All posts by TutorTycoon

Why You Need a Private Irvine Tutor This Spring

Four Reasons to Book a Private Irvine Tutor This Spring

 

Spring is around the corner, and students are counting down the weeks until the end of the school year. While it’s tempting to daydream about summer break, now is the most crucial time of the year for students to focus. With AP exams, finals, and testing only weeks away, it’s critical for students to keep up their good study habits. You’ve worked hard all year to get good grades and high test scores, so this spring shouldn’t be any different. Stay focused, work hard, and keep up your curiosity.

TutorNerds is here to help. Offering the most experienced private tutors in Orange County, TutorNerds can assure that you finish the semester at your full potential. While there are many reasons to book a private Irvine tutor for the spring, we’ll focus on four of the most common.

1. Keep You on Track

With prom, spring sports, and extra curricular activities ramping up, spring can be overwhelming for students. Private tutors can help you navigate your schedule and make sure you are on track with all your assignments and studies.

2. Catch Up

Even the best students will have a chapter or two with which they struggle. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it won’t be a big part of your final. A private tutor will help you catch up and master the areas you’ve struggled with so you’re prepared for anything on test day.

3. Score High on Your Finals

Finals are the hurdle every student must jump before crossing the academic finish line into their summer break. Don’t assume that because you’ve done well all year and scored high on previous tests that you will ace your finals. Start studying early and rely on the help of a private Irvine tutor to go over any material you struggled with in the past.

4. Test Prep

With test dates for the ACT and SAT in April and June, some students might start feeling overwhelmed. In addition to prepping for finals, they have to take one of the most important tests of their academic careers (READ: Orange County SAT Tutor Tips). There’s no better way to prep for the SAT or ACT than with the help of an Irvine test prep tutor. Our test prep tutors have all scored high on their tests, and have helped thousands of SoCal students improve their scores. From going over practice tests to improving your math skills, our test prep tutors are here to help.

Don’t wait until a week before your finals to book a private Irvine tutor. Call us today to connect with the most experienced tutors in Orange County.

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 SAT and ACT Tutor

The SAT and ACT Study Plan: What to Use and Who to Trust

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Standardized testing has evolved to become a significant factor in determining students’ options for their educations after high school. The SAT and ACT are at the forefront of these tests that can have an impact on what schools a student gets accepted into and what scholarships they may receive for their education – book your private Irvine SAT tutor today.

Since the SAT and ACT have become so important, many companies have developed books, classes, guides, and other forms of study material to help you get a better score on the tests. With many options available to you at varying levels of cost and commitment, what are your best options? This study plan will briefly discuss what the focus should be on when preparing for these tests to help you optimize your time, avoid being taken advantage of by greedy companies, and (most importantly) maximize your score.

Study with practice tests

First, let’s discuss the best way to begin preparing: practice tests. This cannot be stressed enough. If you are going to be taking a standardized test, you need to familiarize yourself with the exam: the layout, the time limits, the question types, the directions, etc. The first test that students take is almost always their worst because they ran out of time, went to fast, didn’t understand some sections, or got overwhelmed or burnt out by the length of the test. Do not make your first test an official one. Make it a practice one and give yourself time to get used to the test.

Use official resources first

That leads us to who you should trust. You now know that you need to prioritize practice tests to study, but whose practice tests should you use? You’ll find a dozen different practice tests and practice books in the test prep section of the library or bookstore. Some are better than others, and some are outright trying to deceive you. So, who should you use? The official materials. This cannot be stressed enough.

This is a mistake that most students make when they’re preparing for these exams. If you had a test coming up in your science class, would you instead use the textbook your teacher gave you to study or a different one that you found at the store? If your teacher gives you a study guide, do you ignore it and find a different teacher’s study guide from a different class? The people who make the test know and understand what is on the test, and they provide the best resources to study.

The College Board administers the SAT. They offer several printable practice tests for free on their website collegeboard.org in the SAT section. They also offer online tests and prep partnered with Khan Academy, an app for daily practice, and a yearly study book with more practice tests. The practice tests also have answer keys, explanations, and can be scored. For the SAT, use the College Board before going to any third parties.

