Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We covered the reading and English sections of the PSAT today. The student I started with a quick discussion about the first chapter of Crime and Punishment. We then moved on to her vocabulary for the week. She seemed to recall most of this week's vocabulary, but had a hard time with some of the words from the previous week. Because vocabulary is her weak point, I decided that it might be useful for her to learn some of the common roots, prefixes, and stem words. Next, we talked reviewed identifying sentence errors and improving sentence questions. We talked about the grammar points that were covered on the practice passages she had completed. For the reading comprehension section, we reviewed sentence completion strategies and difficult vocabulary that was covered in her homework. We then discussed 3/7 of the types of questions covered in the reading passages. Her extra practice this week is to review 2 new vocabulary lists, sentence completion (exercise B), short passages (passage 1), long passages (passage 1), and improving paragraphs (questions 51-56)."
"Today, we began discussing the mathematical knowledge that might be needed on the PSAT, covering such material as principles of pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and some trigonometry, as well as specific concepts such as remainders, proportions, quadratic functions, percentages, permutations and combinations, and basic probability. For each concept, I tried to ground the formula or shortcut in clear reasoning, and showed the student how each fact could be derived from other simple principles. We would then work together on a sample question that used the principles discussed. We also covered strategies for specific kinds of questions, such as picking numbers to make abstract questions easier, "eyeballing" on geometry and spatial reasoning questions that include scale drawings, and plugging in answers on questions whose algebraic approaches would be too time-consuming. Additionally, I stressed the usefulness of the general strategy of process of elimination on multiple-choice math sections as well as other multiple-choice sections. We then moved on to grid-in questions, first reviewing the format and the proper way to use the answer sheet to get credit for grid-in responses, then discussing strategies specific to these questions, such as eliminating negative answers and answers greater than 9,999. She continues to take notes assiduously during our sessions, which I believe will be of great value to her in her future studies."
"We spent a decent amount of time orienting to tutoring preferences, style, and goals. We will mostly be working out of book guide and SAT review book. We reviewed her sophomore scores, which were strong--CR 58, Math 61, Writing 56--and noted where she seems to be weakest, which is in algebra/functions and geometry within the math section, and grammar within the W section. Next, we began discussing what lies ahead for junior and senior year in terms of testing and where the SAT and AP's fall within that schedule to conceptualize how best to study for the SAT. We also discussed how taking full-length practice exams is one of the best ways to fully prepare; she seemed on board with this. We pair-read the intro chapters to the book, paying particular attention to the differences between the tests in terms of length, organization, and content as well as the similar way that they are scored. We then reviewed that the best preparation is for her to keep doing what she's been doing--namely, taking challenging classes at a challenging high school, reading regularly, and preparing ahead of time. We discussed some higher-level reading materials that she might engage with in order to improve her CR score and internalize grammar rules, as well as internalize what "strong" writing looks and feels like. I left her with several pieces of homework, which she stated she is self-motivated to complete between sessions. She will read Ch. 2 in the book and start the Math content review in Algebra and Geometry, stopping to work through the examples and starring any challenging or confusing material. If she gets through all that, she will read the intro chapter to the review book to start getting a feel for their approach."