Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We reviewed the student's vocabulary building, and then continued our work on Verbal Analogies and some Reading Comprehension, both untimed and timed. He continues to work hard and make progress. We will start reviewing math topics in our next session but continue to devote some time to vocabulary building at each meeting."
"In this session, we began by reviewing the student's homework in Reading Comprehension. He did fairly well, based on his answer choices, and he reported that he utilized the skimming and scanning techniques we have been working on, along with the process of elimination. He is a good reader, and comprehends materials well. He does need some work on reading the question and answer choices properly, though, as he seems to miss the essence of what is being asked before he searches for what he believes should be the answer. We will work on this more together. After a practice exercise, we moved on to the Synonym/Analogy homework the student did. Again, he did very well, and I a proud of him for calling on his life experience to figure out word meanings and relate hem to possible synonyms. We discussed the fact that sometimes there is more than one answer choice that seems to fit, and the successful test-taker works to select the best of those answers, Which can sometimes seem daunting. The student worked on practice synonym and analogy exercises that we reviewed together afterward, and he will have more practice as part of his homework. The student did not get that much out of the flashcard exercise initially, but after working with him with the cards and explaining that they can be used in a variety of ways to help bolster his vocabulary, I believe that I was able to help him realize their value as a learning tool."
"The student worked hard today. We will continue to work on a strategy for the upcoming test. He should begin to work on writing more substantive sentences, using his new vocabulary. Good work!"
"Building Vocabulary list with focus on derivation and word parts. The student is thorough and analytic. Essay writing and analogies on tap for next week."
"We worked on Math and Verbal. I asked the student to do two sets of Synonym questions and to start going over vocabulary."
"Another great session. The student demonstrates the desire to do well and his mother provides good support. We reviewed math, reading, and the essay."
"We worked on reading passages and did sample problems from an SSAT exam. We also read through sample essays, discussed brainstorming, and discussed the essay format."
"Today we worked on analogies, synonyms and math. I stressed to the student the importance of reading questions carefully and attempting to figure out a problem before guessing at the answer."
"The student and I focused mainly on the writing sample and the reasoning skills it offers the opportunity to demonstrate (and to apply to other test sections, such as critical reading). First, we looked at the sample essay he had written for this session. His grammar, mechanics, and vocabulary skills were quite strong, a reflection of the hard work he's put in on the verbal section both in our sessions and on his own. His choice of arguments and supporting statements, and the logic he applied to them, showed room for progress, however. We began by correcting factual inaccuracies and talking about the importance of choosing examples that he knows well enough not to feel forced to make assumptions, and used that discussion as a springboard to work on his process for choosing examples and arguments. It was especially apparent from this sample essay (as well as our work in previous sessions) that he analyzes much more clearly when talking about real-life examples as opposed to hypothetical situations. He finds speculation very tempting; it has often formed the basis of his initial responses to writing prompts and to the search for examples to illustrate new vocabulary words. When pressed to think of situations that have actually happened, however, his argumentation becomes much clearer, his premises more plausible, and his logic much more sound. We talked about how he might more fully develop the references he included in arguments based in his own or family members' experiences, and examined which of his arguments were weaker and which were stronger (and on what grounds). Finally, I suggested adjustments to his brainstorming and planning process to encourage him to use more concrete, less speculative examples since those are where his writing shines. He was a real trooper through this process, which can be as uncomfortable as it is vital to helping a student consider how to choose and support an argument. I was proud of him for his willingness to listen, to answer questions, and to work with me on how he could better show off his persuasive writing and critical thinking skills both in the SSAT writing task and in his future papers for classes. Having gone over his sample essay in detail, we spent time practicing the modified argument-planning strategy we'd discussed by looking briefly at a variety of other sample writing prompts. For each one, we quickly ran through the brainstorming and logic-checking questions we'd settled on to see what ideas he could come up with for thesis statements and concrete supporting examples in 3 minutes or less. He did quite well at this exercise, and both his statements of fact and the logic he applied to them flourished once he became more used to avoiding "Maybe if ... " statements in favor of situations from his own life and from history."
"We worked through a few vocabulary words using word arithmetic, and I was happy to see the student was beginning to learn stems and how they apply. From there, we worked on timing, and I asked her to do half of a reading comprehension section. She finished with plenty of time remaining. We went over the questions she missed, and most were the result of reading the passage too quickly and missing the point. We reviewed a strategy that consisted of reading the questions first, quickly summing up the main idea and tone after reading the passage, and then working through the questions. For our next session, I asked her to go through a vocab chapter and study the word arithmetic problems. This way, she will add to her stem cards, learn words in thematic groups, gain word arithmetic practice, and be able to check her work."
"Diagnostic test to assess strengths and opportunities. The student was great, but could use some more practice with algebra. Great logical thinker!"
"Basic review of the various sections, focusing on the verbal and math sections specifically in addition to test strategy."