ACT Inc administers the ACT. They offer free practice multiple choice and writing tests. You can find their website at act.org and specifically their prep material at act.org/the-act/testprep . They also offer an official prep guide, ACT Academy, and online prep. Again, you can find explanations, answers, and scores with the official ACT material. For the ACT, use ACT Inc before going to any third parties.

Third party test prep companies cannot always be trusted. Over the years, I have tutored many students who have come to me with books they have already purchased asking for help. Every time I have done this, I have found questions or material that would never be on an actual SAT/ACT. Someone experienced with the tests should be able to spot these poorly chosen questions quickly, but a confused student would just be wasting their time studying them.

These companies crank out huge numbers of new questions and practice tests every year, but they are not the official test makers. They are not held to the same standard as the College Board or ACT Inc, and they always have some percentage of faulty or unrealistic questions.

Finally, a common tactic these companies employ is to make the material too hard. They make diagnostic tests, sample questions, or the first practice tests harder than they should be (or they score them more harshly than they should). This way, you get a lower score than you expected, and you feel the need to use their material to get better. Then, when you take the real test, you get a higher score than you did on their overly difficult material. Your score went up, so the test prep must have worked, right?

Never trust a score from a third party’s test unless you have also taken an official practice test and received similar results. Just last year I had a student hire me for tutoring the day after he took an SAT practice test and received a score of around 1000. I had him take an official practice test and he “miraculously” scored in the 1200s. I was able to help him improve more from there, but it was not my work that gave him that substantial initial bump. The first score was a lie.

Trust experienced tutors

If you are seeking outside help for your test preparation, you can have great results with someone experienced with the tests and helping students prepare for them – book your private Irvine ACT tutor today. An experienced tutor should have a studying system that is based around a core of taking practice tests regularly (official practice tests ideally) and is tailored to suit your individual needs. There should be an evaluation period where they find your specific problem areas and help you focus on what can be improved.

Every student is unique and no secret strategy will be optimal for every student. Having someone who knows the tests inside and out can accelerate your studying and help you achieve the highest score you’re capable of.

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.

Practical Tips for Your First Physics Class Part 2

Irvine Physics Tutoring: Practical Tips for Your First Physics Class Part 2

These final three tips now pertain to solving physics problems themselves. Every chapter in your physics class will include word problems. Sometimes the questions will be exclusively word problems. You need to know how to tackle the confusing ones if you’re going to succeed – book your private Irvine physics tutor today.

4. Draw pictures

Draw your vectors. Draw your free-body diagrams. Draw your circuits. When they tell you that a ball is thrown off a building at a 45-degree angle, draw the ball, draw the building, and draw the angle. Draw your triangles, label everything, and give yourself enough space to make it clear. This will help you avoid mistakes, understand what’s going on, and also help your teacher grade your work or help you.

Many students get lazy with their pictures or try to skip them as a short-cut. Don’t do this. Just draw your picture. Everyone makes mistakes — especially with physics word problems — but a carefully made picture can help you prevent them.

5. Write down your variables

An extremely common issue students have with solving physics problems is not knowing where to begin. Physics classes tend to include a very high number of word problems with multiple sentences, variables, and details. This can feel overwhelming, especially if the problem does not feel familiar, and can lead to giving up before you even get started.

To combat this, you want to pull the details and numbers from the problem and write them down in a list. If they tell you the mass of a ball is 10 kilograms, then write down mball = 10 kg. If they tell that ball is initially moving at 15 meters per second, then write down vball initial = 15 m/s. Listing your variables can help make complex problems generic.

6. When you’re stuck, just try your equations

Once you have all of your variables written down, then you write down any equations you know that might be relevant. Did they mention friction? Write down any equations you have with friction. Is something going in a circle? Write down your centripetal equations. You can also just look at what variables you have and check your equation sheet for equations that use those variables. If you’re confused don’t be afraid to just guess an equation that might be helpful. See where it takes you and if you can solve for anything important. Worst case scenario is you still get the question wrong. But at least you got some work on the page and opened yourself up to partial credit and a chance for success.
The biggest hurdle students have with physics problems is not knowing how to start and giving up. Your equations can help you. Get used to them, even if your class doesn’t make you memorize them. And if you are in an AP class you should get a copy of the AP equation sheet and start using it since it’s the one you’ll have for the test.

