for. They can, however, give you a good foundation and make the study process much more effective. Remember that even the best prep book won’t cause miracles if you don’t put in the time to learn what’s in it.

Here’s how to get the most out of your prep books:

Recognize the official ones from third-party publishers

Prep books for standardized tests can be divided into two general categories. The first one is official books released by the maker of the test. For ACTs, that would be books released by its namesake, the ACT organization. For SATs, it’s The College Board. For GRE – the Education Testing Service. You can almost always find these prep books for purchase on the test’s official website.

Official prep books are the only way to accurately assess your skills. By practicing with these books you will find out what your overall score is likely to be and what are your strengths and weaknesses. They often contain real questions that have appeared in the test in previous years. The material in official books contains only what is within the test’s requirements and is checked multiple times to assure the quality of the questions.

Third-party books aren’t that strict. They still can give you a very rough idea of what your score would be but I wouldn’t rely on them for accuracy. However, they are very good for practicing specific sections or question types. Once you know what to target by testing yourself with an official prep book, you can start practicing these parts with a third-party book. They are designed to contain as many practice questions as possible and even if their quality isn’t up to the official publisher’s level, they are still a great way to grind through your weaknesses.

Ask other people for advice

Ask other test-takers in your life what prep book they are using, or were using, and make them explain why. This is so that you can find out what makes this particular prep book so good. Keep in mind that everyone has different study styles so one person’s choice might not be the best for you.

If you don’t have people like that in your surroundings you can always turn to the Internet. For example, read this list of best LSAT prep books or these SAT prep books reviews. Any source of information is good.

A good prep book (or preferably prep books) is just the first step in the quest to get the best score possible.

How to minimize the appearance of your pores

Many women seek out a way of shrinking the pores on their faces but few are able to find a solution to that problem. The truth is that there is no way of physically shrinking pores because their size is dictated by our genetics. Closing pores all the way is also not possible and even if it were, your skin would definitely not benefit from it.

Pores are how oil and sweat reach the skin surface and they are essential to proper functioning of your skin. They let your skin breathe. That’s why everyone has pores, even if sometimes they aren’t really visible. People with oily skin, however, tend to have enlarged pores that release a lot of sebum. Dry-skin people usually have small pores that feel tight and uncomfortable.

No matter what skin type you have, you probably aren’t satisfied with the appearance of your pores. This is one of the most commonly reported skin problems. To improve the appearance of your pores you need to keep them clean and protected from damage. Without doing that, no pore ‘shrinking’ product will be able to make your pores look nice.

Here are some basic rules to adhere to if you want your pores looking their possible best:

Regular cleansing

There is no way you can keep your pores from getting clogged if you don’t cleanse them regularly. Clogged pores are more visible and they also ‘block’ your skin, causing further troubles, such as acne. You should clean your skin every day in the evening to clean out all the gunk out of your pores. Wearing other skincare products, make up or even simply being outside will make your face dirty even if you can’t see it with a naked eye. To improve your skin condition, you should never go to sleep without cleaning your face thoroughly.


Few things are as damaging to our skin as sunlight. For people who love basking in the warm rays of sun or those who live in warmer climates, this is quite unfortunate. However, while staying in the shade is the best way of protecting our skin from sun damage that results in, amongst many, pigmentation, sunscreen is a great way of minimizing that damage without sacrificing our sanity. Sun damage has detrimental effects to skin overall and this of course influences how our pores appear – they will seem enlarged. That’s why sunscreen is the most important step in your morning skincare routine that should never be skipped.

Pore-targeting products

While they are not the most crucial step in getting your skin to look pore-free, cosmetics that specifically target the pore appearance can aid you in your quest. Various pore minimizers come in many forms: serums, scrubs, cleansers and more. Here you can check out the best pore minimizer by Gorgeousville. For severely clogged pores that cannot be cleaned by regular cleansers, use pore strips. Most of them are shaped to fit the nose, where the pores tend to look the largest, but you can use them anywhere. Read this list of best pore strips here. Remember not to overuse them because they are harsh products that can potentially damage your skin.

