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Tutoring - algebra

  1. Aug 11, 2011 #1
    I have never tutored before and I will be tutoring this saturday. He recieved a D in his basic algebra class. What are some fundamentalls and basics that would be important to go over on the first day?
    Any opinions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2011 #2


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    Gold Member

    Here are some areas to cover:

    Order of operations (very important!)
    Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing negative numbers and fractions
    Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing algebraic expressions
    Simplifying algebraic expressions
    Solving simple, linear equations (respect the '=' sign!)
    Finding the x and y intercepts of a linear equation

    As for what to cover the first day, that entire list might be a bit much depending on what his problem areas are, but I'd start with the first two. If he's cruising through those, then you can jump to simplifying algebraic expressions. See if he's comfortable handling negative exponents in rational expressions.

    I'm sure others can provide additional suggestions, but those should give you an idea of where he's at. He either has some really bad habits, doesn't understand the material, or both.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  4. Aug 11, 2011 #3
    Wow great idea.. thanks for all the suggestions.
  5. Aug 11, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'd work through exercises from his textbook (assuming he has one). It's familiar territory, so provided the presentation is okay, I'd stick with that to start with.

    On the other hand, if the text book is uninviting, abandon it and use sheets you have made up or printed out from the web. Take plenty of blank paper for you both to scribble on.

    If this becomes a long term job, you might find a 6 minute revision test at the start of each session is invaluable, especially when you present it as a self-marking spreadsheet exercise on the computer.

    Good luck.
  6. Aug 11, 2011 #5
    Thank you.. these are all great ideas. I appreciate it
  7. Aug 12, 2011 #6
    I made a test with 16 problems to see where he is at... is that to much?
  8. Aug 12, 2011 #7


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    Sounds good to me.

    One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post -- If he's taking a course from an instructor, try your best to reinforce whatever methods he's learning in the lectures. This helps avoid confusion and frustration by staying consistent. The only times I show other methods are when it's clear that whatever they're being taught just isn't clicking. I used to love showing various ways to obtain the same answer for a given problem, but it would often just cause confusion and make things worse. Although, some students actually find it helpful. You'll have to feel-out what works for him. I wish you the best of luck! :smile:
  9. Aug 12, 2011 #8
    Thank you !
  10. Aug 12, 2011 #9


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    Anytime. And please let us know how things progress. :smile:
  11. Aug 12, 2011 #10
    Whenever I tutored failing students I made them bring their test/homework and their book to their first appointment. That way I can see what they didn’t know, and how it was taught to them.
  12. Aug 13, 2011 #11
    Just got back from tutoring. Went great!.. have another session next sat with same person.
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