If you keep these tips in mind you will have a better chance of doing well in your first physics class. You already know that you should go to class, do your homework, take notes, and study. I don’t need to tell you that again. If you are still struggling with the class and your teacher can’t help you, consider hiring a private Irvine physics tutor to explain the material better and help you overcome your difficulties. Physics tutors are experienced in presenting the lessons in multiple ways to make sure their students understand. They are also familiar with physics and what you need to do to get a good grade.

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.

Practical Tips for Your First Physics Class – Part 1

Tips from a Private Irvine Physics Tutor: Practical Tips For Your First Physics Class

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The internet is full of tips and tactics from bloggers, tutors, and teachers about how to excel in physics. Unfortunately, the predominant advice is the ever-prevalent generic comments that students have been hearing about every class in every subject for years: “go to class,” “do your homework,” “do extra practice problems,” “take good notes,” etc. If you’re lucky, your basic physics tips might also include some points about being good at math and trying to understand the concepts instead of just memorizing – book your private Irvine physics tutor.

You already know these things. These tips are continuously repeated and are not helping you better prepare for or succeed at physics. Here, we will cover six specific and practical tips that can help you get through your first physics class, whether it’s high school, AP, or college.

1. Be an expert at formula manipulation

Formula manipulation is typically an algebra 2 concept where you have an equation with multiple variables that you can alter to solve for specific variables or plug-in specific values. For example, the volume of a pyramid is V = 1/3 A H where A is the area of the base and H is the height of the pyramid. However, we can manipulate this equation to instead give us height instead of volume by dividing both sides by A and multiplying by 3: H = 3 V A

This skill is essential in physics where you constantly move variables from one side of an equation to another and substitute numbers and variable for other variables. In our pyramid example, we might have to substitute in an area equation to find the height: A = L W where L is length and W is width. This could give us the new height equation: H – 3 V L W

If this example did not seem very easy to you, you need to go back and practice a lot of these types of problems. Take equations with many variables and practice isolating each individual variable one at a time.

2. Be an expert at basic trigonometry

Your physics class likely won’t require you to know all of the identities and properties of trig functions that you may have learned/are learning in your precalc or trigonometry class, but you do need to be very good at your simple sine, cosine, and tangent definitions with right triangles, as well as the Pythagorean theorem. Don’t forget your SOH-CAH-TOA, make sure you can do a2+b2=c2 in your sleep, and practice finding missing angles and sides of right triangles even when they’re upside down or inside out.
Basic trig is vital for early vector problems. It is also common to break diagonal lines into their x and y “components.” Don’t fall for it if someone tells you to “just use sine” “or just take the cosine” when you’re doing these problems. Draw the triangle and figure out why you’re using that trig function. It will save you when the problems get harder later.

3. Know your units

90% or more of your physics work will revolve around only three basic units: the kilogram (kg) for mass, the meter (m) for length/distance, and the second (s) for time. You can break up almost everything you do into just these three simple components. The unit for speed is m/s. Think miles per hour translated to meters per second instead. Being an expert with your units can help your understanding of the equations and help you check your answers.

For example, a basic physics equation is the definition of force: F = M A where M is the mass of an object and A is its acceleration. The unit for mass is the kilogram, and acceleration is meters per second squared. Multiplying these we get kg*m/s2. In class, they will call the unit of force a Newton, but we now know that a Newton is just a kg*m/s2. When you hear new units like the Hertz, the Joule, or the Pascal, remember that you can break them up into these basic parts. This can help a lot with topics like conservation of energy. (Note that the units for temperature, Kelvin (K); current, ampere (A); and amount, mole (mol) are also fundamental units that are used to a much smaller extent in physics 101).

The first three tips can help you prepare for physics and understand what’s going on. You will be very confused if you don’t know your triangles and basic trigonometry. You’ll also be very behind if you can’t quickly modify equations and substitute variables. Finally, understanding the units and their basic components can set you up to actually understand some of what you’re doing when you do examples.

