Tag Archives: Tips

7 Things Parents Should Ask New Teachers | TutorNerds

A Little Homework for Orange County Parents

Issues with assignments or tests may not be linked to problems at home. In this case, it’s helpful to know what’s going on in the classroom; and this is where an involved parent is indispensable.  Whether it’s how the student is progressing in class or what resources may be available for extra help, having a good relationship with teachers is important for any caregiver. Ensure you build and maintain the best relationships by asking these important questions early on. With an informed parent, students have a much better chance of successfully completing a class. Finally, refer to this list for summer schooling as well.

Teacher-questions You may find some of these questions unnecessary and some very useful, so use at your discretion to ensure you have the best understanding of your child’s academic environment.

1. How do you measure academic progress in your class?

This questions attempts to discover if the teacher is focused on testing students regularly. If he is, it’s helpful to know how the tests are administered and what is generally tested. All this information can be used to prepare your child in the future.

2. If my student is struggling in class, how will you respond?

This is a question that, unfortunately, doesn’t get asked enough. For many parents, a string of bad grades on a progress report is the only evidence their student is struggling. To catch issues early, caregivers should find out what a teacher does when a student’s grades start slipping. This could be anything from a note home to the parents to a conference including the child.

3. What aspects of the class usually give students difficulty?

Again, anything you can find out ahead of time is valuable. Knowing what tends to confuse students gives caregivers an opportunity to work on those issues ahead of time. Take advance of these hints and work with your child early on to tackle the hard stuff.

4. On a daily basis, what should I be asking my child about your class?

Some classes require a lot of homework and others build upon concepts throughout the semester. Since a teacher constructs the class, she may know what would be helpful to review on a weekly basis. She may not suggest any check-ins, but it never hurts to ask.

5. Are there any resources you suggest we use at home?

Teachers tend to be the best resources when it comes to extra studying materials. Even if your child hasn’t struggled in the past or tends to perform well on tests, having these resources handy may be helpful in the future.

6. By the end of the year, what are the big concepts my child needs to understand?

Understand the big picture of your child’s class. Not only does this give you a better idea of what they’re learning, but it also allows you to keep them focused when they get bogged down in details. Sometimes, just realizing what the end goal is can be helpful to relieve stress and raise confidence in students.

7. Is there anything else I should know about this class?

You may not have heard about the optional study groups or the textbook’s online companion. It’s always worth asking this question since every class is different from the last.

Have questions about our Irvine private, in-home tutors? Read our TutorNerds FAQ page or contact us today!

tutor logo Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5 9) | TutorNerds | tutornerds.com All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. For educational guest-blogging, please email us at info@tutornerds.com

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The Student’s Guide to Study Breaks | TutorNerds

Take a Break, Orange County

Tutor-Nerds-SATEveryone needs to take study breaks at some point. Endless studying helps very few people, and frequently exhausts most of your energy. Instead, find out when you should be taking breaks and what you can do to maximize those relaxing moments. Today we’ll be covering just that, so kick the habit of “quick” Facebook updates or “short” phone calls to friends. Learn how to take breaks like a professional, eventually getting more done in less time.

Determine Your Maximum and Minimum Study Sessions

You may need to first change your concept of a “break.”  Study breaks are not large chunks of time; instead they are frequent pauses throughout your studying that allows your brain to unwind. The amount of time you take a break is just as important as how long you study. Therefore, you’ll first figure out how long your study sessions should be. Your study session is the maximum amount of time you can spend in full concentration with a subject. Complete the following steps with readings from your favorite and least favorite subject.

1. Find material you need to cover for class, preferably something from a textbook you haven’t seen before.

2. Note the time you begin reading.

3. Really focus on learning the information and understanding the bigger picture.

4. Be aware of when your mind first gets distracted. Note the time, and then repeat the same steps with your other class.

You now have your maximum and minimum study session intervals. Write this information down and use it whenever you plan on studying. Even if the interval is small, try not to go longer. You will likely find yourself (we’ve all been there before) reading but not absorbing any information. Even at a young age we learned to move onto other activities when we got bored; have you ever seen a toddler become instantly frustrated with one toy and move excitedly to another? Don’t fight your natural instincts; use them to your advantage!

