Buckle down and prep for Finals in advance

November 26th, 2012

The four weeks between Thanksgiving and the winter holiday break can be the toughest lap of the academic race for many students. Everyone loves to buckle down and cram for the “last lap” before Finals in January, but this “second-to-last lap” in December is brutal. With tons of distractions, from family coming into town, holiday shopping, and making sure to enjoy the holiday spirit, it comes as no surprise that many students have a tough time focusing on their tests and assignments.

But this is not the time to be distracted. In fact, this is the most crucial season of all. These four weeks are a perfect time for teachers to play catch up. Oftentimes, teachers will try to cram in two full chapters or units during this brief period, and the effects on students’ grades can be tremendously impactful. Some students will be distracted and choose to focus time and energy on interests other than school. These students will pay the price come January, and many grades will be far too low going into the break to be brought up. Other students will realize the incredible opportunity in front of them. They will buckle down, hit the books, and earn excellent grades on the tests, quizzes, and assignments offered.

For math classes, including geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, the methods and concepts discussed this month will probably be the toughest content you will see on your first semester Final Exam. Keep this in mind, even if you are feeling overwhelmed by the material. If you can master these tough concepts now by studying in advance and working with your tutor, your holiday break will be significantly less stressful, and your Finals preparation in January will be a much easier process. This holds true for other classes too, including history, Spanish, English, biology, chemistry, physics, and even your elective classes.

Summer Study Skills

August 1st, 2012

It’s summer time! The much anticipated vacation time, where school becomes a distant memory, and the beach and the sun the relevant priority! While vacation time is extremely important in rejuvenating the academic soul, a total abandonment of study and study skill practice can prove harmful when the first day of school arrives. Over the summer, it is highly recommended that a basic study routine be established to keep up the academic brain. If you know you have a difficult subject encroaching the following school year such as chemistry or physics, setting a designated time aside each day to familiarize yourself with the content before class actually begins can give you a head start when school begins. Here at Study Hut we can help you maintain and continue developing your study skills through individual one on one sessions where one of our expert tutors can help design an introductory approach to any academic subject that will be taken the following school year. Summer time is also an excellent time to brush up on literacy skills, especially for those in the younger academic grades. Regular scheduled reading, as well as vocabulary cards, created to memorize and understand newly introduced Summer relaxation is important in maintaining a healthy balance in the pursuit of rigorous academic endeavors, however, it’s important to always keep the study mindset sharp!

PV AVID Finals tutoring

January 11th, 2012

Study Hut tutors could not be more excited for the big Finals push. We have students from AVID coming in for private tutoring all week, but we also have a huge event scheduled for Saturday. As in years past, we will be hosting an all day tutoring and study session on campus at Palos Verdes High School. We will have access to multiple different classrooms, and tutors will get to go into different rooms and help students with the specific subjects they need most help with.

This year, there will undoubtedly be math tutoring, science tutoring (including biology tutoring and chemistry tutoring), history tutoring, from World History and EHAP to U.S. History, Government, and Economics tutoring. Math tutoring will include algebra tutoring, geometry tutoring, algebra 2 tutoring, pre-calculus tutoring, trigonometry tutoring, and maybe even some calculus and FTS tutoring.

We will also, of course, have English tutoring, writing tutoring for students with an upcoming final paper, Spanish tutoring (all levels), and probably a few other subjects as well.

The event is free (and required!) for all AVID students, and speaking from past experience, it is an extremely productive event for all students involved. The teachers always come to support, supervise, and offer their knowledge as well.

And best of all, we are getting El Taco Man ordered, so he will be showing up with his cart, and all the tacos any young man or woman can eat. Does it get any better than this? I think not. See you on Saturday.

Staying on task

October 31st, 2011

Here at Study Hut in Manhattan Beach, we know that there’s more to academic success than simply knowing the material. Organizational skills and general study tricks are perhaps the most important “subjects” we teach, because without them it’s difficult to stay on top of the ever-growing workload of high school.

We, the super smart and super awesome tutors of Study hut, develop customized study plans for every student that walks through our doors, based on their own habits and personalities. However, here are a few basic strategies that can work for anyone who’s having troubles with procrastination (read: everyone).

1. Designate Goof Off Time
Nobody is a machine. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find a subject that you love so much that homework is actually fun (yay physics!)
However, a lot of the time you’re going to have to deal with subjects that you straight up don’t like. And that’s alright! However, there’s a physical limit to how much loathsome boredom a human can take before they get distracted and goof off.
And that’s alright, too!
The trick is to actually portion off part of your day to goof off – that can mean facebook, video games, TV, or whatever else.
These things are fine in small quantities, and they make your life more fun! So give yourself over to them, but for a set period that you’ve planned for ahead of time.
The other way – checking facebook every time you feel like it during your problem sets – is incredibly distracting, hinders your progress, and thus ends up stressing you out even more.

