TutorNerds Blog

How to Get Ahead in School Over Thanksgiving Break!

Tips from a Private Irvine Tutor: Getting Ahead in School Over Thanksgiving Break!

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Fall break is coming up, whether you or your student is in elementary, middle, high school, or college.  Breaks usually range from just an extra day off up to a week of vacation time.  Coming around a month before the end of the semester, this break is an ideal time to make sure your grades and progress are exactly where you want them to be.  If they aren’t, then use this time to bring them up.  If they are, then you can still use this time to remain proactive and stay ahead of your classes – end the semester strong with the help of a private Irvine academic tutor.

Let’s start with if your grades need improvement.  Maybe you started out strong but lost focus at some point, maybe you’ve been struggling from the beginning of the year, or maybe you feel like you understand the material but your grades don’t reflect that.  These can all be remedied over the break if you are simply willing to make the effort.  If you do have a grade that you are proud of, but are worried about the future, you can still benefit from work over the break.  Maybe you have an A in your class but are worried about the final, maybe you have good grades so far but don’t understand what you’re learning, or maybe there is an AP test in your future that you want to do well on.  Regardless of your situation, here are the methods you should try:

1. Talk with (or email) your teacher before the break. Your teacher knows your grade and the factors that led to it.  Your teacher is also the number one expert on their class and how to get an A.  Before you leave for break, visit your teacher or send a message that includes these talking points: what your grade is now and where you would like it to be, what factors specifically are bringing your grade down (tests, homework, participation, etc.), any possible extra credit opportunities, and what they recommend studying or working on over the break.  If you have a helpful teacher, their knowledge can help guide your fall break to get you on track for a better grade.

2. Get ahead! Do you have a project due in a few weeks?  What about a test that isn’t until after break?  A final that you know is looming in the distance?  Work on them over your break.  Even if it just means typing a few sentences for your final paper, saving a mostly empty PowerPoint for your project, or only making a dozen flash cards to study for your final.  Do a little bit each day and you’ll be shocked at the stress it relieves knowing that you have already begun this work.  It also gives you the opportunity to find thing that you don’t understand or don’t know how to do so you have plenty of time to ask for help.

3. Find a professional to help diagnose your current situation in your class and help you improve it and get ahead. An experienced tutor can help you find where you should be focusing in your class and help teach you to target any problem areas.  If you are struggling with the fundamentals from September, they can take the free time during the break to help you relearn and master these concepts.  If you’re mostly caught up, they can predict what you might be covering next so that you can learn it early and be confident when you go back to class.  If you need help studying, writing, or just comprehending what is going on in your class, a one-on-one tutor can devote individual time to you to help fix the problem while you still have free time during the break.

Seeking help from the teacher is always a primary tool at your disposal.  However, we all know that this method simply is not effective with many teachers.  They might not have the time to help you individually, you might not find their help beneficial, or they might not be willing to help you.  Whether or not the teacher is able to assist, the key to having success in your class is doing the work, getting ahead, and seeking outside help if you need it.  If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or overworked because of classes, take this opportunity during the break to prevent those feelings from happening again.

Don’t wait to book your in-home Irvine tutor for finals! Call TutorNerds today.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

How to get into an Ivy League School

How to get into an Ivy League School from an Ivy League Grad

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With the college application cycle in full swing, high school seniors are seriously researching and considering all types of schools – book your private Irvine college admissions consultant today. For those students who are aiming for Ivy League or similarly ranked schools, here are a few tips to consider when making your college application plans, writing college apps, or simply selecting which schools to apply to:

• Be consistent in your activities

Schools would much rather see you invested in a single activity for all of high school than bouncing from activity to activity throughout your four years. For example, starting on your high school’s fresh/soph soccer team freshman year and then working your way up to varsity captain by senior year makes a better impression than being on the softball team freshman year then jumping to the swim team sophomore year and ultimately landing on the tennis team senior year. Why is demonstrating commitment important? Because college is challenging long-term commitment that they want to make sure that you are prepared to take on, and the best way to show that you are ready is by being invested in an activity throughout all of high school.

