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.

Planning Makes for Better Scores

May 13th, 2010

At The Hut, we know that all students learn differently and come to tutoring with unique expectations. For those high achieving high school students who are immersed in Advanced Placement courses, SAT practice, and extracurricular activities, time management is key.

Junior and senior year of high school are the most academically demanding years of the four. This is the time when students are mastering those tough classes (AP Euro, Bio, US, Chem, Spanish…) and special skills (soccer, music, community service…) that will make them competitive at the university of their choice. With little sleep and less free time during the day, what these teens need is a schedule.

Mira Costa junior Danny came to The Study Hut in need of a little planning. With a full schedule of electives and extracurriculars, Danny had no trouble learning the material; he just needed to find the time to do it. During tutoring sessions, Danny and I spent time organizing his schedule for the week – ensuring that he would have time to do the activities he loves as well as the focused studying that he needs to ace information-dense AP Biology. With a realistic amount of time blocked out every day for biology review, and the creation of specific goals for the completion of assignments, Danny’s test scores immediately improved. With the continued use of these organization techniques, as well as weekly concept review at The Study Hut, Danny’s grades are steadily improving. By the time of the AP Biology exam, he had drastically improved his grade in the class and his ability to retain large amounts of information.

One hour of one-on-one tutoring for high school students is not only an excellent way to clarify difficult concepts, it is also a way to keep busy students on track all week long. Short-term study techniques will prepare a student for an upcoming test, but organization and planning skills with a long-term focus are the key to improving a student’s ability to learn information, retain information, and succeed in the analytic-based learning that is in their future. The commitment to a regular schedule allows students to anticipate assignments and plan their schedules accordingly. This reduces stress, which in turn makes test-taking less of an ordeal. Less panic means better decisions and higher scores. Period.

If a student can stick to a study plan and stop relying on last-minute cramming, they are guaranteed to see positive results. And a little more sleep never hurts either…

AP BIOLOGY TUTOR: Are You Ready?

April 22nd, 2009

Fewer than three weeks remain until the AP Biology Exam. Are you ready? Yes? No need to read further, then.

Still with me? Then I suppose you’ve answered no. That’s an excellent, honest first step. Maybe you’re worried that the facts and skills aren’t set firmly in your mind, that you’ll go into the test less than prepared. Doubt and anxiety are normal feelings for everyday life, but disastrous ones for tests – they can make all your brain’s resources collapse like a half-baked soufflé. Obviously there is no reason to let this happen! AP Biology is a rigorous course, and you’ve probably worked harder at it than at any other class this year. You deserve a score to show that!
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