Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We covered a review of the SSAT by working online for the whole session today. They worked diligently on a diagnostic test. They were getting about 55%-60% correct on the tests. We have a lot of work to do on vocabulary. They have homework working on their blue book vocabulary list for next session. They also can work online on flashcards and practice tests."
"We focused on reading comprehension. When she takes her time, she is very solid at this subject. We are focusing on skills that can help her speed up during the test while still maintaining her high scores."
"First, we checked some math problems I assigned for homework and reviewed the vocabulary words I asked her to look up. Then we moved on to synonyms. Vocabulary seems to be a challenge so we will begin working on some roots and prefixes/suffixes. In the meantime, we keep track of any words she doesn't know throughout the practice problems and she defines them on her own. I've asked her to review vocabulary with her parents at home, but I will also devote some time to this."
"On Tuesday, the student and I tackled the quantitative and mathematics sections of the SSAT and ISEE tests. First, we overviewed the contents and types of questions in each section, and then worked through the diagnostic questions. In general, math comes easily to her; she occasionally can't see the answer right away, but with a little prompting can figure it out quickly. We have yet to work on the comparative questions on the ISEE, and I think percentages (adding versus multiplying) can use some more review. At the end of the lesson, we read a short article I found on JK Rowling's new book and discussed reading habits, as we begin to strategize how to build her vocabulary."
"The student and I worked on analogies and Math. I asked her to try to do a Reading Comprehension practice test on her own before we meet on Saturday."
"I met with the student for the first time today. We discussed his previous experiences with the SSAT, his educational goals, what areas he felt he needed the most help in, and what learning styles/methods he finds most useful. We then covered basic SSAT test-taking skills, including pacing, guessing, when to skip questions, and how to use elimination to narrow down possible answers. We reviewed the diagnostic test he completed before the session and went over the questions he had difficulty with in detail."
"Today we completed the diagnostics and began focusing on vocabulary, particularly the synonyms section, and how to break words down into parts as well as other tips."
"The student and I began by reviewing the practice Math section that I had asked him to complete on his own using the techniques we had discussed in our first session. Although I hadn't given him a time limit, I had asked that he make a note of how long it took to complete the section. He did finish with minutes to spare, and only missed a few questions; we reviewed those to see whether they reflected mistakes of understanding, missing skills, or moments of inattention, and they uniformly proved to be the latter. He had no trouble understanding where he had overlooked details in the problems, nor any difficulty in applying fixes. The only case where we needed to review skills was in a problem dealing with the Order of Operations, and he was able to correct his mistake after only minimal review. I was very proud of him! We moved on from the Math section to Critical Reading, since that section is the one in which he feels least confident after Math. He told me how he usually approaches passage-based reading questions, and I suggested some strategies to increase his efficiency and confidence. In particular, we saw how helpful it could be for him to read the questions and underline key words or phrases in them before reading a passage for the first time. We also practiced matching key words or phrases in the text to those in the questions, making brief notes next to each paragraph in a passage to act as memory cues, and using a series of questions to determine the main idea, author's purpose, and overall tone of a given passage. He expressed that using these techniques helped him answer passage-based reading questions more quickly and easily, with less guessing. With only a little time left in the session once we finished our first foray into the Reading section, we set the stage for next week's shift into vocabulary work. We talked about the ways in which the student has studied vocabulary before, both in school and at home in preparation for his SSAT retake; I suggested that he try to come up with sentences or examples to illustrate the words he's studying from flashcards, in addition to his current practice of memorizing their definitions. From there, we moved into a discussion of word roots, prefixes and suffixes, and practiced identifying some common ones using the Synonyms questions of an Upper-Level SSAT practice test's Verbal section. I asked him to work with the remaining Synonyms questions in that section as homework before our next session: specifically, to practice identifying any familiar roots or prefixes and brainstorming related words that also contain them."
"Discussed test taking strategies and explained that the admissions test, like most other standardized tests, is about eliminating candidates more than it is about testing one's knowledge, and knowing how to use one's test-taking skills and one's knowledge at the same time is key to success on the test. He took a timed practice Quantitative Math section and we reviewed some questions that gave him issues afterward. Also, he practiced the writing sample, which we went over together as well. We determined that the sample was a pretty good first draft and talked about how it could be better. For homework, he will complete the reading of the overview in his test booklet (pp. 13-21), and will read and work with the information presented in the arithmetic section (pp. 73-90)."
"We completed analogy drills, synonym drills and went over synonym strategies. We also brainstormed for an essay."
"Today, the student and I compiled a vocabulary list with etymology, pronunciation, varied parts of speech and nuance. She is an excellent student and a very intelligent young lady."
"Today we focused on essay writing and math. The student seems to be exceptionally strong in the math section, so it is not much of an issue. We reviewed essay-writing strategies. He is going to work a bit more on forming solid ideas with supporting examples."