Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today we went over the assignment on the trends between electronegativity and atomic radii. She did fairly well and after only a few minor edits, we were able to submit it. Then she asked for us to review for the aptitude test and we did that. We first went over a chapter of ratios and proportions in integrated Algebra. We did a few more practice problems for the math section of the test and we found that we needed to review square roots and probability. She does well in simple algebra, but needs more practice in arithmetic. Finally, we reviewed parts for biology and I organized a few tables for her in common concepts such as cell structure, prokaryotes vs. eukaryotes, genetics, etc. She knows concepts specific for health and diseases really well, but needs a bit of a brush-up on some basic biology questions."
"We reviewed for the student's test on solutions, concentration, and colligative properties and completed practice exam questions."
"The student and I studied for her chemistry test. We first discussed some general test strategies that can be implemented in the future. For instance, identifying the question type is useful in determining what tools need to be applied. Is it a math-based or concept-based question? If it requires calculation, which formulas or equations are best to use? If it is a concept, what key ideas are being assessed? Another useful strategy is underlining important information in the question stem or word problem. This helps a test-taker actively organize and read the information. We then walked through the test, practicing these strategies for both questions answered correctly and incorrectly. We identified that another important strategy is writing out every conversion with units and crossing out those units that cancel out so that everything is organized and laid out. It is much more difficult to try to do multiple math and conversion steps in one's head, and thus writing it out is less error-prone. Furthermore, we clarified the definition of coefficient and the concept of percent yield."
"In Chemistry, we discussed electron configuration, orbital notation, orbital notation with arrows, noble gas configuration, light measurements, wavelength, and speed of light. In Algebra 2, we reviewed piecewise functions. I explained how to graph them and the use of a T-chart. The student did well on her labs. She received 9/10 & 10/10. I gave her many practice problems. She understood the concepts and is confident in both Chemistry and Algebra 2. I also gave her some quick notes and an electron configuration chart to study with. I'm so proud of her. She was very focused and excited about the topics covered. This was a complete win."
"We went through more chemistry and covered very specific test-like questions that are most likely to appear on the exam. I gave him 15 practice tests with 10 of them focusing on specific areas of the exam so that he may practice in-depth any areas that he feels he needs specific practice in. The other 5 are general practice exams similar to those in his books. We reviewed math as well, scattered subjects like simplification of different expressions, matrices, basic rules of probability, etc. He feels confident in math, and wants to go through as much as he can on his own. He clearly said he'd like to focus more on Chemistry from here on out, so we'll reserve smaller amounts of time for any specific math questions in further sessions."
"For our first session together, my main focus was to get an idea for the student's pre-existing knowledge on chemistry, and identify some key topics that we will want to focus on in preparation for her placement exam. She admittedly doesn't remember much from high school chemistry, but is also being refreshed/ introduced to some concepts in her current biology class, so there will likely be some significant crossover. From the information she has about the test, the three main areas described are algebraic math skills, general chemistry knowledge, and specific chemistry knowledge. Our focus in our sessions will be primarily the general chemistry knowledge, and adding as much specific chemistry knowledge as we can along the way as a secondary goal. Since the student is planning to enter the 101 course, she should not be expected to have extensive specific knowledge going in, which is why I think it appropriate to focus on solidifying her general knowledge first. I believe her likelihood to pass the placement exam will be strongly dependent on her ability to supplement our sessions with further review/ practice between them to really cement the information. Obviously this will be a challenge while still taking other classes, but I made my opinion clear and hopefully it will be helpful. After discussing a couple sample problems, I decided to jump right in with some basic explanations of SI units, derived units, metric prefixes, and dimensional/ unit analysis as a tool for unit conversions and calculations. She seems very comfortable with the basic math and scientific notation involved, so I don't foresee many problems with these as long as she is able to remember a few basic conversions between base units. For the remainder of our session, I gave a brief intro/ review of atomic structure, isotopes, and ions, making sure to delineate the key properties of each subatomic particle and how the presence/ absence of each yields different variants. Our next session I plan to continue with a list of general chemical concepts, such as atomic masses, periodicity, chemical formulas, different categories of pure/ mixed substances, naming rules, and writing balanced equations."