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Shraddha H.
Student at Cornell University
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SAT
TutorMe
Question:

I have trouble structuring the essay portion of the SAT. How should I best go about doing this?

Shraddha H.
Answer:

A strong essay will have an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. This is how you should structure each component: Introduction-start off with an anecdote or quote, demonstrating why the question is important, or a hint at what your thesis might be. Then, while acknowledging the other side, write a clear and specific thesis. Following that, road-map your essay. Road-mapping means that you state what your arguments will be. Body paragraphs-these paragraphs should support your thesis. A good tactic is to have a different example that supports your thesis as the subject of each paragraph. Draw upon characters' experiences in books that you've read or movies that you have seen, recent events in the news, or events that happened in history. For each body paragraph, have a topic sentence, 2-3 sentences describing the example, and then 1-2 sentences linking the example to your thesis. Conclusion-this is where you should summarize your main argument, given that you have now supported it with evidence. Then, explain any qualifications to your thesis, and demonstrate its broader implications. Keynote: good structure will include a clear thesis that is continually referred to throughout the essay, road-mapping, as well as topic sentences for each paragraph, making the essay easier to follow.

Writing
TutorMe
Question:

Here are three grammatically incorrect sentences. Determine why they are incorrect, and how you would fix the sentences. 1) At the age of 16, my grandmother gave me a knitting kit. 2) I heard they're singing skills are the best! 3) The safari is roamed around by hundreds of tourists.

Shraddha H.
Answer:

In the case of the first sentence, there is a misplaced modifier. You can presume that the grandmother is, in fact, not the age of 16. Grammar would suggest, however, that the grandmother, as she is introduced following "at the age of 16," is 16. To correct this sentence, place the person you are describing as "at the age of 16" directly after the comma. For example, you could fix the sentence by saying: "At the age of 16, I received a knitting kit from my grandmother." With regard to the second sentence, it is important to remember the difference between they're and their. There is a conjunction between they and are, and to fix the sentence, it should be replaced with theirs. Looking at the last sentence, it is easy to recognize, just by saying it out loud, that it does not sound like a sentence typically used. Why? Passive voice is being used, rather than active voice. This means that the subject (being the tourists) is acting upon the verb (roaming), rather than the subject actively pursuing a verb. This sentence should read something like: Hundreds of tourists roam around the safari.

Statistics
TutorMe
Question:

How do you interpret the effect of a "third variable" on a bivariate correlation?

Shraddha H.
Answer:

There is an easy trick I like to use for this. Think of it as a checklist. Let the relationship between X and Y be the bivariate relationship, and variable Z be the "third variable." First, check if there is no difference in the correlation between X and Y when a third variable is controlled. If this is the case, then there is a direct relationship between X and Y, and there is evidence in support of the idea that X causes Y. If there is a difference, check if controlling for Z has different effects on different groups of people. If this is the case, then there is a conditional relationship between X and Y, supporting the idea that the relationship between X and Y differs under different conditions of Z. If it is not the case, check if controlling for Z either 1) substantially reduces or totally eliminates the correlation between X and Y, or 2) increases the effect of X on Y. If 2) is the case, there is a suppressed association, providing support that X causes Y. If 1) is the case, there can either be a spurious association or an intervening relationship. This is up to you to decide. If it logically makes sense that a third variable Z would independently influence both X and Y, for example, hot temperature (Z) independently influencing the number of ice-cream stands in a region (X) and the number of insects in that same region (Y), there is a spurious association, contradicting the idea that X causes Y. On the other hand, if it logically makes sense that X would increase Z, which would in turn increase Y, for example, socioeconomic status influencing level of education received, ultimately influencing salary, there is an intervening relationship. This supports the idea that X causes Y but does so by affecting Z.

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