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.

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.

As the school year begins to draw to a close, students are hard-pressed to improve their grades. It’s certainly not too late to do so, but raising a grade significantly at this point is difficult and requires a lot of hard work. If students are committed to bucking down in their classes, dramatic improvement can be made in a short period of time. It’s crucial that students take thorough notes throughout the entire school year in order for them to effectively study for final exams. If notes have not been consistent during the year, a great way to review for finals is to go back through each of the earlier chapters in the textbook, making a brief outline for each one. Students need to balance the learning of new material in the last month or so of school with comprehensive reviews of the prior subjects.

One of the main subjects that poses a problem for students learning at the last minute is precalculus. When broken down into small doses, precalculus is somewhat palatable. A few formulas to memorize here and there don’t seem like too much to wrap your mind around. But when thrown into a cumulative final on all of the year’s work, a comprehensive understanding of the material is more important than rote memorization. At Study Hut, we teach students how to problem solve when presented with different types of exam questions. For example, trigonometric functions often overwhelm students—six trig functions, inverse trig functions, graphing trig functions, properties of trig functions. The list goes on and on… However, all trig functions can be related to the most important two: sine and cosine. By knowing the basic graphs and properties of sine and cosine, every student is capable of deriving all other trigonometric properties and identities.

Think about problem solving at a comprehensive level. By knowing the basics, each student can logically work his or her way through even the toughest of problems. Best of luck!

I’ve only been a tutor at Study Hut for two weeks, but I am most impressed with my students who are well-organized. What does a well-organized student do? They fill out their agendas with all their homework and upcoming tests/quizzes. They fully take advantage of their planners. They bring in all their books and homework worksheets to the tutoring session (those that do not have the correct materials, just end up wasting time by having to call someone to bring the book or having the tutor waste time figuring what the student has to do). The well-organized students are able to get more from their tutoring session because they have a plan for what to do before they even show up to study hut. They know what classes they have homework in and are able to assess their weakest subjects so that we can spend the session working on that subject.

One of my most organized students is Tim, a junior, from Mira Costa High. Tim mainly comes for help in Geometry and Chemistry. While he may not know how to do the problems at first glance, after an explanation of the concept behind the problems, he is able to work out similar problems by himself. One of the main reasons why Tim is able to do this is because he writes down all his work on paper. I constantly stress to my students to show all their work because if they get the wrong answer, they can go back and pinpoint exactly where they made a mistake. This enables the student to make a mental note of the mistake they made and not make it again in the future. Tim also comes to each session with an attack plan on what to do during the session and he always knows whether he has an upcoming quiz or test.

In all, to stay ahead of the game that is school, one needs to be organized by making full use of the planner and to show all relevant work when doing homework!

For older students the incentives are easier to see, better math skills lead to higher grades. For younger children the final incentives of productive studying are harder to see, which is why we sometimes need to provide an extra boost of encouraged learning with a small piece of candy for a correct answer. Getting students in the mood to learn, and to appreciate their education can be one of the hardest things to accomplish as a tutor.

When the students learn how useful math can be to them and how they can apply specific math skills to real-life situations, they work harder and perform better. Mathematics revolves our daily lives. Teaching kids about everyday uses of math helps them to better understand the real world around them. Some examples of everyday uses of math included: problem solving, budgeting money, time management, calculating tips and tax, memorizing important number data i.e. phone numbers and locker combinations, and estimating distances and weights. These real world skills have major benefits towards the academic success of an individual, and can lead to a greater success in careers that you might not expect to be math-intensive such as, agriculture, law, business, politics, psychology, and music.

Daily mental math exercises to help keep your brain active are a great way to stay on top of your mathematical game. Solving puzzles and exercises such as, suduku or homework problem sets, keeps your mind sharp and ready to tackle any challenge. Mathematics may seem to be an underrated subject, but it has lasting influences in our lives everyday. From the moment we wake up to check the clock, to the number of hours we work each day to make a living, we are constantly surrounded by numbers.