2. Page Blockers
If you’re having troubles staying off of fun pages, try downloading a page blocker. There are lots of them online, but a few great ones are “Concentrate” and “Self-Control”. They work by physically disabling your browser’s ability to visit certain sites for a pre-determined amount of time.
This serves as a sort of guardrail; if you feel like procrastinating for a tiny bit they’ll help keep you on track.
However, they aren’t cure-alls: just like real guard rails, if you’re really determined to go off the trail you’ll be able to hop over them easily enough. However, they do serve as reminders about where your priorities should lie.

3. Enjoy the process!
It is much easier to work if you enjoy the process. Sometimes that’s difficult, but there are things you can do to improve it. Choose a room that’s pleasant to you, one that you will enjoy working in.
Playing music while you study can be a big help. It can be marginally distracting, but sometimes that’s a sacrifice that’s worth making. If you have to choose between working at 90% efficiency because you’re listening to music, or working at 5% efficiency because you’re constantly getting bored and taking breaks, then that’s not really any choice at all, is it?
Enjoy the process, or if you can’t, make it enjoyable.

4. Healthful snacks in small quantities
Lay off the sugar and junk food. Small doses of healthful foods keep your energy up and keep you focused. Almonds, walnuts, carrots, broccoli, and dried fruit are all great choices. Overly sweet things like candy or poptarts send your blood sugar into a tail spin, and release hormones that make staying focused difficult. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with a poor diet.

5. Don’t use these tips to procrastinate.
This is the important. It’s easy to think that “applying” tips like these is productive work. And to a certain extent that’s true.
But, if you find yourself spending twenty minutes reading reviews about the best page blockers, or preparing a gourmet snack tray, or meticulously organizing your iTunes folder into different playlists for each subject, then, well… We see the problem here, yes?
Apply these tips, but bear in mind that the final goal is to actually get your schoolwork done.

That’s it for now! Call Study Hut in Manhattan Beach for more information about how to study right and slaughter your coursework and SATs

AP Biology, AP Phyisics and Chemistry

October 23rd, 2011

The sciences can be some of the most difficult classes in high school. From basic chemistry, to AP Bio and AP Physics, students often struggle with understanding the facts and concepts taught in classes, and using them to ace their tests. There are some serious science nerds, including myself, here at the Study Hut ready to help you flourish and learn in these difficult, but very important classes. But, for effective tutoring, the sciences are dealt with in a slightly different manner than tutoring math or history.

Classes such as math are learned through repetition of problems, usually through homework. The concepts, although important, usually take a back seat to the problems themselves. To get tutored in math, you can simply show up and do your homework with a tutor, learn the material, and ace your test. But studying for the sciences are much different. The sciences, especially biology, are much more conceptual, than problem based, and concepts take longer to effectively teach than doing problems. If you are struggling in a science class, it can more often than not be pointed to a shaky understanding of the broad concepts which connect all the facts and anecdotes learned in class. So this presents a unique challenge to tutors; It is almost impossible to effectively teach the material if a student comes in expecting to learn a whole chapter’s worth of material in an hour. To get the best help possible, students should read the text, go over their notes, attempt problems, and then come to tutoring in order to clarify and solidify the shakier concepts.

So if you are struggling in a science course, study ahead of time, know your weaknesses, and then come to the Study Hut as often as needed to stay on top of the material.

Finals are coming our way

May 31st, 2011

Finals are around the corner and to best aide in tackling these challenges is to know your test taking strategies and to be well prepared. Make sure you study the material, get help if you need it (a Study Hut Tutor can save you from stress!), and follow these steps to approaching your exams.

Know how to approach essay questions. Carefully read each essay prompt and start with the easiest one. This will help build your confidence and get you to start relating your ideas to the topic. Once you have a starting point, brainstorm keywords and topic sentences. Next formulate a plan or rough outline and start writing. Use complete and clear sentences, and make sure you follow the standard essay format by introducing your topic, present supporting ideas with facts and examples, and summarize the main points.

Improve your math score. When studying math in Homework sets or performing on test make sure you are clear, complete, and thorough. Always write down the equation you need for the problem before you start the problem. Always label your vertices, axis, variables, and answers clearly. When studying for the final go back through the chapters in the book and study the examples at the beginning of each chapter taking notes on key points. Always draw a picture or diagram when you can and always show all of your work when writing the solution to a problem.

Always check your answers. Even if you know the answer is correct double check. All it takes is a incorrect sign on the front of a number to be the factor between an A and a B on a test. You may have read the question wrong or made a careless mistake.

Go over all returned tests. If teachers are courteous enough to return your previously graded tests they can be a great opportunity to acknowledge and correct your previous mistakes. Go over the questions you missed, write down the correct answer, and study related material. You never know if you’ll see the same question again on a midterm or final exam.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Late-Night Cram Session