• Don’t do things just for the sake of doing them/putting them on your resume

While the opportunity to be the lead volunteer at the soup kitchen probably seems like an enticing prospect (leadership AND volunteering, sign me up!), don’t participate in activities solely because they seem like a great addition to your resume. If you love working with underserved communities and getting to know the members of those communities then go ahead and take that leadership position. Many college applications ask questions specifically about your activities and, if you aren’t actually invested in that activity, it will show in how you write about it. If you love dogs and want to volunteer at the animal shelter but you think volunteering at the hospital will look better on your application, guess again! If you can demonstrate your passion for animals as well as any skills you developed while volunteering there – such as patience, communication, interpersonal skills, etc. – that will be a much more valuable experience than half-hearted hospital volunteering and ultimately a better activity to write about on your common app.

• Put serious time into studying for the SAT/ACT

This probably seems obvious enough but it is a practice that is important not only for the SAT/ACT but also for college and beyond. Prepare for the SAT/ACT as if it were a marathon, not a sprint. Instead of cramming for the test the night before, take a few hours every week to do a few practice questions or take a practice test. You probably won’t see any major changes in your performance immediately, but you will see a steady increase in your scores over time leading up to the test. Another important part of studying for the SAT is going over the questions you get wrong. Students tend to get back their wrong answers, toss them aside, and move on. Instead, take the time to see why you got that question wrong because, chances are, a similar question will come up on the actual test and you will be prepared to get that answer correct this time around!

• Do something that will stand out

Now, I don’t mean go out and try to cure cancer- but if you do accomplish that, that’s awesome keep up the good work! What I am referring to is that, all of my college classmates and their dogs played the violin in high school (including me). So, while playing the violin is a great activity to have, try to participate in an activity that is more “out there.” For example, one of my classmates started a small environmental science club at her high school and, through reaching out to companies big on sustainability, she was able to grow her club into a massive international organization. Not only was she clearly passionate about sustainability, but she was also able to demonstrate that in a unique way.

All of that being said, even if you do not end up attending an Ivy, please remember that going to college is a huge accomplishment, and you should be very proud of yourself and how hard you worked to get there. Good luck on this next big step in your life!

Fernanda P. graduated from Columbia University and is attending medical school next year. She is a private tutor with Tutornerds in the south Orange County area.

Don’t wait to book your experienced Irvine college admissions consultant today.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

The Calculus Conundrum: Tips for Success

The Calculus Conundrum: Tips for Success (Part 2)

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While the lack of quality progression in calculus concepts is the driving force behind the class’ difficulty, there are other contributors. First, the subject’s reputation can lead to a lack of student confidence and motivation. Many students reach calculus, and, having heard the horror stories about the class, have already mentally checked-out and given up before the class begins. “I’m not smart enough for calculus,” and “I could never pass calc,” are common mentalities that lead students not to give their best effort or to skip the class entirely – book your private Costa Mesa calculus tutor today.

One last explanation is the prerequisites. Calculus doesn’t pick up where your trigonometry, algebra, or even precalculus class left off. Instead, it begins its own unique timeline while expecting you to remember topics from all of your previous math classes. If you didn’t do well in a previous math class, or if you crammed for your exams and didn’t retain much information, you might be in trouble. Many students describe being good at geometry but not algebra or vice versa. Or they struggled with trigonometry but are good with other operations. Unfortunately, your calculus class will likely incorporate it all.

Remember those special right triangles in geometry? What about transforming shapes, finding areas and volumes, and revolving polygons in three dimensions? They all make a comeback.

Are you glad that polynomials and all of their different graphs are finally done with? Sick of finding intercepts, asymptotes, and extrema? I have some bad news.

Did you forget all of those trig identities and unit circle angles after you had to know them for a test? Get ready for even more memorization.

Calculus tends to be a hard class for students. The ideas are new, the symbols unfamiliar, and the pacing is fast. Students come in expecting a hard class which can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. They also might not be prepared if they didn’t do well in previous classes or don’t remember the previous material. Now that we’ve covered the problems with the class and the potential difficulties, what are the solutions?

