Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today we reviewed the student's science homework before talking about the essay. She may opt out since she's having trouble adjusting to the new essay format. She already has a grade, and the writing section is optional. Finally, we ended by tackling some tough reading."
"We spent the duration of today reviewing the student's homework, which was two practice tests in their entirety. In going over English, we noticed at least one pattern among the questions she'd missed: that of questions that ask for "the most specific information," which generally refer to the answer choice that provides a short list, or specific amount. In going over math, we reviewed (among others) special triangles, sums of arithmetic sequences, and simplifying expressions with radicals. In going over reading, we found a pattern: we saw a few questions that included the word "directly," which suggested that there would be a restatement of the question somewhere in the passage indicating the correct answer choice. Science went very well for the student; as a result we didn't have so much to go over there. We did review the question's she'd missed, zooming in close to see why it was something else."
"Today the student and I went over his homework. He did really well! He feels comfortable with science so we are done going over that section. We will focus on a little bit more math and English. We worked on a few math and English questions together. He struggled through the English, but we talked about what he was mixing up and he will do some English for homework. Next time we'll focus on reviewing English and working through a few more math problems. HOMEWORK: p. 438-442 #1-30"
"We worked on chemistry today. The subject was chemical kinetics--in particular the physical factors that determine reaction rate. I gave the student some real-life analogies to help understand why some reactions are 0th order, 1st order, or 2nd order. We also talked about the difference between catalysts and intermediates (catalysts are present in a constant amount before and after the reaction, but intermediates are present only during of the reaction). I also tried to emphasize that the overall chemical reaction is useless for determining the order of a reaction without detailed knowledge of the mechanism."
"Today, the student and I went over the practice test I had assigned last time, as well as the essay section. She got a 30 on the two sections she completed. I helped her out with some of the grammatical rules she was having trouble with. In math, a few of the problems she got wrong involved the Pythagorean theorem, which she knew, but did not know how to use in the test-taking context. I'm sure she'll do better with it now. I had her write an essay, which was very good. I also gave her a skeleton for organization of essays that she will hopefully adopt. For next time, she should finish the test I had assigned her, and write the essay section."
"Today was my last class with both students. We worked on mathematics and verbal reasoning. We discussed strategies for tackling these two sections (such as skipping questions that take too long) as well as specific strategies for math and verbal reasoning questions, such as examining prefixes to guess at the meanings of unfamiliar words. They have both improved since we have started working together, and I am confident that as long as they remember the strategies that we talked about, and manage their time wisely, they will do well on the exam."
"The student and I reviewed his homework - six practice sections, two reading, two math, and two grammar. He has definitely shown some improvement in the reading sections, particularly the longer passages. The math section is still the area that he needs the most work in. In two full sections, he was able to answer a few questions right. We found that when he actually starts to write out his work, step by step, in some case merely rewriting the question in his own words, he is able to tackle problems he thought he couldn't do. Approaching questions this way will really help him improve his performance in the math."
"The student needed a refresher for the math section. Therefore, we did a whole section from beginning to end. As we went through it, I wrote out the steps for each question one by one. The goal of this procedure is for him to understand the necessary steps for each type of question on the SAT. Eventually, he will be able to see a recurring pattern when answering questions on his own. The questions ranged from all types which include functions, geometry, combination, and probability. Once a student realizes that the questions are just recycled on each exam with minor modifications on the numbers, it became a walk in the park. He has been able to retain the steps required for the various types of questions. He simply needs to practice his skills to make it perfect."
"In this session, we worked on various math problems. First, the student brought up some difficult math problems from his independent studying. For these problems, it seemed like the biggest difficulty was his understanding of the information given in the prompt and how he sometimes was a bit sloppy in his application of these values when doing the math out. We then worked on various problems, which he did very well on. Again, the biggest issues the student has with some problems is his understanding of the information given and how he might solve the problem. There are also occasions where he has gone the long route to solve a given problem when a much shorter route is present. He might notice these shorter routes to solving if he does not jump so quickly into doing the math out for the problem."
"The student had some concerns about pacing on the test, so we spent our session doing time trials on sample reading and math problems. We discovered that she can't speed up her reading without losing a lot of accuracy answering the questions, so we talked about a strategy of "sacrificing" her least-favorite section (the fiction) in order to be able to properly focus on the three she feels more confident on, and then returning to the fiction section after completing the other three to answer any easy questions she can from the fiction section. On the math, we were able to establish that she did have enough time overall but needed to conserve time from the easy and medium questions in order to have enough to devote to the harder math problems, and we broke down the sixty minutes allowed into chunks for pacing purposes."
"The student's test is tomorrow so we did a general overview of the whole test - scoring, strategies, etc. Then we reviewed math because she is most confident on verbal and reading. We covered topics including area, angles, triangles, probability, algebra, exponents, solving for variables, and some geometric formulas. I also gave her a list of common roots to review. We did a few practice problems and then I let her go. I'm sure she'll do well!"
"Tonight's main strategies related to ways in which the language skills section is presented. We went over common punctuation, capitalization, usage, and spelling questions. The student did well with these. For math, we focused on number series, geometric and non-geometric comparison, and number manipulation for the quantitative section. He has improved on the number series and number manipulation section. Tomorrow we will do a reading passage and then practice for the math section."