Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"During this session, the student specifically worked on the math achievement and essay portion of the Upper Level ISEE. I timed her for half an hour on problems dealing with algebra that included high school level math. Afterward, we covered concepts from the test she had not seen before, such as slope intercept form and word problems and geometry area problems involving equilateral triangles inscribed into other shapes. She seems to understand them now. We also reviewed absolute value problems that involve both the equation and inequality form. She has done much better on the math section this time than she did in the first session. With this last week left, I will try to work on her challenging areas in math and provide her with ample practice during the sessions. We also worked on answering strategies using process of elimination, which will allow her to answer problems faster. I also advised her how to make educated guesses without leaving anything blank if she feels she is running out of time. We also briefly went over the essay portion of the exam. I showed her example essays, how to structure the ISEE essay, and how to work within the thirty minute time frame. I assigned her an essay due next session, and we will go over grammar skills and strengthen her writing if need be."
"Today we finished working through a reading comprehension section of a practice test. The student did a great job with a lot of the questions. She does a great job with the main idea and author's tone questions, but seems to have a somewhat harder time with inference questions, so we will continue working on those. I did see an improvement in her ability to define words in context over last session. After that I had her work through a practice verbal section timed. She answered 20/40 correct. I wanted her to get a feel for the timing of the test section since that one in particular goes by very quickly, and she mentioned she did not have to take a lot of tests like this in school. Afterwards we went over every answer, and I gave her a chance to pick a "second guess" on the questions she got wrong. Very often she was able to correct her mistake so I think with some more practice on the timing she might have time on the test day to go back and check all of her answers. When she didn't know the definitions of the answer options, I made sure to give her definitions and examples in context. I suggested that she try to find time to work through her vocabulary list of definitions and more than just memorizing, try to learn the definitions and put the words in context so she can remember them easier on the test. Overall I think the student is doing very well and I look forward to working with her again!"
"In preparation for this session, I compiled a variety of math problems and created a plan to help the student further develop her verbal reasoning (synonyms, sentence completion) and reading comprehension strategies and skills. Math skills covered included: point-slope formula, parallel and perpendicular lines, finding the slope of a given line, and finding solutions for equations of lines. For the reading comprehension portions, I had her work on specific strategies during timed practice drills. I had two primary intentions: to see how she operated in a simulated test environment and to gather information about her testing/reading comp strengths and weakness (which tactics worked the best for her, etc.) Before getting started, she felt she would do best by consulting the questions before the passage, using the questions as a means of extracting pertinent information to answer the questions correctly. By the end of practice, she realized that she did best when reading the passage first, in a relaxed manner, and then consulting the questions. Her scores increased exponentially and I believe that the practice drills allowed her to see her strengths and weaknesses in action. As our session progressed, especially during the verbal reasoning section, we were able to witness certain test-anxiety triggers (labeling stem words proved to be especially detrimental) and troubleshoot them to see which tactics/strategies enhanced her anxiety or success. She definitely works best with a relaxed/chill approach while attempting the questions in sequence without skipping large chunks (i.e. unknown words) of material (which causes heightened levels of anxiety)."