The Core Problems

The core problems with calculus classes are ones that can’t be solved by students and individual teachers. Calculus concepts need to be taught slowly and early. Rates of change, displacement, and nontrivial areas and volumes are constant sources of word problems throughout math classes. These ideas should progress into basic derivatives and integrals so that the ideas and symbols can at least be familiar. Limits and infinity concepts can be taught much sooner, likely in place of memorizing arbitrary methods to find asymptotes and end behavior in polynomials. Teachers make students memorize so many equations and problem-solving techniques just to avoid doing anything that is being saved for calculus class.

What can parents do to prepare their child for calculus? If you’ve planned ahead, you can start having your student prepare before the class begins. An experienced tutor can review what prerequisites they need to know and retain before beginning calculus. The tutor can also begin to explain the key ideas at a more gradual pace. That way, when they begin the class, they have a head start on understanding calculus and a good foundation to keep them from getting lost, falling behind, or losing motivation. If you know who your student’s calculus teacher will be, you can also get in touch with them to see what material they recommend reviewing beforehand.

Already Taking a Calculus Class?

If your student is already in calculus class and struggling, they will still benefit from a private tutor. The tutor can diagnose the problem and try to find the solution. They may need to review earlier material, they may need to be taught topics differently if the teacher isn’t getting the message across (READ: Tips From an Irvine Tutor: How to Overcome a Bad Teacher), or they may just need more practice and repetition to iron down some key fundamentals. This is especially important if the teacher isn’t responsive or helpful.

It is also important to know if your student plans to take an AP exam in calculus at the end of the year. It is important to start preparing for the AP exam immediately in order to get used to the wording and types of questions. If their teacher isn’t giving them practice AP questions every week or with every test, then they should be practicing for the test on their own or with a tutor.

Like it or not, calculus class is not going away, and it won’t be fundamentally changing overnight. If calculus class is coming in the future (or the present), it is important to know why it can be such a difficult class, and what to do to stay ahead and have success. The key is to stay proactive.

Read part one here.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Irvine Calculus Tutor Tips: Why is Calculus Such a Stumbling Block?

Tips From an Irvine Calculus Tutor: The Calculus Conundrum: Why is Calculus Such a Stumbling Block?

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Many students dread taking calculus. Whether it’s the final math class of high school or a required prerequisite for their college degree, calculus is often a necessary mathematical capstone in education. Calculus also tends to carry with it a reputation for being much more difficult than previous math – book your private Irvine calculus tutor today. This stereotype is supported by many students who struggle and even fail their first calculus class. Often times, these are students who completed – or even excelled in – their previous math classes. So why is calculus such a stumbling block? What makes it so different from our other math courses?

The first, likely the most significant, reason for calculus difficulties is the class’s deviation from the previous progression in math classes. Coming into calculus, students have been following progressions in their math knowledge for years. First, we learn addition, and that 2 + 3 is equal to 5. Then we learn how addition leads to multiplication, or that 2 x 3 = 2 + 2 + 2 = 6. Finally, we learn how multiplication leads to exponents, or that 23 = 2 x 2 x 2 = 8. This process took years of math classes to master and build up from addition. A similar process happens with subtraction to division to negative exponents; in algebra with one variable to single step equations to multi-step to multi-variable; and in functions from linear to quadratic, to polynomial and their graphs. These progressions build upon themselves and have students master the previous concepts before moving on to the next, usually over the course of years. You may have learned addition in the 1st grade but didn’t see an exponential until 7th. You probably did your first “find x” in middle school, but weren’t conquering complex polynomial factoring until 10th or 11th grade.

Calculus throws this timeline of progression out the window. Now you’re starting over with new concepts and new progressions, but it’s consolidated to just one class.

When you learned linear functions in middle school they teach you how to find the slope, but do they ever mention the word derivative? When you move on to quadratics, do you also learn the graph of the slope of your parabola? As your graphs approach asymptotes, was there ever a mention of limits? When you had to memorize dozens of transformations and identities in trigonometry, were any of them the derivatives or integrals of the functions?

