Tag Archives: tutoring

SAT Tutoring Timeline: How Long Does It Take to Get the Best Results?

Anaheim SAT Tutoring Timeline: How Long Does It Take to Get the Best Results?


SAT tutoring is a popular service that many students and parents seek out to achieve the best results on important high school standardized tests.  SAT tutoring can be very effective given that you have an experienced Anaheim tutor.

Educators who give private lessons for the SAT should be experts on the exam and be able to answer any question a student has . They should also have a concrete plan for how best to help the student prepare for the test.

As a private Anaheim SAT tutor, I am often asked by students and parents what SAT preparation will be like, what will the student be doing, and how long it will take to achieve the best results.  Here, I will provide an example procedure for preparing a student for the SAT.  If you want the very best results that your student can achieve, then you should start tutoring early enough to accommodate steps similar to the ones outlined below.

  1. Initial Practice Test/Diagnostic Test
  2. Tutor Scores and Reviews
  3. Review Problem Areas and Incorrect Answers
  4. Discuss and Teach Personalized Strategies and Test-Taking Techniques
  5. Second Practice Test
  6. Tutor Scores and Reviews
  7. Tutor Evaluates what Did and Didn’t Improve from previous test.
  8. Discuss Second Test, what worked and what didn’t
    1. Possible Session(s) to go over consistent problem areas/specific lessons for necessary skills
  9. Third Practice Test
  10. Tutor Scores and Reviews
  11. Review wrong answers with tutor, finalize best strategies for student
    1. Possible Session(s) to go over specific areas or specific sections
  12. Practice Single Sections and/or full-length tests until test time
  13. One Final Practice Test Taken one-two weeks before real test
  14. Final Review Session of Final Practice Test + Test Day tips

Here, we can see a decent outline of what some ideal SAT tutoring can be.  Notice that the bolded terms are practice tests.  The core foundation of most effective SAT studying is found in taking full-length practice tests.  These allow the student to get used to the test format and instructions, get used to the pacing required to finish all of the questions, and get used to the styles of questions and answers.  Some of the most common problems on the SAT – even for advanced students – are running out of time, not understanding the directions or format, and being confused by new types of questions.

Notice also that following each bolded practice test is a designated time to score and review the practice test.  While even just the act of taking a practice test is beneficial for students, reviewing the correct answers is even more effective at promoting student learning and improvement.  Grading the practice tests also gives tangible evidence of improvement and also a good indication of what the student should expect to get on the actual test.  Your SAT score should not be a surprise if you’ve been studying and preparing effectively – it should be similar to your most recent practice test.

An experienced tutor can also analyze trends in your mistakes and in how you take the test.  This can help them choose the best strategy for you – SAT tactics are not as one-size-fits-all as many would have you think.  After giving a student a new strategy (such as techniques for skimming passages, or skipping certain problems, or designated annotations, etc.), they can practice it together and ultimately take another practice test to see how effectively the student implemented it.

After the second practice test, there should be some time to do more intensive and specified review on areas on consistent difficulty.  In general, this should be after the second practice test and not the first.  This is because a lot of problems can be remedied after the first practice test (the first test is almost always the lowest score and the most problems), so time shouldn’t be spent going too in-depth until a second test is taken.

When you do finish the second practice test, the tutor can evaluate the mistakes that are still being made and can give potential strategies for the student to try.  They can also go into more detailed review in areas where the student needs to improve or learn new skills.  This review/strategy process can go on for as long as needed until the third practice test.

The third practice test is then a way to evaluate if the new strategies are effective and if the new skills have been adequately executed by the student.  At this point, the student will be experienced with the test and the type of questions.  Grading and reviewing the practice test can show if some old test-taking strategies need to be changed if they weren’t effective for the student.  It also will show if there are any specific areas where the student is still struggling.

