Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today we went over the practice tests that the student took in verbal reasoning. She is making good progress, especially on the reading comprehension sections. We discussed some more strategies she can use on the sentence completions, including paraphrasing parts of the sentence, looking for familiar word roots, and understanding sentence structure to identify synonyms, antonyms, and levels of intensity. She did great!"
"I met with the student for the first time, to get a sense of her strengths and goals for the GRE. She feels the greatest margins for improvement are in the quantitative reasoning and the analytic writing sections of the GRE. We first went over some basic algebra (inverses, commutative, associative, etc.) properties, as well as procedures for how to tackle simple algebra problems. She was very interested in solving systems of equations, so this seemed like a logical first step. I outlined some simple problems to demonstrate each property, and created problems that increased in complexity for one variable solutions. We then worked on a two-variable, two-equation problem. I explained that when given the phrase "find x," the target should be to solve for the other variable ("y") in each equation, and set the equations "y = ...." equal to each other, so we have one equation with one variable. Then we try to isolate x in order to solve. I feel that it is important for her to feel comfortable with this sort of procedure before we undertake "shortcut" maneuvers like combining equations, so that the process is solid. We also worked on analytic writing. The student wanted me to clarify the differences between the two types of analytical writing sections. I explained the difference, and the approaches she should endeavor to undertake in each: the argument section requires analysis of someone else's argument, assessment of its logical underpinnings, some speculation of hypothetical information that could buttress the argument, and some speculation of hypothetical information that would undermine the argument. The expository writing section approach should be to state a position on a potentially controversial issue, and providing evidentiary support. We then analyzed potential weaknesses in our argument and addressed possible counterarguments preemptively, allowing us to close the writing with a strong restatement of the position. The student asked me to evaluate writing samples that she would produce over the weekend, identifying strong points and places for improvement. As English is her second language (though she is strong in it), I asked her to identify grammar questions she had as she was working. We concluded by identifying a workable schedule for her: she has vocabulary cards and lots of practice tests, so I suggested taking a practice over the weekend, which would identify her strengths and weaknesses. Given the short amount of time until her exam, I feel we should target subjects she already has some familiarity with so that she isn't presented with a ton of new information that could overwhelm. In my opinion it would be better to use this time to give her overviews of completely new sections, and work more on things for which we can solidify her knowledge. We'll also work on generating a strong approach for the writing sections, and I am sure that she will produce very strong writing samples on the day of the exam. She is a pleasure to work with, and I have every confidence in her success on the GRE."
"We walked through a practice test today of the GRE quantitative section. We worked on efficient ways to approach questions to help with time management. The student will be taking another practice test on her own to go over with me next session."