Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The majority of today's session was spent on English, but we began (in Math) by looking at a unit circle and how that can be used to find sines/cosines/tangents, as well as find angles from given sines/cosines/tangents, particularly when it is negative. The student seemed to grasp it fairly well. We moved to English, where we worked through a whole section (5 passages). He does well there. I was able to go over the strategy of heeding the questions where one option is either much shorter in length than the others, or to "OMIT the underlined portion," because that answer will be the correct answer a disproportionately high amount of the time."
"The student and I spent most of the session going over SAT math and examining strategies to increase speed and lower simple math errors. We identified trapezoids, exponent factoring, and inverse functions as areas for review. We also went over SAT essay writing. He is a very strong writer so this was mostly detail and examination of particular SAT essay techniques."
"The student's essay writing skills continue to improve and he is showing much more confidence with etymology and vocabulary. He is now doing very well with the passage-reading questions and sentence completion. This week I told him to consider reading recreationally, in order to expose him to words that he knows in speech but is not familiar with in writing. We're moving into writing essays by hand in practice for the SAT now, as well."
"We continued our review of vocabulary and reading comprehension. Today, the student did better on both comprehension and vocabulary. He still needs to work on remembering to use the techniques we worked on to answer the questions more efficiently. We will continue to address this in future sessions."
"Today, the student and I began our review of math content. Focusing on pre-algebra and algebra skills first, we reviewed order of operations, multiplying and dividing fractions, and radicals and exponents. She now feels confident dividing fractions and interchanging between radicals and exponents. For homework, I left her with a worksheet on exponents and radicals. To determine any further math concepts we need to cover, I asked her to complete the rest of the calculator math practice test we began last session. Next session, we will continue with algebra and pre-algebra review by concept and go over how to properly use quotations within an essay."
"Reviewed homework: vocab quiz, SOAPS review, basic approach review. Discussed article assigned in terms of SOAPS, read paragraph written about author's argument and supporting details. SAT Essay practice: workshopped paragraph and rewrote with stronger writing skills, working on understanding and articulating relationships between supporting details in text and author's argument. Introduced parallel POE for Specific and General Paired Questions (strategy for "best evidence" Reading questions), practiced on sample question sets assigned first week. Assigned hw to practice parallel POE and vocab."
"We continued working on reading comprehension today. We read "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" together and talked about what goes on in the text and how Salinger characterizes his characters. I quizzed the student on his vocabulary from last week, which he (almost) completely mastered, and I gave him new words to study this week. We then read about half of another Salinger short story, which we will pick up next time."
"Our session was split up into one hour of SAT math followed by one hour of SAT reading. The student began the math session by exploring problems related to solving systems; after this, he moved onto percentages. I demonstrated quicker ways to solve problems and how to use the answer choices to his advantage. During the second hour, we focused on critical reading. I explained the importance of taking notes while reading each passage and when to highlight key details. The student was able to finish several passages with a greater understanding of how to eliminate extreme answer choices when left with few options."
"The student and I worked through three SAT reading comprehension passages. She did particularly well in identifying passage context, tone, and evidence used. She struggled a bit more with the social science passage than with the humanities passages, but she was able to expertly apply process of elimination to reach the correct answers. We also worked through approximately 10 SAT math questions related to geometry, including area of a cylinder, diagonals, and triangle angles."
"The student and I briefly discussed how he felt about his upcoming SAT and what he felt he needed to focus on. He said he primarily wanted help with math but wanted to review for the whole exam during our time. We went over practice questions for the rest of the session so I could see where he specifically needed help. His critical reading and writing were very good, though the trickiest writing questions about sentence structure are still difficult. His algebra skills for math were pretty good, though some of the more challenging algebra II questions still proved to be a challenge. The largest subject he and I will be working on is geometry as he needs a fair amount of help there, but I feel very confident that he will be fully prepared for it once it's time for his SAT. It was a great session, and I'm looking forward to working with him again next Sunday!"
"Today, we talked about the Writing portion of the ACT Test, since the student would be taking it. We talked about what the graders were looking for in their essays, and we discussed strategies we can use to address these qualities. We talked about timing and organization/planning. We looked at some example essays and discussed what they did correctly and incorrectly. Finally, we looked at a sample essay prompt and planned how she would answer it. During our next session, I plan to have her write an entire essay (to get used to the time limit and the pen-and-paper process)."
"In our first session, we discussed the timeline for the student's tests. She was planning on taking the SAT in January and ACT in May of next year. I think we can move these both up. She should be ready to take both exams no later than January of this year, especially the ACT since she does not have to send the scores to colleges unless they are to her liking. Today, we looked at some sample questions she did and went over the ones she guessed on, got wrong, or had questions about. For next time, she will do the full-length SAT in the old SAT book."