The first three practice tests and the review processes with them will be the majority of many SAT preparation timelines.  At this point, the student has likely optimized their score to very close to their potential.  After this, any additional tutoring is usually to continue to practice difficult skills, work on consistency in answers and scores, and keep the test-taking skills fresh until test time.

The third test can be the last practice test if the real test is around the corner, or the student can take another practice test a week or two before the real test.  This is to make sure they’re ready for the real test, but it ideally should not be in the immediate days before the real test to avoid fatiguing the student.  A tutor can also give last test day tips and motivational advice before the real test.

So, the timeline for effective and efficient test prep encompasses the time needed to take and review at least three practice tests.  This amount of time can be shorter or longer depending on what skills need to be improved and how long it takes for the student to learn them.  Ideally, these practice tests should be spaced out to avoid the student getting tired of the test or bored.  This is not the only way to effectively prepare for the SAT, but it is an example of a good foundation of what you can expect when wondering about efficient, quality SAT tutoring.

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 TestsAll blog entries, except for 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.


Community College: Don’t be a Dropout

Don’t Be Another Community College Dropout!


Community college can be an effective and efficient alternative to a four-year university.  Community colleges offer programs that are shorter, more career-focused, and at a fraction of the cost.  Plus, they’re usually much closer to home for an easy commute.  Even students looking for a bachelor’s degree should consider a two-year school since many offer transfer programs after you’ve completed two years.  However, you have to be careful to avoid the bane of many community college students’ educational careers: failing or dropping out.

The National Student Clearing House reports that six years after enrolling, only 27% of students completed their two-year school program in the United States.  Probability-wise, a student attending a four-year public school is expected to be twice as likely to graduate when compared to a student at a two-year public school – our private San Diego college tutors are here to help.

There are many, many factors contributing to community college students dropping out or failing their programs.  Chief among these is the difficult learning curve associated with adjusting to a college program and workload and the convenience and seeming necessity of dropping out to work full-time.

If you are taking advantage of the benefits and low costs of community college, then you should be aware of the lower success rates so that you can actively fight to make sure that your college experience is a successful one.  Here is some advice to make your community college experience a successful one.

Give Yourself Outside Accountability

Arguably the hardest part of succeeding in college has to do it by yourself.  You are not required to go to class; you often don’t have parents that are making sure you get good grades and stay on track, and there are so many students that teachers and advisors often don’t have the time to follow up with you and keep you on track.  Essentially, you have to make yourself learn and do everything all on your own – a daunting and difficult task for anyone.

Here’s the secret: you don’t have to do it all on your own if you find others to help keep you on task and held accountably.  It is easy to skip class, shirk assignments, get poor grades, and ultimately give up if it’s only you who knows about it.  It’s easier to stay in bed if there’s no one to nag you to get up and go to class.  It’s easier to skip your homework after a long day of work if no one tells you that you shouldn’t.

You need to find others to hold you accountable during your moments of weakness and help keep you motivated to achieve your goal.  Here are some simple ways to do so:

+ Look to Friends or Family

Telling close friends or family members about your classes and program is often a simple and effective way of gaining outside accountability.  You don’t want to let down your family, do you?  Ideally, find someone who has been through the college process themselves and who is interested in helping you succeed.

A tip that I’ve found helpful is to give someone a copy of your syllabus or put your syllabi up on a wall or the fridge.  That way, someone else can check up to ask you about assignments or if you’re studying for an upcoming test.

+ Join a Study Group

Joining or making a study group with fellow class members is a great way to stay ahead of assignments and studying.  Sometimes there will even be TAs assigned to help students in a weekly designated study session for the class.

Take advantage of these opportunities, but also schedule yourself to go to all of them.  Find a friend and the class and tell them you’ll be going to every study session.  Or, you can host a study group yourself.  This way, people will be expecting you to attend, and you will feel accountable to do so.  Even if you don’t feel like you need the extra studying, go to the groups anyway.  Use it as a chance to get ahead and stay confident.