You’ve been working with calculus concepts for years without knowing because the teachers are saving it all for calc class. And once you get to calculus, they spring it all on you and expect you to jump through all of the hurdles in a few weeks. Remember that nice progression from addition to exponents that gave your years to master the topics and become an expert? Now you have a month if you’re lucky to get from the derivative of y = 2x to deriving y = (sin(3×2 -4))3(ex+1)-5. If your teacher lost you somewhere along the way, you’re doomed for the rest of the year. Just like you would be doomed in middle school if you never mastered addition.

The same fast-track progressions happen with integrals, with limits, and with sequences and series. You’ll see symbols you’ve never seen before, doing operations that are entirely unfamiliar, and you’re expected to progress from beginner to expert in them all. And you better not try to simply memorize some equations and problem-solving steps, or the word problems will eat you alive (READ: 5 Signs You Need a Math Tutor in College).

This last idea is a common problem even for students who get an ‘A’ grade in their calculus class. Many students have the memorization capacity and studying habits to learn how to do calculus problems. They learn how to solve their integrals and manipulate their functions by sheer repetition without always understanding what’s going on. This leads to another quintessential calculus complaint: “When would I ever use this is real life?” Students have a hard time seeing any applications when all they have to rely on memorization and don’t understand what they’re doing.

Stay tuned for part two! In the meantime, book your private Irvine calculus tutor from TutorNerds. Call us for more information.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Tips from an Irvine Tutor: How to Overcome a Bad Teacher

How to Overcome a Bad Teacher

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Your teacher is one of the most important factors in determining your success in a class. They give the lectures, assign the homework, make the exams, and give the grades. Like it or not, your teacher plays a large part in what you get out of your class. Here we’ll discuss a few loosely categorized types of “bad” teachers and what you can do to get around their imperfections.

Type number one: The Anti-Teacher

We’ve all had a teacher (or several) who simply cannot teach. Whether their lectures are too boring, their examples make no sense, or they just aren’t good at making lessons, a key component of teaching is to, well, teach. So, if you aren’t getting the information you need from the lessons, how else can you get it?

Self-study: This is the most common, but most difficult solution. If your class had a textbook, chances are that reading and understanding the text will give you the knowledge you need to succeed. But be warned: you’ll need to make time to sit down, read, take notes, and check for understanding. You should know right away if this method is possible for you. When you read your book, does it make sense? Can you follow along and summarize what you read in your own words? Just staring at pages and copying vocab words does not constitute understanding.

Video Lessons: If you are taking a common class, you will likely be able to find video lectures online for your subject. Many college professors have some class lectures uploaded, and other teachers make video lessons specifically for students to watch online. However, the tricky part might not be finding a teacher you like on YouTube. You’ll also have to match their lessons to the lessons you have in class and hope that the curriculums line up well enough for you to do well.

Private Tutoring: Likely the most effective method to combat the anti-teacher is to hire a private tutor to help you understand the lessons. A private tutor will be an expert in the subject you are trying to learn, and they will also be able to tailor their lessons to suit you and your class. Your tutor can look at what your teacher is trying to teach you, and present it in a better way. At the same time, you’ll also be learning the material for your class, not a random similar class on the internet.

Type number two: The Tough Tester

So, you’ve taken notes, studied the class slides, read your textbook, and reviewed your assignment. You feel nice and prepared for test day, only to find questions on material you’ve never seen in your life. The test doesn’t have any of the homework problems that you practiced, and most of the questions were never even talked about in class. You bomb the test, but how can you prepare for the next one?

Meet with the Teacher: The first form of defense against this type of teacher is to speak with them in private. Address your concerns, and ask them what they recommend for studying for the test. Maybe they recommend practicing the textbook problems, maybe they say to take notes on the lectures instead of studying the slides, or maybe you need to familiarize yourself with their style of questions. Hopefully, the teacher can help you. If not, you need to try another method (READ: .

Look for the Question: Often teachers don’t write their questions or make their own problems. Many teachers create their exams from the teachers’ edition of a textbook, from question banks online, or from other teachers’ tests. A common cause of the Tough Tester is that they are making their tests using outside material without making sure that they teach that material. If you can find where they might be copying their questions from, you can look ahead to study those types of questions for future tests.

