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Using Tutoring Effectively

Alex Ayers


If you’re interested in talking about a problem set or thinking through a tough concept, then coming to drop-in hours or making an appointment is a great way to learn from experienced classmates who have taken the class before. To make sure you’re ready for those sessions, we’re here to chat about the top 5 ways you can prepare for your session to get the most out of the time:


  1. Come ready: When you decide to come meet with a tutor, make sure you’re ready to work! Bring your textbook, lecture slides, notes, and the problem set. At drop-in hours, you can work through the questions at your own pace, but with appointment tutoring, we recommend beginning any homework before meeting with the tutor so the sessions are more focused. In some cases, you may be so lost you don’t even know what questions to ask—that’s ok! We’ve all been there, and just having read the problem is enough prep!
  2. Tutoring is not a replacement for going to class: Although our tutors are really fantastic and are great at meeting students wherever they are at in their learning process, students should continue going to classes even if they feel they might not be getting the most out of that class time. It’s incredibly important to attend class to make sure you’re learning and reviewing the material, participating and asking questions, staying on track, and learning how to make your learning work in non-optimal environments. Tutors are also meant to be tutors, not teachers. Their job is to help facilitate your learning and coach you through your work, not to teach what’s been covered in the class you may have missed. Our tutors do not attend class and courses do change from quarter to quarter-- so it’s possible class may cover materials our tutors haven’t learned. So, it’s important for you to continue attending class so you can contribute to the session as much as possible.
  3. Growth mindset: Sometimes, when encountering difficult material, it can be easy to think “I’m not good at ___” or “I just don’t have what it takes to learn ___ easily.” However, coming into learning with that fixed mindset can prevent your learning from reaching its fullest potential. Everyone has the capacity to grow and learn-- sometimes we may not connect right away with the way something is taught the first time, and that’s ok! Continuing to discover what ways you learn best is an important part of the process.
  4. Set realistic expectations: Our tutors really want to make sure your learning is going to benefit you beyond this one problem set. Their hope is that the strategies and learning strategies discussed in the session helps you become a stronger student outside the sessions. For that to happen, our tutors do not provide or check answers-- rather, they review concepts and help facilitate your learning. Learning takes time, more time than we often realize. In a one hour session, our tutors may be able to review 1-3 concepts with you in that given time-- they may not be able to answer questions all questions in one session, so make sure you have your list of priorities and be ready to make another appointment if needed!
  5. Check out our policies: Understanding our expectations and how our program works can answer a lot of questions you may have about how many appointments you can make in a week and what happens if you need to cancel an appointment.

For more information: check out our website!