+ Go to Office Hours

This is advice that I give to all college students, and you can read more about it here.  If you go to all of your professor’s office hours to visit them and work on the class material, then they will begin to expect you and know you.  This can help hold you accountable because you won’t want to skip a class or do poorly and disappoint the professor.

+ Find a Private San Diego Tutor or Advisor

Often, school advisors are too busy to give you their full attention at a large community college.  However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still seek out their help and advice.  However, a fool-proof way to have someone keep you focused and accountable in school is to hire a private San Diego tutor.

An experienced tutor can do much more than help you study for an upcoming test in your math class.  An experienced tutor can look over your program requirements and guidelines, take a look at your syllabi and schedule, and help you plan for your success.  A tutor who you see weekly can help you plan, tell you what to do, and check-in to make sure you’re doing it.  They can help you study for classes, teach you lessons in subjects they are experts on, and make sure you aren’t steering off course.  Ask for an experienced tutor who can help you with college advising and scheduling.

Book you private San Diego college 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 TestsAll blog entries, except for 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.

20 Tips for New Tutors (Part V)

Twenty Tips for New Tutors Part Five


Go Back to Easier Concepts When Necessary

There is nothing wrong with a high school student that doesn’t know how to add two fractions or doesn’t understand when they need to use a comma.  Many key, basic topics can be easily missed if a student had a bad teacher or a difficult time with a topic.  Unfortunately, their current teachers are unlikely to go back and review earlier or easier materials for each student that needs them.  As a private Irvine tutor, you should take the chance to help them practice any easier concepts that they need to know – even if they “should already know it” or it should be “too easy.”

Use Positive Reinforcement and Motivation

Students who need tutoring often lack confidence in the subject you are tutoring them in or are unsatisfied with their current performance.  Low self-esteem can be a detriment to their performance and enjoyment of a subject, and you should do your best to improve it.  Help them feel good when they do something well or when they understand a difficult topic and don’t ever put them down for having a hard time with something.  A student should never be made to feel stupid when it’s your job to help them.

Don’t Balk When Something Isn’t “the Way I Learned It”

Classes and teaching methods grow and evolve.  Teachers also all have their preferred methods and styles.  Don’t be constrained to doing everything the way that you learned it.  Just because it worked for you doesn’t make it better than the way their teacher is doing it.  Now, you can still teach things a different way to see what works best for your student, but don’t shut down a method just because you’re unfamiliar with it.  Take the opportunity to learn something new yourself.

Stay on the Same Page with the Parents

You may spend most of your time teaching and speaking with a student.  But, if it was the student’s parents who hired you, you should also make sure that you are keeping them updated.  You should be aware of their expectations as well – it isn’t unheard of for a parent to blame the tutor is the student performs poorly on a test or in a class.  Combat this by keeping them updated on what you’re doing, how the student is progressing, and what their reasonable expectations should be.

Educate Yourself

I find it damaging to my pride as an educator when a student asks a question that I don’t know the answer to.  If I’m supposed to be the expert in the subject that I am teaching them, then to me, that means that I should be able to have most of the correct answers on demand confidently.  There’s nothing wrong with needing to google something every once in a while, but you should not always be telling a student that you “don’t remember” how to do something or that you “never learned that.”

And those are a few of the many pieces of advice that I’ve garnered from my experience teaching and tutoring.  You will keep improving as you gain more experience and begin to hone your teaching style, but don’t be afraid to use some of these tips to help you get started.

Read part four 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 TestsAll blog entries, except for 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.


Participation Points: Fake It Till You Make It

Tips From a Private Orange County Tutor: Participation Points – Fake It Till You Make It


Whether you are in high school or college, you are likely to have classes with grades that incorporate some type of “class participation” credit. More and more teachers are including this factor to help incentivize students to speak up, ask questions, and contribute to communal discussion while in the classroom. It is also commonly included in online or hybrid-style classes where there is a requirement to post comments or reply to others in an online discussion – book your private Orange County summer tutor today.

