Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Our first session went well today. The student came prepared with an SAT study guide and lots of good questions about what material will be on the test and what test day will be like. We went over the format of the test and what kinds of questions to expect from each section. He was very forthcoming about what he feels he needs to work on, which was very helpful to me and showed his determination to do well. He feels he needs to brush up on his vocabulary and wanted to know what resources he can use for that; I told him about buying SAT vocabulary flashcards or SAT books. He also expressed some concern over the essay portion of the writing section and said, based on a score he got on a practice essay, he thinks he needs to learn how to develop his ideas better. He says he feels good about the math section, and when he did some practice problems, I could see the enthusiasm and understanding he has of math. He made one minor mistake but understood it as soon as I pointed it out and said he was rushing, which he noted himself is something to watch out for on test day. We spent the majority of the time on the critical reading section. He did very well with the sentence-completion problems, stumbling occasionally over difficult words that he didn't know. He always narrowed the answer choices down to 2-3 and always picked the right one from there, sometimes with help from me about what a certain word meant. When doing these problems we talked about the importance of avoiding answers that are only half right, and paying close attention to context clues within the sentence. The passage-based questions were more difficult. We did a handful of questions and approached them collaboratively- he and I would go over each possible answer and talk about what made it a good or bad choice. I think this method worked well. I plan to devote a good amount of our time together to reading comprehension. We did a few sentence-correction problems from the writing section, and he has good instincts for what is grammatically correct. We talked a little bit about active/passive voice and subject/verb agreement. The student appears to be very motivated and eager to learn."
"The student and I reviewed grammar and reading comprehension. I think we are making progress on grammar. We just need more time to practice the concepts. The student has almost completed an entire SAT book. I think we are making progress on reading comprehension as well. The student has the most difficulty with questions that ask him to compare two passages. Often, these are the most difficult questions because they require a very detailed reading of both passages; there are no shortcuts. I think I'm getting the student to come around to my perspective on the reading comprehension section: you must read very "actively," trying to understand who the author is, where s/he is coming from, what the argument that s/he is making is, what the tone of the passage is, etc. By doing so ahead of time, you will have already have figured out the answers to many of the questions without even looking. For both sections, it would help the student immensely to improve his vocabulary. Often he's down to answers and knowing what all the words mean would be the difference between choosing the right and wrong answer. I did not assign him homework because I want him to focus on the test. Wish him luck!"
"The student and I went over the answers to the practice sections she had completed for me since our last meeting. We made notes of where she could focus her studying. We also discussed her essay writing skills and how to write a strong argumentative essay. For homework, she will finish up the remaining practice sections, and work on two others. She will also work on creating flashcards for vocabulary review that I will use to quiz her the next time I see her."