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Becoming a Proper Tutor

  1. Jul 4, 2012 #1
    I attend my school in the fall and spring semesters like most students; I'm pretty new to the campus as I've been there for only one full year. At 19, I am a "youngin".

    Last semester, I took Calculus II... with the worst teacher I've ever had. Period. Still, I managed to get a B, at an 84%. I'm looking to get a job as a mathematics tutor at school now - the minimum requirement to become one is a B in Calc II.

    Now here's the interesting part: in my estimation, and in that of many (if not all) of my classmates, the tests were far too difficult. We were in agreement that the tests did not serve as a proper diagnostic for the material that we were taught and had practiced. In my case, this may have been the difference between and A and a B.

    If I am to become a tutor, I feel that I should be competent enough to help other students get an A in her class - my prof will be the only Calc II teacher at the university next semester. That's why I'm posting - to both evaluate and improve my competence.

    Being able to upload my tests to this forum, then, would serve a dual purpose - I'll get to why in a moment. But for now, I'm having technical difficulties. I scanned all my tests in and they are saved as .pdfs on my computer. However, it seems that:

    A) I can only upload three files to this site at a time.
    B) I would have to buy Adobe Acrobat to merge the pages I scanned.
    C) Double, triple, and quadruple posting are highly frowned upon.

    Now, to talk about that dual purpose - first the evaluation of my competence:

    By uploading the files, readers of this post would be able to evaluate my competence because there are only a few logical possibilities for why I got a B (Though they may have worked in conjunction with one another) :

    A) The first that I mentioned, that the tests were too difficult.
    B) The homework assigned was not good practice for the tests. Many students in the class felt this way. (If someone has a Stewart 7th edition textbook, and is willing to make this evaluation, it would be most helpful.)
    C) I am not capable of getting an A in *any* fair Calc II class because this class was a perfectly legitimate diagnostic of my ability to do so. (I hope not!)
    D) I was rendered incapable of getting an A by external factors, such as my introductory Physics class which took up the other half of my time that semester.

    In my estimation, B and D are the most likely to be objectively true. I would like to think that A is true, but to many of those people who evaluate the tests on this forum, the tests would seem very easy. If you would say this, then I would not attempt to discount your argument solely based on the fact that you have had more experience, and are therefore better at the material than I am: that would be a logical fallacy. But to complete your argument, you must try to approach it from my perspective, having had only weeks to prepare the material at the time the test was given.

    Now, let's talk about improving my competence. Regardless of how difficult the tests were, I need to be up to speed with precisely that difficulty level. So I suppose what I need then, are challenging problems from you, and explanations and help if I need them. I see that many of you are called "mentors"... that's exactly what I need very badly right now. A great deal of patience may be needed as well, it seems I have forgotten much in the past few months.

    So please, if anyone could tell me a method to get the .pdf's on here, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2012 #2
    The easiest way to upload your information is by using another site. For example, you can upload pdf documents at www.scribd.com/
    Just post the link to your documents here.
  4. Jul 5, 2012 #3


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hopefully, she doesn't re-use the same tests every semester. Otherwise, I could see some problems if any of next semester's students realize they can solve and check their answers beforehand.

    And if she does make new test questions each semester, that could be part of the problem with the test questions from your semester not matching the homework, being too difficult, etc. There may not be much consistency in the test questions from one semester to the next.
  5. Jul 5, 2012 #4
    Well, shoot. You're right. I suppose I'll have to ask her that myself. If she does re-use the tests, and anyone is willing to do the things that I listed for me, I'll have to send the tests to a person who can be trusted not to disseminate that information, such as a PF mentor.
  6. Jul 5, 2012 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    We would never allow or condone answers to be given. If you want to use actual test questions without answers be aware that many universities forbid that and we are contacted to remove them. I suggest you make up your own questions to avoid problems.

    A "proper tutor" would not use actual test questions. They would try to teach the subject.
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