Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We focused on the Math Section of the upcoming test. The student's understanding of Math is fairly good. It seems like she just needs a refresher on most things."
"We met for the first time today. She showed good focus and expressed a desire to do well. I sought above all to determine which areas needed work. Her math skills, although age appropriate, do not cover everything that will be on the test. I will work, in future, to instill good problem-skipping tactics. We did go over the odds of getting right answers based on process-of-elimination. She seems to understand that eliminating clearly wrong answers increase the odds of getting questions right to the point where guessing can be an asset. We will work next time to cover math concepts that she may not yet be comfortable with."
"The student and I reviewed the essay I requested he write over the weekend. He chose the prompt "I didn't think I'd learn anything but I did." He wrote about learning about Mesopotamia in social studies. His essay was very brief. We worked with the other prompt from that practice exam ("I had 15 seconds to solve the puzzle") and talked about what type of story he could tell. Then we wrote an essay together and identified the parts and structure his essay should have on an exam. He did his math homework because he had a math test the next day and his current classwork is similar to the math on the exam. Additionally, we worked on reading comprehension. He did his English homework which was a reading comprehension passage and went over practice exam reading comp. questions. Overall, the session went very well and the student and I work well together."
"The student and I targeted vocabulary and quantitative concepts in this session. To start the session, I gave her 25 slips of paper with vocabulary words she might encounter on the SSAT on them, and 25 slips of paper with the matching definitions of those words. I then had a 25 piece puzzle on hand as well. For each vocabulary word she matched with the correct definition, she could pick one piece of the puzzle, and as she matched the words, the puzzle came together. We talked through some potential strategies to use if she didn't know the word she was given on the test, including attempting to discern what type of word (adjective, noun, etc.) it was, whether or not she recognizes any parts of the words, etc. We then moved on to the prep book that she and her previous tutor were working through, and honed in on the quantitative section. She worked through a question or two under each concept, so that I could get a picture of which ones she hadn't yet reviewed in her classes. It appeared that the patterns and number series gave her trouble, so I'll be bringing in a few of each questions to our next session to see if the work we did on the concept stuck. We'll finish reviewing the math concepts, and tackle another set of vocab words, in our session on Thursday."
"We reviewed his essay. He had good ideas and development. He completed an SAT practice test, then reviewed some math concepts. He will complete another practice test before our next session, as time allows."
"The student and I went through a timed reading section and a timed verbal section. She did very well, but ran out of time on the reading. On the verbal section, she skipped a significant amount of questions and finished early. I encouraged her to answer more questions and use up all the allotted time. I also advised her to try to study vocabulary before the next practice test."
"Today we split the session into three parts: verbal, essay, and reading. I gave the student the verbal pre-test. He was not able to answer all of the questions on the pre-test because he was not familiar with the vocabulary. After we discussed the format of the verbal test, I gave him the note cards I had brought with me that had "root words" on them. I am hoping that by becoming familiar with common Greek and Latin roots, he will be able to identify parts of words he may not know in order to help him on the test. I also left his mom a vocabulary list of 75 common SSAT words to study with him at our first session, and he told me he had already studied 15+ words. I am hoping I can help expose him to as much vocabulary as possible in order to improve his chances on the verbal section. The essay preparation went very well. His creativity is one of his strongest assets, and today we worked on giving that creativity some structure. We talked about a four-part essay and creating plan for this kind of a story during his brainstorming. We also worked on his punctuation and using describing words and POW action verbs. He was very excited about his essay, and I can see him improving after only an hour of focused work! For the reading section, I think that improving his vocabulary and slowing down his passage-reading will help him with comprehension. When the passage is a story, he excels, but when the passage is non-fiction, he struggles a bit with the language. We will continue to work on the comprehension strategies we used today for these passages (the 5 w's, pausing at the end of each paragraph to check for understanding, summarizing) during future sessions. We will also work on question strategies (underlining key words and phrases, thinking of the answer before looking at the answer choices)."
"I met the student for the first time today. She seems very smart and I'm sure with practice she'll do very well on the SSATs. We went over her test this session. Her writing section was very good. She is a very descriptive, concise and eloquent writer. We discussed how to use paragraphs to organize her writing, and went over some common grammatical errors she used. We also discussed how to plan her essay beforehand in order to manage her time. Her Math section was also very good. She only got a few questions wrong. They were mostly from not reading the question correctly, or from picking the first answer she saw that she thought was right instead of checking them all. Her Reading section was also solid. She only made a few errors. Most of them were from only focusing on one part of the answer. We discussed how even though some answers might be true, they may not be the most correct answer. I encouraged her to consider context and to make sure all parts of the answer applied, not just one or two words that made it seem right. She had the most trouble in the Verbal section, and I told her that I would bring her a chart of common prefixes, suffixes, and Latin and Greek roots and their meanings to help her understand words that she doesn't know. She got a lot of questions wrong simply because she had no idea what some words meant. I want to finish going over the test next Tuesday before she takes a new one. Once she gets fewer and fewer answers wrong, she will have time to do a test a week, something I think would be beneficial as she nears the test date in April."
"Student completed section one and two as well as the writing sample for the practice SSAT. After completing the first half of a "mock" test, we went over his writing sample and his score on section one. He feels confident in his writing and felt it came naturally. We just went over approaches to ensure his story remained coherent and had a clear beginning, middle, and end. In addition, he understood many of the concepts of the quantitative section. However, he has some difficulty remaining focused during the test and made a few simple errors. Overall, he is very capable and felt better after getting more comfortable with the testing format and timing."
"We went through another math test sample. The student completed the test and we reviewed his answers. He still has some difficulty with decimals and percentages so we reviewed how to solve both types of problems."
"This was my first session with the student, so we started by discussing the SSAT itself. The student seems a little apprehensive about the test so I told him why it's given, how it's looked at by schools, etc. I walked him through each of the sections to get a feel for where his strengths and weaknesses are. He did quite well on the reading section and seems to have a real knack for analogies, which is fantastic. The student's biggest hurdle here is definitely vocabulary. I worked with him on some strategies for finding roots/similar words, and reminded him that he can expect to see quite a few words that are above grade level for him, but he still seemed a bit overwhelmed. Working on vocabulary during the week will definitely help in this area. The student seems much more comfortable when it comes to the math section, and enjoys working the problems. In later sessions I'll be putting some time constraints on him, which will help him get a feel for how to strategize for the test."
"The student and I met on Sunday to continue her SSAT studying. We discussed her January exam by text the day. We talked about strategies to just get through it and give it her best shot. I reminded her that, ultimately, the exam will help her go to her dream high school, and so although the 4-hour exam is stressful and very difficult, it will ultimately help her. She agreed to take the exam and when we met on Sunday, I found out that the January exam was very hard. She is signed up for the February exam as well, so we started back reviewing decimals, basic geometry, and pre-algebra. We spent the second half of our session working on reading comprehension. We planned to meet again next Sunday, and I look forward to it."