Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"I explained how practicing simple arithmetic problems in large numbers is the most effective way to decrease one's "unthinking error rate" and demonstrated what I meant by having the student attempt 10 simple arithmetic problems I had written for her. I told her to focus on doing the questions as quickly as possible, as time is of the essence on the SAT. When she was done, I found that she had been unsure of how to answer 2 of the questions and had gotten the wrong answer for an additional 3, giving her 5 right answers out of 10. I intended this to show her how big a difference minimizing this type of error can make for her math score, and she reported that she was indeed surprised to see how easy it was to make this kind of mistake. She agreed to do additional practice of simple arithmetic in her spare time, and then we moved on to discuss "misunderstanding errors." In order to work on this with her, I had prepared some "concept practice" questions that relied on understanding the important concepts of problems in order to solve them. Questions included "what is the distance a tire travels in one revolution?" and "how does the triangle inequality help to prove that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line?" I believe that questions such as this helped her engage more creatively with the math work we are doing and think more intuitively about math in general. We then put these lessons to the test by working together on a sample SAT math section. During this practice, I noticed she was approaching the problems more actively and recognizing multiple ways to approach the same problem. I predict that the more she practices at the fundamental skills for avoiding errors in the math section, the more confident and capable she will become."
"Today, the basics of the PSAT/SAT were discussed with the student as well as her tentative timeline for the exam. A practice PSAT was administered from the workbook under timed conditions and she was questioned on her feelings upon completing each section. The exam took a little over two hours and will be reviewed next week once graded. She felt the mathematics and reading sections were slightly more difficult and some strategies were shared such as process of elimination and deciding when to guess vs. leave a question blank. She was assigned reading comprehension and mathematics homework in her workbook and it was highly recommended that flashcards be made for vocabulary words she has compiled. Furthermore, it was suggested that sentences be made for each vocabulary word to contextualize terminology and reinforce learning. She is a motivated, committed, driven, and focused student and it has been a pleasure beginning to work with her!"
"Today we began with our daily warm up, the Question of the Day (sentence completion, which she answered correctly). We then went over and discussed the assigned chapters in the review book (the math section, the calculator, and fun with fundamentals), specifically focusing on avoiding simple errors, crossing out incorrect answers, slowing down, process of elimination, avoiding too obvious/ simple processes, getting really comfortable with her calculator, using the calculator judiciously and carefully, familiarizing self with formulas, prime numbers, distributive law, and the ins/outs of exponents. We then reviewed the previous PSAT that she took, finishing up the grid-ins of the 2nd section, of which she answered 5 correctly (4 medium, 1 easy), omitted 3 (all hard), and chose 2 incorrect answered (both hard). From going over the problems with her new strategies and concepts, she identified the following areas to work on: cross-multiplying, catching details, starting with the grid-ins vs. multiple choice, drawing visuals, not being afraid of functions, and asking what the question is asking for. We then began to discuss the importance of and strategies to acquire vocabulary words, specifically the high frequency ones. She will learn one page's worth of words per day, using flashcards to learn the ones she doesn't know yet and incorporating strategies such as roots and similar words, the image approach, "sounds like," using word in sentence, mnemonics, multiple definitions, positive/ neutral/ negative valences, and word clusters. Finally, I administered a 20-minute timed practice math section to check for understanding and synthesizing of the last several sessions' material."