Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Reviewed reading comprehension strategies and focused on essay strategies. Also discussed several challenging concepts in grammar for sentence error questions."
"We spent the first hour working on critical reading, and the second working on writing. We went over one section of sentence completion which, as usual, depended mainly on vocabulary, and two passage-based sections. One of them consisted of a pair of short passages, but took longer than usual because the questions were especially challenging; they all asked the student to evaluate a claim from one passage based on the perspective of the other's author. Answering these questions involved careful consideration of what was under consideration, such as the opinion of the author, a claim or citation that the author makes, and the opinion of someone mentioned by the author. We worked on a getting a simple system to differentiate between the passages and summarize the content that was relevant to the questions. We also worked on marking up the passages after reading the questions, to hone in on the material relevant to the questions. For the writing section, we reviewed the grading scheme and read each of the sample essays to see why each earned its score. I pointed out that the essays that received scores of 6 were not perfect, since it is impossible to completely avoid mistakes in a timed first draft. We focused on how well-reasoned and detailed the examples were. We then discussed two strategies of approaching the essay: either thinking of examples relevant to the prompt and deriving the thesis from them, or immediately taking a position and thinking of examples to support it. We tried both strategies on one prompt - whether people or the government should have more influence on their communities - using her service trip as an example. She came up with two opposing arguments using the two strategies, and concluded that she found it easier to choose a position and then use her example from there. We will continue to build a base of 3-5 examples that she knows well to use for the writing section."
"During our first session, the student and I discussed his experience with the SAT (he's taken the test twice) and established goals for the remaining sessions. He is looking to increase his combined critical reading and math score by 150 points. Based on the score report from his last test date, he could use some strategies to help him decide whether or not to guess on questions. I also had him work through diagnostic problems out loud so I could get an idea of how he approaches questions. It looks like he needs some help building his vocabulary and knowing how to attack math questions. We'll also spend time reviewing and practicing his algebra skills. We spent the rest of the session focusing on sentence completion questions. In particular, we discussed how to use roots to guess the meaning of words and how to deal with two-blank questions. I've left him with a fair amount of vocab-building work to complete before our next session. Overall, it was a great session to get him back into the swing of things and arm him with strategies for sentence completion questions."