Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student is a super pleasant guy. We spent the first session picking up where he had left off with his last tutor and going through the problems in the practice book one-by-one. He seems to respond well to thorough explanations that build up from the base mechanics of what's going on and how it's doing that, and, whenever possible, to create additional visual representations of those concepts. There was some initial confusion over when to do what particular operation in order to isolate a variable, but that should get resolved with time and practice. The rest of it was just review of concepts in order. At the end of the meeting, I assigned him to start a short daily regimen of annotated reading - a chapter or a news article or whatever he likes - with a sentence's worth of grammatical analysis. We didn't touch on English or Reading (he says that he won't be taking the Science portion), but, when we do get to them, I hope that he will be pleasantly surprised with his performance."
"Today I met with both students to continue working on math. As before I gave the first student some freedom to work over material from an ACT book I have and focused on working with the second student. We encountered some questions on factoring, for which I described a useful shortcut, since factoring is rather difficult in general and not exactly required for general math. What I instead focused heavily on was algebraic manipulation. I expect her to see this in any class she takes, so getting comfortable with it is essential. The first student and I did talk for a little while over graphing trig functions and also graphing conic sections (ellipses, circles, and hyperbolas). In general he did fine working by himself, and seems ready to tackle anything up through pre-calculus. For our next session (Thursday) I intend to prep some material for each of them. The first student will get some practice problems on trigonometry and basic conics (mostly circles and ellipses) and the second student will have a few practice problems on algebraic manipulation to solve for x."
"We went through a diagnostic literature test and really focused on poetic literary terms (e.g., iambic and anapestic meters). I asked the student to do a practice test for Wednesday."
"The student and I worked on the science and reading sections from the online ACT review book. We focused on reasoning, locating clues from the passages, and timing strategies. For science, we worked on biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science passages and practiced analyzing graphs and data and comparing/contrasting different scientists' perspectives. For reading, we worked on a natural sciences passage. She did excellently in all sections, and she has strong reasoning skills. For homework, she will begin working on a practice test from her ACT review book."
"We reviewed the results of the diagnostic test that the student took over her holiday break, and made note of a few concepts that will require further review in future sessions. From here on out, the majority of extra work outside of sessions will be in the form of practice sets on specific concepts, to start reinforcing the formulas and equations involved in them."
"The student made a number of mistakes in the practice reading section she did. A lot of her mistakes were in paired passages, so we discussed strategies for how to order reading the words and answering the questions. After that we reviewed common English prepositional idioms that appear on the SAT. She was very strong with these. We finished with a round of practice reading questions. For our next session, I asked her to do some long-form readings and answer a series of questions for each. We will complete a practice essay on Thursday."
"Today, the student and I went over a section I had assigned, as well as his essay. His essay was fantastic. He followed the guidelines I had given him very well. I had some minor adjustments for his word choice and sentence structure, but overall I think the essay was fantastic. He only got a few wrong from the sentence editing questions, most of which came down to minor grammar confusion. I assigned him another essay to do during the lesson. It was also fantastic. It was very detailed, coherent, and well structured. I will be assigning him more essays, but he definitely has a talent for writing them. We went through around 20 math questions, and he got all of them right. I assigned him a full practice test, which we will go over next week."
"We began the session by reviewing the tests the student had taken in his practice book (one math and one English). We went over the questions he got wrong. He wanted to focus on the English part of the test, so that is what we practiced for the rest of the session. He seemed to be struggling with agreement (subject-verb and subject-object), as well as the use of punctuation. I do want to note that I was only giving him very challenging questions and he was doing well."
"The student and I went over questions she had a harder time with on the practice tests she's taken. She seems to be doing well overall, with a couple of questions concerning vocabulary, which she picked up quickly. She needs to be careful to answer the question that the test is asking, as there were a few errors where she had the right method, but answered the wrong question (giving total volume instead of volume added, choosing which statements were true when the question asked for the statements that were false, etc.). She feels very confident with time, so I would suggest she slows down to try and catch those errors. She also can get bogged down in questions with calculations, when she's unsure which values are important. That will get easier with more practice. We also went over nuclear chemistry and some problems involving determining molecular structure, and some common knowledge questions from the matching section."
"This session was spent assessing the students' English and Math knowledge. Both students need work on both sections, but I think we covered a lot of material in the two hours we had. They seem to be taking in all of the information fairly smoothly, but there are a lot of concepts and strategies for them to learn. Next session, I will assess their Reading and Science levels."
"The student and I worked through two SAT reading comprehension passages (one natural science, one comparative humanities). We worked through the comparative humanities passage at a paragraph level and focused on "translating" the text into more understandable language. We worked through questions related to author's purpose, arguments, and the relationship between the two passages. On the natural science passage, we focused on detail-oriented questions and the relationship between the passage and a table. We also worked through two grammar sections and discussed unclear antecedents, active versus passive voice, and prepositional phrases."
"Today, we covered ACT Science. The topics we covered were biology topics, such as data representation, experimental design, research summary, and data synthesis. The student was overall receptive and able to learn! I left the student with finishing the Diagnostic for Science, so as to get an accurate summary of what his strengths and weaknesses are for our next session."