How to Make Camping More Fun

How Camping Helps Us

No matter your pain or ailment, what doctors always recommend is spending more time outside, surrounded by nature. We live such extraordinarily busy lives, brimming with deadlines and responsibilities, it is only normal that we get lost or carried away. We seldom have time to stop what we’re doing and be in tune with our soul’s needs and wants. If you think about it, our way of life has evolved and changed massively just in the last couple of decades. Our ancestors lived and thrived surrounded by nature and all it has to offer. They depended on the land around them, so they took care of it and respected it. Their world was quiet, free from car engines revving up or police sirens blaring out on the streets. The air that filled their lungs was crisp and fresh. Everything was simpler. Unfortunately, not many of us get to experience that luxury. It’s a constant go-go-go from the moment we wake up in the morning to the instance we go back to bed. From rushing to work in the morning to cooking, cleaning, and every other frivolous task that burdens our mind, we can be forgiven for wanting to spend our days off recharging and bracing ourselves to do it all over again. And again. And again. However, being stuck on the couch is rarely the antidote for all of the stress and pressure we feel. I won’t make them disappear, it only presents us with a temporary distraction. The only way to disconnect from the outside world and replenish our mental resources is to be in nature. Camping is one of the best outdoor activities for those of us looking to do exactly that. When we ditch screens and electronics in favour of bonfires and sleeping under the starlit sky, we get the chance to press the reset button on our mind’s worry machine. So, why don’t people go camping more often?

Making Camping Easier

Camping, despite its many benefits outlined above, can be a huge hassle for some of us. Packing everything and loading it into our cars, then driving up to the campsite can take multiple hours of our precious free time. Once you get to the camp, you’re faced with the critically demanding task of figuring out how your tent is meant to stay up using only the pegs and poles provided. Setting up a tent is oftentimes a two-person job, and it eats away at the time you could be spending relaxing or exploring your surroundings. If you’re not overly excited about the prospect of spending your weekend fiddling with complicated assembly instructions, you can opt for a blow up tent instead. In contrast to old-school tents, inflatable ones essentially cut the set up time by more than half. All you have to do is press a button on the pump and the tent immediately gets filled with air. If you are someone who would like to go camping more often and take in all the wonders mother nature has to offer us, I highly recommend investing in an inflatable tent. Why make camping more difficult than it has to be?

4 Cycling Apparel Brands For Women

There’s no doubt that cycling benefits our minds and strengthens our bodies, however, settling a stable hobby foundation means investing in the equipment that ensures a comfortable and qualitative activity.

As an avid cyclist, I’ve meandered in recent years through a wide range of brands that qualified themselves in different areas, either accessory-wise or in regard to apparel. This article provides you with my most trusted brands that have remained constant on my list of best cycling apparel retailers. To sort through the different types of garments, I’ve also chosen a favorite product from each brand that stood the test of time and various weather conditions.

Where to find durable cycling apparel?

1. ASSOS (Best knickers and tights)

ASSOS is a widely accredited cycling apparel brand that innovates through material and design. Knickers and tights are purposeful in colder seasons and face well extreme weather conditions. Thus, the quality of the material plays a central role in sustainable protection while riding the bike. From my journey through brands, I’ve discovered a lot of versatility, but the pair of thighs from ASSOS stood aside me for a couple of years now.

2. MAAP (Best Accessories)

Finding the proper extended cycling equipment for scorching hot summer days can be a hassle. MAAP sells the most workable and dependable socks I have tried to date. This is due to the technology the brand developed, which proves to resist intense humidity and allow proper ventilation. Another accessory item I’ve tried and felt awarded was the Deep Winter Neo gloves. They exceeded my expectancies performance-wise while raining and freezing-cold weather.

3. Ornot (Best Women’s Jerseys)

Three-quarters of my jerseys are from Ornot, and that is due to the favorable delivery of ventilation performance I have seen in the years I’ve been cycling frequently. If you haven’t yet quite started cycling regularly, maybe the most important element to consider in your equipment is its ability to circulate the air. My experience with Ornot and their jerseys, thus, proved rewarding.

4. Pedla (Best Women’s Bike Shorts)

Shorts just as jerseys are central elements to a comfortable ride. Pedla sells one of my favorite pairs of bib shorts, which integrate a mix of temperature control, saddle stability, and smooth transition to the leg area. Of course, Pedla is one of the most renowned cycling apparel brands, so hardly can I argue the high-end manufacturing of all their products.

