There is certainly no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the right tutor.

Firstly, identifying the age and educational level are two important characteristics when reaching out for extracurricular support in the USA.

High School students who are preparing for their end of year exams will often specialize in science-based topic areas, and it is important to have a strong understanding of the various principles of biology, chemistry, and physics.

Yet, a number of these core educational programs at high school level will combine each of these scientific areas within one final examination, so, identifying which of these scientific areas require additional work can be paramount to success.

Students, especially at this age, are experienced in face-to-face interaction and a more instructional style of learning due to the key coverage of the curriculum. Also, a more self-directive approach to learning is mainly implemented when students reach higher education.

Because of this, high school students respond especially well to one-to-one learning situations with trained and experienced tutors.

On the contrary, university students, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, can also respond just as well to this dynamic. This is because the difference between high school and college/university-based learning can be a drastic leap which can overwhelm and deter a student's confidence.

The reason behind this is that high school classes almost always have a smaller class size, making the experience between pupil and teacher more personable; allowing the student to receive more tailored advice as well as structured learning opportunities.

A higher educational student, starting right from the foundation year, will experience a drastic change in the amount of support they receive from their teachers/lecturers.

This is because the principle objective in this transition is that students should be given more independence and autonomy within their modules to incite a more self-sufficient and intuitive learner.

Of course, this can work for some, but a lot of students find this adjustment unmanageable, leading to a staggering 28% of higher education students to drop out before reaching their sophomore year.

There is a no better way in supporting those students than the employment of additional support networks e.g. private tutors, student study groups and science-based online forums.

The act of tutoring dates back to the greek periods. It has been well documented in history for thousands of years and it was originally a tool for revered academics to support learning principles upon the aristocracy.

Now, conversely so, it is completely more accessible and is used by people of all ages to help develop muscle memory upon various learning matters.

So, it is more than important to identify what makes a great personal tutor, whilst highlighting the contributing factors which indeed constitute an effective biology tutor. Lastly, if you are still undecided if biology is for you, take a look at the number of great reasons to study biology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Identifying the Signs of a Great Tutor

Flexibility - Availability

Firstly, it becomes an uphill struggle when it becomes difficult to arrange regular tutorials. The importance surrounding regularity is significant when it comes to learning, and having a sporadic, inconsistent schedule can effect this process.


Remaining consistent in alignment with a student's desired learning outcomes is especially important. Deep level learning strategies can only be implemented once fundamental areas have been covered.

Analyze if your tutor keeps a progress log and has resources and 'next step' strategies in place.


A tutor writes on a whiteboard.
Ideal tutors must be both knowledgable and creative within their teaching. (Source: Visual hunt)

We have all, at some point, experienced a rather dull seminar or lesson. It goes with the territory, and unfortunately, it can happen much more than we wish.

Similar to an invigorating teacher or lecturer, a tutor can install levels of creativity within their teaching to ensure that not only that evokes interest, but that it also becomes leverage for harnessing stronger memory.

Multiple studies have identified that engaging learning increases the chances of students endorsing and memorizing important learning - so in short, it must also be fun as well as informative!


Although preparation is a key indicator of a great tutor, so is their background experiences and overall knowledge.

You cannot expect a depth of learning to take place if the tutor didn't major in Biology and hasn't had much experience in the field.

Be smart note
The more experience the tutor has, the higher chances they have of understanding the various learning areas within biology. (Source: Visual hunt)


'Giving up' should be two words unsought of within an educator's vocabulary. A resilient and respectful learner mirrors the teacher, and it is integral that any tutor approaches each session with a sense of optimism and tenacity.

Patience and Perseverance

Sometimes the same learning area must be revisited time and time again to solidify and strengthen knowledge within a given area.

Especially when it comes to a major in the area of Biology, there can be some tricky subject areas in which a level of patience must exist until you begin internalizing and memorizing certain parts of information.

This is reflective of learning as a whole and individuals must not be deterred when they don't understand a learning concept the first time. Teachers, lecturers, and tutors should also be aware of this.

Students often have more of a capacity to learn within modules they are interested in, and as not one person is the same, we will naturally be intrigued within separate learning areas.

During an undergraduate learning course, you will be exposed to a range of learning areas and a number of modules will be covered prior to completing the course; unfortunately, some modules may not be as interesting as others and especially in the foundation year, these modules will be mandatory.

A wise decision when it comes to this is by hiring a tutor to support you with the modules you find more challenging than others. This will allow you to gain support in the areas which are most necessary to help better your chances of passing these modules with a higher grade.

Online Biology Tutors

Man using a laptop in a cafe.
More and more students are now conducting their tutoring lessons online as opposed to face-to-face. (Source: Visual hunt)

Unlike having a high school science teacher, choosing your own tutor is a very different process.

This is because you have a choice! College and University lectures also are not chosen and you usually have to deal with who is your teacher across foundation, elementary and higher education.

Having the option to choose is of great benefit when it comes to tutoring, and your choice may not have to reflect how close your tutor is away from your home.

Online tutoring has become a significantly more attractive option for students. This is because there are a number of benefits when it comes to online tutoring, with the two most important being:

    • Price effectiveness (generally cheaper)
    • Time effectiveness (save time not having to travel to and from tutoring sessions).

Tutors are often decided upon both the price and locality. However, having an online tutor can influence both of these factors considerably.

Firstly, the hourly rate can be reduced because neither the student nor the tutor has to travel for the lesson. This reduces transportation costs which in turn allow the tutor to reduce the overall fee!

Tutors also don't have to necessarily come from the United States! This means that professional educators can be hired from a range of continents meaning you certainly have more variation when it comes to overall price range.

Both student and teacher do not have to commute for the lesson and only require a reliable internet connection at home! The average time a resident within a busy metropolis travels to university/work usually surpasses the forty-five minute mark (reflective of students who do not live on campus).

This totals an average of 1 hour and 30 minutes commute to and from the desired destination.

Cutting this out of your schedule means you do not have to waste time commuting which allows additional time to study.

This 1 hour and 30 minutes, hypothetically speaking, can be used to help consolidate information learned from your tutoring session!

With this in mind, it opens up more time for studying which is especially important prior to busy examination periods! Such time could be the result of passing a module with an A as opposed to a B!

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