Your participation grade may be well-defined (two required comments in class per week for full credit, participation in a designated group discussion for credit, total discussions tracked throughout the semester, etc.) or it may be more arbitrary where the teacher simply assigns a grade based on how much they feel you’ve been contributing during the class. This grade is usually around 5 – 10% of your grade, but I’ve seen grades as high as 20 and 25%. Regardless, it should be easy points that you can get.

As a student myself, I despised participation grades. In high school, they were typically the “well-defined” variety, and I struggled when I did not have any questions or what I thought were interesting comments during class. In college, the participation grades transitioned mostly to the “arbitrary” group, and I never knew what my grade would be until the end of the class.

I’ve found that many students voice similar concerns. Maybe you consider yourself to be shy and don’t like speaking up in class. Maybe you just never have any questions that need answers. Maybe you’re embarrassed by your questions and don’t want to look like you don’t understand. Maybe you feel like there’s never a good opportunity or opening in the conversation for you to contribute something. These are all common issues, and it is okay to feel this way.

The advice that I give is simple: fake it.

An easy and effective tactic to solve any of these issues is to come up with a question that you already know the answer to. Take something from the beginning of the lesson, or something you already understood, and ask about it anyway. This might seem counterintuitive, but here’s how it benefits you:

If you’re shy or anxious, it takes a lot of the stress away by asking something you already know. Now, instead of having the anticipation of not knowing the answer and the pressure of having to try to understand and learn something new, you will know that you just need to ask the questions and allow your teacher to give a response you already understand. And, importantly, you will also be getting good practice at making yourself speak up. It’s okay to have anxiety or feel shy in class, but you will need to be comfortable asking questions for when you do need help in the future.

If you feel like you don’t have any real questions, this allows you to get your participation points without the stress. You can ask simple questions that you know, or you can challenge yourself to come up with more complex questions. This can show off your knowledge by still being a question that gets you credit. Remember, the class participation points will help your grade, so you need to treat participating just like any other required assignment: make yourself do it.

If you’re embarrassed by the questions you have, this tactic will allow you to ask questions that you consider less embarrassing. If you feel embarrassed by “easy” questions, then ask something complicated that you do understand. Better yet, ask something complicated that you don’t understand. Don’t worry about the answers your teacher gives and don’t worry about understanding. Remember that you are doing this for the experience and the participation grade. Consider listening to some of your classmates’ questions and mimicking the same types of questions they have. Doing this too, you will hopefully also start to recognize that there’s no need to be embarrassed by your questions and that many of your classmates either don’t care, have the same confusions themselves, or won’t ever think about your question later.

If you don’t know how to speak up and find an opening in a class discussion, this can make the process easier. Often, a student will listen to the previous point and spend some time thinking about a related comment or question. In the meantime, however, the discussion has already changed topics and moved to something else. Now the student has to think of something new, only for the conversation to change again. Combat this by taking something straightforward that you understood and make up your mind to ask it early. Questions and comments like “so it sounds like you’re saying…” “do you mean that…” and “that seems similar to…” are good roots. Similarly, you can purposefully misunderstand someone and ask about it. Remember, you need credit and practice. Your comments and questions don’t need to be profound – they need to get you your points and make you more comfortable in the setting.

Treat your class participation grade like the assignment that it is and get it done. This strategy of coming up with “fake” questions can make the task easier regardless of what you felt was holding you back before. It can also give you good practice with speaking up in class for when you do need to ask questions and get feedback. Remember, many students struggle with participation grades and that’s okay if you feel that it’s difficult. To get a perfect participation grade and learn how to speak up in class we can apply the classic adage about confidence: “fake it ‘til you make it.”

Our private Orange County tutors are full of great tips for students. Book your private Irvine tutor for the summer.

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.

