Semester 2: How to Stay on Top

January 28th, 2019

Welcome to Semester 2! Now that Semester 1 finals are over and your 1st-semester grades are locked in, you’re now looking forward to a fresh start and a continued momentum into Semester 2. While Semester 2 is a continuation of Semester 1, there are a few things you need to keep in mind for Semester 2.
Semester 2: How to Stay on Top
Now that you have spent half of the school year in each of your classes, your teachers now expect that you are accustomed to the pace and course load of the class. They will now begin ramping up the speed and difficulty of the courses. While this increase may be slight, if you multiply this increase across each and every one of your classes, you can easily find yourself overwhelmed, and trying to play catch up.

One way to prevent 2nd-semester overload is to stay as organized as possible. If you do not stay organized with all your papers, handouts, worksheets and homework, you could soon find yourself buried in clutter, without knowing which way is up. Being unorganized will make your transition into the 2nd semester harder than it needs to be. You should have a place to put all of your individual files for each class and you should review them weekly to remove the papers and downloaded files that are redundant and unnecessary for upcoming tests, midterms and finals.

Additionally, you should dedicate time each week (if not daily) to review what you learn in each class and prepare for quizzes and tests. You’ll thank yourself come test time when you have everything organized and time blocked out specifically for studying already planned out. You will spend less time studying, reviewing and you will be more prepared for any and all tests and quizzes.

In addition to staying organized, it is equally as important to reach out when you need help with your courses in Semester 2. Consider Semester 1 as time spent building a foundation of a pyramid. In your classes your teachers are teaching you foundational concepts and testing you on them. When you do not do well on the test, you can go back and work on that part of the foundation. While you are catching up, your teacher teaches concepts that may not be related to what you are struggling with, giving you time to learn the new concepts, while correcting the old.

That is gone in Semester 2. Semester 1 is horizontal learning, Semester 2 is vertical. You are now building the steps of the pyramid, each new concept now builds on top of many different foundational concepts and the process continues from there, at an increasing speed until the end of the year.

If you find yourself struggling to learn a concept, you may find yourself already having to build on top of that very concept the next day. Now your problem has been compounded and you are now struggling with two concepts. If it is not corrected quickly, your learning pyramid can crumble. This is why it is so important for you to reach out to your teachers, fellow classmates and especially tutors to help you when you feel yourself falling behind.

If you are organized and proactive when you need help with your courses, you can be successful in your second semester.

Midterm Season at Study Hut Tutoring

November 28th, 2018

It’s that time of year again. Break out the pumpkin-spiced refreshments and crack open those textbooks; it’s midterm season!!! Do you feel like that last sentence would’ve been better punctuated with a sad face emoji? Here are a few tips from the Study Hut on how to rock your midterms!

  1. Don’t wait until the last second to prepare.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you’ve heard this one since you had to study for your colors of the rainbow test in kindergarten. But avoiding procrastination is particularly important when it comes to midterms. Maybe you can skate by with one of those lunch recess cram seshes for a normal test, but midterms usually cover the entire semester’s material. You’ve gotta space out your studying. Better yet, come up with a concrete plan of attack. Use your planner to map out which material you’ll study on a given day, or a given hour.

  1. Make flash cards.

Or Quizlet. Or both. Studies show that flashcards are one of the most effective study tools in the game. If you’re studying vocabulary, don’t just write the word and the definition; include the part of speech, and synonyms and antonyms. If you’re studying for history, make flash cards for historical figures. Even in math, make flash cards for theorems and postulates and vocabulary. If you’re doing midterms right, you should be keeping Office Depot in business.

  1. Attack areas of weakness first

If you’re totally listo for Español, but not at all ready for Algebra, make sure you allow plenty of time to get yourself up to par in math. Sticking to material you already feel comfortable with is, well, comfortable, but the most effective study strategy is to allot the most study time to midterms for which you feel least ready.

  1. Schedule a Session at the Study Hut

Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Our tutors are trained in the art of midterm-prep. If you’re looking to create a personalized study plan, or you’re just plain stumped in a subject, we’re here to help! All of our sessions are one-on-one, and we still have openings!