Fruit, Not Facebook

Now that you know how long you can study, use these tips to maximize your breaks. First, and most importantly, breaks should last approximately five minutes. Any longer and you may not be able to focus again. Use a timer so you can take breaks when necessary, and enjoy them without distraction. Spend your break on relaxing or energizing activities, such as eating a healthy snack or going for a walk. Things to avoid at all costs include naps, junk food, phone calls and social media black holes (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).


Treat Yourself to a Change of Scenery

In science blog, “Cognitive Daily“, Dave Munger discusses ART, short for attention restoration theory. The theory looks at how people best calm their minds after focus from studying or working.

ART says that the natural world engages your attention . . . by features of the environment (e.g. a sunset, a beautiful tree). The artificial world demands active attention, to avoid getting hit by cars or to follow street signs. Since intellectual activities like studying or writing also demand the same kind of attention, taking a break in the artificial world doesn’t really function like a rest.

The idea is that we need to spend our breaks in a natural environment as opposed to our standard artificial one. Take a walk around the block, or sit outside in the sun to recharge. Changing our environment, even for just a few moments, allows our minds to truly relax and makes learning easier once you return. Feeling adventurous? Irvine Walking Routes.

Remember to stay focused when you return. First review the information you just completed to start the process of quick recall. Take note of the main points, and then continue on to the next topic. Make those study breaks work for you, Orange County.

tutor-Nerds-logoAll blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. For educational guest-blogging, please email us at info@tutornerds.com

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Attention all Orange County, CA, high school students grades 9-12: Enter our essay contest for a chance to win $500!

Study Tips from an Orange County Tutor | TutorNerds

Tips from Your O.C. Private Tutor

Getting advice on studying from teachers and parents can sometimes yield ordinary, old-
fashioned or just boring results. Private tutors are great resources because they’re usually peers; students who have recently had to go through many of the same things you do. We’ve studied while Facebook tries to distract us, and searched online through all kind of junk to find the best sources. Today I’ll be discussing unique study tips you probably haven’t heard before. Read on to discover what could be your next study saver with these insightful tips from an Orange County tutor.


Become a Recording Artist

Ever wonder why you can remember songs you hate by can’t recall the names of countries for this week’s geography class? It’s all about repetition. When you hear songs regularly they get stored in your memory and recalled quickly. Consider recording yourself reading notes or study information, then load it to your MP3 player or burn it to a CD. This allows you to study while doing other activities, like working out, doing chores, or driving to school. Listening to the information on a regular basis will help improve your recall and may help you on the next big exam.

Get Up and Move

Some people learn better when they are active, so use this to your advantage. Put information on flashcards and lay them around a room, forcing you to move between cards. Take a notepad with you and go for a walk to organize your thoughts for your next paper. Be sure to stop when writing; safety first!

Stay Fueled

Keep snacks nearby to keep your stomach and mouth busy. Some of us are multitask machines and need small distractions to keep us busy. Always reach for the veggies, fruit and nuts instead of junk food. If not food, try something to drink. Hot or cold, it doesn’t matter; just make sure to watch your caffeine and sugar intake.

Super Shower Study Session

Have a big test coming up? Take a copy of your study guide, slip each single-sided page into a plastic zip-lock bag, and tape it to the inside of your shower. Most of us spend way too much time in the shower anyway, so maximize your time by getting some studying in too. Just seeing the information on a regular basis helps in recall, so don’t focus too hard.

YouTube – the surprise resource

Use YouTube for help. It may not answer your exact question, but there are plenty of intelligent people uploading videos daily on all academic topics. Narrow down your choices by popular or highly rated videos by people who maintain a professional appearance. You never know what the next animation or silly phrase could do to help you comprehend material. Check out Crash Course and Hip Hughes History for good examples.

You probably didn’t expect some of those, huh? Studying doesn’t have to be torture. Have an open mind and be willing to try something new the next time you hit the books. Check back again for more wild tips and tricks from your very own Orange County tutor.