Three More Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Irvine Tutor

Get the Most Out of Your Private Orange County Tutor: 3 More Tips


We discussed here three pieces of advice to help you have successful lessons with your new tutor. In short, the tips were to send them your material ahead of time, have specific goals in mind that you want them to help you reach, and to show them your previous graded assignments to review. These are beneficial actions that can best allow your tutor to evaluate your situation beforehand and help you work toward your goals in the sessions – book your private Irvine tutor today.

Now we’ll talk about advice for a tutoring session itself. Here are three things that you should and shouldn’t be doing if you want to get the most out of your lesson.

Do Assignments Early

One often under-appreciated benefit of having tutoring appointments is that it makes you accountable to someone else to finish your work on time. This benefit can be amplified if you strive to do your work before your tutoring session. This way, you will already know what parts confuse you and what parts you want to focus on before your tutor arrives. This can save time and energy and also reduce the stress caused by procrastinating. Get your assignments done early and use your tutoring appointments as a deadline to make yourself finish work ahead of time – you’ll be grateful you did it later.

Be Working and Ready

Unless your tutor is bringing you the material you need to study, you should already be working before your tutor arrives. Have your paper/notes/laptop/practice test or whatever necessary materials out and ready. A lot of time is wasted in tutoring sessions by dawdling and getting prepared in the beginning. Get yourself in a studying mindset ahead of time and have your materials ready. This also shows that you are professional and eager to improve – good traits to practice displaying for the future.

Don’t Focus on Complaints

One of the most common conversations a tutor has with a new student is the talk about how the student dislikes their class and/or teacher: the teacher is mean or isn’t fair, the class is too hard or confusing, other teachers give an easier class, your assignment was graded harshly, the teacher doesn’t know how to teach, etc. While many of these problems can be valid – there are many terrible teaches and unfair classes out there – they shouldn’t be a focal point of your Irvine tutoring. If your goal is to improve your grade in a class, then you should be focused on what steps you need to do to accomplish that. You likely aren’t going to change your teacher; you can only change your approach to studying and working. It’s okay to explain the situation and vent to your tutor every once in a while, but don’t become one of the students who only want to complain and gossip instead of working to improve.

Remember: it’s you and your Irvine tutor working together to help you reach your goals. If you set yourself up for success with your tutor, then you will be able to achieve it.

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 PSAT Tutoring: Don’t Stress About the PSAT

Tips from an Irvine PSAT Tutor: Don’t Stress About the PSAT


If you are considering taking (or have already taken) the PSAT, you might be wondering how important the test and your scores on it are. PSAT stands simply for “Preliminary SAT,” so its predominant purpose is to be an introduction to the standardized testing style of the SAT. The PSAT is a full-length, proctored, standardized test administered by College Board (the same group that makes the SAT). As such, it’s a good early simulation of the conditions and pacing that you can expect on the SAT – book your private Orange County PSAT tutor today.

That being said, I will take a somewhat controversial opinion in stating that the PSAT is not very important or significant for students. You should not worry and stress about getting a good PSAT score or not. You don’t need to study specifically for the PSAT. You also do not have to seek out and pay to take the PSAT if your school is not giving it to you for free (or requiring it). Here’s why:

1. PSAT Scores Do Not Improve SAT Scores

It is relatively well-known that students who take the PSAT tend to have improved scores on the regular SAT when compared to students who never took the PSAT. This is one reason why many schools offer the PSAT for free or require it to be taken – they believe it will boost their students’ eventual SAT numbers a year or two later.

However, the exact same effect is seen when taking any official SAT practice test: the first test you get a lower score, then the next test (even if it’s taken only a few days later) your score “magically” jumps up by 100 points or more. This is simply because students are not used to this type of test until they try it. In the first practice test they learn about the question types, they read the instructions, they get an idea of how fast they need to go, etc.

If you have never taken a practice test, then the PSAT will have this same effect for you. However, a practice test is just fine, and arguably better since you will have the test to go over and review what you got wrong. There’s nothing intrinsically special about the PSAT test itself that brings your scores up. It’s just practice.