  1. Try not to Stress too Much  

Space out your studying enough to have some time to yourself. Cramming leads to burning out which leads to high stress and low test scores. Get outside. Enjoy autumn. Eat some pumpkin-spice Twinkies, or pumpkin-spice hummus, or pumpkin-spice Pringles (all real things).

Midterm Season at Study Hut Tutoring

When Should I Stop Tutoring My Child Myself?

January 17th, 2018

When should I stop tutoring my child myself?

When a child first enters school it is usually easy to help him or her out with homework.  Parents often plan on continuing to provide after-school help for as long as possible.  The question then becomes: when should I stop tutoring my child myself?  While there is no one correct answer to this question, we have put together a list of red flags that it may be time to look into getting outside help.

  1. School has become a source of conflict in your relationship.  Many parents are intellectually capable of doing the school work their child is asked to complete at home.  Issues can arise however, when the student is not receptive to the parent’s teaching style.  Parenting is a job that requires wearing many hats.  From convincing kids to consider the benefits of leafy greens to early bedtimes, most seasoned parents agree that it is important to pick one’s battles.  If homework and grades are causing stress and arguments, tutoring can be a tool that not only addresses academics, but also prevents additional strain on the parent-child relationship.
  2. Academic goals are not being met.  Report cards have just come out – and the results are in.  If your child’s grades did not reflect his or her intelligence or potential, it is time to rethink learning strategies.  A tutor can take a global look at a student’s strengths and weaknesses to pinpoint what is going wrong.  Is the child unprepared for tests? Disorganized and missing assignments? Or maybe he or she is bored in a group setting and needs more personalized attention in order to engage in the material?  Whatever the case may be, disappointing grades are a sign that it is time to take a different approach.
  3. Too many time constraints.  Juggling a household full of busy schedules is no easy feat.  Between soccer practice, the orthodontist, and getting dinner on the table, the remaining time left in the evening is nothing short of a precious commodity.  If your family has a lot going on in the after-school hours, if you feel like you are spreading yourself too thinly between your children, work, and maintaining a household, help is out there.  People delegate tasks to house cleaners, dog walkers, gardeners and personal chefs not necessarily because they are incapable of doing it themselves, rather it is a choice that frees up valuable time.  With the help of a tutor families can continue to prioritize academics without having to run themselves ragged fitting in all the many competing after-school time commitments.

Study Tips from a CDM Math Tutor

October 29th, 2015

Having a hard time studying for your math test? One of our tutors from the Newport Beach/CDM Study Hut shares her study tips!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
See what I did there? Math is about learning the steps. This holds true for Algebra, Geometry, Stats, and even Calculus. You have to be comfortable with what you’re doing at each step, no matter what curveball is thrown. Think of a baseball player who spends hours in the cage, or a basketball player who finishes every practice with 10 made free throws (Kobe Bryant has actually been known to come to the gym early to make 800 jump shots before practice)! The more practice you put in, doing the problems over and over again, the easier it will be and the better you will do on the real thing.

Give It a Scent
While you’re studying for that Geometry midterm or Trig final, or another subject for that matter, chew a unique smelling gum, or spray a new perfume/air freshener. Then, while you’re taking the test, chew that same gum, or spray that same scent. The smell will trigger your memories of studying and improve your performance!

Study Somewhere New
While it is great to have a spot where you always study (it has everything you need and a comfy chair!) it’s good to mix it up sometimes. Go to the local library, Starbucks down the street, or just a new spot in the house. Just like with the new scent, your memories of studying will be linked with the feel/look of the new study spot.

This CDM math tutor's favorite mnemonic.

This CDM math tutor’s favorite mnemonic.

 

 

Create Mnemonics
While it is rarer that you need to memorize lists in math, memorizing formulas can be daunting. Using a common mnemonic can ensure that you commit that bad boy to memory. For example, many people like to use Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally to remember the order of operations (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, Addition and Subtraction). The only thing better than using a common one like this is making one up for yourself, because then it has personal meaning and you are more likely to remember it.

Ask for Help
No one can do it alone! Tutors at Study Hut have been collecting tips and tricks like these for years, and would love to share them with you! Call today to start building strong study habits and acing those tests!

