Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student and I reviewed the critical reading and writing multiple choice homework. I noticed some issues with how he handles the vocabulary and critical reading sections. For vocabulary, I resolved to focus more on the student's vocabulary studies and encouraged him to study on his own as well; his parents just purchased him a set of flashcards to assist in that. For passage-based questions, I encouraged the student to slow down his pace of answering the questions and to be sure that an answer is incorrect before eliminating it. I encouraged him to see the test as a game, and our tutoring and review as trying to learn the rules of the game and anticipate how to answer whatever the test takers can throw at him. The student also gets tripped up on close answer choices, and I passed on many strategies for handling these questions as well. Writing multiple choice was also somewhat of a challenge, and I encouraged the student to follow my method and learn the grammar rules being tested for the SAT. We then finished out with more practice problems in these problem areas, as well as a review of some difficult math problems near the end. For homework, the student will take an SAT practice test and start his vocabulary review. He will email me his completed test results. I may assign more homework based upon his results."
"The student took a full practice SAT for this session, so we began by scoring his work. His raw scores were all very strong, with less than 10 total questions missed on the test, but the scaled score conversions were extremely unhelpful in determining exactly what his score would be. This actually served to reinforce to the student the importance of not missing any questions, as a single question can mark the difference between an 800 and 750 in a topic. His range of possible scores was 2170-2330, which is right about where we expected him to be. I would like him to hit a potential 2400 before he takes the actual test, so he is going to continue taking weekly practice tests through the rest of April. He only missed a single critical reading question, a vocab question, but he has overall developed a very strong elimination strategy for vocab that he does not know. Surprisingly, his weakest section on this practice test was math, in which he missed five questions. This brought his scaled score range down to a 670-730. I believe that the student is capable of getting an 800 in math, and we spotted that a few of his errors were either simple mistakes or questions that he guessed on. We discussed the "bang your head against the wall" strategy of just throwing a bunch of different strategies at a question when he has no idea how to proceed. Ideally, he will recognize all of the question types, but it is also important to know how to move pieces of a question around, such as playing with an equation or graphing given information, in order to find the path towards the answer. He usually finishes the math sections with a lot of time left, so I want him to spend his extra time digging into these puzzling questions instead of giving up and guessing. His 3 mistakes in verbal were mostly simple errors where he knew the proper rule but he second guessed himself when taking the test. We discussed the idea of reversing the usual order of approach to verbal questions in order to eliminate these simple errors: most people check how something sounds then try to figure it out using grammatical rules, and I want the student to break a sentence down into its grammatical components (almost like a math equation) and only then, if he has not yet found the answer, use his "internal voice" to see if something sounds right. Overall, this was an excellent score that most people would be extremely thrilled with, but we are pushing for the 2400 so he still has more work to do. His essay was also a huge improvement over previous efforts. I thought his intro was worthy of a 6, but he still was missing an expansion of scope in his evidence and a strong conclusion, so I gave him a 10 combined score for the essay. We spent a long time talking about essay strategy, and he now has and is familiar with all of the components of a 12 essay, so he just has to apply what he knows over the next few practice essays. I am going to continue to spend the majority of our session time on the essay in these next few weeks."
"The student had completed 2 critical reading and 1 essay section for today. He took the ACT yesterday and reports that it went well and that he found the Science section to be the most challenging, since there is no correlating section in the SAT. Martin is doing EXCELLENTLY in the CR sections - he missed 2 questions total from the reading portion, and 2 from the vocabulary section. The vocabulary words were all words that are on our list and that he will be going over for next week. He also completed a math drill which he did well on - the questions he missed were ones we had not seen before. Finally, we went over his essay. He did a good job choosing examples for this question, but there were some run on sentences in his intro paragraph that detracted from the overall message. The second example also went against the assertion made in his thesis. We discussed how to avoid both of these issues in the future, and the student will try to make an outline prior to his next essay so as to unify his overall message. The student will complete a full length exam prior to our next session on 4/21."