Have a fantastic weekend, Orange County!

All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. For educational guest-blogging, please email us at info@tutornerds.com

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Five Tips For Your College Entrance Essay | TutorNerds

Applying to College is Scary

It’s time to sit down and write that personal essay to send out to your dream college and you have to communicate to the school admissions department why you should get a coveted spot in their freshman class. In this tutor’s experience, everyone seems to leave this particular part of their college application process to the very end. Admittedly, writing about yourself is about as awkward as it gets and with a general question like “Why should you be accepted to this university?” or “How will you use your education to improve your life?” the idea of trying to be original is nearly impossible.

Tutor Nerds English

That’s just it, don’t try, just do it. Of course, I know that is much easier said than done but the more you think about what to write the harder it will be, so it’s important to just get some words down on paper. You always have the option of editing later. In fact, you will probably write several drafts before you arrive at that final, polished version. Trust us, our Orange County private tutors have applied and been accepted to some prestigious universities (it wasn’t easy).

Trying too hard to stand out will almost always end up making your writing style appear forced. Do yourself a favor and take some of the stress away and let your inner brilliance shine!

1. Make a list of things that you honestly want to do with your life after college.

If you’re not sure what you want to do or if you think you might change your mind, just write down something that would be really cool to do with your life, even if it doesn’t seem entirely realistic. Have you always wanted to cycle across the USA? Wish you could get paid to travel and write articles about awesome tourist sites? Write these down in your outline, they could come in handy later.

2. Just start writing.

Forget about flow, grammar and spelling for now (that will come later). If your computer feels uninspiring, go down to your favorite place and write with a good old fashioned paper and pencil. Being in nature, near the ocean, or in any setting that makes you feel relaxed will help the words flow out of your head and onto that paper.

3. Write a few versions of your personal essay.

It will be great to have some options to choose from later. Also, if different colleges have slightly different prompts, don’t try to mold one essay into several. Take the time to write a separate essay for each university. The admissions department will easily be able to tell which applicants took the time to write an entire essay from scratch and who took a short cut. Your personal essay is essentially your resume and cover letter combined. It could possibly take you from the “maybe” pile to the “yes” pile, so those extra hours are definitely worth it!

4. Wait a day or two before proofreading your essay.

It is really hard to edit your own work, but having a fresh eye will give you a better shot at making adequate changes. Do all of the content edits first, and then move on to the grammar and flow edits. If you correct grammar and formatting before content, you may find that you are spending more time than you need and we want to keep this as low stress as possible to keep those creative juices flowing.

Books - essay - college

5. Know when to ask for help.

If you are really struggling with this aspect of your college application, don’t be afraid to get help from your private Irvine in-home tutor or a responsible classmate. All of the content should be yours but there is no reason why you can’t get inspiration or formatting help from an experienced writer.

Bottom Line:  Be yourself. You want to end up at a university that is a good fit for you and has the programs and opportunities that will enrich your life and help you get closer to your career goals.

Need practice? Enter our Orange County, California, essay contest. It’s open to all O.C. high school students grades 9-12. In addition to the chance of wining $500 for summer, the contest is a great opportunity to practice your essay skills.

Have a fantastic Earth Day, Orange County!

All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. For educational guest-blogging, please email us at info@tutornerds.com

Eight SAT Essay Tips | TutorNerds

Need Help With the SAT Essay, Orange County?

You have 25 minutes to write the BEST essay ever. You only have to focus on: Punctuation, grammar, flow, originality, formatting, and content. This is easy, right? Of course not!

Lets’ go through this one SAT essay tip at a time and by the time we get to the end it won’t be quite so daunting.

SAT-essay-tips1. Those precious 25 minutes:

The most important thing is to start writing. ‘Blank page syndrome’ AKA writer’s block is very common and you should feel better knowing that most of your peers are experiencing the exact same thing. A blank page is bad. Writing something down, even if you have to edit later, is good. Words lead to more words and eventually a finished SAT essay.

