Tutoring is an excellent way to learn more in-depth about a particular subject, whether you feel you’re falling behind in class or you want to get ahead. Since tutoring is extremely adaptable, it’s up to you to make your study plan the most effective it can be. Here are a few tips on setting up a plan with your tutor for your best chances of success:
1. Discuss purpose and end goals
Before your first tutoring session, talk about your purpose and end goals. Are you trying to catch up or enrich knowledge you’ve already gained? How much familiarity do you have the subject? It can be helpful to show your tutor recent projects or assessments you’ve had in the class – including specific problems or questions you’re struggling with – as well as discussing your classroom instructor’s teaching style. You may need tutoring for an upcoming test, like a school exam, or a standardized test, like the SAT. In that case, you’ll want to discuss a timeline for being adequately prepared, so that he or she can plan accordingly.
2. Structure your tutoring hour
A great aspect of tutoring is the complete freedom to structure it however you and your tutor would like. Discuss any learning strategies that you’ve found helpful in the past, such as flashcards, practice problems, or timed writing. What kind of learner are you? Do you respond better to visuals, audio, reading/writing, or physical movement? Your tutor may include activities other than your obvious strengths, but this information would also be helpful for him or her to know. Have a conversation about splitting up the actual session time into activities like instruction, independent practice, and review. You and your tutor may even decide that tutoring sessions may look different from week to week.
3. Talk about curriculum and tutoring materials
Besides the actual time spent with your tutor, you’ll want to talk to him or her about teaching and supplementary materials that would work best for sessions. Decide how closely you’d like your tutoring time to follow in-class instruction. If you’d like a direct correlation to class and homework, you might provide more of the material and ensure your tutor has access (before or during sessions) to your school textbook, workbook, and homework assignments. If you’d like to enrich your knowledge with outside material, talk with your tutor about finding an outside text. He or she likely knows of some, and you could also ask your teacher for recommendations. Some subjects or study plans may not even require another text; instead, your tutor may plan activities and instruction without an additional book.
4. Communicate related classroom instruction
Tutoring can be an extremely effective way for you to learn concepts and skills alongside regular school work. One key to this is making sure you communicate regularly about what you’re working on in class and how your classroom instructor may be teaching specific information. Your tutor will be able to use this knowledge as a foundation for what he or she will practice with you. Also, discuss the pacing of your class and any change in test dates or projects with your tutor. Decide how and in what way you’ll communicate outside of sessions, whether by text, email, or phone.
Talking about the above things with your tutor can set up clear expectations for the both of you, so that you can get the most out of sessions as possible. Don’t forget to keep lines of communication open, as your purpose and goals may shift over time. Your tutor will be grateful for this clarity, and you will also benefit from it in the long run.