How to Prepare for a Tutoring Session: Before Your Session

How to Prepare for a Tutoring Session: Before Your Session

We know that subject tutoring is an investment of both time and money, so we want to make sure you are getting the most out of your tutoring sessions. 

One of our goals is to show you how to best educate yourself so that you can go it alone in the future. 

We consider this the most valuable thing we can teach you.

In this post, I’ll share some tips on what to do before tutoring even begins to help you maximize your tutor’s impact.

Once you’ve decided that you need a subject tutor, it’s important to figure out what you’re struggling with in that particular subject. In some cases, this may be very clear: “I am so lost when it comes to electromagnetism in my physics class.” Other times, it may not. You may have trouble engaging with a subject in general, or maybe you missed some foundational skills that are really necessary to whatever your class is now covering.

Tip 1: 

Talk to your instructors about what they think you are struggling with. They may be able to give you some insight about where your problems really lie, and can help in focusing you on the most important issues. Approaching your instructors with questions about how you can improve also has the added benefit of letting them know you are working with a tutor and that you value their input.

Once you’ve reflected and spoken with your instructors, make sure to communicate the issues you’ve recognized to your tutor well before your first session. This way, the tutor will have a head start on tailoring his or her lesson and the overall tutoring engagement to your exact needs. On this note, here’s…

Tip 2: 

Share your goals, other concerns, and your general history with the subject (“I’ve never struggled with French until this year,” or “I’ve always had trouble with history”) with your tutor. Be specific: share any materials, tests, texts, etc. that you’d like to review in advance of your session.

There’s another important thing you can do before you even meet a tutor that will help you get the most out of your sessions: your homework! Working through your most recent assignment for your tutoring subject will help you a) recognize what you know and what you don’t, b) explain to your tutor what topics you need help understanding, and c) target your most relevant struggles in the limited time you will be spending with your tutor. That brings us to… 

Tip 3: 

Attempt (and complete, if possible) every question on your latest homework assignment for this subject before you meet your tutor. Note where you struggle and mention these questions to your tutor.

Click here to go to the next part this series: How to Get the Most Out of Tutoring: During Your Session.

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Sheila A.

Sheila Akbar is President & COO of Signet Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She joined the team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings.

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