So you decided to become a tutor and have a full tutoring load this semester, well done!

Now the real work begins. Whether you are a math tutor or writing tutor or general educator, prefer small group tutoring or one on one lessons, or specialize in remedial courses, you’ll need to make decisions about your pedagogy. One important question concerns assignments and homework. What exercises should you give your students during and after each lesson to optimize their tutoring experience?

Which method can you teach them to help their scholastic performance and academic success? What pedagogical method should you adapt?

Here Superprof reveals the best exercises so that your student can make the most of his or her home lessons or online tutoring! This is a tutoring guide you don’t want to ignore.

What better place than Superprof, a platform for online tutoring with so many talented instructors in a vast range of topics and disciplines, to begin the journey? There’s no need to follow an expensive and time-consuming certificate course (although it can help to be a certified teacher): this article will allow you to brush up on some key points, and learn the main secrets of the trade of one on one tutoring (or small group tutoring) and academic success.

Here is how to become a tutor online.

An efficient tutoring method

It’s almost impossible to work efficiently and achieve scholastic success without having a good work method, which includes note taking, homework and study skills, and test prep. This is especially useful for the online tutor, who doesn’t have the benefit of in person face time.

Today, a junior high student studies an average of 12 disciplines (school math, biology, history, foreign language…), which totals at least 26 hours of coursework each week, and 36 weeks each year. The tutor comes into the picture to help students have a better handle on each subject (math, science…).

Just as professors use different work methods according to their personal interest, certain subjects possess their own methodology. But is there a particular education method that would be useful in private tutoring? Some students might even try to find a tutor by searching for a particular method. This is especially true for writing tutors.

Teach your students to prioritize their tasks to become more efficient at doing homework! Source:

Teach your students to become professional organizers

One your main tasks as a private tutor is to give advice on scheduling and planning, which is valuable for all students from primary to high school. Your practical advising will allow them to work as efficiently as possible. They’ll be calling you the best tutor in their testimonials in no time at all!

First piece of advice, have them write out a list of their different tasks and assignments to do for the next day. Visualizing this information will reinforce what they need to do.

Have them prioritize their tasks in order of importance. As they work through their assignments, advise them to cross off the tasks they have completed. Encourage them to begin by the most boring homework or the subjects they like the least.

Normally, taking private one-on-one tutoring classes are not on the top of students’ to-do list (math tutoring does not usually equal fun), and it’s often forced on them by their parents or teachers.

Psychologically, it is always easier to accomplish something if we enjoy it. Proof in this pedagogy comes when you see a vast improvement in grades! So try to make those more tedious, boring tasks fun in some way. Perhaps use non-traditional teaching materials such as video or other digital resources, art supplies, or entertaining books?

You can also pick up on more great ideas for planning your tutoring sessions...

A young student
To stimulate the younger learners, why not engage them in an art project? Source:

We recommend supplying yourself with a lot of high-quality, innovative revision materials that are enjoyable for students if possible (especially for the youngest ages). This will help keep your students’ motivation high, as well make a good impression to your clients. These can apply variously to a range of education topics, including reading comprehension, standardized testing such as the SAT, or grammar.

Also, don’t forget to demonstrate to your student the concrete, real-life applications of an exercise or lesson. Whether it’s for math, physics, computer science, French or another foreign language, there will be at least one or several applications in our everyday lives or in the world of business.

Efficient training techniques

Another study trick to supply your tutoring subjects would be to get started (and finished) as quickly as possible, once they get home from school. Get those boring tasks over with before even thinking about them. The time between the beginning of the lesson and study or homework time should be as short as possible. The best option would be to revise the lesson on the same day it was taught.

This allows your students to reactivate concepts learned in class easier through their short-term memory (read further for more information on memory). Think about it, isn’t it easier to memorize and complete course notes on the same day you’ve learned them, and not 15 days after?

Put those smartphones away during study time!
Progress is impossible without efficient work methods. Source:

Efficient note taking

Note taking is at the heart of scholastic education and academic success.

It is taught as early as junior high, but is obligatory for high school students as teachers no longer dictate classes as that stage. Without efficient note taking, it will be impossible to remember the key points of the lesson and revise them correctly at home before exams.

Tutors, here are a few tricks and secrets to teach your students during your private lesson to optimize their note taking skills.

  • Only note the man ideas and disregard the examples. For this, you must be attentive to what the teacher says. Point out the importance of expressions like “essential” or “it is important to note that” to your student.
  • Understand what one writes. This might seem obvious but it’s still important to stress to your students that they’ll be incapable of transcribing something they have not understood.
  • Teach them to use abbreviations and symbols to increase in writing speed.
  • Teach them to complete their notes after each course.
  • Practice! Acquiring effective and rapid note taking takes time.

