Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We began with a review of endocrine, emphasizing the ways that endocrine is tested (control mechanisms), as well as the basics of the patterns of release of various hormones. We then moved on to the reproductive cycle in specific, fertilization, and embryogenesis. We focused on the etymology of hormone names to help guide the understanding of control mechanisms and patterns of release. We discussed the alterations in control mechanisms that result from different types of hormonal contraception. I explained how to map without physically writing a map out, showing her that more than 80% of the questions were best answered by understanding the arguments being made in the passage. Having reviewed and memorized the pathways for forward control since our last session, the student was able to successfully answer a Socratic barrage testing how various endocrine control mechanisms would be affected. She was also able to use etymology to shape a synthetic idea of what happens during the reproductive cycle, and correct her understanding of the role of the corpus luteum. When it came to verbal, she had been using her ample short-term memory registers to keep in mind the questions, creating a striking contrast in her performance between question stems that had specific keywords also present in the passage, and those that did not. Her short-term memory was being used to keep those in mind, and interfering with her ability to process and own the arguments. Given that she has basically finished her content review, I gave her detailed, specific advice about the road to test day, and what to do the day before, and the day of. I also exhorted her to try an argument-centered verbal strategy with the time that remained to her, eschewing detail, that would allow her to correctly answer the more common question types rather than just apply deductive reasoning around highlighted keywords in the passage text."
"With the student, we reviewed biology (viruses, bacteria, cell division, cell cycle) and physics (kinematics, work, power, Newton's forces, friction) questions on the assessment question database. The student did quite well with the physics questions and was strong in the content for physics, but she had some trouble particularly with understanding the nuisances of the cell cycle and it's checkpoints (G1,G2,M) and with the nature of lysogenic vs lytic viruses and basic properties regarding bacteria (anaerobic vs. aerobic). She stated that she'll most likely get her assessment books by next week, and we will work out of that book for next week."
"Today we went over some other topics that were brought up in our session yesterday, namely acid/base chemistry and solutions. We went through the need-to-know basics of A/B chem (pH, pKa, Henderson-Hasselbach) and how to apply them in the context of exam questions. We also briefly reviewed a passage dealing with titration curves and how to read/utilize them on an exam. For solubility, we looked at the comparison between solution chem and A/B chem and how the math for both topics is heavily reliant on equilibrium constants and understanding the chemical equations pertinent to the question. We practiced a passage that treated solution chemistry. Since we aren't meeting next week, I encouraged the student to take the practice exam in the interim and also formulate a list of questions from her physics review that we can focus on when I return in the first week of April."