Time Management

June 17th, 2015

Time management is an important skill that all students need to learn. Excellent time management skills will help students be more productive and less stressed. Managing their schedule will keep students from drowning in their work and activities and becoming overwhelmed.

 

A great first step to making time management easy is using a planner. Writing down all of their assignments will keep students from freaking out that they forgot an assignment or do not remember what day their upcoming test is on. Planners are also great for giving a visual layout of the upcoming week. This helps students see exactly what they need to get done and by when.

 

Setting reminders and alarms in your phone also works really well if you are forgetful. For many students simply writing something down is not enough. Set an alarm a few days before a test or quiz so you know to start studying. Or set a reminder for a certain time in the day to start working on your homework.

 

 

An important part of time management is making room for everything. Between school, projects, sports, community service, and a social life, the average teenager has a lot on their plate. If they know they have a lot of practice on certain days each week, they should plan to have that night’s homework done early. Students should not take on more obligations than they can comfortably handle. They will become too stressed out and do poorly at everything. Large amounts of stress impacts a student’s grades as well as their overall health.

Succeeding in Summer School

June 11th, 2015

It’s difficult to keep up in summer school classes. Five to six hours a day of the same topic is a long time to concentrate. Not only that, but teachers are trying to cram in an entire year’s worth of material into just a few short weeks.

One strategy to make sure you stay on top of summer school is to make sure that you take amazing notes. Great notes are detailed, organized, and easy to read. Make sure that you are writing legibly. Organize your notes by topic. This way, if you are looking for information on a certain topic you can easily find it. Make sure to take notes on what your teacher is saying, not just the lecture slides. They often go into important, more detailed information than just what is on the slides. You can bet that that same information will be on the test.

Try and stay focused. The hours are long, but the tests are very frequent so you do not have time to slack off. If you miss a concept, make sure to see a tutor before you are tested on it. It is also a good idea to schedule regular tutoring sessions. One-on-one time with a tutor can allow you to explore the material in more depth and assure that you fully understand all of the concepts. There is very little time to play catch up because of the rushed schedule. Turning in all of your homework assignments is crucial. Do not get lazy because the lost points will add up and hurt you.

As long as you stay on your A game, summer school is an amazing way to knock out some classes quickly.

Middle School Social Studies

February 27th, 2015

Cooper started coming a few weeks ago to work on his general study skills.  He did well in class last semester, but his grades were beginning to slip this semester due to a lack of interest and effort.  He worked on study skills and social studies with his tutor Sara.

Sara worked with Cooper on pre- and post-reading strategies to help his retention.  A big factor in helping him remember key terms was folding his paper in half at the beginning of his lesson.  He wrote key terms on the left side and then their definitions and any other relevant information on the right side.  He could easily hide either side and quiz himself on the topics.  After this, he would put the large concepts within the section into a concept map.  Sara would have him explain to her why each bubble was connected and how they related.  At the end of a chapter, Sara would also have him summarize and compare the different time periods so he would not get similar periods confused.  He would also go over what the key accomplishments in each time period were, why they were important, and how they came about.

After working together for two weeks, Cooper told Sara that he had gotten a one hundred percent on his most recent quiz!  He thought the quiz was only going to cover the most recent lesson, but it was actually on the entire time period.  All the ways he had been studying with Sara helped him remember all the important information that he needed to succeed!

Achieving Dreams!

February 21st, 2015

 

Wyatt began coming to Study Hut halfway through eighth grade. He had an essay to work on so he worked with Tori. She taught him the general structure of a five paragraph essay. Wyatt’s mom e-mailed Study Hut the next day, saying that Wyatt felt “rejuvenated and inspired” after his session with Tori, so he started coming to Study Hut once or twice a week.

Tori helped him develop his critical thinking and writing skills for high school. She also helped him work on his application essays for St. John Bosco High School. Wyatt knew this school had an amazing reputation in regards to sports and he had his eyes set on the prize. He started his freshman year in the Fall of 2013 and has earned his spot on the honor roll every semester. He was at the top of his English class thanks to all the skills he worked on with Tori, and he always felt prepared for all of his assignments. His teacher was constantly impressed with his work.

Now he works on all of his subjects at Study Hut. He is has an incredibly busy schedule. He commutes to school every morning, and has training for football or basketball year-round. Wyatt recently got his first offer to play football in college and Tori could not be more proud. She said. “I often feel overwhelmed in my own life with school, work, and student teaching, but Wyatt’s commitment to doing what it takes to achieve his dreams truly inspires me to do what it takes to achieve mine. I could not be more excited for what the future has in store for him.”

 

Tori and Wyatt

Catching Up in Online Classes

February 20th, 2015

Online classes can be difficult to keep up with.  Students can go to class when they want, and skip a day or two without any tangible repercussions.  Lack of face-to-face communication with a teacher can be discouraging when topics do not make sense.  Many online schools also have confusing and frustrating homework submission guidelines and processes.  All these factors lead many students to put off online classes until the last possible moment at the end of the semester.

Connor came in over summer to work with his tutor, Laura, on his online United States History class.  The long blocks of text assigned for reading every night were dry, and hard to get through.  Laura was working on getting her teaching credential to become a history teacher, so making history exciting was an easy task for her.  She explained the importance of the events that Connor had to learn about and their lasting effects on society today.  Turning history into something relevant instead of some distant story that happened a long time ago made the material interesting again and much easier to work with.

Being able to tie together the past and present made Connor’s essays a breeze.  Laura helped him research his topics.  They then turned that research into pertinent examples that helped support his thesis.  Laura’s retellings of history also helped Connor to answer and respond to other students in all of his discussion board assignments for each unit.  With all of Laura’s help Connor was able to complete all of his assignments and finish his online class on time!

