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Ten ways to get the most out of Online Tutoring


Through learn-extra, you’ll be able to find a tutor who suits you and your subject, and ‘meet’ online at a time that fits your study schedule. But to make sure you get the most from online tutoring – after all, it’s an hour of your life and your (or your parents’) money you’re spending – follow these tips to make sure you maximise your learning.

  1. Put it in the diary. Set your phone (or your parent!) to alert you an hour before and ten minutes before your tutorial time.
  2. Log in at least five minutes early. It’s tempting to wait until the last minute to log on, but we all know how computers can throw up glitches when we least need them. Give yourself an extra five minutes’ grace so that you don’t waste tutorial time if you suddenly find you need to reset a password, your laptop needs charging and you’ve mislaid the charger, or your operating system is in the middle of an update. Then you can start off feeling calm and concentrate fully on making the most of the tutorial.
  3. Focus your full attention. That means – yes, sorry! – turning off your phone and making sure you are logged out of anything on the screen that might distract you – Instagram, Burn Note, Tumblr, Tinder, WhatsApp, Twitter, or even good old Facebook – whatever it is, shut it down for now.
  4. Find a quiet location. If your brother is making faces at you, the dog begging for treats or your housemates watching television in the same room, you won’t get the best from the session. Let everyone know you’re having a tutorial and stick a sign on the door to keep them away. Turn down the music and, if it’s noisy outside, shut the window. If it will help, consider using a headset so you can hear well and the tutor can hear you.
  5. Give the tutor lots of information. If it’s your first session, have your textbooks and other course material nearby so you can show the tutor what you’ve covered and explain where you need extra help. Let them know how you like to study – do pictures help you, do you like time to mull things over, do you do best working through past exam questions? Think about these things in advance. They will help your tutor tailor their teaching to give you the best support.
  6. Don’t be passive. If the tutor is droning on a bit by reading from a book or doing too much talking at you, you might find your attention wanders. Don’t just drift off, speak up and ask if they could give you an exercise or something to help you take in the information more actively. If you have an onscreen notepad feature you can both see, write on it – or use good old paper and pencil to write stuff down or draw graphs or mind maps, and show them to your tutor.
  7. Reset your brain and body. Sitting facing the screen for a whole hour or more can be difficult. Tell your tutor you’d like to take a brief one-to-two minute break every twenty minutes. Stretch your body, run around the house, or even do some jumping jacks. Have a drink of water or some nibbles handy (healthy trail mix or raisins will give you energy). A break like this will re-energise your body and brain, and help to maximise your focus for the rest of the session. It will help your tutor too!
  8. Make a note of homework and next tutorial times. You may think you’ll remember what you agreed, but when everyday life gets in the way, things can slip your mind. Use your phone or computer to keep a note of what you need to do and when.
  9. Do the homework. It may feel like a pain to have extra to do on top of school or college work, but the whole point of tutoring is to help you achieve what you want, so make the most of the opportunity that getting feedback from a tutor will bring.
  10. Ask that question. Unlike lessons at school or university tutorials, enjoy the fact that there’s nobody else here… just the tutor. If you don’t understand something or you missed some information, ask. No question is too stupid!

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