"Today the focus was on the writing section. I had had the student write me an essay, which I took the time to look over and edit before our meeting. I made a few suggestions for him to improve his essay writing, pointing to examples provided in the college entrance exam booklet as evidence. These included writing a complete and cohesive essay, writing in a particular order to achieve that goal, and leaving time for proof-reading. We then shifted gears and worked through the other part of the writing section, focusing especially on sentence completion. I identified a few general rules for choosing the correct replacement (such as consistency and agreement), and we worked through a few examples. He's getting better and I think that focus and confidence both factor in to this. For some problems he is very logical and active, eliminating choices and narrowing down the possibilities. I've suggested that if he gets stuck on a problem then he should skip it but that he should really think about each problem rather than answer many without focus because a correct answer is the most valuable.
After working through two writing sections I had him write me another essay (also timed), and this time he did much better than before. He wrote a complete essay with a clear thesis, strong supporting points, and a conclusion. The intent of his points is clear and his overall structure was very cohesive. What's more, this was completed with limited space in about the normally allotted time. With extra time and a second sheet of paper I'm confident that he can better proof-read his essay and write more clearly. He and I intend to meet on Friday. I want to focus heavily on the writing, particularly the non-essay, but I also want to make sure that we review strategies for each part of the test, which is this coming Saturday."