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In the face of informational overload, Iris Reading helps students maintain a laser-like focus so they can cut through their reading material with speed. Online and in-person classes utilize drills to change old habits and drum up reading speed while still maintaining comprehension. And these techniques aren't just useful for literature and cereal-box backs. Classes cover strategies for magazines, newspapers, technical manuals, and websites, stressing the importance of retention and productivity along the way. Upon completion of Iris Reading's courses, students have reported the ability to tear through their reading material up to five times faster.

821 Washington Street
Boston,
MA
US

After acing the SAT, students head to college and enter a huge variety of careers, from comedy to computer programming to creative design. Several of these former students sought to help others conquer the feared test at Boston Test Prep’s online-only study center. The staff designed the program to appeal to kids of the digital age—students can log on anytime, anywhere, and direct their own studies. Some might read through all the lessons and then work on practice quizzes, and others might leap right into the quizzes, pausing to link to lessons and slideshows on questions that stymie them, such as, "How many bears are there?" They’ll also learn tips on taking the test, such as mastering common question types, identifying tricks, and making smart guesses. As students work, a points system motivates them to hit a high score, much like in a video game.

2807 Summer St. 9th Floor
Boston,
MA
US

The Boston Martial Arts Academy keeps participants engaged by combining classroom instruction with hand-to-hand, foot-to-foot, and face-to-mat demonstration classes and classroom lectures. Try out karate to get the Cobra Kais to leave you alone, or aikido to toss your opponent as easily as a used Kleenex. For more kosher kombat, learn Krav Maga like a member of the Israeli Defense Forces. Otherwise, spike your kicks with punches in tae kwon do, out-Keanu Keanu in kung fu, or learn how to pin another man to the ground and make him submit to you in Brazilian jiujitsu. You can also sample less-fighty disciplines such as capoeira and tai chi. Each participant must choose at least six classes to receive his or her certification at closing ceremonies.

122 Arlington St
Boston,
MA
US

Anyone strolling down Marlborough Street in tony Back Bay might miss the French Cultural Center of Boston if they weren’t looking for it. The nonprofit’s home looks like any other historic mansion lining the street, but inside is a Francophile’s dream. Dedicated to ensuring the growth of French language and culture in present-day New England, the organization boasts the second largest private collection of French books in the United States – more than 25,000 publications – as well as periodicals, DVDs, CDs and more. The cultural center is also home to a school that offers language classes for both adults and children. Combine all of that with an array of lively cultural events held throughout the year, from art exhibitions and lectures to cooking demonstrations, and the French Cultural Center becomes one of Boston’s hubs of French culture.

53 Marlborough St
Boston,
MA
US

By answering any and all questions about their erotic wares, the staffers at Amazing Intimate Essentials have helped promote safe and sensual trysts for more than 40 years. Their selection of massage oils, lubricants, and adult toys?which occupies stores spread throughout the Northeast and Texas?contains goods from such established brands as We-Vibe, Jimmyjane, and K-Y. Along with an impressive catalogue of thousands of adult toys and accessories, they offer officially licensed Fifty Shades of Grey products. They stock female-friendly merchandise, as well as products that help couples create more sparks in the bedroom than a master metalworker soldering a "do not disturb" sign to the door. In addition to their erotic accessories, Amazing Intimate Essentials stocks tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigs, and vaporizers. The staff stresses openness and acceptance in regards to romantic endeavors, an attitude that also fuels their unwavering support of the LGBT community.

423 Mystic Ave.
Medford,
MA
US

Weichert, Realtors - Metropolitan Boston Real Estate connects buyers with homes and apartments across Boston—and they conduct their initial property searches free of charge. Their network is expansive, reaching neighborhoods from Back Bay and the South End to the Leather District, where all the houses have leather curtains. For aspiring real-estate agents, the company also runs a school, Metropolitan School of Real Estate, whose 40-hour courses prep students for the licensing exam.

490 Broadway
Somerville,
MA
US