Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student began by asking for a clarification of the link between SHM and waves, vis a vis amplitude. This opened a discussion of the energy considerations in harmonic oscillators. We worked a complex problem relating potential, kinetic, and mechanical energies to displacement. We then moved on to our slated topic of sound. We discussed the production and perception of human speech. We then discussed the factors affected the speed of sound. We discussed the decibel scale. Using a live example, we discussed beat frequencies. Next we discussed the Doppler effect, and showed how such wave phenomena affect all waves, including light. We concluded our discussion of sound by talking about standing waves and harmonic frequencies. I gave her my equation-memorization-free method of solving such problems. We didn't have time to cover optics, but I covered the theoretical basis of refraction, and introduced the idea of studying the material by applying it to real-world experience with four example optics. I am thrilled that the student raised a question on SHM. Despite our discussion last time, the main idea had not hit home. This is the tenacious curiosity I have been hoping to see from her since the beginning. While she understood the Doppler effect, she had some difficulty applying the equation, but our discussion improved her equation analysis when it came to dealing with terms in the denominator. For extra practice, she will take a subject test in physical sciences this weekend. We will discuss optics and any topics she chooses from that on Monday."
"The student and I met for our last session to cover fluids and solids. It was clear she had done a lot of pre-reading on the subject, and she seemed to memorize a lot of the flash words that had been introduced in her review chapter. I thoroughly walked her through the rationale for the shortcuts that she was using to answer questions about buoyancy and Bernoulli's law. After our discussion she seemed very comfortable applying this information to both discrete style questions and passages. Although she certainly improved over our two-hour session, we still need to review calculations related to buoyancy. I assigned her a number of discrete questions and one additional passage that will provide her with extra practice on this topic. I recommended that she take med school test 4 sometime in the next month or so to get a feel for how much she's progressed during our 11 sessions together. I imagine her score will have already improved by a few points."
"3/30: We began the session by discussing reading comprehension strategies, including predicting the answer in your head before reading the answer choices. After spending the first half of the session on various reading comprehension questions, we then switched to vocabulary. I introduced the student to fifteen new words, and then we reviewed those words in discussion and in exercises. We concluded the session with a review of his Argument essay, which showed good improvement in topic sentences and organization. I emphasized that the kind of reading most suited for the GRE is a combination of skimming and close reading, both of which we're going to practice in depth in our coming sessions. A pleasure working with him tonight, as usual!"