If you are really stuck, write a quick outline. An outline requires words, and words are good.

2. Punctuation:

The person scoring your essay will appreciate proper punctuation but not at the expense of content. If time is a major issue, get that content down and leave five minutes to proofread. One or two minor mistakes probably won’t kill your score, but your essay has to be readable. If one of your sentences has five commas, turn one into a period and create a new sentence.

3. Grammar:

Have you ever heard the term “grammarian”? Well, your grader will be one. S/he will have a special affinity for proper grammar. “Then vs. than”, “your vs. you’re”, subject-verb agreement etc…

Grammar is something you can work on ahead of time and practice makes perfect. Ask a tutor to look over a few sample essays that you have written and give you advice on improving your grammar.


4. Flow:

This is one of the hardest problems to solve when writing an essay because the solution is not concrete. You won’t be able to look up “flow” and get a specific answer as to how to make your essay smooth and easy to read. This is one topic where tutors and teachers can be most helpful. If you are struggling with flow, you will want someone to sit down with you and really comb through sentence by sentence.

To get you started think of it like this: If you’re enjoying a nice wave out in the Pacific, you want smooth, even waves. You don’t want flat water or choppy, uneven waves. Don’t surf? Let’s say you’re driving along on the freeway. Do you want to hit a pot hole every 5 minutes and stress out in stop and go traffic, or have smooth roads and no cars in sight? Your transition sentences should not be pot holes, nor should they be that giant wave that breaks your board in half. Keep it smooth.

5. Originality:

If you have taken a practice test, you will know that examples are required. Try to be original with examples (easier said than done). Certain topics, although good, have become cliché and your grader will appreciate originality. Talk with your Orange County private tutor about which topics have been used over and over and which are still original. This can change from year to year as more topics are introduced and written about.

6. Spelling:

Unfortunately, the SAT essay is written on paper so there is not a spell check option. Brush up on your spelling so as to avoid a basic mistake. If you come up with a great word but have no idea how to spell it, chose another one. You might get one pass on a misspelled word but that’s it.

7. Formatting:

Don’t confuse formatting with flow. Flow focuses on the readability of your essay while formatting looks at more basic, but still important things such as indentation, the clear placement of the transition sentence etc… Your essay should not look like one giant paragraph.

8. And for the finale, content!

Content is THE most important part of your essay, It is the blood that flows through the veins of your essay and gives it life. There is not a simple tip or trick to bypass content. Being well informed of current events, being well read, and also having a love of writing can come into play here. This is where your tutor will be most helpful. While you’re waiting for that tutor to show up at your door, pick out a few novels and a newspaper and start reading.

Bottom line:

Start early, having time to work on all of the aspects of the essay will alleviate your stress. Practice makes perfect, plan to write 6-10 practice essays before you reach your best level. Ask for help; get a study group, a parent or a tutor to go over all these things with you.

All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. For educational guest-blogging, please email us at info@tutornerds.com

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Five Tips for Success in English Class | TutorNerds

How to do Well in High School English Courses

Whether people hate them or love them, high school English courses are important. Many people say that reading Shakespeare or Charles Dickens and writing a six paragraph essay has no value to a student’s future. This is only true if they do not think that critical analysis and reading are important.

slidebird1The fact is, writing and reading go hand in hand in taking student’s skills to a higher level. People do not have to write academic essays when they grow up and start a career. However, they will have to know how to organize sentences and ideas in a coherent and logical manner if they want to be taken seriously in any job – think business emails. That being said, here are a few tips to get you on your way to success in English class.

1. Always Do the Reading

High school English courses present a wide variety of literature, and, odds are, students won’t like it all. However, people should discard their subjectivity while they read. English teachers care more about students completing writing assignments than them liking what they read – who knows, you might find yourself enjoying it.

Students should take advantage of class discussions to let their teacher know how they feel about what they’ve read. Teachers will be impressed by freethinkers who know the material. It’s difficult to contribute when you haven’t done the readings, and you’ll most likely end up embarrassing yourself. Further, a student’s grades will reflect their preparedness – teachers don’t like lazy pupils!

