Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We reviewed a practice math test that the student had taken. We mostly reviewed circle equations, slopes and intercepts, and surface area/volume formulas."
"First session. We talked about the student's goals and college aspirations, then went over her previous exams and talked about how she can improve her writing scores."
"Today we covered the topics of the Math section and the Reading section. Beginning with the Math section, I explained the 6 content areas from which math questions might be drawn--Pre-algebra, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry, and Trigonometry. I then explained how, even though these content areas are drawn from different grade levels of material, the difficulty of questions may not be directly related to the content area. I showed how Pre-algebra concepts could be formed into very challenging problems, as well as how Trigonometry concepts could be used in basic, straightforward problems, providing the student with relevant examples in each case. The general lesson was that the difficulty of the math section increases as the section continues, not because they are moving from "lower level" math like Pre-algebra to "advanced" math like Trigonometry, but because they arrange questions in order of straightforwardness, with the end questions requiring more thoughtfulness and outside-the-box thinking to answer correctly. After looking at some examples of these kinds of questions and some possible strategies to use for each type, we moved on to discuss the Reading section. I gave the student an overview of the types of passages in the Reading section--Prose Fiction, Social Studies, Humanities, and Natural Sciences--and explained how awareness of the type of passage could help him decide what elements to focus on in the passage and prepare for the types of questions each would ask. We then looked at different categories of question he might be confronted with on the test, including Detail questions, Main Idea questions, Cause-and-Effect questions, Voice questions and Method questions. I emphasized what features to look for in each case and also explained how to spot trap answers (by looking for "true but wrong" answers, details presented as main ideas, and garbled versions of in-text information). I then had the student complete two sample Reading passages, working through most of the two questions sets while I supervised and provided guidance. I asked him to complete the rest of the questions associated with this passage before our next session. Next time, I will begin by explaining in more detail how to critically analyze the sort of passage common on the Reading section, focusing on capturing the more abstract concepts and "reading between the lines" in order to understand difficult points."