You can give a private lesson on a point your student is having trouble with or has not understood in class. Review his or her notes to valid the different points listed above.

Learn at night!

This is an important tutoring trick to give your students: re-read lesson notes one last time before going to sleep. This way the lesson will be fully integrated during the night. The relationship between sleep and learning is complex but offers benefits: integration of information and memorization during sleep has been scientifically proven.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science in June 2016 has shown that episodes of sleep between training sessions brings a double advantage: a largely reduced time of retraining (revision of what we already learned) and a more solid long-term memorization of the facts in question. You can even propose that your students to take micro-naps, on the condition that they don’t go over 15 minutes. The “power nap,” invented by a professor of social psychology at Cornell University, is scientifically proven to enhance memory, perseverance and other cognitive aptitudes.

Sleep is the enemy of failure and will bring you academic success so make sure you get those Zz's!

Keep your students motivated!

It would be difficult for your student to be 100% efficient during your entire tutoring session if he or she isn’t motivated. It is very difficult to maintain concentration and motivation for several hours successively. Here are some ideas to help you with that.

Suggest that your students work for sessions that last between 1 and 1.5 hours, without interruption but with a break of 10 minutes maximum, that he or she can use for social networking, checking emails, reading magazines, etc.

A motivated student will work with more efficiency. Source:

This is equally valuable during your private lessons, especially if they last for over an hour. A break of 5 minutes, whether it’s during writing tutoring or math tutoring, will facilitate concentration for the rest of the session.

Why not suggest that your student have a quick sports “break” to give the brain a bit of oxygen? It is proven that sports liberate endorphins, or molecules that combat stress, which can be beneficial to the process of scholastic training. Nothing like a jog to break up a reading comprehension class!

Tutoring via writing

Who has never made a worksheet in order to memorize a lesson?

Class summaries are an excellent training method to teach your students during a home tutoring session to help them memorize or revise their lessons.

Here are some suggestions to give them as they create their worksheet or notecard:

  • Synthesize as much as possible. Note only the essential points of the class (outline, large ideas, key vocabulary, etc.).
  • Be as clear as possible. For this, we suggest the use of pencils in a variety of colors, so that the hierarchy of information will stand out and students can develop their visual memory. For example, “red” means memorize by heart, “green” is for secondary information, etc…
  • You must use both sides of the paper. A longer paper wouldn’t be useful.
  • Write your own study guides. Borrowing one from a classmate won’t help the student. What is essential for one student may not be for his or her classmate.
tutor and student
Learn to write your own study sheets to save time revising! Source:

The sheets will be very useful tools when it comes time to preparing for standardized testing such as the SAT or ACT. This is what any tutoring center would say.

You can also assign written exercises to your student (problems in math, English essays, history sheets) and correct them together or during the following class. Generally speaking, be careful not to give the students too much work because this only adds to their school workload.

Learn here how you can write an effective tutoring session lesson plan!

Oral exercises

You can also assign different oral exercises to your students to complete for the next class. They can explain the lesson in front of someone in their family (brother, sister, parent) or another student in their class.

Oral learning is proven to be a very interesting and fun exercise to verify if the student has well understood the important points in the lesson. For even more “fun” have your students act out a news report or other “pretend” scenario. Who said tutoring services has to be boring?

Different types of memory

Memory is a biological and psychological activity that allows you to accumulate, save and reconstitute information (according to the dictionary definition). Scientists distinguish three memory categories:

  • Sensory memory: the aptitude to keep something in mind thanks to visual and aural perception.
  • Working memory or short-term memory: this allows you to retain information while you perform tasks.
  • Long-term memory: this is stocked in the interior zones of the brain.

Certain rare individuals possess a memory called absolute memory. We can cite Mozart, who retained the entire Miserere by Gregorio Allegri by heart after hearing it one time during a mass at the Sistine Chapel!

But no need to be Mozart to improve your memory of algebra, trigonometry, geometry or calculus!

Listen, concentrate, and repeat the information received in your private lesson but don’t forget to keep a balanced diet, practice a physical activity regularly and get a lot of sleep. This is what every tutored student should know. These tasks will also help to enhance learner memory and maintain it in the long term!

We hope you’ve enjoyed these study and assignment tips that the tutors at Superprof swear by! They are bound to help, whether you are a chemistry tutor, an English tutor, a writing tutor or provide homework help or free tutoring services. You will surely win the “Best Tutor” award now!

Join the conversation: what are your thoughts on the quality of teaching in private lessons?

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