While the thought of working with an online tutor for extra help in chemistry may seem financially burdensome, excessive, or just unnecessary, there are huge benefits to establishing a regular schedule with a capable tutor.
Now, more than ever before, comprehending and keeping up with chemistry has become exceedingly difficult as the majority of curriculum has switched to online delivery. Investing in your education by establishing a working relationship with a qualified tutor can provide a plethora of benefits throughout the year.
When To Get a Chem Tutor
Students often find themselves struggling and realizing extra help may be needed within two to three weeks of beginning a high school or college chem course.
Whether it’s struggling to keep up with the onslaught of math skills tested in the first couple of weeks of class, trying to memorize trends in the periodic table, practicing stoichiometry until proficient, or preparing for a standardized test at the end of the year, tutors can help with all of these things!
There is no shame in asking for chemistry help or proactively preparing for a year of chemistry class by setting yourself up with regular review sessions.
One of the Most Challenging Courses You’ll Take
It’s no secret chemistry is one of the most challenging courses students take in either high school or college. Why not prepare with a little extra help from an online tutor?
Online tutors, especially in chemistry, can aid students in getting back on track and even working ahead of their class schedule. Regular practice is the number one way to succeed in chemistry; tutors can help with this!
Tutors assist students by reviewing previous tests and going over missed questions with feedback. With the dedicated extra time, tutors can create an atmosphere where students take more of an interest in the course itself, which can lead to a greater understanding of subject matter while in class.
For standardized tests like AP, IB, and SAT subject exams, tutors can really add an additional layer of review and content coverage. Tutors provide an alternative way of understanding content and offer differentiated instruction.
And finally, tutors help to instill higher confidence levels in students which eventually leads to more success in class.
1. Tutors Help with Missed or Misunderstood Content
Quite possibly the most obvious reason for a tutor is to help a student get back on track. Catching up is likely 90% of the reason a tutor is requested.
A student falls behind in chemistry and, eventually, after one or two low test grades, a tutor is requested. Hiring a tutor to help with catch up is perfectly fine and is often times needed.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
A catch-up session is not nearly as effective as a review or preview session; specifically, sessions that help the student get a little ahead of class and preview the content for the next lesson or sessions that are just solidifying already learned information. Of course, tutors can help students get back on track, but this takes time, especially if the student is considerably behind.
In a course such as chemistry, where all content builds on the last unit, catching up sometimes cannot be achieved in just one session. Several sessions might be needed to help with a student’s misunderstandings and review of missed content.
Typically a session a week or a session every other week is less expensive than several multiple hour sessions in one week to help a student get back on track, and regular sessions are more effective, too.
Students will experience a greater understanding of content if they are working with a tutor as a supplement to their chemistry class instead of as back-up or primary instruction.
2. Tutors Provide Ample Practice Opportunities
While practicing content seems like a task that should be done in class, the reality is a lot of chemistry practice still happens at home without a guide or teacher telling the student whether he or she is on the right track.
A tutor is like a student’s own personal practice guide! Immediate one-on-one feedback is immensely helpful for chemistry practice.
Many teachers have flipped their classrooms now with much of the difficult practice completed in class, but there are still gaps in learning because, let’s face it, chemistry is complicated! There is just simply not enough time in a class period to cover every aspect of every topic or problem in chemistry.
If a tutor can help a student practice and complete content in a quarter of the time it would take a student to do it on his or her own, isn’t it worth it? This isn’t to suggest a tutor is completing a student’s homework for them, but rather, a tutor can simplify concepts so that students more readily understand them.
By effectively practicing with a tutor, a student can learn simplified ways of practicing content instead of re-reading the textbook multiple times before emotionally giving up. With an online chemistry tutor, getting an A in chemistry is more attainable because of the immense amount of guided practice opportunities provided to the student by the tutor.
3. Tutors Correct Misconceptions
Believe it or not, another important trick that can lead to success in chemistry is to review previous tests and go over missed questions.
Did you know you can actually teach yourself the wrong answer on a test?
Think about it – you come across a multiple choice question and you’re stuck between A or C. They say similar things but you can’t remember the correct answer.
You finally make a decision and choose ‘A’.
Basically, you’ve just taught yourself that ‘A’ is the right answer pertaining to that question. If you never go back to review it or even check to see if it is the right answer, you will repeat this choice over and over again.
