This is why I love tutoring at Study Hut

April 8th, 2011

A friend of mine recently asked me what I like about tutoring. I thought it was a strange question, because to me it feels to me like the perfect part time job. When I told him this he just shook his head and said that he was so glad that he didn’t have to read Jane Eyre or touch a geometry problem for the rest of his life. That made me smile, because his job – car salesman – is something that I know I would absolutely hate. It’s good to know that there’s an ideal job out there for everyone, and that it’s different for everybody.
So what is it that I love about tutoring? What is that drives me to help my students, makes me review statistics and calculus at home, causes me to dream up new explanations and tutoring techniques while I drift off to sleep at night?
It’s really two things. For starters, I genuinely find high school math and science genuinely interesting. A lot of people like sudoku and word problems. Me? I like SATs and word problems. There’s a puzzle behind every exam and homework assignment; when you sit down pencil in hand it is a battle of wits between you and the teacher. Although I must no longer take those tests myself, it is still a vicarious pleasure helping my students wrestle with a tough problem, turn their mental gears, and finally achieve that eureka moment.
Secondly, I really like helping people. That sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. When I was in school I struggled with a lot of my subjects and fell behind. It’s the worst feeling, and one we are all familiar with. Who hasn’t had that dream where you’re taking an exam for a class you’ve never attended? Well my students are still going through that, and I love be able to hoist them back onto dry land.

What a new Hut takes

March 1st, 2011

Life at the Hut has been awfully exciting this week, especially for Rob and SP. Today, March 1, 2011, marks the first official day at Study Hut Tutoring in El Segundo. We are extremely excited about our new office, but with this excitement comes responsibility and a very long task list. We have been working long hours to get the walls and floors looking pretty, make the plants grow, and get some furniture in the shop. Then comes the hard part – finding the best local tutors available. Study Hut is all about, “We’ve had your teachers, and we’ve sat in your classrooms.” And we aren’t abandoning this principle as we grow and experience more success. Rather, we are embracing the reasons for our success, and adding value by improving the services we provide.

At Study Hut, we aim to provide the best possible one-on-one tutoring experience possible. Our team aims to diversify in terms of subject strengths, meaning that we like having a math tutor “expert,” a science tutor “expert,” an English tutor “expert, and so on. With this approach, we are able to cover all necessary subjects, and make sure that we are able to help our students in all subjects across the board.

Another of our huge challenges is finding an awesome SAT tutor. Study Hut prides itself on offering the best SAT tutoring available. We use the premier software in our industry to maximize each student’s efforts, and we only hire successful, intelligent SAT tutors.

PSAT tutoring at PV High

February 14th, 2011

Spring semester is underway at Palos Verdes High School, and for sophomores in the AVID program, this means exposure to a whole new style of testing. As many of us know, the SAT is a very different type of test. Likewise, the PSAT is meant to serve as preliminary exposure to this different testing style for 10th grade students. For most sophomores, the PSAT is the first test they have ever seen in which there is a penalty for guessing incorrectly.

On a typical exam in history class or biology, a student is encouraged to answer each and every question to the best of his or her abilities. Any question the student is unsure about should be guessed at using strategies such as elimination. The same is not true of the SAT and the PSAT – on these tests, students must determine their own confidence level on a given problem, and must answer two questions:

– Is this question worth spending time considering?
– Can I eliminate one or more answers with certainty?

The truth is that most students have tremendous difficulty with answering these questions, which is why so many students need training for the SAT.

PV High AVID students have a huge advantage, then, because they are exposed to this style of test at an earlier age. It gives students more time to adjust to the style and become acclimated to the scoring system. Moreover, these students receive this training for free, as a perk of being part of such a prestigious program, and because of the excellent relationship between Study Hut Tutoring and the Palos Verdes High School AVID program. It is no wonder than dozens of students are turned away from the program each year, and it should come as no surprise that the application process for 8th graders is so competitive.

Crossword Puzzles Raise Your SAT Scores

May 24th, 2010

With the increasing amount of accessible technology and decreasing amount of human attention spans, people get bored easily. Nintendo DS’s, Kindles, and iPads are meant to serve people with an immediate means of pocket-size entertainment. But what some people forget is the simplicity of those things we use every day: our words. The challenge of a cross word puzzle is usually more intriguing than mindlessly staring at a solitaire screen and the reward of a completed puzzle is oh so blissful. This particular brand of brain teaser is not only great for killing time while waiting for your parents to pick you up from practice, but also conducive to a learning environment, such as the Study Hut. You see, crossword puzzles require a certain out-of-the-box mindset to be solved. This is helpful to students who are preparing to take standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT. These standardized tests, at their core, are not about testing intelligence. Rather, they test students on whether they can adapt to a certain style of thinking and deductive reasoning in order to answer their specific questions.

For the crossword novice, the Los Angeles Times or USA Today crosswords are the best because they allow the user to see when they are correct or incorrect. Also, the Los Angles Times crossword puzzles start with their easiest puzzles on Monday and get progressively more difficult through Sunday. This is a great way to spend down time because it increases mental acuity and also builds a stronger vocabulary, another reason why it would improve standardized testing scores.

Here is an example from a Monday clue in the LA Times: “One quarter of M” (3 letters.)

For this clue, the puzzle draws upon your knowledge to recognize this as a math problem and to solve using Roman numerals. Since “M” is 1,000. One quarter of that is 250. C = 100 and L = 50. The correct answer is: CCL.

Here is an example from a Sunday clue in the LA Times: “It might have a nut at each end.” (5 letters.)

If you’ve done enough crosswords, you can figure out that they don’t mean the kind of nuts that you eat. Drawing on homonyms for nut, another type of nut might be the tool used with bolts. Since it is 1 more letter than bolt, the answer is “Ubolt.”

The mentality employed by crossword puzzles makes one think outside of the box, using verbal puns, pop culture knowledge, mathematics, history, and anything else we use our brains for. Being able to adapt to this thinking style is a sure way to keep your brain sharp, acute, and ever ready for the perfect riddle!


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…

SAT Tutoring and Scheduling

March 6th, 2009

We tutor the SAT in small groups (1-3 people per tutor) from 7-9pm every Monday and Wednesday.  We offer one-on-one SAT training, though packaged rates are not available.  Space is limited due to demand for both groups.  Fill out the contact form for inquiries and rates.