2. Know Thy Grammar

The majority of English students groan at the thought of studying grammar any more than necessary. They can not be blamed, as grammar consists of rules that put limits on how people express themselves through language. Some students may even see grammar-obsessive teachers as a handicap on their creative freedom.

Unfortunately, their English teacher will not be swayed by such an argument. What is worse is that they will continue to take points off of essays for things such as run-on sentences, comma splices, and confusion between “they’re”, “their” and “there”.

Relax, students shouldn’t fear weekends spent with a grammar book. Instead, they should pay close attention to how their teacher grades classwork. This will enable them to avoid making the same mistakes twice. If they can, students should also correct these errors when speaking; as people tend to write similarly to the way that they speak.

3. Always Start Essays Early

When writing essays, students should make sure that they have enough time to create quality-content. Teachers often give students several weeks to write an essay. It is also a good idea to start writing the essay the same day that it is assigned. This is because starting to write an essay is often the least fun and hardest part.

Students who get the dreaded first paragraph out of the way early are less likely to procrastinate. Likewise, they are able to get a good night’s sleep before it is due, as they finish with time to spare. Finally, use this extra time to proofread and make revisions as needed.

4. Learn the Five Paragraph Essay Right Now

In order to be successful in high school English courses, students should take the time to master the structure of the five paragraph essay. Lots of schools across the U.S. are teaching this as early as 5th grade. If a student takes the time to master this concept early, writing papers in high school and college will be a breeze.

Aside from that, it doesn’t hurt to have this skill when they are in the workforce. Writing presentations, reports, and emails is a snap when you understand how to structure arguments and ideas.

5. Journal

Journaling is like thinking, but in a written form. Another way for students to be successful in their high school English courses is to try creating a personal journal. Journaling helps them get their ideas out into the universe without editing themselves. The main point is that a student is jump-starting their writing skills by getting words out on paper. It also helps them remember important points in the story that they are reading. This will help them do well on essay tests, quizzes, and even in class discussions.


The Bottom Line

A lot of things that students write and read about in their high school English courses may not seem especially important for their future. However, teachers try their best to create a framework that helps people understand how to write and read critically. Students need these two skills for everything. Following these simple tips will not only give them an edge in their English courses, but also provide them with the important skills that they can use in their lives for many years to come.

Write on, Los Angeles.

How You Ask For Help Matters | TutorNerds

Need Help?

Parents, tutors and friends can all be great resources when you find yourself stuck on an assignment. Any time you reach out for help you are giving yourself another chance at understanding the material and learning valuable life lessons. Sometimes, however, those resources won’t be there; that’s when professors know best. Follow the suggestions below to learn when to contact a teacher and the best way to go about it. Educators are busy people so you’ll want to use their time wisely, especially if you’ll want help in the future.


Good reasons to seek help directly from a teacher would be after an absence, if you’re severely stuck on course material or a particular assignment, or if you’re seeking advice for professional/academic advancement. On the other hand, you should rethink making an appointment if you have a bad attitude, want to know exactly what’s on the upcoming test, or desire to negotiate your grade.

What do you need?

Don’t simply say, “I’m lost,” or, “None of this makes sense.” Take time to figure out exactly what you do and do not understand. Come prepared to share what you’ve done to solve the problem on your own. Look at the syllabus or class postings to determine where and when the teacher usually meets students. If you can’t make it to their office hours, try to find another way of speaking; telephone or email may be options.

How urgent is the issue?

If it’s the afternoon before a project is due and your computer gets a virus that destroys all your work, a phone call may be warranted. In any other case, it should be a true emergency for personal phone calls; most professors do not like being contacted outside of school hours. If it’s not urgent, use their preferred method highlighted in the syllabus. When contacting them to make an appointment, state what you need help with and when you’d like to meet. For example, “Professor Smith, I’m having problems with this week’s assignment. I have used my notes from class and looked at other resources for help, but still can’t finish it. Would you be able to meet tomorrow during your office hours from 1:30pm-2:00pm?”