Seek an Expert: If the previous methods are ineffective, you should consider going to expert advice. A private tutor in your subject can look at your class material and your test. They can analyze what you got wrong, why, and assist you in finding a solution. Maybe the teacher is using different words on the test than the notes, maybe the questions you missed were more hidden in your textbook, or maybe your teacher is looking for special insight or extra knowledge that they aren’t teaching you. A tutor can diagnose the problem, and help you find a solution.

Type number three: The Overworker

If you’ve had a class where you feel like you have more assignments due than some of your other classes combined, then you may have been an unfortunate student of an Overworker. How can you get a good grade in your class when there’s a mountain of work to be done every week?

Plan Ahead: Assignments begin to pile up when you don’t start early and plan ahead. If you notice that your class has a lot of work each week, then you need to have the foresight to schedule a time to do work and the fortitude to follow through and stick to your schedule. This can be difficult for students with a tendency to procrastinate (i.e. most students), but an effective schedule and routine should alleviate the strains of all of the work. Try setting aside time each day to work on the class, even if nothing is due the next day.

Learn to Prioritize: You should be completing every task that your teacher assigns you. This includes all of your homework, projects, and extra credit opportunities if you’re lucky. But it is also important to know what is worth your time and what isn’t. If you have a project to complete by the end of the week and a test on the same day, how should you spend your time? Well, if the project is worth 5% of your grade and the test is worth 20%, then maybe the ten hours you spent perfecting your calligraphy to write nicely on your poster could have been better spent studying for the test you got a C on. If you’re overwhelmed, try asking your teacher what’s most important.

Find Accountability: If you can’t make an effective schedule or successfully manage your time and work, it might be time for you to find a professional who can hold you accountable for following through. A private tutor can help you plan ahead, tell you what to do when to do it, and what’s most important. When you have someone with you to help and make sure you follow through, a mountain of work can quickly erode into a manageable hill. If you cannot succeed on your own, there is no shame in looking for help.

These are only three types of “bad” teachers. Most students have likely encountered at least one of these stereotypes throughout their school careers, and you may even have one of these teachers now. If you have a bad teacher, it doesn’t have to mean a bad grade if you can identify the problem, and find a solution that works for you.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Los Angeles Tutoring Tips: Four Habits of Successful Students

Four Habits of Successful Students

Doing well in school requires a lot more than just smarts. You have to develop habits that ensure you’re getting the most out of your classes and that you’re productive when you get home. Creating such scenarios takes effort on your part. If you’re consistently missing homework assignments or doing poorly on tests, then it’s time for a change. Take a step back and review how you approach your academics. Waiting until the last minute to work on a project? Staying up all night cramming before an exam? If you keep up the same habits, you’re going to keep getting the same results.

Approaching your academics with structure will give you confidence. Many students feel overwhelmed when they think about their schoolwork and any looming deadlines. Productive study and work habits will help mitigate this anxiety and keep you focused.

Our private Los Angeles tutors are here to offer some tips. Our tutors are all highly educated, which means they’ve developed many beneficial habits in and out of the classroom. Below are four habits every student should adopt.

1. Write Things Down

There are many benefits to writing things down in the classroom. The most obvious is that you’ll be able to review it later when you’re working on an assignment or studying for an exam. Don’t expect a test only to include things from the textbook. If your teacher is talking about it, then it’s in play to be on the exam. You don’t have to write everything down word for word, but important concepts, names, dates, etc. should all be noted. A second benefit of writing things down in class is that it helps you remember it later. Further, this applies to important dates, deadlines, and events. Teachers aren’t going to hold your hand and remind you when a deadline is on the horizon.

2. Have a Designated Homework Hour (or Two)

Homework is a drag. After a long day of class, the last thing you want to do when you get home is crack open a textbook. This feeling of “homework dread” often leads to procrastination, which is never a good thing when it comes to academics. If you put your homework on hold, you’re more prone to forget about it. Mark on your calendar a dedicated hour (or two) for doing homework. Even if you don’t have hours worth of homework, spend the time reviewing upcoming deadlines and taking note of your progress.

