If you feel that however many long hours you study, your math grades never reflect your effort, you're not alone. ToppTutor specializes in facilitating good working routines, the core to all progress.
THE RIGHT LEVEL FOR YOU
You don’t want to spend hours and hours working on the most difficult questions if you are aiming for an intermediate or easy course in Maths. The textbook tends to go a bit beyond what is expected for the exam, which is good because it builds confidence. But if Maths is not your favorite subject, and you are getting closer to your exam, you will be better off working on questions resembling “The Real Thing”.
Take the IB as an example :
There are basically 3 levels:
Math Studies (Standard Level)
Math Methods (Standard Level)
Maths High Level (and, of course, Further Maths for the real devotees!)
A student who was preparing for Math Methods felt that there was no point in even trying because the questions were so difficult. Do you have the same feeling? Don’t worry. Believe it or not, but the IB actually wants you to do well. And this student did!
On High Level, some of the questions can be really tricky. On Standard level, they first of all want to test your basic skills, no booby traps or hidden hurdles. It is almost as if they are holding you by the hand leading you, by question a, b, c etc., towards the final question that the whole exercise is aimed at. Each question in itself is not very difficult, and if you follow their lead, it is actually very straight forward. But it is of the utmost importance that your teacher takes this into consideration when guiding you. You need to be able to see how easy it can be done, not getting into the nitty gritty details of a complete proof. They don’t ask for that! So if you are struggling, give us a few hours of your time and we will show you how to master it.
THREE KEY THINGS
1: SELF CONFIDENCE!
The first thing we do is to try and make the student feel safe with the tutor. The tutor is not there to judge and condemn. We are there to get to know the student’s background in maths. What are the main obstacles? What have bad teachers done to their confidence? Where should we start?
2: UNDERSTANDING, NOT MEMORIZING!
Sometimes we ask a student: “What is 2 raised to the power 0?” That normally results in some stuttering and confusion. But some regain their composer quickly and reply: “1”. Only to loose it again for the next question:
“Because the teacher said so.”
“It just is.”
Sorry, not good enough. And after five minutes, they know why because we have made them see a pattern, a logic behind it all.
Most students have a packed schedule most days of the week, so is it a good idea to make it even worse by adding a tutor?
That is one of our main concerns but let us do a little “maths”: Let’s assume that a student has 5 lessons of maths in school each week. How much of those 5 hours are affective? How much is spent looking out the window? Taking a sneak peek at the cell phone? Thinking about other things?
And last, but not least, not understanding what is going on at the board.
How efficient were YOU at school? How much of the time in maths class did you really pay attention? If you are reading this, it probably means that you think there is room for improvement. Let us assume a student is 40% effective. That means that 3 out of 5 hours are wasted. At ToppTutor we spend some of the lesson on key areas that the student is really struggling with, but we also try to find time to take a sneak peak at what is coming up in school next week, explaining a few of the basics that we know is ESSENTIAL to understanding the topic. That means that when the teacher starts on a new topic, the student hits the road running. “Oh, yes: I know this. I did it with my tutor last week.” So, the 5 lessons that week might suddenly be 80% effective! That is 4 hours out of 5! Not bad. Doubling! Why is that so important? Several reasons: The lessons are more enjoyable. The amount of homework needed goes down. And the grades go up! With a smile!
Questions? Find some answers on our FAQ page or get in touch today!