3 benefits of cycling

Whether you’re cycling just for fun or as a professional, cycling benefits you organically and cognitively. Here are the three factors that drive me to ride the bike every day:

  • reduce belly fat
    Both aesthetically and organically, a flat belly is highly commendable. Health-wise, abdominal strength reduces back pain and supports a straight posture.
  • increase stamina
    Physical strength not only has positive health implications but also contributes to your self-efficacy on daily runtime. Riding the bike every day keeps the therapist away!
  • boost cognitive activity
    It is not a secret that physical activity dispels tension and reduces stress, and cycling is no exception. Moreover, after a session of riding the bike and refreshing your organism, concentration boost and problem-solving mechanisms are easy to grasp.

Z Scale Track Star™

Wood boxcar – Now BACK IN STOCK

Part Number TS1097

$69.95 each


A hard black anodized aluminum chassis holds one Cratex® roller and a magnet.

Cleaning mechanism is housed in a Micro-Trains® 40 foot wood boxcar. Comes complete with Micro-Trains trucks and couplers.

NOTES: Road names may vary depending on availability.

Minumum radius 7-3/4″

S Scale Track Star™

Part Number TS1170

$139.95 each

(Specify “Cratex” or “canvas” when ordering)


A hard anodized aluminum chassis holds one roller and a magnet.

Comes with your choice of a Cratex® roller or a canvas covered roller.

The magnet picks up loose magnetic objects that are lying on the track. It will retrieve stray springs, nuts, bolts, coupler trips pins, track spikes and other items not wanted on your layout.

Cleaning mechanism is housed in an M.T.H. PS2 two-bay covered hopper.

NOTE: Road names may vary depending on availability.

Annihilator™ HO Scale Track Cleaning Car

Annihilator HO Scale Track Cleaning Car

Part Number TS1165

$159.95 each


The Annihilator is one of the meanest weapons in Aztec’s arsenal of HO cleaning products to fight the war on dirty track. It was engineered for ease of use and minimal maintenance. It can be run in a train and go unnoticed without hitting scenery or derailing.

A hard black anodized aluminum chassis holds two free rolling canvas (Sidewinder™) rollers, a magnet and a fluid reservoir (1/2 oz. capacity).

There is a valve to regulate the amount of cleaning liquid dispensed to the front roller. The rear roller is run “dry” (without any liquid) and mops up loosened grime. A clear plastic lid covers the reservoir allowing you to see when it is running out of fluid. Turn valve about one quarter turn for ten seconds or so. Turn off and run for 10 to 15 minutes (or change times to suit).

This stealthy lightweight tips the scales at a mere 7-3/4 ounces soaking wet. The Annihilator will clean in either direction but works best with the magnet to the rear.

The custom painted RoundhouseŽ 40ft gondola is gray with black “M.W.” and dimi data. No road or end numbers are provided. The modeler may apply decals (not included) in the railroad of his choice. To finish off the car the hobbyist might want to cover the mechanism with a piece of cloth (not supplied) to simulate a tarp.

Equipped with KadeeŽ couplers.

NOTE: Road names may vary depending on availability.

Some assembly is required.

Aztec Track Cleaning Cars

How the Track Star™ Works

A free rolling roller is set an angle to the track. The roller scrubs the rail heads clean when the train is moving. It’s like the tires on your automobile when the front end is out of alignment. As the car goes forward the wheels try to go to the side. That is how the Track Star works—simple but effective. They can be operated in either direction with the same results.

Advantages of Aztec Track Cleaning Cars

Track Star mechanisms are housed in actual train car bodies so they’re “stealth”. You can run them in your train at all times and they’re hardly noticeable on your layout.

Because they are in a car body there is no risk of hitting scenery adjacent to your track.

Track Stars can be run in either direction.

Different types and sizes of rollers are available. Depending on the roller you have, they can be run either “dry” or with the fluid of your choice.

N Scale Track Cleaning Cars

Each Aztec track cleaning car comes complete with one, two or three rollers depending on model, as specified in the product description.

To add flexibility to your track cleaner, you may wish to purchase an additional roller(s). N scale rollers come in three types: the Cratex® roller, the Sidewinder™ (canvas covered) roller, and the Cobra™ (Handi Wipes® covered) roller.

The Cratex roller must be run “dry” (without any track cleaning fluid). The Sidewinder can be run either dry or with the cleaning fluid of your choice. The Cobra is designed to be run “wet” (with cleaning fluid).