3. Book a Private Los Angeles Tutor

We aren’t just saying this because we are a tutoring company, we are saying this because it works. Most of our experienced tutors benefited from tutoring while they were in school. No matter how well you do in school, you can still benefit from some extra help and structure. Tutors will help you catch up in any class in which you’re falling behind as well as teach useful study and schoolwork habits.

4. Learn From Your Mistakes

Your teacher just handed you your first C+ of the semester. You’re not happy, but you also didn’t bomb it (READ: What to do if You Failed a Test). Smart students will review the test to see what they got right and what went wrong. Don’t wait until you’re cramming for your final to try and catch up on all the things you did poorly on throughout the year. It is okay to vent a little after a poor grade or low test score, but shake it off and vow to do better. Review the test with your private Los Angeles tutor and catch up on any grey areas. You’ll be thanking yourself come finals day!

Call TutorNerds today to book your private, in-home Los Angeles tutor.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Why You Might Regret Not Taking an AP Class

Why AP? A Savings Story

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With homework, clubs, sports, and friends to juggle, it can be difficult for a high schooler to justify the added pressure and workload of an Advanced Placement (AP) class – book your private Irvine AP tutor today. US History was hard enough, right? Why would you want to throw an AP in front of it and make your life that much harder?

Because it might help you save $70,000.

But before we get to the money, let’s talk about other important reasons for signing up for AP. AP classes are meant to simulate a college-level educational experience. This is why they tend to be more rigorous; the curriculum is programmed at a level above traditional secondary school material. As such, when college admissions counselors see that you are taking (and hopefully excelling in) AP classes, this is a signal that you are capable of handling college work. This is a big positive since colleges want to accept students who will be able to handle their classes and succeed in their school.

In many high schools, AP classes are also weighted differently than your standard classes for your GPA. This means that an “A” in an AP class will improve your grade point average and class rank more than an “A” in a normal class. Ever wonder why you hear people talking about GPAs even higher than 4.0? AP classes are usually key contributors. Need a GPA boost? Try adding an AP class and consider finding an experienced tutor to help you make sure you stay on track and get that “A” to maximize your GPA.

Aside from just showing that you are capable of taking college-level courses, AP classes also allow you to cap off the year by taking the AP exam in that subject. And, if you’re successful, you can expect colleges and universities to give you free college credit for your score (READ: Irvine AP Tutor Tips: 5 Ways to Conquer Your AP Exam).

This is where the savings come into play. I can speak from experience that the credit given from AP exams can be very significant to your college career. For me, my university estimates a cost of attendance at a whopping $72,000 per year. Over $50,000 is intuition alone. Without significant financial aid or scholarships, this is what students at this college can expect to pay out of pocket (or out of loans) for a year of education.

However, I was able to find a fast track out of these high costs. In high school, I took seven AP classes: Chemistry, Physics, Calculus AB, English Language, English Literature, US History, and US Government and Politics. For me, this was the maximum number of AP classes I could take since students at my high school were only allowed to enroll in AP classes in their junior and senior years. I took all of the AP exams for these classes to earn college credit, but I still wanted more. Outside of my regular classes, I self-prepared for four more AP exams: Biology, Environmental Science, Calculus BC, and Psychology. You do NOT have to be enrolled in an AP class to take the exam at the end of the year. By creating a schedule for myself and studying explicitly to pass the exams, I was able to prepare myself successfully.

When it came time to attend college, this hard work paid off. My school granted me credit for all but one of my AP scores. For most, I earned 3 college credits, and for a few, I earned 4. This is typical practice for nearly all universities, and their policies for which scores they accept and how many credits they grant can usually be found online or by contacting the school in question. Before I had even begun college, I already had 33 college credits walking in the door – or the equivalent of just over a year of full-time college education.

