"The student and I started by discussing her needs and priorities with respect to the ACT. Since her highest priority is the Math section, we spent our first session discussing and practicing some test-taking strategies specific to this section and reviewing the skills that she felt least confident in her ability to apply. Specifically, we focused on:
* plugging in answer C or H (the middle answer) when the answer choices are numeric, because the answer choices are always arranged in numeric order, and thus ruling out the middle answer if it's wrong will also allow her to rule out the two other answers that are too large or too small;
* judging when to use her calculator vs. when to round, estimate or leave a symbol intact (e.g. a square root sign or pi) while working by hand, such as when the symbol in question shows up in the answer choices;
* drawing very quick, rough diagrams when questions refer to a shape but don't present any drawn figures, so as to capitalize on her strong visual learning abilities;
* resisting the temptation to solve every problem from start to finish by recognizing how much is the minimum amount of work necessary to rule out the incorrect answer choices (e.g. solving a problem for only the first or last two digits or for the range in which the answer must be, stopping at x squared when the question asks for it instead of doing the extra work to solve for x, etc.); and
* exploring alternate ways to reach an answer based on logic or knowledge of mathematical principles in order to avoid time-consuming calculations when possible.
We reviewed content when appropriate, such as when geometry-based questions hinged on remembering details of the relationships between angles or when the slope-intercept form of a line equation came up.
Emily is a joy to work with: she's bright, personable, and most importantly, possessed of both a clear sense of what points she finds challenging and the honesty and commitment to learning that allow her to ask questions proactively and to see the value in exploring alternate approaches. I very much look forward to our future sessions and to seeing her progress."