Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student and I had another great session today-- she is a total joy to work with and is progressing quickly! Today, we outlined 6 essays together. She has mastered the ability to come up with sophisticated thesis statements and counterarguments in a short amount of time, and today we focused on coming up with examples and determining which choices are the most powerful. We also experimented with different ways of preparing to write (come up with thesis statement v. examples first) and determined that she can do both and will choose the best approach essay by essay. Then, we worked through the writing section on practice test #1 from the SAT prep book. She did great-- she only missed 5 questions on the whole test, and each of her mistakes occurred because she sometimes reads too quickly. Once we figured out that this was the case, we completed a writing practice test verbally so that she was forced to read slowly and carefully. This helped a lot, and she is going to work on reading "out loud in her head" as we continue to prep for the test. For next session, she is going to work on developing her go-to examples list for essays so that we remember and continue to use examples that are working well for her."
"Today we went over the two practice tests that I asked the student to complete, one for critical reading and one for writing. He scored 64% on writing and 68% on reading. Like we did in the first meeting, he and I went through each missed question and its justification, creating a list of topics that caused difficulty, which this time included rules for the use of "that", comma rules, direct and indirect objects, amounts vs quantities, and its vs it's. We then went over each of these topics in detail. Next, we went over the reading test. He seemed to do quite well with the questions about the passages, missing only one or two questions for each passage. I made some suggestions to improve his approach to these questions, including reading the passage carefully, stopping himself if he found he lost focus on the passage, eliminating answer choices, avoiding using assumptions or prior knowledge, and spotting answer choices which are obviously too broad or extreme to be correct. We discussed identifying root words, and I sent him a list of common ones. I also suggested that he could compare an unfamiliar word with other words that he knows with similar roots, prefixes, or suffixes to discern the meaning. For example, the word mimesis sounds like mime or mimic. Finally, I recommended to him that if he could eliminate all other answer choices, he should not hesitate to choose an unfamiliar word as the answer. I asked him to do a second practice test for both critical reading and writing, and we will go over the results at our next meeting."
"During this session, the student and I focused on the writing section. We reviewed her strategies for the essay and some of the examples she had brainstormed previously. She then wrote a practice essay, which I scored at a 9 or 10. The essay was overall very strong, but she didn't have a chance to completely reread it. By writing her essays a little faster, she should be able to give herself more time to edit/revise and hopefully improve her essay score even more. She then worked on two writing multiple choice sections, on which she missed only 4 questions total. Combined with her essay score this puts her writing score anywhere between a 690 and an 800. This is quite a large range but it's also the best writing score she has gotten thus far. I advised her that her score is likely to fall within the 700-750 range. We spent the last few minutes of our lesson discussing the median SAT scores at some of her target schools; I'm confident that her scores will fall within the necessary range. Before our next meeting she will complete a full-length practice test, her last before the official test on the 6th!"