Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We worked on test preparation for the ISEE test. We went over vocabulary, reading comprehension, and how to outline for a given essay topic. The student was comfortable with these subjects."
"I wanted to use a more focused strategy today to approach (3) very important issues regarding the Praxis I: Reading test: 1) Question Timing, 2) Pattern Identification, and 3) Note Taking. Our first activity today invited the student to take a practice test that I had brought along with me, instead of going through individual questions in a guided manner. I wanted to do this to get her used to the time allotted for the test, and how she would be able to us the strategies we discussed last session in a pressure filled format. The test allows respondents to answers (40) questions in (60) minutes. The student had commented on the fact that she is a slow reader in our first session, and I think that she mistakes this as overly careful. Once we instituted a framework for her to approach each passage last week, she increased the speed and efficiency of her reading in reference to the passages provided on the test. As a precursor to this exercise, I asked her to progress through the practice test just as she would if I were not there. However, I told her I would be following along to "code" each question to see if any fell into categories that were repeated throughout the exam. I think it is important for her to see these overall patterns to increase her ability to actively read, and ask questions of an intrinsic nature before handling the multiple choice items. She completed the exam in just over 46 minutes, allowing 14 minutes to be delegated to extra review in case she had a set of questions that were particularly challenging. It is important to note that I first asked her to use the answer key to grade her exam, which she ended up getting a 171, 4 points below the passing score. I emphasized that her progress would not show up in one week, and that the strategies we are using would begin to take hold after some practice...she was not discouraged and remained diligent in her efforts. Consequently we began to go over each individual question and patterns did emerge that will help us in the future. First, the student displays a common issue that plagues standardized test takers particularly in the Read and Respond format. She reads through a passage once, and does not allow herself to re-read the passage to inform the elimination of answers. Instead, she tries to select the correct answer out of a possible (5) choices, (2) of which are usually designed to give a respondent a difficult choice based on their interpretation of opinion, main idea and contextual evidence. We practiced immediately using the text to eliminate answers, and revisiting the specific section that a question directed the reader toward to make a choice between the two answers. She found that this only affected her answer speed minimally, and given the large amount of time she had remaining, it could be effectively implemented on a future practice test in one of our sessions. Secondly, she has difficulty keeping track of the notes she uses to guide her reading and sometimes fails to consult them while answering questions. Particularly for questions which ask a reader to identify the purpose of a piece or the opinion of the author or actor in the selection. By using the contextual evidence she has gathered, it would increase the likelihood that the various characters, events and themes associated with the reading fall into some kind of pattern. I hope to follow a similar program in our next session, as I think it gives her a multi-tiered approach to understanding her own weaknesses, while also leveraging her strengths."
"We focused on how the assessment test works and sought to identify the student's level by trying questions at various levels in math and language arts."
"We completed the sample questions chapters for reading and writing in the review book. This brought up many of the SAT favorite topics, including the inadvisability of comparing an artist's work with another artist, rather than with that other artist's work. We also saw examples of "the best evidence for the previous answer" questions, some of which did not in fact use the passage containing the best evidence; however, it is still possible to answer these questions correctly, since the next-best passage is often one of the answer choices. For next time, the student will take the first practice test, and, if time permits, the second practice test (or sections thereof)."
"We worked on a practice test the student took and received a 25 on. She struggles with applying the concepts she's learned because she's not sure how to approach problems when faced with them. I think this is best remedied by practicing different problems and how to approach them because there's such a broad variety. I also went over various vocabulary for the math section we hadn't seen and gave her problems of my own I know are common and she'll need to solve. We also practiced surface area and volume because I don't want her to be surprised by anything that might appear on a test. We reviewed systems of equations because they're common and I want her to be confident when solving them. Ratios are so prevalent on the ACT I highlighted that she needs to focus on them and use them to solve proportions. She's improving."
"The student and I went over practice questions for the SAT Critical Reading session, looking both primarily at passage based questions and sentence completion. I wouldn't say she struggles specifically with either. The SAT is known for questioning the shades of meaning for its word usage and that's where she has her difficulty. She gets the overarching concepts but occasionally is tripped up when many answers might fit. We're going to work on practicing more questions in order to find the best fit."
"Today we reviewed the results of the student's Science diagnostic test and covered science passages relating to Physics and Earth Science, which she needed to review. She did an excellent job on the test and I have seen significant improvement. We also practiced English, and she has also improved in her understanding of grammar and punctuation. Overall, she is understanding how to use ACT test taking strategies. She should continue to take more diagnostic and practice tests."
"Today was our first session, and we worked our reading comprehension and vocabulary. We looked at main idea, tone, context and purpose. We also looked at synonyms. The student did very well in the reading comprehension."
"The student did very well on his ACT English homework. Today, I proctored him through his first abridged drill, using adjusted time limits to reflect his testing conditions. He scored very high on English, but he struggled on the other three sections, especially Math. I have assigned extra Math practice for next time to help him refine his skills."
"We worked through the practice SAT test. As for solving problems, when it comes to the algebra he is solid. The two issues he has are with unit conversion - seeing what units he's got and what units he needs and using that to construct and equation, and the other is geometry, both two and three dimensional. We will spend more time on geometry questions in our next session and make sure he knows his formulas and how to apply them."
"Today, we went over the questions that the student missed in the math ACT, and we took note over the equations that she needs to review before taking the ACT. Afterwards, we went over the English section of her ACT."
"Math without calculators! 2 Practice Sections. To tackle and refresh: fractions with algebraic expressions. Look to the answers for clues! Does it look like it wants you to divide? Are there exponents in either the numerator or denominator? Can you find a common base? Do you need to multiply by the conjugate? Can you factor anything? a^2-b^2 is important to remember. More math practice problems next Sunday, focusing on these areas. Remember, however, that you can't split fractions, and some problems will require a fair bit of computation. Don't guess with shortcuts! Omit the questions and come back to them. No short cuts on the SAT (but remember to CIRCLE THE INFORMATION THEY GIVE YOU.)"