Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We started our session by discussing the student's goals and past experience with the GRE. In order to get into the graduate program, he's aiming for a 157 and 158 for the March test, with past high scores being a 152 on both sections. He's not concerned with the Analytic Writing sections of the test, so we'll focus exclusively on Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning in our sessions together. After discussing his strengths and weaknesses on the test, we spent about an hour doing practice math problems in different concept areas. He's very strong in algebra, advanced arithmetic, and percentages, although he'll have to watch out for minor calculation errors, which occasionally tripped him up. We took a closer look at Venn diagrams, which he struggled with, and some geometry word problems. Time seems like it might be an issue on the test, so we'll work on building his speed and familiarity with the long, tricky questions. We ended the session by going over several three-blank Text Completion questions, all of which were challenging. For homework, he'll do vocab review and a practice test. It was a pleasure working with him today, and I'm expecting lots of productive meetings over the next few weeks!"
"The student attempted a geometry practice set last week, but felt as though she did not know how to approach most of the problems, so we did the practice set together instead. We worked to develop a system for approaching problems by asking: (1) What is my end goal? (2) What is the intermediate goal that will get me there? and then looking for the information that is given in order to know where to start. The student seemed to improve with guidance, although we both agreed she needs to build her confidence when it comes to approaching these problems. To do so, she will attempt a low difficulty geometry practice set this week, as well as memorize formulas for special triangles and other figures."
"The student and I focused on the verbal section of the GRE. She's been taking review classes, but her score hasn't changed in that section. Because of this, we are focusing on techniques and strategies geared towards accuracy, rather than just practicing more questions in the same way she has been. We talked about some of the things she covered in her course, like using POE (process of elimination) and passing over "hard questions" in order to do a 2nd pass; but then went on to tackling text completion and passage related questions. I showed her different ways to use her scratch paper efficiently for different types of questions, because our goal is to NOT use our brain! Tests are tiring and slow you down over time, so the less you tax your mind, the better! We went over picking out "clues," and most importantly "trigger words" to help answer text completion questions, but many a times, those come down to vocabulary. For reading comprehension questions, we went over strategies to tackle passages. The goal is to come up with answers on your own and use those as the "filter" in order to eliminate given answer choices. It's also important for the student to remember that every answer can be found within her passage or sentences. Many of the strategies we talked about sound a bit counterintuitive, and seem as if they will waste time. However, I'm fully confident that if she practices them for at least 2-3 passages every day, she will master these new habits in no time--and I know they will increase her accuracy and confidence. I plan to make a question set for her and am also sending her a list of vocabulary words to practice and learn. A wide vocabulary will be her greatest asset, besides efficient strategizing."