Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"This was the last hour I would work with the student before his ISEE next weekend. I feel completely confident leaving him with the preparation done so far and do not feel that he requires much additional work beyond reviewing his progress so far. I assigned one more practice test to take this weekend, which he now knows how to grade, and gave him a preparation list of what to review in his last week. This includes a few more sample essays so he has familiarity with the potential essay questions, (I found common ISEE Upper Level questions online,) and his step-by-step strategy for reading comprehension and sentence completion questions. We finished by reviewing his previous sample essay, which had improved description, and we ended the session by talking again about what makes an essay great. I have seen his scores and confidence progress by a significant margin in the past few months, and I believe that he knows that he can perform very well on the test next weekend if he focuses on accuracy and being methodical. We compared the test to swimming, and talked about how you don't go faster by thrashing in the water; rather, you should try your hardest without sacrificing your focus on perfect technique for every stroke."
"For this session, the student and I went over vocabulary words for over an hour, using the vocab homework I assigned to her (define 50 words & Latin roots). I asked her to create sentences using the words so she understands them more completely and gave examples of similar words and the context in which to use all of the words. We also read an article about the movie "Grudge Match," which she had just watched, tying in the words she read and didn't understand with words that were in the study book I provided. After that, we covered sentence completions, including some strategies on how to rule out bad answers, supplemented with the knowledge and tips from the book I've been lending her. She did some of the exercises and had slight difficulty coming up with the words she was thinking of and didn't understand a few of the answer choices. I reinforced the strategies of ruling out certain answers based on context to help. Then we briefly discussed strategies with math, and I asked her to complete some exercises, which she did. She sometimes seems a little unsure of herself and trips up if she can't think of the right equation or right way to approach a problem. I've been trying to circumvent those issues by encouraging a willingness to attack problems again and reinforcing skills to help her rule out bad answers. I assigned an extra 10 vocab words on top of the usual 30 words in between sessions."
"I spoke with the student's mother about her practice test scores. Since the school to which she is applying will not accept anything lower than a stanine of 5, we focused exclusively on her verbal and mathematics achievement sections today. For the verbal section, I had her write down 10-15 words to study and memorize, and we then worked through one verbal section, applying various strategies to get at the right answer (i.e., positive v. negative word, prefixes/suffixes/word roots, and context clues). Because there is such a short amount of time until her next test, we dove right into the mathematics achievement section, working through each problem slowly. She tries to rush through problems at times, and she also doesn't like to write down numbers, so I focused on getting her to slow down, start with what she knows, and work through the problem. We also discussed general strategies, like "plugging" in answers, working backwards, and picking random numbers for variable questions. For homework, she will review the mathematics questions we completed, work on some additional mathematics questions, and study her vocabulary words. All in all, she was a delightful student, and I'm excited to continue working with her."