April 26th, 2011

From 3rd graders to high schoolers to college students, there seems to be a major misconception about what it truly means to “study for a test.” The common definition seems to be “that thing you do the night BEFORE you actually take a test.” And you know what? Sometimes that works. If you’re studying spelling words, or memorizing a list, studying close to the test is definitely beneficial. But let’s face it, high schoolers and collegiates: you’re not studying for spelling tests any more. The subjects you’re working on are harder, and the ideas you’re learning are more complex. The material has changed, so the way you’re studying for it has to change too.
Here at the Study Hut, we try to find out tests dates as soon as is humanly possible. Most tests require AT LEAST a week of prep time to be truly prepared (especially if you’re in an AP or Honors class). Some tests require more, some less. Of course, as the class goes on, you’ll discover how much time you need to prepare. But that amount of time is NEVER one evening. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t guarantee a good grade off one night of studying.
My most successful students are the ones that make a plan, and follow through with it. For example, I recently had a student who had a Social Studies chapter test coming up. He wasn’t doing particularly well on tests, so we set up a plan. We set aside a certain amount of time each night so that he’d be studying only one section at a time. That way, the night before the test, HE HAD ALREADY STUDIED THE WHOLE CHAPTER! All he had to do that night was review the concepts he was having trouble with and strengthen his understanding. No cramming, no headaches. And he did markedly better on his test! He broke the work down into manageable bits over the course of a week, instead of stuffing everything into his head the night before. And it made all the difference.

AP Tests Draw Nearer!!

April 26th, 2011

AP tests are right around the corner! Exams kick off bright and early on the morning of May 2nd. Most AP teachers have practice AP exams scheduled, either during class time or on weekends, but it’s crucial at this point that you master the layout of the tests. Each test has a dramatically different format, so be sure to research those which you’re taking on the College Board website. How much time do you have? How many questions? How long should essays be? These questions can all be answered online or in an AP review book, which will also provide hints for test day.

The most important thing to keep in mind before embarking on a four-hour-long AP journey is to not become overwhelmed. Yes, it is easy to get swallowed up by calculus equations or to drown in AP euro’s sea of knowledge. But if you take the material section by section, you certainly will be able to rise to the challenge. Break down the material you’re learning into manageable chunks so that you can learn specific topics that have been difficult for you. Flip through your textbook and jot down the concepts with which you have struggled most throughout the school year. Focus on learning those concepts, and all that you’ve learned during the year will fill in the gaps. Your tutors at Study Hut are all well informed regarding both layout and content of the AP tests, so take advantage of them as an important resource for studying. If need be, go to your teacher with questions. Don’t be worried about asking for help! You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to support you.

The good news: after AP exams, classes tend to wind down and become much more relaxed. All your studying right now will pay off if you’re able to get college credit, pass out of entry-level classes, or even just have a head start on future material. Take the next few weeks seriously, and you will reap the benefits. Your focus and hard work now will pay off.

Announcement: Study Hut El Segundo is here

February 9th, 2011

Study Hut Tutoring is proud to announce the opening of its newest location. Study Hut El Segundo will be having its soft opening on Monday, March 7, 2001, at which point students will begin subject tutoring and SAT tutoring as usual.

We already have a small client base that will be starting immediately. These students currently attend El Segundo High School, El Segundo Middle School, Richmond Street School, Center Street Elementary, Arena High School, St. Bernard High School, among other schools.

Study Hut Tutoring El Segundo will be staffed by young, local tutors, fresh out of college. We specialize by subject, and can handle almost any class through the high school level. We can tutor almost every AP class, and we also tutor Loyola Marymount students in select subjects. Finding a good LMU tutor can prove to be difficult, and our students are always ecstatic about the service they receive.
Here are a few of the subjects that we tutor at Study Hut Tutoring:

– Math tutoring: algebra; geometry; trigonometry; pre-calculus; AP Calculus; AP Statistics.
– English tutoring: All levels, K-12th grade, and college.
– Science tutoring: biology; chemistry; physics; marine biology; physiology.
– History tutoring: world history/European history; U.S. history; geography; economics; government
– Spanish tutoring

We also provide one-on-one SAT tutoring in El Segundo, as well as training for the SAT 2s, PSAT, ACT, PLAN, HSPT, COOP, TACHS, and ISEE.
For pre-enrollment and guaranteed placement in a preferred time slot, or for general questions before March, please call our Manhattan Beach office at 310-546-2408, and ask for the owner, Rob. We will add the El Segundo phone number to the website as soon as it becomes available.

How do we comprehend other dimensions from our own? (Applied science and math)

August 10th, 2009

barilan_internet-thumbScience most definitely should not be handled by the faint of mind. People need to understand that the difference between three-dimensional and two-dimensional is the number of axis. Any two-dimensional (2-D) object is defined by a “x” and “y” axis , where as any three-dimensional (3-D) object is defined by a “x”, “y”, and “z” axis. In simpler terms, a 2-D object has length and width, whereas a 3-D object has length, width, and height, therefore giving it volume.

Physicists believe there are anywhere from 10 to 26 physical dimensions, each discretely chosen from the patterns of atomic string vibrations. How would you explain the 10th dimension to someone? Perhaps the way to understand something abstract is through an analogy. Instead attempting to explain the concept of 10 dimensions through scientific terms, I will first attempt to explain how we relate to 2-D objects through actions in the 3rd dimension, and then relate the 3rd and 4th dimension together. I really hope that you are able follow along since I think this is one of the most fascinating physical characteristics of our world, and very few people understand the concept of multiple dimensions. Well, here we go!

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