2. The National Merit Scholarships Aren’t as Common as You Think

A very common reason given for taking the PSAT is the opportunity to win a national merit scholarship for your score. These scholarships are given to students who score particularly well on the test, and it is a reason that many people give for taking the test.

While I do agree that every opportunity to earn potential scholarship money is valuable, the National Merit Scholarships tend to be blown out of proportion for how available they are. Using the official 2017-2018 annual report, we can find that 1.6 million students took “eligible” PSAT exams that year. Of those students, about 2% got a nice “good job” certificate for their high scores. No scholarships for them. Only 0.5% of students earned a scholarship for their score.

Many blogs say you need to take the PSAT to potentially be a merit scholar, but students should recognize that only about 1 in 200 test takers earn one.

3. The PSAT Is Not the Best Practice

The PSAT is objectively easier than the SAT. It is also shorter but gives you more time per question for some questions. It also does not have an essay.

These differences are not huge, but they are significant. If you are preparing for the SAT for college applications, you want your practice to mimic the real thing as closely as possible. Easier tests might leave you over-confident before the real test. Taking shorter practice tests might not prepare you as well for the length of the actual SAT. This becomes significant if you are planning to do the essay, which the PSAT will not prepare you for. Similarly, the no-calculator section on the PSAT might mess with your pacing since you get nearly 20% more time on PSAT no-calculator math questions.

The purpose of this message is not to convince you to not take the PSAT, or to not take it seriously when you take it. On the contrary, I recommend taking it to all of my students. It’s cheap ($17 – though some schools make it free and others add on a little more in an admin fee), you might win a scholarship, and it gives you proctored, standardized test experience in a testing environment. Ideally, I think students should take a practice PSAT, then the real PSAT starting in 8th or 9th grade. In 10th grade, you can take the PSAT as well (or again), but you should also be incorporating official SAT practice tests in your studying.

The reason for this blog is to reduce the stress associated with the test. If your school doesn’t administer it, don’t worry. You are allowed to take it at a neighboring local school that does offer it, or you can just skip it. You don’t need it to improve your SAT score. You probably won’t be missing out on a merit scholarship. It is not the best way to practice. And if you aren’t happy with your PSAT score, again – don’t worry. You can still do very well on the SAT if you start early, use the best, official preparation material and practice tests, and consider looking into an experienced Irvine SAT tutor to guide the way.

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.

Get the Most Out of Your Private Orange County Tutor

Get the Most Out of Your Private OC Tutor: 3 Quick Tips

Private tutoring is a solution for academic woes that continues to grow in popularity. Whether it be for a difficult high school class, an essential standardized test, a confusing college course, or a looming cumulative final, more adults and young adults are seeking out tutors to help them achieve the best grade possible. After tutoring dozens of students in each of the above categories and more, here are some of my quick tips for how you can achieve the best results with your personal Orange County tutor.

Send Them Your Material

This tip is first and is first for good reason. If you want to set yourself up for a good tutoring lesson, you should always strive to send your tutor the material you need help with ahead of time. Preferably a full day or two before your session. If you have study guides to review, homework to finish, or just class notes on the topic you are struggling with, then send them to your tutor. If it’s for standardized tests, then send them any practice tests you’ve already taken, score reports you’ve already received, or practice material you’ve already purchased or been given.

The reason is that it will lessen the time at the beginning of your session that your tutor would normally have to take to get acquainted with your specific material and find the best way to proceed. Hiring experienced and qualified tutors is a necessity, but classes are taught by many different teachers with many different curriculums and many different priorities. Your Biology 101 teacher could have wildly different expectations and required topics than other teachers and other schools. Give your tutor some time to review your material to make sure they know what you need help with before your lesson is due to begin.

