Study Harder, Get Smarter

Tutoring Helps Students Ace Exams and Excel in School

San Diego Tutoring Companies

As a parent, it’s natural to want your child to take over the world. Success is a cornerstone of parental hopes and dreams, which is why achieving top marks in school is vital. From the SAT to the ACT—from AP courses to a standard course load—acing an exam or passing a class with flying colors can be a challenge in today’s hyper-competitive world. Perhaps in the good ol’ days of Kindergarten, you as a parent could pull out your trusty calculator and assist your kids with their schoolwork, but as high school looms and AP classes beckon, the detailed exams your children face may be just out of reach.

This makes tutoring an attractive opportunity to give your child a leg up. Tutoring companies throughout the country help students gain the skills they need to succeed, reduce test anxieties and achieve their goals. These learning centers give students an extra push—or helping hand—that motivate them to study and try their best. From large group classes to private tutoring, there are options that fulfill the need of every student. But there is one overriding rule for tutoring: the earlier you sign your student up, the better.

Many parents make the mistake of getting help for their children too late, and time is an essential component for success. Eliminating stressful deadlines and test dates prompts a willingness to learn and genuine curiosity. Brian McElroy, a Harvard graduate and founder of McElroy Tutoring in Pacific Beach, agrees that time is an important factor to improved execution. He states, “Starting earlier as opposed to later is a good idea because it reduces pressure and allows students to learn at a more relaxed pace. The students who start tutoring with me early in the school year almost always perform better than do the procrastinators.”

It’s never too early to begin the tutoring process, especially when it comes to the SAT or ACT. Parents push for students to start studying for these college entrance exams in their junior year, but some students start as early as freshman year! It sounds excessive, but beginning the tutoring process early is beneficial because it encourages growth. Mindlessly memorizing material in short periods of time doesn’t allow information to sink in; learning takes time, concentration and determination—not a short-term cram session. And, of course, practice makes perfect. Tutoring companies aim for perfection, and they do everything in their power to help students achieve it.

One way tutoring chases perfection? At the start of each session, most companies will go over the student’s goals. Brian McElroy reflects on the importance of goal setting, especially for high school students. “Goal setting is important because it forces students to ask themselves the question ‘How good is good enough for me?’ [The] answer is often dictated by their college admission goals.” He notes, however, that goals should be tangible. “The secret to effective goal setting is to be ambitious, but also realistic. I tell my students to seek perfection, but settle for excellence. In general, I have found that I can bring my students about halfway closer to perfection from their initial diagnostic test scores.” While it’s easy as a parent to expect flawless results and 100% met goals, the most important thing for parents to remember is that goals can be altered. Early tutoring allows an individual to set a goal and determine how realistic that objective is.

A lot of tutors determine goals based on your child’s learning style. Some students are visual learners, others auditory learners. In a classroom setting, teachers tend to favor one learning style, and that particular style may not work for every individual. A good tutor targets progress centered around how the student learns best. An anonymous representative from Carmel Valley Test Prep, a tutoring company in San Diego, states, “Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. The whole point of tutoring is to identify the students’ weaknesses and convert them into strengths. With one-on-one tutoring, the tutor will act as a detective to identify the unique individualized weaknesses and work on them with the student to convert them into strengths. One-on-one by definition is individualized and will always provide a better value for the student than class-based.”

With hard work, confidence and parental support, tutoring has proven to help students excel, as shown by Carmel Valley Test Prep. “For 2016, our students earned an average score of 33 on the ACT and 2200 on the SAT. The average score in the U.S. is 20 on the ACT and 1500 on the SAT. This is a significant increase, but [students] need to
be prepared to work hard to score high.”The gatekeepers to college, SAT and ACT scores can dramatically alter your child’s chance of acceptance into a prestigious university.

While it may be tempting to sign your child up for SAT or ACT test prep alone, students learn invaluable skills that guide them to academic success through tutoring of all types. Parents often forget that tutoring goes far beyond the SAT or ACT; students can seek help for AP exams, the ISEE, standard or honors classes and even the GRE. For example, Varsity Tutors, a widely-revered tutoring company, offers tutoring in nearly every subject. From biology to anatomy, algebra to statistics, history to English, with perseverance and determination your students can use tutoring to eliminate poor grades. And tutoring isn’t limited to high school students; countless middle and elementary school students throughout San Diego receive assistance to stay on track or get ahead.

It feels like results should appear with the wave of a magic wand—hire a tutor and prest-o change-o you have
an A+ student on your hands! In reality, tutoring is merely a resource, not a quick-fix. To see tangible results, your student must be dedicated and ready to work hard, and as their parent, you need to boost their confidence. A student can memorize material perfectly, but without confidence, they can falter. Self-assurance is a key component of success, especially in the world of academics. That being said, confidence is built over time once the student has become comfortable with concepts and information. With parental support and an early start to the tutoring process, the sky’s the limit on what your child can achieve! 

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