Are you ready to meet?

Bring along anything that will help you explain where you are stuck, and extra paper to take notes. It’s also helpful to have your questions written out. You may forget to ask a particular question, and it’s useful for the professor to know what students are struggling with.If this isn’t the first time he’s seen a student, you may be helping others in the class by alerting the teacher to a comprehension issue. Before you leave, never forget to say thank you.


Four Tips for Presentations | TutorNerds

Powerful Preparation for Speeches and Presentations

Public speaking is tough for most people. When you have to do it for a grade, the pressure can feel really intense. Instead of worrying whether you’ll forget a part or mess up a word, use your energy to prepare. Any accomplished speaker will tell you the more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel, and the better you’ll perform. Following the suggestions below will lead you away from nervousness and tension and closer to confidence and grades worth bragging about.


1. Give It Your All!

When you’re practicing, are you reenacting how you’ll be giving the presentation? Assuming you won’t be giving the speech from a chair or your couch, try to re-create the way in which you’ll speak. If a podium or lectern will be available, practice standing behind something similar at home, like a tall table. If you’ll be using props such as PowerPoint or physical items, include them in your rehearsal. Standing and delivering the speech with all your tools will help identify any nervous habits, including looking at the screen for prompting, fidgeting with props, or leaning on podiums.

2. Obtain Feedback

Continuing with the idea of re-creating the presentation, invite an audience to join you. Ask them for honest feedback. Make sure your information is easy to understand, you’re keeping their attention, and you’re able to be heard. Want to be certain of your public speaking skills? Have someone record you; video recordings can be quite eye-opening. Give yourself the opportunity to view the good and the bad: gestures, speed, enunciation, volume, and eye contact.

3. Be Open to Change

Practice is also a good opportunity to make changes. Practice phrases that are confusing or difficult to say aloud. If you just can’t master them, try something else. If a line doesn’t sound right or you want to change a point, do it! That’s what practicing is for. Timing is also essential. Ensure you are within the given limits, and if not start cutting material or add where you can.

4 . Don’t Forget the Details

Once the big day arrives, don’t worry about memorization; all the work you’ve done should be enough. Stay calm and rest assured you did your best to prepare. One day-of tip is to be careful of your wardrobe. Change in your pocket could be distracting when you move or if your hands are drawn to play with it. Girls should keep hair away from the face to avoid distractions. Ultimately, presentation clothing should allow you to move and breathe comfortably.


Presentation skills are not typically mastered overnight, but with enough preparation you should be ready to wow your teachers and peers.

Need more help? Talk with your Orange County private-tutor. As you may know, our tutors have graduated from an array of prestigious universities, and are more than familiar with giving important presentations.

No sweat, Los Angeles!

7 Tips to Maximize Your Tutoring Sessions | TutorNerds

Tutoring Sessions: Maximize Your Success

As tutors, we do our best to maximize our client’s session. We come with our guides, supplies, and minds prepared. Many times we have only an hour or so with each student, and that hour goes by fast. If our students aren’t ready or prepared, much of that precious time is wasted. Make the most of the time you have with your tutor by following the suggestions discussed below. You’ll get more out of your session, both financially and academically.


1. Get help early

If you start falling behind, find some support. In classes like math that build upon previous skills, waiting too long to ask for help can be detrimental to your grade. A tutor is the perfect person to review with weekly to ensure you’re staying up to speed

2. Be ready to learn

Every session is different, but the following list includes most of what you’ll need during a session: textbook, syllabus, specific assignment and instructions, relevant notes, quizzes and tests already graded. It may seem like a lot, but remember tutors have to understand what you’re working on and where you’re stuck before we can help you.

Stack of colorful books (cut-out, white background)3. Ask questions

We’re there to answer any questions you have, even the ones you think are silly or obvious. We feel good when you understand the material, so get rid of your stress and ask away; we’ll work with you as long as it takes.

