Families consider many factors when choosing a tutoring package: time commitment, availability, the test date for test prep, and finances. For some families, a ten-hour tutoring package is the best choice, even when a lot of material needs to be covered. The good news is that you can make significant progress with just ten hours of tutoring, if you follow the advice in this article.
First, prepare as much as possible before the first session. For test prep, this means reading up on the basics of the test—format, time limits, test dates, registration guidelines, etc., then taking a full diagnostic beforehand so the tutor knows your starting point. For academic tutoring, you should gather your resources ahead of time and email your assigned tutor with specific information about what you’d like to focus on during your sessions. For example, if you wish to focus on writing, you can email a writing sample to the tutor before you begin.
Second, do your homework and/or assigned practice tests between sessions. Research shows the best way for anyone to master a skill is to receive instruction, practice independently, receive meaningful feedback, and then apply that feedback to the next round of independent practice. If you have a smaller tutoring package, take extra care to get through as much content as you can do independently between sessions. That way, your time with the tutor focuses on the exact areas where you need help. For test prep, this means not only completing practice tests and sections on your own time, but also looking through the corrected test and sorting missed questions into two categories: questions for which you understand your mistake, and questions you need to review with the tutor. When possible, space out sessions so there’s ample time for practice between each one.
Third, make sure your tutor gets the information he or she needs to adequately prepare for each session. For test prep, this means completing practice tests and submitting the answer sheet for analysis in time for the tutor to receive and review the score report, at least a couple of days before the session. For both test prep and academic tutoring, let your tutor know in advance where you’ll need the most help that week, emailing instructions for school assignments when possible, so he or she can prepare and gather resources ahead of time.
Finally, ask your tutor before the final session for a “game plan” if you want to continue working on your own when your package is finished. Of course, it’s ideal to replenish your tutoring hours if you need more help, but just like one can work out without a personal trainer, it is possible (though more difficult) to continue academic and test prep work on your own. Your tutor can provide you with a plan and suggested resources for how to keep going once you’re out of hours.
While a ten-hour tutoring package may not always be the ideal choice, you can make significant progress in that time, if you’re smart and use your resources wisely!