Have Concrete Goals

Make sure you know what you want to get out of tutoring. Are you working toward your social science degree and really need to understand everything in your statistics course? Are you trying to get through your last math class and just need to make sure you pass? Is your GPA important to you but you don’t really care about AP Lit? These are all things that will be useful for your tutor to know.

If you’re aiming for specific test scores or working towards a specific goal, a tutor can help you achieve that – if you tell them. Teaching someone math who’s failing and needs to get a C will have a much different approach than someone who is already doing well but wants to get an A. And both cases are different than teaching someone who really wants to learn and understand to do better in the future rather than someone who wants to get a grade and never do it again. These differences can change how your tutor will approach your lessons and studying recommendations.

Show Them Your Grades

Anything that you have that you’ve already finished and is graded: quizzes, tests, practice tests, essays, projects, etc. Seeing how you’re doing on these assignments can be instrumental in diagnosing your specific problem areas and finding appropriate solutions.

How you do in an Orange County private tutoring session isn’t always indicative of how you’ll do on your own in a classroom or testing setting. Reading a passage and answering questions quickly might be easy when you have your tutor to help, but that doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense and you have to read the paragraph four times when you do it on your own. In math class, you might understand the lesson but make simple mistakes on the test. If your tutor sees this pattern in your grades, they can dedicate more time to repetition or revisiting specific problem areas. Viewing these grades can also give them an idea of what your teacher is looking for, how they make their test, and how strictly they grade. This is all important in how they should proceed with your tutoring.

Don’t forget that the job of a tutor is to help you achieve your individual academic goals. In order for them to be effective in this task, you should provide them with all of the tools you can. If your experienced tutor knows what your goals, can review your material on their own, and can view and evaluate your performance, they will better be able to tailor specific lessons for you that can best help you succeed.

Book your private Orange County tutor from 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.

Last Minute AP Exam Advice From an Anaheim Tutor

Tips From an Anaheim AP Tutor: Last Minute AP Exam Advice

The AP Exams are upon us! If you are taking a test or tests this week or next, you might be looking for some final pieces of advice to get a good score – it’s not too late to book a private Anaheim AP tutor.

There’s a whole population of students across the United States that are stressing and studying for their big exams who are in desperate need for last minute help. Unfortunately, the internet has been filled with generic, repetitive, and otherwise unhelpful AP exam “tips” that dominate your search results when you’re looking for help. You’ve seen them all before: “make sure you sleep,” “eat a good breakfast,” “take deep breaths,” etc.

Everyone has heard these words of wisdom at this point. They have nothing to do with the AP exams and are not useful for students looking for practical advice. If you’ve made it to the end of high school and are taking AP exams, but don’t know that you should try to sleep before a big test, then you might need to reevaluate your priorities.

Instead, here are some tips that you might not have heard yet, and will hopefully better help you navigate your preparation for the exams.

I Have More Than Two Days Left to Study

1. Take a Practice Test!

Please, if you haven’t taken a practice test yet, take one now. Stop reading, find a test (preferably an official one), and take it. Hopefully, your teacher has already had you take at least one practice test, but if not, you should be striving to take multiple before the real thing. There is nothing like taking a full, timed mock AP exam to prepare you for the real thing. Look at what you did wrong on your practice test, then try to improve it on your next practice test.

2. Find Accountability

Have someone make sure that you are doing the preparation you need to. It is difficult to self-study and hold yourself to a schedule (especially for many high schoolers), so find someone to help you. Whether it’s a friend or classmate who agrees to take timed practice tests with you, a parent or teacher who supervises your study schedule, or an experienced tutor who guides you through your progress, everyone can benefit from a little accountability. It’s much harder to procrastinate when someone is expecting and waiting for you to show them your work.

3. Get Feedback

Taking practice tests and using study guides is great. You can study effectively and efficiently on your own. However, it can be tough to know where you stand in terms of succeeding at the test. Look to a teacher – who has likely overseen many students taking the same exam – to help you figure out what you need to work on or improve (READ: Irvine AP Tutoring: 5 Ways to Improve Your AP Exam Score).

