Study Skills

“The most profound education that students can receive in tutoring is not about a specific subject but about understanding how to learn, and about their personal role in that process.”

- Annette Gourgey

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” - Chinese proverb

This often quoted proverb can be appropriately applied to tutoring. Keeping in mind that an important goal of tutoring is to work towards your tutee becoming an independent learner, it’s most important that s/he acquire the skills to do so.

Since tutors are all successful students, it is assumed you have good study skills. Do you? Complete this simple Study Skills Checklist to determine the quality of your study skills. You probably already know your strengths and weaknesses; however, this test will remind you of possible areas that could be improved upon.

While tutors are successful students, it does not necessarily follow that you have utilized traditional study techniques. Certainly some of the methods you employ as a student are useful, and you should share these with your tutees. But, you should also be familiar with study skills commonly taught at colleges around the country.

As a tutor, it is your responsibility to communicate the principles of effective learning to your students. A majority of the students who seek tutoring do not have strong study skills. The tutoring environment allows you a golden opportunity to model effective study techniques. Tutors should show students how to apply learning strategies to their assignments. If these students took a course on study skills, it would probably cover a broad spectrum of subjects including goal setting, time management, memory techniques, test taking, listening, and note taking skills, how to read a textbook, and learning styles.

Encouraging students to develop good study skills requires you to assess the areas where students need help. Usually, students will not be able to accurately identify the areas where they need help. For instance, students who are always late for a tutoring appointment might need some time management techniques. You might want to help them design a weekly study schedule that takes into consideration their jobs, their classes, and the many aspects of their personal lives.

Some students have never learned how to take notes in class. You might ask the students you tutor if you can look at their notes. If you see that they do not know how to take notes, you can recommend that they look over the different note taking systems. Or, you can ask them to tell you how they prepare to take notes for a lecture class. If they are lacking positive note taking skills, you might share with them some ideas on how to take good notes.

Many students do not realize that there are techniques for taking a test, and ways of Reducing Test Taking Anxiety. You can review good test taking strategies by going over the Test Taking Checklist with your tutees. As a tutor, it is always helpful to go over returned tests with your students. You can share with the students the benefits of looking at a returned test .

As a tutor, you are a resource for your students.  Tutors can also teach students how to use memorization techniques. Improved reading skills and improved memorization skills can be a big step toward being a successful student.

Tutors are in a very unique and special position to help students. Teachers usually don’t have the opportunity to diagnose the study habits of all their students. But in the one-on-one and small-group situation a tutor can conduct an informal diagnosis of a student’s needs. By looking at their papers and notes and textbooks, and by asking a few questions, a tutor can determine what study skill areas need improvement.

Look at these wonderful sites for valuable information on how to improve your study skills.

The Study Skills Help Page: Strategies for Success

Study Strategies

100 Self-Help & Study Skills for Students with ADD