"Today's tutorial was multi-faceted because we spent a good portion of time reviewing the student's extra practice assignments. We re-read excerpts from The Protestant Ethic so that she could be clear about the text's central arguments. This will allow her to use The Protestant Ethic as a source in any related SAT writing. Once we finished reading, she let me know she understood how to do all of the Algebra practice questions she was asked to do, which is a good sign and which allowed us to not have to review any concepts.
From there, we dissected the 25-minute essay she wrote during our last tutorial. She read the essay aloud, an exercise I will ask her to do every time she writes so that she can hear how her words sound to others and so that she can catch grammar and clarity issues that her ear hears quite naturally. After reading, she analyzed what she did and did not like about her writing, citing that the "word choice and sentence structure were too basic." However, after comparing sentences she did and did not like, we discovered that her real problem was the sophistication of examples. Because she chose unsubstantial examples, she did not have much room or need to develop her thoughts; thereby, lowering the overall quality of the essay.
Before practicing some example brainstorming, I asked her to fix the mechanics of her essay. She caught all of the problems, which made this a good exercise in self-editing and in identifying sentence and paragraph errors for the multiple choice portion of the SAT writing section.
Next, she was given a prompt and asked to think of three different examples to support whatever stance she took on the SAT prompt. She struggled a bit with the first prompt, which seemed more like an issue with confidence about SAT writing than about her not having solid references to use. Once we addressed the confidence issue, she came up with three fantastic ideas. Using these ideas, I was able to detail for her what sorts of examples gain more respect from the graders. She did this exercise for two other prompts, but was given 7 minutes to think. She did an excellent job coming up with a variety of strong examples for both prompts.
Following this, we did a section of improving sentence questions. For this section of the exam, I am relying on her continued exposure to good writing, as she should be reading sentences and making an answer choice that reflects mechanical issues she will hear naturally.
The student got to do a timed reading comprehension section that included two different passages and four difficult questions about the two related passages. She answered 3 correctly and is showing a tremendous ability to apply the lessons she has learned (from me and her instruction in school) about annotation.
At the end, she did some self-rating about her confidence with each SAT section. She is still worried about certain sections, as there is so much material to cover. Her performance during tutoring, however, is showing improvement. "