If there are a few areas that you struggle with but are great at the rest, then you might be wasting valuable time by continuing to do full-length tests and reviews. Conversely, if you know your stuff but you are leaving several questions blank on your practice tests because you run out of time, then you may need to focus on pacing and prioritization instead of continuing with your flashcards. Find a teacher, tutor, or someone otherwise experience with your test who can look at your practice tests and help you find what to do next.

I Have Two Days or Fewer Left to Study

1. Cram. But Cram Selectively

A common piece of advice before any big test is to stop studying, relax, and focus on being in a healthy, well-rested, positive state of mind. Apparently, “studies show” that studying the night before the test does not improve test results when compared to good night sleep.

This advice is partly true. Don’t stay up all night, don’t cram full study guides and practice tests the day before your exam, and don’t try to memorize a semester’s worth of material overnight. But that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from cramming. Pick three to five facts – whether it’s vocab, formulas, or some history – for you to bluntly memorize before your test. Pick things you aren’t already confident in, and cram and memorize them. Only pick a few, but make sure you know those few very well. If they come up on the test, you might get an extra question or two correct that you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t crammed. Do not exhaust yourself memorizing tons of facts right before the test. Do pick the last few things that your short-term memory can hold to help boost your score a tiny bit.

2. Stop Studying Sooner and Optimize

We’ll keep this short. A lot of the general and common knowledge regarding big tests is true: stop studying right before the test, get good rest, eat good food, get to a good mental state. Do not read this guide and think that you should wear yourself out cramming and doing practice tests. Practice tests in the days before, small cramming before the exam, but rest and self-help before exam day.

3. Trust Yourself

The AP exams are less out to trick you than other standardized tests. They are testing for knowledge. If you’ve kept up with your studying, then you likely do have the knowledge to answer many of the questions. Trust yourself, try not to overthink, and don’t get in your own head when reading the questions. Students change the correct answer to an incorrect one more often than vice-versa on most multiple-choice tests. It’s easier said than done, but this is your last reminder before the tests.

Good luck on your AP exams!

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.

La Jolla Tutoring: Things Students Can Do Before The Year Ends

La Jolla Tutoring Tips: Four Things College Students Can Do Before the Year Ends


The year isn’t over yet, but summer is on the mind of many students. While you cram for your finals – book your private La Jolla tutor today – it’s okay to do a little planning for your summer. College students are expected to stay busy and add to their life and work experiences over break. Here are four ideas to get you started.

1. Apply for an Internship

As you know, the job market is more competitive than ever and a good degree isn’t enough for highly sought after positions. Graduates are expected to have at least one internship in the field in which they wish to work. Make sure your resume is up to date, and have a template for a cover letter ready to go for when you find a promising internship. Most internships aren’t paid, but allow you enough time to pick up a part-time job.

2. Make a list of Goals for the Summer

Whether you want to learn a new language or visit a new country, summer is the perfect time for self-improvement. Choose things you enjoy and are curious about, then commit enough time over the summer to reach your goals. The more skills and life experiences you can pick up over the summer, the more prepared you will be for the next year of school

3. Look Back Then Move On

While it’s important to reassess the school year, it’s also important to not dwell. Don’t beat yourself up over missed opportunities or lower than expected grades. Commit to improve and move on. Our private La Jolla tutors are here to help you catch up over the summer and give you the confidence to make next year even better.

4. Plan a Trip

After a long, grueling school year, you’ve earned a vacation! Whether it’s a road tip in your home state or a trip abroad, summer is the perfect time to feed your wanderlust. Traveling is a great way to grow as a person, and will allow you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. No matter how far you go, a trip to a new place will make you more confident as you head into a new school year. Look into study abroad opportunities at your University.

End the year strong with the help of a private La Jolla tutor from TutorNerds.

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 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.