Improving Academic Performance

Using a Private Tutor: A Short Rationale

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 @ 05:27 AM

MyGuru students seek private tutoring for a variety of reasons. Some are “A” students today, but striving for the best grade in the class through focused tutoring sessions in “problem” areas.  Others are “D” students, looking for long term help to improve their general conceptual understanding.  Some are already scoring above the 90th percentile on a standardized test, but realize that getting into an Ivy League university or one of the top graduate, MBA, Law, or Medical schools is only getting more intense, and thus seek private tutoring to squeeze out a few extra points on the test.  But, others are truly struggling, scoring well below average, and in desperate need of the confidence to perform at or above average.

For some students, the key issues are knowledge-based –meaning the students don’t know certain facts or understand certain concepts that they need to master to perform better.  But, in more cases than many people might realize, the issue is more emotional or psychological – the student just needs a private tutor to help them build confidence, relax, and perform in the classroom or on a standardized tests.

The benefit of customized, private tutoring is that the particular situation, strengths, and weaknesses of the student can be understood and addressed by the tutor, thus improving performance.  The problem with a high school classroom, an ACT, SAT, LSAT, MCAT, or GMAT prep class, or a college lecture hall is that the teacher is teaching a standardized set of materials to everyone.  The teacher simply can’t pick up on queues provided by individual students regarding what’s hindering their understanding, and thus some fall behind.  Or, because the material is meant to address the entire class, the teacher can’t help the fact that some of the students understand everything perfectly, and need to be challenged with more difficult material.

In other words, a classroom is “OK’ for the average student, but a private, customized experience is better for everyone, and if you happen to be particularly below or above average, then a private tutor is much more effective than a classroom experience. 

One great way to determine whether you need a private tutor is to ask yourself why it is that you aren't performing as well as you’d like.  If the answers are something like the following:

    • I don’t do my homework

    • I haven’t been to class

    • I haven’t been listening well in class

Then, you probably don’t need a private tutor.  What you need is to start doing the above things first, and see how you do.  Most likely, your performance in school will start to improve.  It might sound crazy, but truly attending class and completing the assigned homework will work for most people.  The homework is specifically designed to complement the classroom learning experience.

However, if your issues are things such as:

    • I don’t understand the laws of triangles (or economics, biology, etc.)

    • What the professor is saying doesn’t make sense to me

    • I get so nervous I freeze during tests

    • This is all too easy for me

Then, a private tutor is probably a good thing to consider.