Keeping Up With Homeschool

January 17th, 2015

Keeping up with homeschool can be difficult. There is no regularly scheduled class that you have to attend every day, your teacher is just a strange, faceless online entity, and the classes are rarely as interactive as ones in a traditional school environment. All these factors, combined with the fact that most students find it very difficult to teach themself new material, make it very easy to fall behind. At first, it can seem like a harmless thing to do. “Oh, I’ll just make up that day tomorrow.” But soon one day behind becomes two, then three, and suddenly you are fifteen class days behind and the end of the semester is just two weeks away. It is important to remain diligent in keeping up with your homeschool classes. There are a few things that you can do to make sure that this happens.

 

Try to have the work completed by the day that is assigned, or the date it is scheduled to be done. If you know that you will not have any time to log in to your online class on a certain day or week, get it done beforehand and be ahead instead of waiting until after and struggling to play catch up. Schedule a regularly recurring appointment with a tutor twice a week if you cannot motivate yourself to keep up in classes, or if the material is challenging to teach to yourself. Our one-on-one tutors will make sure to keep you on track, and make all the material easy to understand.

Summer Tutoring

July 9th, 2014

Imagine if each year you allowed three consecutive months to pass without ever considering diet or exercise; the result would be low energy, an underperforming immune system, and many other undesirable consequences. Just like any other part of the human body, the brain requires regular attention and maintenance to perform to its potential.  Students often struggle to get back into the swing of academics after a long summer break, as their brains have been stagnant for weeks on end.  Here at Study Hut Tutoring, we make sure to keep our students sharp through the summer time, allowing an easier entrance into the new school year and helping them to start strong and maintain that impressive GPA throughout the course of the academic year.

Summer tutoring offers many benefits to students.  For some, summer tutoring serves as a valuable time to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the previous school year, and to clear up and solidify conceptual understanding that they will need to progress to more advanced courses.  For others, summer tutoring serves as an opportunity to learn new material before being exposed to it in the classroom, giving them more confidence and an easier route to an “A”.  And still for others, we help with writing enrichment, summer reading requirements, and preparation for the Fall SAT and ACT.

Of course, we at Study Hut Tutoring also appreciate the value of leisure time.  Our founders, Rob and Sean, along with our tutors have been making the most of this summer by spending plenty of time on and in the ocean, be it to surf, spearfish, or boat across the channel to Catalina Island.  We will be seeing off our managerial staff on an annual leadership trip at the end of July, and look forward to building an even stronger team to help our students through the remainder of the summer and next school year.

If you would like more information regarding our summer tutoring services, or you would like to sign up your son or daughter for summer help to prepare for the upcoming school year, please feel welcome to contact us at info@studyhut.com.  Enjoy your summer!

Summer Tutoring for Elementary Students

June 17th, 2014

Summer Tutoring for Elementary Students

Summer tutoring at the Study Hut is a great idea for any elementary aged student. Many people assume that tutoring is only for struggling students who need remediation. While tutoring is great for these students and will help them get back on their feet grade-wise, tutoring is also beneficial for students who are doing great in class, especially over the summer. The summer vacation is three months long, a very long time to have to remember everything you learned last year. And most teachers like to jump right in when class starts, as they have enough material to cover in a year without including weeks of review. The new Common Core standards emphasize coherence in mathematics, so students need to be prepared to build on the previous year’s learning. Here is the link for more info:

http://www.corestandards.org/other-resources/key-shifts-in-mathematics/

So, how do you make sure you are ready for these new standards? Practice! Tutoring is the perfect way to keep your brain active over the summer. Just like you have to work out to keep your muscles in shape, you have to keep your brain working to keep it in “school shape”. Tutoring will keep your study skills sharp and have you ready to go as soon as class starts. No more wasting the first week of school trying to switch your brain back into “school mode.” Was there a subject last year you kind of learned, but were never clear on? Maybe something that is going to make another appearance this year? (Long division? Fractions?) Tutoring will clear that up without the added stress of homework and other subjects and tests. Confidence is a key to success in school, and confidence comes from practice. With a little bit of tutoring in the off months, the next year will be a breeze.