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 Tutoring: Four Things Students Should do Post Winter Break

Four Things Students Should Do After Winter Break

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The holidays are over, it’s a New Year, and students are ready to go back to school. Okay, maybe you’re not prepared to go back, but you have to regardless of how you feel. With a New Year comes new aspirations, goals, and resolutions. Whether you’re doing well and want to keep it up, or you think there’s room for improvement in the second half of the school year, these tips will help you get on track – book your private Orange County tutor today.

Just like the first half of the year, winter and spring will fly by, so get ahead by taking actions now that will benefit you when finals come around. Like a car driving in the snow, back to school in January can start slow then get out of control in an instance. Do yourself a favor and get ahead before homework and tests start picking up in pace. Below are four tips from our private Irvine tutors to help you make 2019 your most successful year yet.

1. Take Stock of Where You Are at

While most of us want to leave 2018 in the past, students will benefit from a review of the previous semester. Check your grades, test scores, homework, and written assignments from the Fall semester. Do you feel like you are behind, doing well, or somewhere in between? What did you struggle with the most and at what did you most excel? By answering these questions, you can look ahead to your 2019 schedule and help plan around your assessment. For example, if you struggled with writing essays, but breezed through your book assignments, plan your study/homework time accordingly. Start the assignments you struggle with the earliest. That way you have time to seek help if you need some, which brings us to our next suggestion.

2. Book a Private Orange County Tutor

Once you’ve reviewed the first half of the school year, it’s time to get help where you need it most. Whether you book a private Orange County in-person tutor from TutorNerds or an online tutor from TutorNerd, it’s always best to sign up early. The longer you wait to start tutoring, the farther behind you fall in your classes. Keep in mind that even if you are doing well in school, you can still benefit from the help of a private OC tutor.

3. Talk to Your Teachers

If you have the opportunity, book some time to talk to your teachers during office hours or before or after class. Ask them how they think you are performing and if they have any suggestions on how you can improve. Your teachers would much rather steer you in the right direction early on than have you begging for extra credit after you bomb your test (READ: Irvine Tutoring Tips: How to Overcome a Bad Teacher).

4. Set up a Schedule with a Study Buddy or Group

A new semester means a fresh start. Avoid falling behind with a designated study routine. While you’ll always have to do some studying on your own, keep it interesting with one-on-one sessions with a study buddy or a weekly group study session. By studying in a group, you’ll be able to get help in areas other students thrive in as well as help them out with their work. Having a designated study session will help with procrastination as well as remind you of important upcoming assignment dates.

Here are TutorNerds, we are happy to help you make 2019 the year of academic success. Call us today to book your private Orange County 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.

Irvine Private Tutor Tips: Earn College Credits With CLEP

CLEP: College Credits for $85

College can be expensive. You don’t have to spend long looking at tuition costs or researching student loans to recognize that education after high school tends to be a costly experience. The average expected expenses at private universities are over $50,000 per year. State schools come in at over $25,000 per year and community colleges at over $17,000 per year (via College Board).

There are 44 million Americans with student loans, and the average monthly payment for these students after graduating is around $350 (via the Cleveland Fed). Taking on these costs is not something to be taken lightly.

Another factor that isn’t often considered by prospective students is the opportunity cost of education. If you are a full-time student, you likely are not also working at a full-time career. The years you spend studying in school are years that you aren’t working and making money – do well on the CLEP with the help of private Irvine tutoring.

With this in mind, it seems obvious that students looking at colleges and degrees should be strongly emphasizing completing their education CHEAPLY and QUICKLY. So, why have most college students never heard of the CLEP exams?

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program

The CLEP exams are standardized tests administered by the College Board (the same organization that runs the SAT and AP exams). The purpose of the exams is to test your proficiency in specific college-level subjects. The idea is that if you already know the material of a college class, you can get credit for that class without having to actually take it. The caveat is that you do need to know the material well enough to pass the exam.

So what is the main benefit of CLEP exams? They are almost always cost-efficient. A college credit averages around $600 overall. Even just looking at community colleges, credits average $135 (via studentloanhero.com). The CLEP exams usually cost $85 each. Most of the exams grant an equivalency to a 3-credit course. That’s 3 credits for only $85. And, most importantly, that’s one less class that you have to take on your way to your degree. Classes take time, and if you can earn credits with CLEP exams, you can potentially knock out prerequisite courses, meet graduation requirements, and free up time and schedule space to either finish your degree early or work at your job while taking your other classes.

