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Award-Winning SAT Writing and Language Tutors in Miami, FL

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Private In-Home and Online SAT Writing and Language Tutoring in Miami, FL

Receive personally tailored SAT Writing and Language lessons from exceptional tutors in a one-on-one setting. We help you connect with in-home and online tutoring that offers flexible scheduling and your choice of locations.

Session Summaries by SAT Writing and Language Tutors

Miami, FL SAT Writing and Language tutoring
We started our session reviewing the essay prompts that I sent the student after our last session. He performed pre-writing exercises, but did not write timed essays. The SAT essay is basically a graded first draft that evaluates the student's ability to think introspectively, see the "bigger picture", and make connections to the real world. As we discussed his first impressions and initial reactions to the prompts, I recognized that he had difficulty finding examples to illustrate his position and thesis. Last week, I asked that he think about literature and entertainment he's encountered, his groups and communities, and revealing experience from which he's grown. He has mentioned that he's found the open-ended phrasing of the prompts challenging, and that he can develop a distinct opinion but has difficulty articulating the concrete reasons for that opinion. The prompts are his opportunity to practice developing and organizing these experiences and points of view, so it is important to be able to flexibly argue and recollect supporting details. After we found concrete examples for the assigned prompts, I showed him the scoring rubric for the Essay section, and graded essays taken directly from previous SATs. He jumped ahead to the evaluation before reading the essay itself. I think, perhaps, that this is how he has approached the essays as well, jumping from the thesis to the conclusion without his providing persuasive example: like the literary difference between showing and telling. Nonetheless, the student essays were helpful so that he could see how others describe a personal struggle or success, a historic event or literary work to illustrate their argument. We spent a short time on rearranging, inserting and deleting information within paragraphs, but only read through 1 section (~2 passages, 16 questions). I'll send him another batch of prompts, rearranging information section, and some tricky vocabulary that will help both with choosing the right word in multiple choice sections, as well as improve the breadth of words at his immediate disposal during the essay. I don't necessarily want to spend our weekly session together doing timed essays, but I asked that he do a few for practice this week, so that we may review them together.
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Miami, FL SAT Writing and Language tutoring
We covered the following topics: 1. Comparatives and Superlatives The student missed a couple of questions on his practice writing test that dealt with superlatives and comparatives. We went over the rules for these. After reviewing this concept, we went over some practice problems on an online website that dealt with this and the student seemed to have a pretty good grasp of the concept once we finished. 2. Spelling We went over how to deal with spelling errors. The student's essay was really good, but he did seem to have spelling errors scattered throughout. We talked about how there are a variety of ways to deal with spelling problems: one can try to spell a word phonetically, which can work in many cases, although, due to the fact that English has so many loanwords from other languages, this doesn't always work. We also talked about how memorizing the spelling of common roots, suffixes, and prefixes can help with spelling. To help with this, I went ahead and emailed the student a link to a site that had many of the common roots defined and discussed on it. 3. Nonessential Phrases We talked about how errors can be more easily identified in some sentences if you remove nonrestrictive clauses/nonessential phrases and read the sentence without them. This can help one spot errors that were not initially obvious when the essential parts of the sentence were separated by the extraneous information. We also reviewed the student's essay that he wrote from last time, and we went over a practice writing test that he had done. As the student is taking the test on Saturday, we will be meeting again on Wednesday to go over some more things before he takes it.
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Miami, FL SAT Writing and Language tutoring
I timed and graded another writing section. She was again able to get every question correct except for 3. She seems to be comfortable with the writing section now. She says she also wants to increase her score in the math section, so we spent the rest of the session working on practice math problems and concepts that are often test on the exam. Overall, it was a good meeting.
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Miami, FL SAT Writing and Language tutoring
For today's session, the student expressed that he felt he needed help with time management, specifically with the essay portion of the writing section of the SAT. He stated that in his review classes he focused more on math and reading but they did not give him many tips for the essay. 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 the student 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. First, his essay was three paragraphs - intro, one body paragraph, and a conclusion. His score would improve if he introduced another example expressed through a second body paragraph. I also noted that his introduction would benefit from an attention grabber and his bodies through further use of transitions. I went over a simple format with him for each paragraph so he would remember to incorporate those elements. Mostly, the student said he sometimes has trouble thinking of different examples. I provided him with a list of well known people who could be used as an example for nearly any topic. I then showed the student a few videos that included biographical information about these people and included topics they could relate to. After watching the videos, 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. Challenged a bit at first, I suggested to him that he try to think of one person he knew a lot about that he could apply to multiple prompts or topics. After some discussion, we ended up selecting Holden Caulfield, from the Catcher in the Rye. I reviewed the basic plot and characters of the story with the student to re-familiarize him with the story. He took some notes and from then on we tried to apply every topic to the character of Holden Caulfield. In regard to a world example, the student seemed very comfortable and familiar with history, so many of his examples were about world wars. At the end of the session, he seemed more comfortable with thinking of examples for his essay. For our next session, 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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Miami, FL SAT Writing and Language tutoring
While the student did well on fixing sentences and paragraphs he needed more help in sentence error identification. We worked on that and he improved a lot. Then we worked on a dual passage and he only missed one question!
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Miami, FL SAT Writing and Language tutoring
The student and I spent this session focusing on helping her prepare for the multiple-choice Writing sections. After reviewing the overall format and timing of these two sections, we turned our attention to the Improving Sentences questions in particular, since this is the only question type to appear in both the longer and the shorter Writing section. We began by talking about how to assess any given sentence to see whether it's broken or sound from a grammatical, mechanical, and logical perspective. Once she felt comfortable with this initial step, we went over some principles to guide her strategy if a sentence is "broken" (i.e., has an error) in its original version. Specifically, we practiced quickly scanning answer choices for obvious grammar or punctuation problems that would rule them out, and mentally plugging in each remaining answer choice to make sure that it both fixes the error in the original sentence and doesn't introduce any new errors. As we applied these principles to a variety of practice sentences, we also took the time to discuss exactly what the error was in each case where the original sentence was broken; from these analyses, we established a set of commonly-tested errors and grammar / punctuation rules that the student could look out for in particular when tackling a challenging new sentence. Throughout our work in this session, she remained engaged and eager to practice and absorb each new principle or strategy we discussed, and she did well with our practice material.
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