I hope everyone has enjoyed a relaxing and rejuvenating summer so far… still a little time left! Nonetheless, many students have recently begun their SAT/ACT tutoring processes – or will be starting their tutoring soon in the fall – so I wanted to address one of the most common and important questions we receive: how does a student maximize the tutoring process?
The linchpins of any successful tutoring process are a regular meeting schedule and regular homework completion. We strongly recommend weekly meetings, leading right up until the test date. Meeting more than weekly is usually superfluous – a student can instead do more practice on their own during the week – and meeting less than weekly can make it difficult to retain information and maintain a consistent practice schedule. Between meetings, a student must complete homework, usually two test sections but up to a complete test if the student is willing. And, the student must be very careful to obey the time constraints of those completed test sections. Particularly on the ACT, completing test sections without additional time is essential, since the timing is the most difficult component of the test for many students.
Simply churning out test sections each week, though, is not a complete strategy. A student must also perform mindful review of their mistakes. Prior to a tutoring meeting, students are advised to check their homework with the answer key, look at questions they missed, and identify which they know how to do versus which they need to review further with a tutor. The tutor can help students identify the topic areas with which they are having the most trouble, and then the students should mark those topics in their curriculum books and study them as part of their homework routines.
Ideally, a student could review key topics right before doing the next week’s homework, so that those important missing pieces are fresh in the student’s mind.
The tutor and student may want to keep a running list of particular questions that embody those topics a student needs to study most. Then, once a student has completed a number of tests, a homework assignment could be to redo/review all of those key questions instead of completing more new test sections. This way, a student can consolidate their gains and not risk losing information that they had sharp a few weeks ago, but haven’t covered recently.
Finally, students should take at least one mock test during their tutoring programs to gauge progress. While homework is a decent indicator of student progress, nothing can quite replicate the accuracy of the results from a proctored test.
But coming back to the beginning, there’s an old saying that “half of success in life comes from showing up.” It’s true! Keeping regular meetings is the most important step in ensuring that tutoring works.
Please do no hesitate to contact us with any other questions about maximizing the tutoring process, as we want every student to succeed.