Track CleanNZ

N Scale Predator™ Track Cleaning Car

Now you can “have it all” with this complete track cleaning system: rollers to run either with or without fluid, a magnet to pick up ferrous objects, and brushes that dust off the rails.

The heart of The Predator is its two piece hard anodized aluminum chassis. It houses one of three rollers, a magnet and three brushes.

All three rollers are included with the Predator. They include one each of the original Cratex® rubberized abrasive roller which is to be run dry (without fluid), a Handi Wipes® roller to run with the cleaning fluid of your choice, and a canvas covered roller which can be used either with or without fluid. They are easily interchangeable without disassembling the car.

The Predator comes in an Atlas® 42 ft gondola with Micro-Trains® trucks and body mounted Magne-Matic® couplers.

The Predator N scale track cleaning car
Part Number TS1116
$99.95 each

N Scale Mini Monsoon™ Track Cleaning Car

Aztec’s Mini Monsoon was engineered for ease of use and minimal maintenance. The body houses a fluid reservoir, a canvas covered roller, three brushes and a magnet. The tank is exposed but may be disguised as a transformer or any other large oversize load. Micro-Trains® trucks and body mounted Magne-Matic® couplers finish off this beauty.

These are the features:

  • Micro-Trains® trucks and body mounted Magne-Matic® couplers. The Mini Monsoon was designed to run behind the locomotive, most of which have body mounted couplers. Body mounting the couplers allows the car to follow the locomotive in a more prototypical manner than truck mounted couplers. This will provide for better tracking and ease of running on tighter radius track with less possibility of de-railing.
  • A canvas roller is positioned at one end of the car which allows The Mini Monsoon to negotiate a 9″ radius curve track without hitting scenery or switch machines.
  • Three brushes dust the top of the rails helping to dry off any fluid that may be left behind by the canvas roller. This car can run in either direction without any problems. Roller to the front is the most efficient.
  • The magnet picks up any loose magnetic objects lying on the track. It will retrieve stray track spikes, Micro-Trains trip pins, nuts, bolts, springs and any other magnetic items not wanted on your layout.
  • The Mini Monsoon cleaning mechanism comes housed in an Atlas 40 ft gondola which allows it to run through steam era tunnel portals. It is factory painted and printed in assorted road names. By using this body style we were able to incorporate a 10 cc reservoir to hold track cleaning fluid.

The Mini Monsoon N scale track cleaning car
Part Number TS1115
$89.95 each

N Scale Eliminator™ Track Cleaning Car

The Eliminator cleaning mechanism comes housed in an exclusive special run Atlas body. This 21000 series boxcar is printed with “MW” (maintenance of the way) and dimi data. Space is provided for you to add the road name and road number of your choice (decals not included). The Eliminator is painted MW gray.

  • Micro-Trains® trucks and body mounted Magne-Matic® couplers. The Eliminator is designed to follow the locomotive, most of which have body mounted couplers. Body mounted couplers on the track cleaner allow the car to follow the locomotive more closely than truck mounted couplers, providing better tracking and negotiating tighter radius track without de-railing.
  • Cratex®, canvas, or Handi Wipes® covered roller is positioned at the far end of the car frame. This also allows The Eliminator to go around a 9″ radius track.
  • Three dry brushes sweep rails clean of dust left by the Cratex wheel. The cleaner works in either direction but is most effective with the roller to the front.
  • Magnet picks up any loose magnetic objects lying on the track The magnet will retrieve stray track spikes, Micro-Trains trip pins, nuts, bolts, springs and any other magnetic items not wanted on your layout.

The Eliminator N scale track cleaning car
(9″ minimum radius)
Part Number TS1107
$64.95 each
(Specify “Cratex”, “canvas” or “Handi Wipes®” roller when ordering)

N Scale Track Star™ Track Cleaning Car

One Cratex®, canvas or Handi Wipes® covered roller housed in an Atlas / Roco 40 ft boxcar with roofwalk.

Track Star N scale track cleaning car
Part Number TS1101
$44.95 each
(Specify “Cratex”, “canvas” or “Handi Wipes®” roller when ordering)

N Scale Track Star™ Track Cleaning Car

One Cratex®, canvas or Handi Wipes® covered roller housed in a Bachmann® 40 ft high cube boxcar without roofwalk.

Track Star N scale track cleaning car
Part Number TS1102
$44.95 each
(Specify “Cratex”, “canvas” or “Handi Wipes®” roller when ordering)