This allowed me to have more freedom in school. I had many prerequisite classes out of the way, and I had an amplitude of credits for wiggle room. I ended up graduating with a double major degree after only three years. My AP credits allowed me to add a second major, graduate an entire year early, and even have the luxury of taking more fun and interesting classes in my senior year instead of only classes needed to graduate.

Even if your college is fully paid for by scholarships, financial aid, or family, AP credits like this can still save you a fortune. You might not be cutting out a $70,000 cost of attendance bill, but you will be entering the workforce a year earlier, allowing you a head start on your career, gaining experience, and making your own money. Graduating early doesn’t look too bad on a resume either.

While eleven AP exams might seem unmanageable or overwhelming, it can be accomplished by many students with the right guidance. An experienced tutor, teacher, or mentor can help you plan for which tests meet your skill set and circumstances. Did you take honors biology but not AP biology? With some extra help, you might be able to study the new information faster than you think. Do you excel at English but your school doesn’t offer an AP Literature class? You might be surprised by the progress you make with a study plan and official practice tests. Looking for which tests are the easiest for you to study and pick up some extra credits quickly? Many educators are experienced with these tests and with students in your situation and can help you pick the AP exams for you.

My only regret is not taking a few more AP exams. You shouldn’t have the same regret, especially if you’re looking at expensive loans for school. Don’t underestimate the importance of free college credit, and don’t underestimate your ability to learn new material on your own and succeed.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

4 Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids With Homework

How Parents Can Help Their Kids With Homework

Homework is a big part of school, which is why it’s essential to develop and encourage productive habits early. Parents can play an important role in helping their kids find success with their homework. To get you going on the right track we’ve put together four easy tips to help your kids with their schoolwork. Have some empathy; remember what a drag homework was back when you were in school – book your private San Diego academic tutor for expert homework help.

1. Give them space

Don’t start bugging them about their homework until you’ve given them a chance to do it on their own. If you have a designated homework hour, see if they remember and take the initiative to start before reminding them. Once they are working on their homework, sometimes it’s best to stay out of the way unless they need some help or encouragement.

2. Don’t Force it

Forcing your kids to do their homework is not the answer. Of course, you have to make sure it gets done, but if they’re struggling or approaching their HW with the wrong attitude, sometimes it’s best to let them take a little break and come back to it. Encourage them to go on a walk instead of straight to their phones. If they’re struggling to remember how to solve a problem on their HW, a walk might help spark their memory. Walking is a great stress reliever, which is much needed when you’re working on a difficult assignment.

3. Set a Good Example

Just like anything else in life, you set the best example for your kids to follow. It becomes that much more difficult and conflicting for your kids when they hear you telling them to do their homework while seeing you procrastinating. Set the bar high by showing them that you get things done on time, and you don’t wait until the last minute. For example, if you have work to do at home choose a designated time and stick to it (READ: Study Tips From an Orange County Tutor).

4. Have a Backup Plan

It’s not unexpected that your kids will forget what their assignment is for the night, especially for projects that have due dates father off than the next day. One way parents can help their kids in the situation is to arrange a homework help buddy in their class. Tell them to get the phone number of one of their friends in class so they can call them if they ever forget a homework assignment.

Another great way to ensure homework success is to book a private San Diego academic tutor. Call us today to learn more about our tutoring packages.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Why You Need an Irvine College Admissions Consultant

Four Reasons Why You Need an Irvine College Admissions Consultant

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For many high school students, applying to college is the main focus right now. Whether you are applying to as many as possible or sticking to your top two or three, putting together a college application can be a lot of work. From a high GPA to extracurricular activities and sports, you’ve done all you can to put your best foot forward, but that still might not be enough to woo the admissions director. Fortunately for you, our private Irvine college admissions consultants are highly educated and experienced.

Though college applications vary, most consist of more than one piece. For example, a college might require you to submit your high school transcript, test scores (SAT & ACT), an essay, letters of recommendation, and possibly an interview. That’s a lot to put together, all while trying to present it in a consistent manner that makes you look exceptional.

