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Private In-Home and Online SAT Writing and Language Tutoring in Las Vegas, NV

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Session Summaries by SAT Writing and Language Tutors

Las Vegas, NV SAT Writing and Language tutoring
I timed and scored her on several writing practice sections. Initially, she was rushing through a lot of the sections and making unnecessary mistakes. However, after we reviewed some of the grammar topics and I encouraged her to slow down on the practice test, she was able to score above a scaled 680. We will continue to practice the difficult grammar topics in future sessions.
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Las Vegas, NV SAT Writing and Language tutoring
With a little over a week until the SAT, we examined the essays he wrote in response to my prompts from last week. He was able to send me his pre-writing exercises and essays in advance so I was able to review them prior to our session. He continues to improve his organization, use of examples, and conclusions. He wrote two essays. For the first essay, he explored an approach we've encountered in suggestions, as well as their scored essays, which employed a personal experience. He had some trouble balancing abstract ideas with concrete language, but I'm really pleased that he tried something new. Now that he's used this method, he knows what his weaknesses are and how to use his extra time. He explicitly made sure to clarify transitions and construct a conclusion by reviewing and reiterating the connections he made through the essays. The second essay was stronger, more organized, and consistently supported and referred back to his prompt and thesis. I will send him another batch of prompts as he has agreed they've helped his ability to recall and organize information more quickly as well as to think critically about his position.
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Las Vegas, NV SAT Writing and Language tutoring
I had assigned the student to take a writing practice test and a essay practice test last week. We reviewed a number of topics, including the essay test. His essay test was much better than the one he wrote last week. It had good supporting arguments and seemed very well developed. We also went over some multiple choice questions, and reviewed misplaced modifiers. We discussed how one should try to position adjectives and adjective phrases closer to the words that they are modifying in order to avoid ambiguity in a sentence's meaning. We discussed the rules for beginning a sentence with "because." We discussed how, as long as the dependent clause that "because" begins is followed by an independent clause, it is okay to start a sentence with "because." We also discussed how, except in the case of informal or creative writing, one should avoid starting a sentence with a word like "and" or "but." We then discussed rules for how adverbs should be used. We also reviewed pronoun-antecedent agreement and we went over some questions that dealt with pronoun-antecedent agreement. We talked about how to identify based on context in a passage what pronoun is being called for in questions that ask students to combine sentences in the most effective way. Overall, he is making great progress. His writing has showed marked improvement, and I am very impressed by the work that he has done. I think if he just works on getting things done in the allotted time and on writing smaller, he will be able to achieve a high score on the essay portion.
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Las Vegas, NV SAT Writing and Language tutoring
The student and I first reviewed common grammar mistakes found on the SAT Writing section, including subject-verb agreement errors, illogical comparisons, misplaced modifiers, and parallelism errors. She completed a few practice exercises and we reviewed them. We then completed a writing section in the student's study book together. The student was motivated to get the correct answer and took notes when something important came up. I offered her tips, such as reading a sentence while omitting prepositional phrases between the subject and verb to check agreement. I assigned the student one writing section and one reading section to complete before our next meeting.
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Las Vegas, NV SAT Writing and Language tutoring
The student and I had an excellent penultimate session working on preparation for the SAT. Last week, we had looked over some of the writing section and he had struggled to remember how to complete this. This time, we returned to these sections to solidify his knowledge. We revised his approach to the finding sentence errors problems; he will 1) read each answer, checking each one for possible errors, 2) eliminate sections that he knows are correct, 3) double-checking any lingering possible errors, and 4) choose "no error" if he cannot specifically find an error. The SAT tests students on a limited number of grammatical concepts, so he and I made a list of them (again) and then carefully explained each error in terms of our list. This new technique and list of errors were both extremely helpful for the student. Once we implemented them, his percentage of correct answers soared and his confidence about the "no error" choice rose considerably. Next, we briefly reviewed "improving paragraphs," emphasizing that even when the sentences are silly, it's his goal to make them BETTER (not perfect). We also talked about transitions and transitional phrases. Finally, we shifted to the verbal section, first to review critical reading (his technique soared here -- he got 4/4 on a set of medium problems) and then, briefly, sentence completion. In the latter, he is still struggling with vocabulary here, and doesn't feel very confident about predicting the word based on context. He did exceptionally well when I led him through the process (though he attributed this in part to luck), but it's going to be important for him to practice to solidify this skill. He related that he feels like this test is doable (he knows what to do) -- it's important that he keep this big picture goal in mind as he begins his final rounds of test preparation! I've asked the student to work through as much of a practice test as possible for next Tuesday. He can do this in small, 37 minute chunks if he wants to. This is important for his test prep!
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Las Vegas, NV SAT Writing and Language tutoring
The student expressed that he needed help with time management, specifically with the essay portion of the writing section of the SAT. To begin the session, I provided him with an essay prompt and timed him for 25 minutes so I could assess what he needed the most help with in regard to the essay. He finished writing the essay and reviewing it with roughly 3 and a half minutes remaining. Upon reading his essay, it was apparent that he writes very well. His essay was clear and flowed nicely and he also used sophisticated vocabulary throughout. Since he had the foundation, there were just a few things he needed to refine to bring up his score. I went over a simple format with him for each paragraph so he would remember to incorporate those elements. I provided him with a list of universal topics that he might receive an essay on. I had him brainstorm for a period of three minutes (10 percent of the time to write the essay) to come up with a self example, well known person example (real or fictional) and a world example that would relate to the universal topic. We then would discuss some of the examples he came up with and try to add more to the list. For our next session tomorrow, I will ask him to apply the brainstorming practice we did to an essay prompt and then begin to work on strategies for the multiple choice questions with him.
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