Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today we focused primarily on Reading and Science, though we also covered a few tricky math problems. We noted the importance of timing as well. We came up with strategies to maximize his effectiveness on each section. In English, he is able to finish a full section on time, so no creative strategies are needed. In Reading, however, he struggles to finish on time. I emphasized that he focus on three passages rather than four, 11-12 minutes each, so as to be accurate in them. We did a few drills today to that effect. He sometimes spends too much time on one problem and that causes him to rush on others. I noted that he should not spend more than 2 minutes on any one problem. We discussed ordering the passages and starting with the one that looks easiest to read and understand and skipping the hardest one. We did the same on science, where he can do quite well when he focuses. If he picks 6 of the 7 passages to do in science, not spending more than 6 minutes on any one passage, he can improve his score. In math, we noted that he should focus on the first 40 questions: since they're worth the same amount as the harder questions, it makes sense to get them right even at the expense of the last 20 questions. If he gets the first 40 right he will already have a much higher score in Math than he got on his most recent ACT. We worked the entire time on a recent ACT exam, and I gave the remainder of the exam for him to do as homework and test preparation."
"I had my first session with the student today. She is preparing for both the SAT and the ACT. Today we worked on ACT math, and I helped her through one of the sections to get an idea of her abilities right now. We spent the whole session on math today, and I asked her to complete the section we started today before our next session on Wednesday."
"In this session, we first worked on reading. I timed her as she worked through two reading passages. She should continue to practice her timing for the reading section, because she used about 1 minute and 30 seconds more than ideal for each passage. She also said that she felt nervous being timed, causing her to focus less well on the passages and their questions. I recommended that she continue to time herself - ideally, by working on one complete reading section - to get a feeling of how much time she should spend per passage and per question and to overcome her nervousness. In both of the passages we worked on, she had a good idea of the overall point of the passage and did a good job going back to the text to find specific details. However, she was unsure of how best to interpret a some lines and from whose perspective they were. We practiced looking at the surrounding context to interpret these lines. As she said that she felt least comfortable with the literature passage of the reading section, I also recommended that she skip this passage and come back to it after finishing the other passages. In the next part of the session, we went over math. We first reviewed important formulas on trigonometry, circles, and special triangles. We then worked through problems from an ACT math section. She did well on manipulating and solving algebraic equations and testing solutions to figure out a word problem. She was unsure of how to solve a problem about the law of cosines and one about scientific notation, so we went over when to use the law of cosines and what scientific notation meant. She can also check her timing for math by using 60 minutes to work on one math section, or 30 minutes to work on the middle 30 problems of a section."