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.

A lot of students from Palos Verdes and Peninsula High School come into our Redondo office despising math, and I don’t blame them. Mathematics is a tough subject that takes a lot of time to understand, and students often try to get by by memorizing the rules, proofs, and theorems without ever perceiving how they work. After all, it’s a nasty subject that I’ll never really need. Who cares about the directrix of a parabola? When do I need to know how to calculate the area of a n-sided polygon? What’s the point of being able to do basic arithmetic in my head? I can just use my iPhone calculator to get the answer, or Google search it. That’s good enough.

It’s tough to argue against these points, but I believe that putting your best foot forward when tackling math builds a solid foundation, not only in regards to academics but to life as well. If a child is willing to put in the time to genuinely understand how trigonometric identities work, they’ll be more likely to work for things in life, whether it be a job, sport, or relationship in the future. If a student understands that they need to address their poor grades in math head-on instead of ignoring it, they won’t run when life gets tough. On the other hand, if that student resorts to taking short cuts in math or gives up after trying only once, they’re likely to throw their hands up in the air whenever they face adversity. Just like there are no short cuts to becoming a great Sea King or Panther athlete, there are no short cuts in academics, especially math.

So please, help your child develop good life habits by spending some extra time one or two nights a week helping them with their math. Make sure they show their work and don’t just guess the answer. Ask them questions to see how well they really grasp the material. Tell them, “Good job!” or “Nice work!” when they’re trying their best. Teach them the joy of hard work. As a math tutor, there are no secrets to help these students. I help them first understand the basics and then build on those basics. I teach them how to systematically analyze a problem and try various approaches instead of looking in the back of the book for the answer. I encourage them to ask questions when they don’t understand something. These are all good habits that people need to succeed in life, and mathematics is a great place for children to start developing them.

Many people think math is really boring. This is because, for the most part, teachers are lame and don’t make the material interesting. There is a lot of cool and weird mathematics out there that kids unfortunately are not exposed to. Here are a couple of interesting mathematical oddities that will hopefully spark some interest in math:

You want to find the sum of the infinite series 1-1+1-1+1-1+1-… This pattern repeats forever. At first glance, you would likely say (1-1)+(1-1)+(1-1)+… = 0+0+0+0+… and conclude the sum is 0. At second glance you may say the 1+(-1+1) +(-1+1) +(-1+1) +(-1+1) = 1+0+0+0+0+… = 1. Turns out both of these are wrong and the sum turns out to be ½. Here is why:

Let’s call the sum of the series S, whatever it may be. So, S = 1-1+1-1+1-1+1-…

Now, look at 1-S. We get 1-S = 1- [1-1+1-1+1-1+1-…] = 1-1+1-1+1-1+1-… = S. This is the same as our original series. We just showed that 1-S = S which means that 1=2S or that S=1/2. Pretty crazy that you can add 1 and -1 infinitely many times to get ½.

Here is another cool little proof why 1=2:

Let a =b. Then a2 = ab.

So, a2+ a2 = a2+ab or 2a2 = a2+ab.

Now, Subtract 2ab from both sides of the equation. Doing so, we get:

2a2 -2ab= a2+ab-2ab

So, 2a2 -2ab= a2-ab

Now, we factor out a 2 from the left side of the equation which leave us with:

2(a2+ab) = a2+ab

Divide both sides by a2+ab leaves us with:

2=1.

Take a close look though. While everything seems to be right, we all know 2 does not equal 1. Can you find the erroneous step? If not, come to the Study Hut and we can show you what’s up.

Science 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!

Many students find pre-calculus to be one of the most difficult courses they take in high school. At the Study Hut we work with students to help them develop a more positive outlook on the subject. We find that the reason most students struggle with pre-calculus is because they are lacking knowledge of the more basic mathematical principles. We work to get the students up to speed with basics, such as the unit circle and trigonometric functions, so that they can become successful math students. Read the rest of this entry »