Educational Advice

Getting the most out of your tutor

When you’re working alongside a tutor, it can often become a constant worry to make sure you’re getting the most out of them – the worst feeling is signing off only to be flooded with hundreds of questions that you were desperate to ask. If you’re new to tutoring, it can be hard to organise your time efficiently in this department, especially if you’re used to teachers who give out plenty of handouts!

The first thing to remember is that you don’t need to write down everything. All sessions on MyTutorWeb – can normally be replayed- subject to the occasional technical glitch- up to a month after the session so your focus in your session shouldn’t primarily be on just taking plenty of notes. Dedicate the time to asking questions, discussing topics, engaging with your tutor, and pushing your arguments and debates particularly for A-level English, History and Politics. This is when you’ll learn best: it’s been proven that you learn better and remember more when you talk about and understand a subject, rather than just writing it down!

Watching sessions afterwards not only means you can normally take extra notes in as much time as you need, but also that you can consolidate what you learnt. Go over what you covered, and jot down anything you’re still hesitant about, and review the notes you made at the time. Consolidation is key to the memory process, and this method is a great way to prepare for exams

There’s nothing more annoying than forgetting a burning question, only to remember it hours after you and your tutor have parted ways. While you can always get in touch with them in between sessions, it’s a good idea to section off part of your notebook or folder to dedicate to questions you want to ask. As soon as something pops into your head, jot it down, and bring it up at the beginning of your next tutorial.

You should always know your goals! When you begin the tutoring relationship, it’s a brilliant idea to set out a plan of what you want to achieve, and how this can be made possible. Your tutor will be able to help you compile a list of attainable steps to reach your targets, and these can remain a focal point during each session.

Building on from this, make sure each session has a definite target to hit at the end – whether this is unravelling a section of text, deciphering a mathematical problem or memorising scientific formulas, ensure that you know what you want to achieve at the end. You could start each tutorial with a brief chat over your plans and aims – it’s likely your teacher does this in classes, so follow their lead, and you’ll realise how much more focused you feel going into each session.

Questions have come up once already, but they’re back again – because they are so important! Being too embarrassed to ask what you may deem as a ‘silly question’ is only detrimental to you – and there’s no such thing as a silly question anyway! Ask, ask, ask and you’ll soon realise that you’re learning more than you thought. Questions open up new doors and different paths that you and your tutor might not have thought to explore before you brought it up.

Your tutor is likely to give you plenty of advice when it comes to extra reading or useful websites to visit, and it’s in your best interest to follow this. While it might meaning missing an episode of your favourite TV show, their recommendations are key to helping you academically, and should be taken as seriously as the work your teacher sets you – especially as they will soon get to know you on a much more personal level, and understand where you’re coming from and how you learn best.

Always enter your tutorial sessions with an open mind and a positive learning attitude: being receptive to ideas and willing to learn will help improve your focus and education more than stacks of textbooks ever will.

Robert Grabiner – Founder of MyTutorWeb

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