The best way to get into the college of your dreams is to work with a private Irvine admissions consultant. Here are four reasons why you should get some extra help

1. Help You Stay On Track

As mentioned in the intro, applications require an assortment of documents, essays, test scores, and recommendation letters. A private admissions consultant has been through the process before and has the credentials to prove they know what they are talking about (you can book our Harvard-educated admissions consultant today). Your consultant will help you create a plan that fits in with the due date of the application. That way you won’t be rushing last minute to get a missing piece of the puzzle. Further, your consultant will be there to answer any questions you have along the way, which will save you the time and stress (READ: College Decisions: 3 Things to Think About).

2. Help You Stay Calm

Applying to college is stressful. While you’re busy writing essays and preparing for interviews, your friends are getting acceptance letters. It can be overwhelming for students as well as disheartening. Thankfully you’ll have the help of a highly educated consultant who knows what it takes to get into the top universities – you can get the assistance of a Harvard educated admissions consultant when you call TutorNerds today.

3. Take Your Application from good to great

College is getting more and more competitive. We do not doubt that on your own you can come up with a proper application. The bad news is that good doesn’t cut it anymore; If you want to get into the college of your dreams, your application needs to be great. Usually, admissions advisors spend more time on applications that catch their attention in the first few seconds. They can spot the great from the good better than anyone. A private college consultant will make sure your application catches their eye and keeps their attention.

4. Prepare for Your Admissions Interviews

Not all colleges require or offer an interview for admissions, but if you have the opportunity for one, we advise you take it. Whether it’s through an alumni connection or available to all applicants, an interview with an admissions advisor can be daunting. Thankfully, our private Irvine admissions consultants are pros and can prepare you for your big day. From prepping questions to ask to practice with mock interviews, a consultant is key to entering that interview with confidence. The last thing you want to do is to go into an interview unprepared and unenthusiastic.

Call TutorNerds today to book your private college consultant!

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Back-To-School: 4 Ways to Help Your Kids Adjust

Four Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids With Back-To-School

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Some parents are happy to see their kids head back to school, while others might get a little sentimental. Either way, every parent wishes for their kids to do well in school. After a long summer, many students are a bit rusty. They’ve been out of the classroom and have adjusted to a summer schedule. Now it’s time to get back on a routine and stay focused. The good news is that parents can help their kids adjust back to school life. Here are four tips from a private Los Angeles tutor to get you started!

1. Set a Schedule at Home

For many, school schedules are much different from the summer schedule. Late nights, few responsibilities, lunch at different times each day. In other words, summer is a bit more chill, which is why it’s often hard for students to adjust back to a daily schedule where meals, classes, and after-school activities happen at the same time every day. Odds are it will take a week or two to adjust, so don’t rush the process. You can do your part at home by sticking to a schedule of when you wake your kids up, when you eat dinner after class, and an allotted homework hour helps them stay on track.

2. Encourage Your Kids to Be Vocal in Class

Too many students fall behind in their studies because they are either too embarrassed or shy to speak up and say they need help. Most teachers are more than happy to go over something again or explain differently, but they won’t do it unless you say something. Telling your kids that it’s okay to ask for clarification or extra help will set them up for success.

3. Book a Private Tutor

We’ve said this before, and we will repeat it, don’t wait until your first report card or exam to find out you need a tutor. Tutoring builds confidence, establishes effective study habits, and helps kids learn in their own way. The best thing you can do is to book a private Los Angeles tutor before you start failing tests and falling behind. If your kid struggled in math or science last year, give them the confidence to improve by booking a private in-home tutor from the first day of class. Our experienced Los Angeles tutors work around your schedule and are available seven days a week. How convenient is that? Call us today to book your tutor.

4. Talk to Your Kids About School

Ask your kids about what they learned in class that day; be curious and ask a lot of questions. If they only seem to talk about a subject they enjoy, ask them about the others and how they feel they are doing. When your kid summarizes what they learned in class, it helps with their mastery of the topic. The more they talk about it, the more they will remember what they learned and will appreciate your interests in their day. This dinner conversation is also an excellent opportunity for you to take notice of a class they might be struggling in and get them help before they fall too far behind.

Don’t wait until your first report card to learn you need a private Los Angeles tutor! Call TutorNerds today.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.