As we’ve mentioned, there are many things you can do before the initial tutoring session to get the most out of tutoring. After you have attended your initial tutoring session, there are a few things you should do to ensure that you retain all the information you reviewed. In this blog article, we will discuss four things you should do after the initial tutoring session.
Write Summary Notes
It can be hard to absorb the lesson content or test-taking strategies your tutor is reviewing while also taking copious notes on the session material during a tutoring session. Because multi-tasking during a tutoring session may take away from you absorbing important material or test-taking strategies, I would recommend focusing on the lesson content during the tutoring session. After you’ve completed your initial tutoring session, be sure to take time to write down notes about test-taking strategies, content knowledge, and tips that your tutor reviewed during the session when everything is still fresh in your head. In fact, as Dr. Barbara Oakley teaches in her popular MOOC “Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects,” summarizing in your own words is a powerful strategy for learning new things in general. You are more likely to retain information by summarizing lesson content or test-taking strategies in your own words, than if you copy things down word for word.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
The age-old adage that there is no better way to absorb, retain, and excel at something than to practice at it as much as possible still holds true today. It may be the case that you quickly understood new content that your tutor reviewed with you. Or perhaps, you were able to quickly absorb and apply a new concept or strategy in your session. Even so, you should still take time to continue practicing using the new strategies or content that you just gained in order to commit it to your memory. Some ways that you can practice using a new test-taking strategy is to complete practice problems on a practice exam. To commit new content knowledge to your memory, try writing out or summarizing the content knowledge, drawing diagrams, or teaching it to someone else. Make sure that you are engaging in “deliberate practice” when completing practice problems. Taking time to focus deeply on what you are doing, why each step matters, and when and how you are making mistakes, is far more powerful than rote repetition, as noted by the American Psychological Association. Practice new strategies/content knowledge regularly, preferably on a weekly basis until you are completely comfortable with it.
In order to retain new and old test-taking strategies and content, it is important to review them regularly. Set aside a few minutes a day, or 30 minutes each week to review test-taking strategies and content. Additionally, prior to each tutoring session, take time to review strategies and content so that it’s fresh in your mind during each tutoring session. This will make tutoring sessions flow smoothly, as you can dedicate more time to building on concepts and strategies, rather than spending a chunk of time reviewing strategies and content that you covered in previous tutoring sessions.
Complete Homework for the Week
It is important to come prepared to each tutoring session, ready to learn new content and strategies. In order to do so, make time to complete any homework assignments or practice problems that your tutor assigned you. If you are having difficulty with the assignment, make sure to jot down your questions and ask your tutor about them during your next tutoring session.
Taking the time to complete these four simple tasks after each tutoring session will help to improve your retention of new strategies and content, as well as improve your test scores and academic performance.