Passing five CLEP exams is the credit equivalent to a full-time semester of college classes at a cost of $425. There are 36 different exams to choose from, from accounting to American literature to Spanish to algebra. And remember, you only need to pass the exam – not ace it. Since the tests are standardized, there are many cases of students getting the equivalent of a ‘D’ on the test but still receiving passing marks. Colleges don’t get to see your score on the exam, only that you successfully passed it.

CLEP Opportunities

Now, how can you best take advantage of CLEP opportunities? First, check with your school to make sure they will give you credit for the exams. Thousands of colleges in the U.S. accept CLEP exams, including most community colleges. If you are going straight to a private university, however, you are probably out of luck with CLEP unless you transfer from a community college first.

Once you have confirmed which tests your school will give you credit for, it’s now time to choose which tests to take and study. Ideally, there will be exams that you already know the subject for very well. In these cases, a quick review might be sufficient to score you a passing grade. However, if you want to take advantage of the exams, you can shoot for tests that you don’t know as well. In this case, consider looking for an experienced tutor who can help you choose which tests to take and help you prepare for them. Some tests are easier than you might think (remember, even a ‘D’ can earn a passing grade on some exams), and a few weeks of focused studying can be enough to earn you college credit and let you skip a semester’s worth of lectures, homework, and quizzes.

CLEP can save you time, money, and stress. One $85 test can help keep you out of the classroom while you continue your education effectively and efficiently.

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 Interviewer: How to Ace Your College Interview

How to Ace Your College Interview (from a College Interviewer)

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You submitted your college applications a few weeks ago and had just received some fantastic news: you have received an interview invitation! But that raises a few questions: how do you go about preparing for your interview? What are the most important topics to discuss? What should you wear? Here are a few tips to get you started – our private Irvine college admissions consultants are only a call away.

1. It’s Better to be Overdressed than Underdressed

Since I recently graduated from college, I tend to be a little more laid-back when I am interviewing a student to make them feel a bit more comfortable. But this does not mean I expect them to show up in jeans and a t-shirt. A good rule of thumb for all interviews is that it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. When I was going through my own college interviews, I would usually wear a dress shirt and slacks and bring a blazer in case my interviewer seemed like she meant business. During my time as an interviewer, I have interviewed students in all types of outfits, from full-on suits to board shorts and sweatshirts. And even if the students who were more casually dressed had amazing things to say, my opinion of them was definitely affected by their outfit of choice. And vice versa, even when my conversations with the suited students were not the best, I appreciated the effort they put into their appearance, and that reflected in my report (READ: College Admissions Essay Crunch Time).

2. Be Conscious of your Interviewer’s Schedule

I am aware that many of the students that are applying to these top-tier schools have a million things on their plate so I try to be flexible with interview scheduling, but often students don’t return that flexibility. I’ve emailed students with a few possible interview dates and students only to have them respond “I can only do X time on X day.” Now, there is a better way to go about asking for a different time slot, and that is not it. Many of the people who conduct interviews are busy professionals who have been kind enough to volunteer their time to meet with you, so be conscious of that. Remember to be respectful of your interviewer’s time and if you cannot do the time/date they offer, apologize and offer other options always making sure that you are not inconveniencing your interviewer.

3. Bring Only a Copy of your Resume/CV

The only thing you need to bring to an interview is your CV/resume in a nice folder and yourself. As much as I appreciate you bringing the 20-page paper you published on why soda is bad for you, am I going to read it? No. Interview reports are usually written right after the interview so I do not have time to read any additional material. If you want me to know about that paper you published, bring it up during the interview!

4. Give Specific Reasons as to Why you want to attend that particular school

I cannot stress this specific point enough. I attended a college in a big city with many other colleges, but whenever I asked students “Why X school?” They only ever answered: “Because I want to live in X city.” Well… what about all of the other schools in that city? You could use that argument for any of the other schools in that city.

