Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today, the student and I worked on the verbal, math and reading sections of the SSAT. We discussed strategies for dealing with unfamiliar vocabulary words on the verbal section such as looking for recognizable roots that can give clues as to what a word means. We continued working in the math section on looking for simpler ways to solve equations that avoid long division and multi-digit multiplication when possible to save time and avoid minor errors. We focused in particular on how to treat division problems first as fractions that can often be simplified to reduce the amount of long division we need to do. In the reading section, we focused on the "main idea" of a passage and how to mentally summarize a passage before turning to the questions to avoid missing the connection between the details and the larger context and purpose of a passage. Before next meeting, she will work on an essay for the writing section that we will go over together. She will also begin preparing for her upcoming debate and we will be going over what she plans to argue and present."
"This week, the student and I focused on the speaking portion of the test. She told me that she struggles with this section, because the short preparation time makes her nervous and she has difficulty recalling vocabulary under pressure. We went over strategies for dealing with this problem, and I reminded her that she should not waste time thinking about the content of what she says because she will only be scored on how well she expresses herself verbally. Many of the prompts ask that the student state their opinion on a subject, and she was spending too much time deciding how she felt. I encouraged her to just go with the first thing that comes to mind. We spent half of our session drilling practice prompts so that she could get more confident thinking on her feet. We spent the second half of the session reviewing some new vocabulary and listening comprehension."
"This was our first session, so I took a few minutes to get to know the student. We began discussing generalities of the test. He has taken a practice test, and so knows how it's set up. He said he didn't run out of time on any sections. We scored his practice test and his raw scores were strongest in reading. These will provide us with a baseline so that he can monitor his progress. We also discussed root words the importance of vocabulary. Understanding French will help him as he learns to look for roots and decipher new words. I showed him how to prepare flashcards using mnemonics. Next we moved to analogies and we looked at the most common relationships between stem words, and I taught him how to create sentences with the stem words so that the relationship is evident. He caught on quickly. We also spent a few minutes on synonyms. In math, we began looking at basic content and strategies. He tried his hand at some problems from the practice test. For homework, I assigned the following: study the first ten root words; review the first column of vocabulary words; and review analogies, synonyms, math, and reading. We plan to meet again Saturday, 11:00 to 1:00."