Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We had planned to study evolution at first, but after talking with the student, we decided to just briefly review all the topics she had covered so far. Since she is studying for the AP bio exam, we used the AP bio book to go through the earlier topics and clarify any muddy points she had. For example, while she felt confident with cellular respiration, she had a harder time with photosynthesis. So we spent a good amount of time going over the details of how light, carbon dioxide, and water are used to provide energy for the plant through the photosystems and electron transport chain. For the Calvin cycle, I know a teacher at my other job that has a cool phone number mnemonic to remember the pattern of carbon molecules, so I'll talk to him and relate that to her next session. She was very enthusiastic about learning and had no problem in stating what she had down and what she was struggling with. One of the strategies I employed was to simplify certain concepts, like the structure of a lipid; looking at the actual structure of carbons, hydrogens, and oxygens from the start can be overwhelming so it's best to simplify it with a rough sketch and then fill in the details. Honestly, she already knows the best ways to study (flashcards, notes, reviewing tests and homework, etc.), so there wasn't much to teach her in that respect. Most of it is just filling in the small gaps in understanding until she gets that "Aha!" moment. Next session, she will have her previous tests, so I can see where she's having specific trouble either with the material or in the test-taking strategy. Now that I have some idea of how she learns, I can better prepare for our sessions."
"We reviewed for the midterm. We discussed periodic trends by going over definitions of each (atomic and ionic radii, electronegativity, etc.), how they can be visualized, and the directions the trends follow on the table. The student worked through a few limiting reagent problems to reinforce the steps to find LR, then use that to determine amount of final product; also determined excess and percent yield. He was solid on all of this, both in understanding concepts and in using correct math. We compared and contrasted empirical and molecular formulae and weights. We reviewed rate laws and how to determine reaction orders and rate constants from experimental data. We finished the session by reviewing potential energy in reactions, the differences in exo- and endothermic reactions, how their graphs look, and the role that catalysts and other factors play (such as temperature, concentration, etc.)."
"The student was working on electrostatic forces and equilibrium; in particular, problems about where electric forces along a line balance out. He is a sharp student and picked up the basic concepts pretty quickly."