10 Reasons to get a tutor

May 29th, 2014

1. During the school day, teachers’ attention is spread among many students. A tutor can create a targeted plan for your child’s specific needs.

 

2. Today, kids have increased access to technology, busy parents, and have extremely busy schedules, all of which can potentially distract them from their studies. Time with a tutor gives them the time to focus only on homework or studying.

 

3. Tutors have the time to explain a concept in several different ways, instead of having to move class along at a certain pace.

 

4. Tutoring can also teach study skills, which can then be applied to what’s going on in school.

 

5. Even for students who are doing well in school, tutoring can provide a competitive edge to do even better.

 

6. Summer tutoring can prepare students for upcoming difficult subjects, such as algebra, or reinforce what was already learned that year so September isn’t spent playing catch-up.

 

7. For high school students, individual or small group tutoring can be essential for APs and SAT subject tests.

 

8. For younger kids, tutoring can help boost standardized test scores.

 

9. A tutor can be a useful sounding board for an upcoming project, paper, or exam, and can help prevent the stress and frustration of leaving an assignment for the night before.

 

10. Whether it’s third grade math, high school chemistry, or middle school history, tutors have expertise in their subject and can make it more engaging and maybe even fun.

 

A Personal tutoring session

May 22nd, 2014

Today I got to work with one of my students, Eric, on his ninth grade biology homework assignment covering natural selection and evolution.  He has a quiz coming up so his homework reviewed the sections in the book.  While working through the problems, Eric and I had a great discussion about each of his answers.  We came up with lots of examples for the different terms he had to know.  The example that stuck most with Eric was how the finches that flew to the Galapagos Islands represented the founder effect of genetic drift.  By geographically isolating a small population of a species, the genetic variation is limited causing the species to change and adapt to the new environment.  He enjoyed thinking up other situations in which the founder effect could be applied.

The one topic that confused Eric was the Hardy-Weinberg principle for genetic equilibrium.  This is a tough concept to understand because it theoretical and complex.  First off, we had to memorize the conditions that are necessary for this equilibrium to take place: very large population, random mating, no natural selection, no immigration/emigration, and no mutation. We talked about why those criteria are necessary for keeping the allele frequencies constant and that helped him remember each of those restrictions.  After establishing the basis for the Hardy-Weinberg principle, we went over how to calculate allele and genotype frequencies.  This uses two different equations and can be confusing at first.  After showing him how to use the equations to solve for the frequencies, I gave him some practice problems.  After a rough start, he did really well by getting the last three questions right.

After a quick review at the end of the session, Eric was much more confident about the material that was on his quiz.  We got a lot done during the session and he improved a lot!

Algebra and Chemistry tutoring for RUHS

March 27th, 2014

I’ve been tutoring Kelsey from Redondo Union High School (http://www.redondounion.org/) for about three weeks now. After briefly talking about Kelsey’s day, we discuss how she thinks she did on her most recent quizzes or tests, what assignments she needs to work on in that moment in time, and how we can prepare for her upcoming quizzes or tests. Kelsey mainly comes into Study Hut to get tutoring for Chemistry and Algebra 2. My goal is to help Kelsey overcome her struggles in these two subjects by accommodating her with tutorials that will help her retain information efficiently, develop excellent study habits for any of her future assessments, as well as motivate her to be the best student she could be.

The first day I worked with her we completed her review packet for her upcoming Chemistry test. At the time, Kelsey was learning about specific heat capacity and how to find the missing variable, whether it was the amount of heat gained or lost, specific heat, or final or initial temperature. Kelsey came into Study Hut confused about the basics of this particular subtopic in Chemistry, so I went over the fundamentals by breaking down every significant piece of information she had to know.
The second day I worked with Kelsey, we reviewed for the Algebra 2 test she took last week. Kelsey was being tested on her knowledge of conics, including parabolas, hyberbolas, circles, and ellipses. Kelsey was confused about the difference between each of the conics, how to go about finding the different types of points for each type of graph, how to formulate an equation when given specific points on the graph, and lastly, how to graph each type of conic. I went over the details of each graph and provided her with simply strategies on how to memorize the specifics of each graph.