Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We talked about the SAT Critical Reading Section, both passage based questions and sentence completion questions. The student's attitude seemed to be positive towards the material, and she did complete every problem I asked of her."
"The student had completed several practice sessions in preparation for our meeting, so we were able to review questions that she had already completed -- honing in on the questions she struggled with. We spent the first half-hour reviewing math; she had completed a practice section with a near perfect score on the questions she had completed. We completed the last problems of the section, during which she showed an excellent familiarity with mathematical concepts. To improve on this section and to give herself the time needed for the last few questions, she'll need increase her speed on the earlier questions using test taking strategies. We'll spend more time on this next week. After math, we turned to the critical reading portion of the test, first reviewing the strategies that worked for her on the sentence completion (a perfect score! -- she's rapidly learning to eliminate impossible choices and then to make smart guesses based on word sounds and roots) and then reviewing the reading comprehension questions. The student does well with the "objective" reading comprehension questions, but struggles with questions that ask her to interpret the tone of passages -- or to compare the "main point" of one passage with a second passage. We practiced approaching these questions, not as a subjective or personal reader, but as a detached analyst -- a "detective" as the student put it. The key to her success lies in carefully analyzing the answer choices in terms of the text (NOT memory or general responses to the ideas in the passages). The student struggles the most with passages that ask her to compare two authors' different stances on an issue -- we carefully went through a set of paired passages and questions (still hard) and then I showed her how to pick out the pertinent details out of a passage. The student wants to engage with the ideas in these passages fully. With time, this mode of focused reading will become more natural. I've asked her to start working on vocab review in earnest this week and to work through some reading comprehension sections on her own -- next week, we'll split our time between math and reading comp."
"The student took a practice test this week. We also did 30 Math questions and talked about strategies for going more quickly through the math section (i.e. it is not always necessary to fully solve the problem, just solve it enough to get rid of all wrong answers). We spent the majority of the session working on the reading section. I timed the student as she read a prose passage and a natural science passage. Both were under the suggested duration to spend on reading, which was a good development from previous sessions. The student appears to have improved on her strategy for the reading section, which I saw by the fact that she could answer some questions just by crossing off incorrect answers. I asked the student to do a full practice reading section for our next session. I suggested she download some vocabulary tests."