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Math Tutoring

To improve the math learning experience of you or your child, it might be wise to consider retaining the services of a math tutor. There are several factors that you should keep in mind when choosing the right tutor:


Formal Education

A good math tutor will need to have mastery of the material that he or she is teaching. Thus, it is important that they have a strong formal background in mathematics. When teaching young children, completion of at least a high school diploma would be recommended. Teaching older students, in high school or college, the ideal tutor would have at least an undergraduate degree, with emphasis on mathematics (engineering or science degrees often have solid math requirements too).

Experience and Training

Helping others learn requires great communication skills, and the ability to identify the best way to convey the material in a way that matches the individual needs of the learner. Prior experience in either tutoring or in teaching is highly recommended when seeking out a math tutor, and that experience should ideally include the grade-level of the material you are covering. The best tutoring companies invest resources in continually training their staff on the latest educational methods to help learners master the material.

Location and Availability

To minimize time and travel expense wasted in transit, the math tutoring location will ideally be near you. A large math tutoring company with many locations will have better odds of a location near you. Some tutoring companies do telephone or online tutoring, either as their main method of communications or as a complement to traditional classroom-style settings.

Some tutors are available only at pre-scheduled times, whereas others can be reached outside those hours, or even around-the-clock in some cases (e.g. some of the online services). Depending on your needs, this may or may not be important.

Student-Teacher Ratio

Many academic studies have documented that students learn best when they have more attention to their individual needs. Thus, smaller classroom sizes, or even one-on-one learning, are advisable to maximize the benefits of the math tutoring. Typically, the youngest children in particular benefit from small classroom sizes, but this can also be the case for older ones.

Practice and Testing

The best way of learning is through practice, practice, and more practice. This can be done through homework assignments, or in-class practice sessions. Regular testing is important to ensure that the material is being mastered. Math tutoring companies are often of help to prepare for specific standardized tests (e.g. SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT), so having access to tests in the same format as the expected standardized exams is useful.

Pricing

Tutors need to be compensated for their time (they have families to feed also), so it's unrealistic to expect good math tutoring for free. To get smaller classrooms or individualized tutoring, it will naturally need to cost a little extra. Whether that is a good investment will depend on the individual needs of the learner, and the degree of their enthusiasm to succeed at math. Some math tutoring companies offer financial aid or discounts, so it doesn't hurt to ask whether those are available (a discount at a better math tutoring company might make it a better value than full-price at a lesser company). Educational expenses might be able to be deducted from your income taxes, depending on where you live, so be sure to save receipts and ask your accountant for more information.




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