4. Know what’s expected of you

Even though we don’t mind answering your questions, many simple ones can be answered by reading the syllabus, checking assignment instructions or speaking with a teacher. Make sure you look over all required readings and instructions before a tutor arrives. If you’re still stuck, a tutor can help, but a teacher is sometimes the best resource for specific questions.

As you can see, tutors don’t ask a whole lot. Following those four simple tips can make your next session easier and more enjoyable for all involved. However, knowing what you shouldn’t ask of a tutor is important too. Some call tutors superheroes, but there are a few things even the best tutors won’t tackle.

5. Your excuses are futile

We were all students before, so we’ve used the excuses or heard them at one time or another. Be honest with a tutor if you haven’t studied or been doing your homework. The sooner we know your situation, the sooner we can start working in the right direction.

6. Tutors won’t do the work for you

Again, we were students before. We know we can answer the question; we’re here to help get you to that point. You’ll have to learn it eventually, so let the tutor help you.

7. A tutor can’t implant knowledge

A tutor can only help you study so much before a test. If you haven’t been studying at all, don’t expect a tutor to fill your brain with all the answers the night before. They’ll do their best, but cramming at the last minute isn’t effective for most students.


Now that you have the tips, Los Angeles, implement them! Contact us today and we’ll match you with an amazing tutor.

The Dynamic, Not Dreaded, Group Project | TutorNerds

Communication and Compromise

A group project is one of those experiences students need to work through. Not only is it good practice in communication and compromise, it’s an experience they will likely confront again in their professional careers. The experience doesn’t have to be filled with stress, frustration or negative feelings towards each other. If students enter with the right attitude and a solid plan, they’ll be much more likely to succeed as individuals and a group.


Start Out Strong

Spend time finding out where everyone’s strengths are. Someone may like to type and someone else is a tech guru; make the best out of your group’s tool box. Sometimes it’s tough to get everyone moving. The more motivated you are to help organize the group and volunteer for work, the more other students will too. However, make sure all the work doesn’t get split between one or two people. Everyone should be doing an equal amount of work.

As a group, the members should create a timeline of assignment dates and an earlier turn in date. Give yourself a one to two day cushion if you can, this will come in handy when members are behind or issues arise. Before leaving, ensure assignment of duties are clear and how progress will be reported to the others.

Make Meetings Ultra-Productive

Topics of meetings should be decided upon ahead of time. There is nothing worse than organizing schedules and not having anything useful to do with all your time together.

Designate someone as a moderator, either permanently or in rotation with others. This person keeps everyone on track, ensuring certain work is done by the end of the meeting. Before you begin, decide how long you want to work together and stick to it.

Try not to spend group time working independently. Everyone should come to meetings with something to include. Your time there should be spent together; not doing things you could have done on your own.

When is it Time to Seek Help?

Some people are hard to like, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them. Personal differences shouldn’t affect grades; however, uncooperative members shouldn’t be ignored. Before going to the instructor, consider:

• Are other members in the group noticing the same behavior?

• Is the member’s lack of cooperation greatly affecting the project?

• Is the problem a personal issue that can be worked out between members?

• Is the member experiencing difficulties at home or outside school that are affecting the group?

If the member is simply not interested, it may be time to approach the instructor. Doing this in person with other group members is best. Explain what the problem is, avoiding any personal attacks against the uncooperative member.


Not Convinced You’ll Need These Skills Later on in Life?

These finial tips have implications far beyond projects in school. For instance, everyone communicates differently. Stay focused on what’s being said and not necessarily on how they’re saying it. When others don’t fulfill commitments, let anger take a back seat. Try a different approach and find out what could be troubling them. Most importantly, try to be the better person. If you have the right attitude, projects tend to move a little smoother. Finally, if you need someone to talk to before going to the teacher, don’t hesitate to seek your private tutor from TutorNerds for advice and wisdom. Trust us, we know the importance of teamwork.

Basically, teachers are hoping you’ll learn how to teach and learn from each other. Even if you don’t agree on everything, and you likely won’t, respect each other’s ideas and find compromises where you can. There will be many more group projects in your adult life, learn the lessons now and not when your salary or your job is on the line.

It takes a team, Orange County!