Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today my session with the student went very well. We spent some time discussing some test strategy for the ISEE vs. other standardized tests since she mentioned she may have to take a different test as well, so I wanted to highlight the differences and make sure she knew where to focus for each test. We spent most of our session working on the verbal section. She said she felt most challenged in vocabulary, so we started with synonyms. I think she actually does a great job in that section. She rarely gets questions wrong, and even when she guesses she is making educated guesses and most often getting them correct. We worked on the sentence fill in section, and again, she did wonderfully, even on the most difficult questions. Then, I wanted to work with her on the reading comprehension section, so we worked through a part of a practice test. She does very well on those questions too. Her reading comprehension is great, and she's able to summarize what she's read after one pass over it-something that not everyone can do. She picks up on the hints in the passage that will help her best answer the questions, and she can usually explain how she got to her answers with no problem. I have no doubt she will do excellently on the test. I asked her to go through her vocabulary list and annotate or make a list of all the words she's never seen before or is sure she doesn't know the definition to, so we can make flashcards or work through finding the definitions and help her build up her vocabulary."
"The student had more energy and confidence in finishing his latest practice math section, but he got stuck on the tougher questions that made up the first half of the test and was unable to give the necessary attention to the easier questions in the second half. I used our session as an opportunity for some thorough remedial review, writing out shortcuts and mnemonics for him to use in all the areas of math we could think of where he tends to hit a wall. Word problems, for example, often contain key information and clue words like "ratio," "discount," "distance," "volume," "area," and alternate names for operations (e.g. "quotient" = divide, "difference" = subtract). He has a knack for easily estimating and understanding the bigger picture of a problem, but sometimes forgets the operations that are permissible in order to find the answer. From reviewing my shortcut sheet and taking a couple more practice tests, I am hoping he will feel more prepared and retain all the math tools necessary to face his ISEE on the 24th."
"During this session the student specifically worked on the math achievement and essay portion of the Upper Level ISEE. I timed her for half an hour total over the course of two hours on problems dealing with algebra that included high school level math. She had difficulty with concepts she had not seen before, such as slope intercept form, dealing with word problems, and geometry area problems involving equilateral triangles inscribed into other shapes. After covering these topics and giving her practice problems, she seems to understand them a little better. We also reviewed absolute value problems that involve both the equation and inequality form. The student has done much better on the math section, but she still struggles with basic multiplication, positive and negative numbers and focusing on what percent problems are asking for. With this last week left, we will work on her weak points in math, and I will provide her with ample practice during the sessions. We also worked on answering strategies using process of elimination, which will allow her to answer problems faster and make educated guesses without leaving anything blank if she feels she is running out of time. We also briefly went over the essay portion of the exam with the time we had left. I showed her example essays, how to structure the ISEE essay, and how to work within the thirty minute time frame. I assigned her an essay due next session, and we will go over grammar skills and strengthen her writing if need be."