"This was my first session with this student. We spoke about his impressions of the first placement exam that he took the previous year. Overall he felt like the test went "okay," but he admitted struggling with the reading comprehension and the writing portions. Looking at the results from the test, I can confirm that he did struggle with the reading portion. This is an area that we will focus on in upcoming sessions.
Next we talked about the format of the exam. Despite having taken the test once before, he was a little unsure of exactly what was on the test, how long the sections were, etc. As such, we spent time going over each of the different sections, looking at how long each section is and how many questions are contained in each, discussing the issue of pacing along the way.
On his first attempt at the exam, he left many questions blank. Having noted this, we spent some time discussing strategy for guessing versus leaving a question blank, noting that correct answers earn one point while incorrect answers lose 1/4 of a point. The decision was made that if he can eliminate one or two incorrect answers, it is better to guess than leave the question blank.
We spent the majority of the session working on math. The student worked through one 25 question section from a practice test. While he worked through the problems, I had him share out loud his thinking to assess whether he understood the operations, terminology, etc. Overall he was very successful working through these questions, however he needs additional practice and review of: area and perimeter; averages; and algebra, specifically involving multiplication.
Some of the problems in the practice test had already been solved by the student in preparation for his previous test, but nearly all of the answers to the questions he had attempted were wrong. After successfully answering nearly all of the 25 questions, it is clear that he has made a lot of progress from when he first took the exam last year.
Before our session next Saturday, he is going to complete three assignments. First, every day he is going to make note cards for two vocabulary words, writing down the word and its definition and then finding a way to use each word in conversation during the day (and then recording this sentence on his note card.) Second, he is going to complete one 25 question math section from a practice test on the website. Finally, he is going to complete one 25 minute writing exercise, using one of the prompts from the practice test. We will review this writing sample at the start of our next session."