Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today's tutorial was three hours. We focused on the verbal and writing portions of the exam. We began by discussing the two body paragraphs the student was asked to write over the evening. She did a wonderful job of incorporating one of the examples we devised into a well-structured and clearly worded essay. She was able to place the example in the right part of the paragraph and to analyze its support of the thesis well. I am confident that as she continues compiling literature, life stories, current events, and studies, she will be able to draw on them more readily. Next, we worked on the conclusion of the essay together. She said she feels quite confident about constructing an essay now that she has the outline and was able to walk through the writing of one with me. After this, we did a reading passage a SSAT practice test site. She was able to read the passage, analyze its important points, and then use her analysis to answer questions. She did articulate that most of what she came up with in her analysis was tested in the questions. This should make her rely on the method of analysis prior to answering questions when she tackles the reading comprehension portion of the exam. From there, we did several reading-based logic questions. Of the 25 questions she was asked to answer independently (they were spread across three sections with three different question types, and we did two of each question type together before she was asked to do anything independently), she missed only 3. She has a very strong grasp on reading comprehension for moderate to difficult passages, which will only be reinforced as she keeps reading. Next, she did a different set of logic questions, which asked her to analyze argumentation methods. This set of questions is translatable to the reading comprehension and writing sections of the exam. She was able to make inferences based on four different arguments, which is a skill the reading comprehension portion tests on every exam. Also, by dissecting the different speakers' arguments, she was able to add some techniques to her toolkit for writing. Some of these techniques were being specific about how and to whom your argument applies, using examples that make her seem credible and that make her audience (the admission counselor) see her as a desirable student, and to be conscious of counterclaims to her argument. From there, she was given 15 minutes to outline an essay. When she sits for her 25-minute essay, we have talked about using 15 minutes to outline her essay as thoroughly as possibly. Today, is one of at least three times that she will practice outlining so that she understands the outline's utility and knows how to do it under time constraints. Once the 15 minutes were done, we talked about the experience of timed outlining. She saw the task as a bit tedious but understood its usefulness. For this evening, she should - rewrite the essay outline adhering to the given SSAT prompt, "If you could do something over again, what would it be and why?" - gather as many old essays as possible and have mom email me any that are saved electronically."
"The student did excellent during today's session. He scored a perfect Reading Comprehension section, and continues to show marked improvement in math. I always like to send out an email whenever a student scores a perfect section. Re Reading: I think his approach for Reading is terrific, and he gets all but the most difficult ones correct with great regularity. Between now and test day (1) repetition, and (2) active reading whenever he encounters a passage (newspaper, internet,...) are my only suggestions. Re Verbal: I continue to have him work on building his vocabulary in addition to reviewing the Prefixes and Stems, and reviewing the types of analogies (specifically pg. 519). Re Math: There are no longer any specific question sets that are troubling. I plan to use the remaining time focusing on Math and Verbal practice. My only concern remains Verbal--Synonyms, and we will be spending a good portion of tomorrow's section reviewing the lists he has been studying."
"We reviewed the student's Reading Comprehension homework, and he did quite well on it overall. He does, however, need to learn to research the detail questions instead of trying to recall the details from memory. We then looked over some geometry worksheets and discovered that he needs a lot of work in this area, so we will continue to review geometry. I had him take notes on basic geometry formulas and principles so he can go over them and commit them to memory."