Improving Academic Performance

How to Work With an AP Physics Tutor

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

How to Work With an AP Physics Tutor

One way to ensure that you get the most value from your education is to hire a guide, someone who can provide personal attention to facilitate your learning process.  Given that AP Physics is one of the most challenging courses you can take in high school, and given that it is usually preparation for even more specialized studies, hiring a dedicated AP Physics tutor makes a lot of sense.  The responsibility for getting the most out of your education, however, still belongs to you, the student.  Here are some steps you should take to ensure that you are using your AP Physics tutor’s services wisely.

Do Your Best On Your Own

The most successful physicists and engineers have been the ones who are independent thinkers.  Before dumping all the responsibility in your tutor’s lap, try your best to read and understand the material and work through the problems on your own.  If you get stuck in one place, don’t stop there and throw up your hands in frustration; instead note the difficulty you are having and move on as best you can.  Not only will this build the study skills that you will need to progress along your educational path, it is also cost effective.  The time you spend with your AP Physics tutor should be spent on filling in the gaps in your understanding, not starting from scratch.

Prepare Ahead Of Time

When you sit down with your tutor isn’t the time to decide what you need help with.  You should spend time before the tutoring session reviewing what you know and figuring out where the gaps are, so that you can focus on those specific areas that you need help with.  Do you not know the formulas?  Can you not figure out which ones to use?  Be ready to bring your AP Physics tutor up to speed with where you are, so that he or she can help you get caught up with the current material.

Ask Questions 

Receiving help from a tutor is not a passive activity.  You should take advantage of the personal attention to ask questions and seek clarification of anything that you don’t have a solid understanding of.  Make sure you understand what you are learning from both a computational and a conceptual perspective.  Unlike a teacher, it is not a tutor’s role to spoon fed you the entire curriculum, but rather to respond to your specific needs and fill in the gaps in your understanding.

Review What You Learn

Once the session is over, briefly review the concepts that you have acquired, and make sure that you understand them when you don’t have the tutor to explain them to you.  Part of being a good scientist or engineer is being confident of your results without external verification.  Review them again before the next session and make sure that you still have them; if you don’t, see the previous step.  Build the habit of rigorously convincing yourself that you have learned the material, and any actual test you take will come to seem like a piece of cake.


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