Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"In this session we decided to start covering her AP Biology class as she has a test coming up in a couple of weeks. I started the session by asking her about her general understanding of what they have covered so far in class, and I gave her a general overview of prokaryotes, eukaryotes, different organelles and their functions, translation and transcription mechanisms, gene regulation and expression, and viruses. We went over the study questions from the teacher, and I instructed the student to skim through the chapters while paying attention to key terms. In general, she is very attentive and enthusiastic about learning so it was very exciting to work with the student. After the session was over, she commented that she has learned more in that hour than the whole semester & she was excited that she could finally understand the materials."
"In our previous session, the student worked on molecular formulas, and calculating the yield of reactions in his Honors Chemistry class, and how to identify holes, asymptotes, and intercepts in rational functions. During our session we started out by going over the Honors Chemistry homework, dealing with problems similar to what we discussed previously. He was able to easily complete the problems with little help, showing he grasped the concepts very well. Towards the end of the session, we worked on rational functions for his Pre-Calculus test, which compared to the practice ones I had given him in the previous session were very easy. The concept the student struggled with the most, which was not very much, was remembering the conversion ratio for certain chemicals is given by the balanced reaction. This was easily remedied with a little help, but it was a small issue. It was apparent from observing the student work that he had improved significantly since the previous session."
"At the end of our last session, I asked the student if there were any specific things she wanted to work on today and she said epoxides, nucleophilic substitution, and stereochemistry. I started by going over SN1 and SN2 reactions in general and the factors that determined them (nucleophile strength, unimolecular vs. bimolecular, inversion, etc.). I then walked her through a fairly simply SN1 reaction of an alcohol to an alkyl halide and worked through the mechanism. Doing the mechanisms seems to be the most helpful approach for the student since it seems like her teacher never went through some of the more basic ones. Mechanisms also give me the chance to point out themes to the student, which she's really picked up on in just the two sessions we've had. After the SN1 reaction, I combined SN2 reactions with epoxides. First, I showed her epoxide synthesis using an alkene and peracid (mCPBA) to demonstrate an arrow pushing mechanism that had a lot of arrows in a concerted step. I then set up an epoxide ring opening under basic conditions, which is SN2-like, and had her talk through the mechanism with me. She really has trouble with rings, so it took a while to help her see where the bonds and electrons were going. When doing mechanisms, I always have the student draw the lone pairs and formal charges of the atoms to help her see what's likely to react with what and why. This method seems to really help her at least get started. We finished off by reviewing some retrosynthesis problems her teacher gave them that involved different reactions used to synthesize one alkene. She really caught on in the last few reactions."