New Semester Study Habits

February 10th, 2015

The start of a new semester is a great time to change any bad habits that were keeping you from earning the best grades you could last semester. Zoning out in class, not turning in homework, and not getting help until it was too late are all bad habits students fall in that keep them from getting amazing grades. Here are some helpful habits to start this semester that will keep you on top of your grades.

 

If you are in a class that is constantly giving you trouble, set up a regular weekly tutoring appointment. A tutor can make sure that you fully understand the concepts taught in class. This way, you will understand your homework and will never feel left behind when you are confused by new material. Many students avoid doing the work for a class when they do not get it, which only exacerbates the problem.   The added structure of learning outside of class will help you keep up with the work.

 

Make sure you take amazing notes this semester! Some students do well with Cornell style notes while other students remember information better with an outline style. Figure out which format works best for you. Make sure that all of your notes are legible. There is no point taking notes only to go back and not be able to read them!   While going back through your notes, write additional notes or highlight key terms and important concepts. Going over the material only while taking the notes is not enough for most students, so rereading them and marking them up will leave the concepts fresh in your mind.

 

Don’t forget to stay organized this semester!   You cannot do well in any class if you lose the notes and cannot find the assignments you need to be turning in.

Creating a Productive Workspace

January 26th, 2015

The beginning of a new semester is the perfect time to change any poor study habits that you slipped into last semester. A few minor changes can make all your study sessions more efficient, so you can spend less time studying and more time on other things. One of the key factors to making sure that you stay focused on your work is having a great environment.

 

You should start with a space that is free from distractions. This can mean different things for different people. It could be a room at home that is quiet, a library, or a coffee shop. If you cannot keep focused on work when you are working with your friends, then going with them to the library is not a good fit. Keep your space clear from anything that you do not need to complete your work like magazines, your cell phone, or anything that you could zone out and play around with.

 

You should also make sure that your workspace has everything you need to get the job done. Extra pencils, a calculator, and plenty of scratch paper are great things to keep around. If you have a home set of textbooks that you do not bring to school you should keep them at your workspace as well. Make sure that you have enough light to do your work. If you work somewhere too dim, you will get sleepy. Alternatively, if your light is way too bright you will quickly get a headache.

West Torrance High School Study Sessions

January 13th, 2015

This week West Torrance High School will be having two finals week cram sessions at the library. Friday will be in the evening from 3PM to 6PM. Saturday will be in the morning from 9AM to 12PM. Study Hut tutors from the Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach locations come to the study sessions to help students in large groups as well as individually.

The library is split up into different sections where students can get help in the specific subject that they are studying for. This helps them focus because they do not become distracted by their friends who are trying to learn different subjects at the same time. Once a study feels like they can move on to a different subject, they can move on to the different area of the library and fully concentrate on the new material. Sessions like these are also helpful because then students can work with other students in their class. Many times, students are unable to find a convenient time and location to work together with their peers. These West High study sessions resolve that issue.  Students are also able to work through problems together and go over any difficult concepts on the study guide together until a tutor becomes available. This makes their study time more efficient and effective. Many students often have the same question, so the tutor can answer all of them at once. Alternatively, the students can help each other and figure out the problem together. Whether you plan on attending one or both sessions, these study sessions will be highly beneficial to any student.

Learning Missed Concepts

December 29th, 2014

With finals quickly approaching, it is time to start relearning or brushing up on any concepts that you may have missed and just skimmed over during the semester.  A lot of students just never learn a concept if they do not get it because they have the mindset of “it will just be on this test and then I will never see it again”.  This is a dangerous pattern of thinking because in most classes, the concepts build on top of one another and show up again on later tests and on the final.  There is still plenty of time to relearn something that you missed earlier in the school year before finals.

 

If you did not understand the concept because of the way the teacher taught it, seek out a different way to learn it. Come in to Study Hut for one-on-one tutoring.  If you are cramming the night before and do not have time for a tutoring appointment, try researching the concept.  There are plenty of free online resources that are solely for teaching, such as Khan Academy.  Remember, these are not as good as someone who knows the material walking you through it, but they definitely come in handy in a pinch.

 

While trying to learn a concept, it is important to practice practice practice.  Do practice problems.  Try different types of problems.  Fill out worksheets.  Anything you can do to engage with the content and solidify the concept in your head will benefit you in the long run.

 

Once you think you have mastered it, try teaching it to someone else.  Explaining a difficult concept to someone will help you learn it better.

Retaining Information Over Winter Break

December 11th, 2014

For some students, their fall semester finals do not happen until after they return from winter break. This is frustrating because a lot of information can be lost over the two weeks that school is not in session. If you are a student at one of these high schools, here are some ways you can make sure that you do not forget any material over the break.

 

Make sure you at least glance over material you have learned every day. Do a few review problems for math and go through your vocabulary flashcards for foreign languages or English. This does not have to take very long and is very effective at keeping the material fresh in your head.

 

If you have homework assigned over the break, do not save it until right before you go back to school. Either try and get it done in the beginning, or before you even go on break, or work on a little bit every day. If you do not look at it at all until the Sunday before school starts again, the concepts will likely be fuzzy and you will be really stressed trying to finish it up the night before.

 

Create a study plan if you know which classes will have the more difficult finals. This way you can start your studying, and know exactly what to do. It will make it easier to do your studying when you have a clear end goal in sight, and starting your studying early will make those A’s even easier to reach!

 

Winter break is also a great time to go over any concepts you never really got the grasp of but skimmed over because the class kept moving.  Review them with a tutor who can help teach you and make the connection that you are missing.  This way you will fully understand before you get to your final!