Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student and I met again today. We decided to move onto the math portion of the ACT. He was happy about this because he finds math to be the easiest of the sections. We began with trigonometry, which is often a tricky subject for students. He seemed to be pretty good with all the concepts but was a bit slow with SOCAHTOA because he hadn't used it in a while and did not know trigonometric identities. I explained to him what these identities are and how to understand them even though he never learned them in school. As time goes on, I think he'll find these much easier to deal with and move through them more quickly. We then moved onto some inequalities, factoring, system of equations, and exponents. He had little problem with these except for exponents. He needed some reminding about how fractional exponents work (how something raised to the .5 power is the same as its square root). The only concern for Jack is refreshing all the right concepts and keeping all the right formulas/mnemonic devices straight."
"The student and I began this session by working on his pacing for the Reading section of the exam. We practiced a variety of techniques to speed up his evaluation of the questions as well as his reading of the passages themselves, and talked about the value of limiting the number of times that he re-reads any given portion of a passage. We also reviewed which strategies might or might not be helpful for each of the four passage types, and developed a plan for which passages the student would tackle first on test day so as to maximize the number of questions that he has time to consider carefully. From there, we turned our attention to the Essay. We went over the main differences between the ACT and SAT essays and looked at the scoring criteria, then focused on the student's pre-writing planning process. Because the ACT essay asks students to show that they've inferred a larger context for the proposed rule or change under debate in the writing prompt, we discussed a few ways to establish why the groups mentioned by the prompt might be considering a given change or new rule, even if the student isn't personally aware of real-life debates on whichever issue the prompt raises. We went on to codify a sequence of questions that he can ask himself in order to establish not only the context for discussion, but also his overall thesis, arguments, and supporting evidence and examples. Throughout this process, we keyed the questions we developed to the scoring criteria that we had reviewed."
"We focused on timing. Student 1 was most worried about the Science section, and Student 2 was worried about the Reading section. So I gave Student 2, 8.75 minutes to do one reading passage and Student 1, 10 minutes to do 2 science passages, and then I had them grade their answers. We then went over the questions they missed and talked about why they missed them as well as strategy. We did this several times during our session. Student 1 was struggling with the harder Science questions. We practiced using Process of Elimination to narrow her choices down on difficult questions. She was good about prioritizing her time and making sure she answers all of the easier questions before breaking down the harder ones. Student 2 was working on getting through the passage and questions within the allotted time. We discussed re-prioritizing his time; he will practice trying to answer only 8 questions instead of all 10 to see if the extra time helps him find the specific problems or strengths of each answer choice."