Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"At our first meeting the student and I looked at her previous SAT exam results and decided to focus the first lesson on the reading section. We discussed techniques for approaching passages and questions, including formulating answers before looking at the answer choices, reading in-context, and looking out for common answer choice errors. She picked up on these techniques and did a good job applying them on the practice reading questions. For homework, I gave her some practice sections, math, reading, and grammar, to time herself on. We will review these and relevant math and grammar topics, at our next lesson."
"We started by checking the student's English homework today. He got a lot more questions wrong than last time, so we did some review to make sure he is clear on the strategy. I told him to consider whether the question is about punctuation, the clear, consistent, and concise method, or style and organization, because there are different strategies to use for each different type of question. He should think about what he is being tested on before he starts looking for an answer. He is having the most trouble on style and organization questions. I told him if the question actually asks a question rather than just giving four possible choices to replace the underlined section that it is an organization question and has nothing to do with grammar. He should be looking for the main idea of the paragraph or essay and choosing the answer choice that best fits or supports that idea to be correct in this kind of question. In the second hour we worked on the science section. We first went over the layout of the test and decided on a strategy. In order to save time he will identify the section that looks the longest and most complicated right away and then skip that section in order to get the most possible correct on the remaining six sections. He is more likely to achieve his goal in this way. I then advised him not to do the remaining passages in order, but rather to find the shortest passages with the easiest to read charts and graphs and do them first. We then talked about basic science concepts, including direct and indirect relationships, interpolation and extrapolation, and controlled variables. It's very important that he makes sure only one variable is altered at a time to determine its effect on the data. Then I showed him some common question types. For the two part answers he should use process of elimination, decide whether the answer is Yes or No first, then look at the reasoning of the two remaining answer choices. This is a very common answer format so it's important that he's looking for them. Finally, we went over how to look at data, that he should look at the variables first, then try to identify the general trend of the data, and finally look for any variables that are controlled in the setup of the experiment. Then he can look at the questions to find the correct answer from the data. For homework I gave him a full science test and half a math test to do for our next lesson."
"We worked on the first chapters of the biology review, starting with the macromolecules and moving through the organelles and cellular biology. The session served as a good review of the material she may have forgotten and also highlighted the parts that she did recall well (such as the saturated/ unsaturated fats we talked about). We will continue to move through the sections she feels most comfortable with, so we can devote more time on the more difficult sections like photosynthesis and respiration."
"We began our session by looking at the Question of the Day. I have encouraged the student to download the app so that she can have regular day-to-day practice. We used the website's SAT math review page to cover basic concepts, beginning a review of the basics that we will continue over the next 2-4 sessions. Today's concepts included math definitions (integers, odd and even numbers, prime numbers, and shortcuts for identifying what a number is divisible by; percents, percent increase, and percent decrease; average speed and D=R*T; and arithmetic and geometric sequences). Finally, we reviewed Reading and Writing using recent Questions of the Day."
"We reviewed quadratic equations. She understood the concept of factoring basic quadratics and could use the quadratic formula. She had trouble distinguishing when to just factor and when to take the extra step and solve. I showed her the key signs to tell what to do and how to solve for quadratic equations. We then went over other methods to factoring and solving which included factoring by grouping and completing the square. After practicing with examples, we ended the session by reviewing a previous test and making corrections on questions concerning quadratics."
"The student and I went over the math section for over half of our session today. Moving forward, we will focus on the writing and critical reading sections. We made progress when we went over passage based questions and discussed the merits of each answer choice. In writing, like in math, she has no discernible weakness but would benefit from extra, more difficult practice."
"The student and I worked through 20 SAT math problems with a focus on ratios, probability, and geometry. She struggled with setting many of the problems up, but was able to solve problems after getting some assistance or seeing a similar problem worked out. We also worked through approximately 25 SAT grammar questions with a focus on comma placement, unclear antecedents, colons vs. semi-colons, and sentence placement."
"I had asked the student to complete an entire SAT practice test for the math sections after our last session. We scored the practice test and determined her score range, then spent the rest of the session going over the questions she had gotten incorrect or skipped, as well as some other questions she wanted a deeper understanding of. Since her test is nearing, I asked her to do another full practice test before our next session so we could repeat the process next week."
"During this session, we started off by reviewing the student's last PSAT test scores and looking at areas where she struggled and where she did well. Then we came up with a plan to cover the topics which she needs work on. Then we went over the math questions from the test that she got wrong and that were confusing to her. After going over these questions, she understood them better and felt more confident in solving them. Then we talked about a few questions from last week that we didn't figure out. Then she took a timed practice section. She did very well with this, and when we discussed her mistakes she understood what she got wrong."
"We worked on grammar from the ACT English diagnostic #2, focusing on verbs, including tense, verb and mood. We also worked on clauses, focusing on independent vs dependent, punctuation, and conjunctions. A good session, and I think these kinds of lessons are very important for the student, as they allow him to know why things sound right, and give him the theoretical basis for analyzing a host of different questions."
"Good session. We reviewed the student's practice test and covered reading comprehension. This week he will continue to drill vocabulary with his mother, and will review some math sections independently before his next test. We will meet next Sunday to work on his high school admissions essay."
"We spent the session today going over SAT Math. I tried to focus on the types of problems with which the student said that she struggles the most. Specifically, we did geometry problems, word problems, and "guess and check" problems. We also went over simpler concepts which pervade the SAT, such as systems of equations and relationships between angles. We also talked about general test-taking strategies, such as how to manage time and sift through word problems for important information."