Give me a specific reason as to why you want to go to X school. Maybe you want to go into architecture and you know that X school, in particular, has an amazing architecture program. I am especially impressed when students cite a specific class or professor that they are interested in taking or working with. The more specific you can get, the better because that shows that not only do you know what field you’re interested in, but also that you’ve done your research.

5. Bring Specific Questions about the School

Again, relating back to doing your research about the school, bring school-specific questions. Don’t ask me generic questions that you could ask about any school. Or, if you do, pepper them in between specific questions. I volunteered to be an interviewer because, as a recent graduate, I can give students a very clear idea of what the school is like and answer questions about the curriculum, specific classes, the learning environment, etc. This is especially helpful to students who are unable to visit the campus, so try to take advantage of that! I know it’s harder to do this with older interviewers who graduated 20+ years ago, but some things do tend to stay the same so don’t be afraid to ask them specific questions about a class or professors! I remember during my interview I asked my interviewer who had graduated in the 90s about a specific professor and, lo and behold, I had that same professor in college!

I know the idea of an interview can seem scary and daunting, especially if it’s the first ever interview you’ve had, but don’t worry! Just remember to research the school, your interviewer, and common interview questions beforehand. And, most importantly, be yourself!

Book your private San Diego college admissions consultant today! Our admissions tutors are experienced and have a 97% success rate.

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.

When to Hire a Tutor? A Few Common Misconceptions

When to Hire a Private San Diego Tutor? A Few Common Misconceptions

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This article will explain some of the optimal times to look into private San Diego tutoring for yourself or your student.  There are many common and conflicting misconceptions about when during a class or school year a student who needs additional help should start tutoring.  Some parents subscribe to the method of hiring a tutor right before major tests to improve studying and improve their child’s grade.  Some believe that after a certain amount of time into a class or semester that it is too late and that a tutor would have little to no benefit.  Others believe nearly the opposite – that a tutor should only be used later in the class after the student has thoroughly proven that they cannot attain success in the class on their own.

These ideas stem from greater misunderstandings of how tutoring should work (and how it does work if hiring from an experienced and reputable source).

You can see a tutor more than just before a big test

First, tutoring is not exclusively a band-aid that can be slapped on right before a test to cram information and get an ‘A’.  A good tutor will be able to correct poor study habits, identify important information, and execute an effective study plan with a student.  However, this studying needs to be continued, and if there is a significant gap between what the student has learned and what the teacher expects the student to know, then that gap will only continue to widen without more intervention.  Students do usually find some success with this style of scheduling, but most would find much more with a more consistent tutoring pattern (READ: “Tips from a San Diego Tutor: Keeping in Touch After Graduation”).

A tutor can help even towards the end of your class

Second, a large part of a tutor’s job is in diagnosing problems and prescribing solutions.  A tutor needs to decipher why the student is not reaching his or her goals and use their experience to help remedy the issue.  In many cases, these problems can be alleviated or fixed entirely in days or weeks, rather than months.  Whether it’s helping you find which fundamentals to memorize for your final, having an experienced pair of eyes look over your last paper, or an effective teacher helping you understand those boring lectures for the first time all semester, a tutor may be the solution you need to find more success even at the end of a class.  Unless all of your assignments are turned in and your tests completed, it is never too late to consider outside help.

It is never too early to be proactive in your education

Third, students are experienced in the subjects, classes, and tests that they teach.  As such, they often know what skills and prerequisite knowledge are important beforehand.  They also know what will be emphasized, what the common problems are, and how the courses or tests are usually structured.  With this knowledge, a tutor can help teach and prepare a student even before they’ve had their first class.  You do not need to wait until you or your student is failing before you hire a tutor.  Students with experienced tutors who begin their tutoring early can expect to have a much better understanding of the material, a routine schedule for developing studying and work habits, and the tools necessary to be successful in the class and any progressive classes following it.

Do not believe these common misconceptions about tutoring.  A tutor’s job is to help students achieve the most success in their education goals.  They are experienced and know how to accomplish this task.  An experienced professional can help you – it isn’t too late, it isn’t too early, and there doesn’t have to be a test the next day. Book your experienced San Diego tutor 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 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.