Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"In this last session before the student's SAT date, we focused on the Reading and Math sections. For Reading, we reviewed the kinds of tonal and logical cues in the Sentence Completions sentences that can speed up the process of choosing an answer, and practiced ruling out answers that wouldn't match the needed tone or logical relationship to the rest of the sentence before plugging each remaining answer in. We also talked about how punctuation and syntax can help identify the task that a missing word must accomplish in a sentence, and practiced applying that logic to our answer choices. We then moved on to Passage-Based Reading questions. For these, we reviewed the different reading strategies that we had previously discussed, and looked at the criteria that she can use to choose a strategy for each passage. In general, the "scavenger hunt" approach worked less well for her with both fiction passages and short passages (including paired passages), so we agreed that it should be reserved only for very long, dense non-fiction passages if she uses it at all. Otherwise, the techniques of reading the questions first and then either reading the whole passage or dividing it into significant chunks, such as a half or a third of the passage at a time, would give her the best balance of confidence, accuracy and efficiency. After wrapping up the Reading section, we looked at Math again; this time, we started by focusing on the Student-Produced Response questions. Although there are fewer shortcuts for these questions than for the multiple-choice, we were able to explore some ways to spot problems that can be worked more quickly than the traditional way, such as those that ask for a multiple of a value like "4x" or "x squared" that we've already found, and which can be solved without solving for x and re-multiplying. We also tackled some of the more difficult function- and geometry-based questions toward the end of a few multiple-choice sections, with a view both toward uncovering the logic behind the problems that she found most confusing- or intimidating-looking and toward finding logical shortcuts to speed them up and make them simpler to solve. Finally, we went over some general test-day tips for maintaining energy and focus throughout the test and for managing nervousness and the temptation to second-guess herself. The student has done very well throughout the tutoring process: not only is she extremely bright and open to trying new approaches, but she has shown enviable dedication and creativity. She has been an absolute joy to work with, and I wish her the very best on her exam."
"We covered student response questions that had geometric and proportion concepts. We did a few practice sections from the SAT review book."
"Began introducing processes for test taking, moving specifically into math section and how to approach problem solving for the math. Highlighted the effects of an enumerated method on grade-5 difficulty math questions. Also looked more at the essay, continued practice with essay skills."
"This was our first session. The student is taking his test on the 9th, so we focused on areas that he felt were a struggle. We focused on the math section. We worked on percentages, fractions, negative numbers, and area of shapes and decimals. He seemed more comfortable with the questions and answers as we got later into the session."
"The student is doing much better in his preparation. Since reviewing together, he's answered a higher percentage of his Reading and Science questions correctly."
"This was our first session together. The student is a pleasure to work with, and I am excited to help her grow her strategy skill set for the ACT. We identified strengths, weaknesses, and goals in advance of the upcoming ACT tests she will complete. In this session, we covered the completion of a reading passage. Feedback was provided on approachable techniques to complete the passage. I also modeled how to annotate the passage. We also completed practice geometry and sequence math problems, as this is an area she hopes to excel in. She will be practicing more reading and math in advance of our next session."
"Today the student and I went over a practice test she did as homework since our last session. She had problems with 3D geometry, properties of exponents, inverse functions, geometric proofs, and difference of squares factoring. We went over all of the questions she got wrong and reviewed the formulas for inverse functions and difference of squares. Most of the other questions she got wrong she understood her mistake before we went over it, so she should be able to get those sorts of questions right as long as she has time to review her answers. She plans to take a practice SAT before our next session on Saturday to see if she has any questions remaining on the verbal section and get a better idea of where her weaknesses are in the math section. We will go over the questions she gets wrong and then have focused lesson plans for the remaining sessions going forward."
"The student and I worked on the science section yesterday. I've assigned him homework to complete two practice exams, but I would love for him to complete three practice exams. I do see some progress with his thought process for working through problems. I have concerns with his time management, so I've assigned the practice exams and for him to time himself like he was taking a real ACT."
"The student had written a first-rate letter to her representative in response to an article. We checked the letter for small grammatical errors, added another sentence, and wrote a clean copy to mail to the representative. Next, we created flashcards for the remaining questions on the exam. Last, I quizzed her on the final cards and -- with almost no prompting -- she got nearly every question right. For HW, she will review all 100 flash cards and also choose an editorial letter to use for vocab building."
"Today, we focused on circles, the distance formula, the midpoint formula, tangent lines, solution sets, inequalities, and exponents. The student was struggling most with tangent lines, but that's a complex topic; we'll definitely work on it more next session. The student was happy to learn the material and reviewed very well. I left her with a couple of strategies, such as to use the progress in your work to quickly eliminate certain possibilities on questions! I suggested to her that she should review some quick algebra, to brush up her skills on it. I left her with extra practice on the solution sets. This session was overall great!"
"The student and I reviewed language arts GED practice on the same site as the previous session. We practiced general reading comprehension, discussed some vocabulary, and discussed familiar strategies in choosing answers. He did very well with all of this, if a bit slowly. I told him if he bears down and maintains focus and effort throughout testing on Monday and Tuesday, I believe he will pass. He has a way of surprising me with his performance at times!"
"Today, we completed an AP Calculus practice test in preparation for the student's test next week. He showed great improvement today."