Believe it or not, the majority of students do not even look back at previous tests to see which answers were incorrect and actually correct them! Reviewing a test is an easy and relatively painless way of solidifying knowledge, especially if you have a tutor! One of the best ways a tutor can help chemistry students is by helping them go through their previous homework or test questions and clearing up misconceptions.
Did I mention chemistry is linear? I’m going to keep mentioning it. Chemistry is linear. EVERYTHING builds on previous knowledge. It’s so incredibly important to have a solid foundation in chemistry.
Understanding the mistakes made on previous tests or homework problems is a concise way to not only reflect on knowledge deficits and where additional understanding is needed, but also to fill in those deficits and create greater understanding.
4. Tutors Make Content Relatable and Interesting
It may have to do with the one-on-one time that’s allotted when working with a tutor, but tutors can help make content more interesting for students.
Teachers divide their time among 20+ students each hour and typically deliver content to the masses in the most effective way possible: lecture. A tutor devotes an hour of time teaching chemistry to one student, and this dedicated time allows for a lot of personalization of the content.
Good tutors build more personal relationships with their students, thereby allowing them to explain more personalized real-world connections thus creating more student interest in the content. Tutors can use more examples in their explanations because there is more time to elaborate on content.
When students understand more of the real-world connections to the concepts they are studying, as well as chemistry tips and tricks to solve problems, they tend to take more interest in the subject.
5. Tutors Help with Test Prep
An online chemistry tutor can help not only with class content, but also with test prep.
Often during an AP or IB class, the focus may not be entirely on the exam at the end of the year. There is simply not enough time to practice all test questions and test strategies in addition to class and lab content within the confines of regular class time. A tutor can help as a supplement to an AP or IB Chem class when time is an issue.
An experienced tutor can help with strategies for tests, specifically standardized tests, and help with practicing test questions. They can also assist students with test-taking strategies in general; specifically, how to determine what the question is asking, how to work through the problem, and how to formulate an answer.
Regarding multiple-choice questions, tutors can help students understand how to use the process of elimination to improve their chances at finding the right answer.
6. Tutors Provide Differentiated Instruction
Learning the content of chemistry can be daunting in a classroom setting, and not all teaching styles work for all students. This is one of the difficulties a classroom teacher faces; not being able to reach all students at the same time.
Having a tutor offers the student a different perspective and teaching style than that of their regular instructor. With the advantage of one-on-one interaction, tutors can more easily pick up on the learning style of their students and tailor their instruction to match strengths of the student.
By figuring out how each student learns best, the tutor can offer helpful hints or methods to remembering content or processes to solving problems. Often times explaining the same concept to a student in a slightly different way will turn a light bulb on, which is the first step towards mastering content.
7. Tutors Boost Confidence Levels
Two significant benefits accrue from working with a tutor:
First, students are better prepared for class and are more comfortable with the material.
Second, students develop a working relationship with their tutor and know they are not alone trying to understand and tackle class content. Both of these benefits help boost confidence levels which often translates into course success and less stress. A main ingredient for success in any class can be knowing someone is in your corner and rooting for you.
A tutor provides just that: an accessible and personalized way to learn content plus an additional responsible adult on the same page as the student to help him or her succeed in a difficult course.
How to Utilize a Chemistry Tutor Effectively
With all of these examples of how and why tutors are helpful, it’s important to understand the best ways to utilize an online tutor. As mentioned previously, the most effective way to utilize a tutor’s help is to do it proactively.
- Start using a tutor before you think you need one. If you’re meeting with a tutor once a week or once every other week, you can easily stay on top of your course content and your sessions will be preparing for content and not cramming for content.
- Always try to send your tutor class content ahead of time. A “head’s up” regarding what you’re covering that week helps your tutor prepare a personalized session. This advanced notice also means the time within your session will be spent on content and not on uploading content.
- If you’re working on problems by yourself, keep a notepad out to jot down questions you want to ask your tutor and have those questions prepared for your session.
- Have all your practice materials out (periodic table, calculator, scratch paper, etc.) and easily accessible by the time your session starts.
- Consider investing in some technical equipment if online classes and tutoring are going to be a regular occurrence. Accessories like headphones and a pen tablet will make your tutoring experience 100% more enjoyable and effective.
- And finally, clearly communicate your expectations and what you hope to gain for each session with your tutor.
Working with a tutor regularly is an investment in your education and in your future; the benefits are endless. A student’s success is imminent when they have at least one person in their life cheering them on, helping them, and believing in their future.