Deciding whether to seek tuition or rely on self-learning is a question that undoubtedly crosses the minds of many high school students…for good reason.
It’s a deeply personal and self-reflective inquiry, driven by concerns about whether our current academic performance accurately reflects our true potential in that subject. It’s not a simple question; instead, it demands that we hold up a mirror and objectively assess ourselves — over time.
This blog’s purpose is to offer guidance on whether seeking tuition is the right choice for you as well as debunk some common myths associated with tutoring.
Do all students need tuition?
In all honesty, tuition does no harm to the student. Whether you are a student struggling in a particular subject, an average-performing student, or a high achiever, tuition will help increase your understanding of that subject to get the marks you want to achieve.
That being said, everyone has different circumstances. Here are the steps/questions you should work through to determine whether you should seek tuition.
Think about where you are now versus where you want to be.
- What are your short-term goals?
- Does your performance now mean you are on the path to achieving those short-term goals?
- Write this down — pen to paper
Example of how this might look:
Understanding the example:
- Set SMART goals for each of the subjects
- What grade do you want to achieve by the end of the year — remember it has to be reasonable
- Do you find there are gaps in your understanding/capability that could be bridged with the help of tutoring?
- Effort/time vs. result
For Student A above, there is a need for tuition in:
- Math Methods, specifically resources. Tuition should focus on harder problem questions. The student needs to find a tutor who can provide and go through tough questions and is updated on the curriculum. A teacher in this instance/ ex-teacher would be a good match.
- English, as Student A does not understand the concepts. Hence, tuition would focus on going through class work and practising writing together.
- Physics, with some sessions getting the tutor to check working out. Another alternative would be to check in with the teacher after class to get her to “mark” your exercise/homework answers.
The next steps to consider:
- Do you find that you put a lot of effort and time into getting a good result?
- Tuition may give you a new process to study that is efficient. Remember you are receiving advice from people who have also been through the same circumstances and found a process that works in this ATAR environment!
- Is this a concept/ understanding problem? Remember time is really crucial in ATAR Years 11 and 12. You want to be able to study each subject well.
- Do you want to improve?Remember — tuition only works if you are committed to achieving your goal. This way, you absorb the information in the tuition sessions better.
- Monitoring performance
- If you are still unsure as to whether you need tuition, or that you believe you can improve yourself — monitor your test score over a term period
- You want to assess yourself as soon as possible, as you might be missing out on important knowledge your tutor can provide.
- Seek others perspectivesDifferent perspectives will provide a holistic view of tuition
- Ask your teacher for feedback. They will know your performance the best.
- Ask your parents, and have an open discussion.
Decide to seek tuition?
- Experiment with tuition
- What kind of learner are you? Are you more of an independent student or do you require a face to face teaching?
- Excel Academics is a tutoring centre that provides remote tutoring. Local tutors tend to do face-to-face tuition.
- It is good to experiment with both modes if you are unsure of what you want to do.
- Finding the right tutor
- This is really important, and you may only find out when you attend one of their lessons.
- How much you learn information also depends on how good of a communicator your tutor is
- Excel Academics is good because you get a 15-minute free consultation before confirming the first lesson. This way you can get a sense of whether you like their style of teaching, and whether you can communicate comfortably with them!
How much tuition?
- As much as you would like of course — tuition gives you a bit of extra support that will boost your confidence with that subject
- If you feel like you need it for the duration of your course and you are unsure as to whether things will get harder — persist with tutoring
- On the other hand, for those achieving high scores already if you believe tuition has helped you achieve a consistently high grade, you may stop tuition for a while and only request lessons when exams come around.
When to start tuition?
- To answer this question you should go through the steps listed above. Once you are set on doing tuition — find a tutor as soon as possible! You want to start maximising your marks earlier than later.
Breaking down myths about tuition
Tuition takes too much of my time.
You can easily adjust the duration of your tuition. Usually, tuition is one hour per week. Remember, tuition has value to your learning, and committing to it — is an investment in your future!
Tuition is expensive.
My perspective on tuition was vastly different once I had experienced it. One of the biggest “cons” was that tuition was expensive.
Yes, tuition may be expensive in the short term — but if it gets you to where you want to be, you will thank yourself for investing in tuition. You can earn it back in the future. Tuition is generally a short-term expense.
For those facing financial difficulty, but still wanting to seek tuition — ask your local tutors or have a look for cheaper tuition. I understand that it is a difficult decision and the financial circumstances of each family are different. If you have connections, perhaps a family friend who excelled in the subject, send them a message to ask whether they would tutor you.
Tuition is re-learning school subjects
Tuition can cover what you have learnt at school — but that is not all. Remember, tuition is tailored to help you improve, so whatever aspects you need to improve in, communicate with your tutor. They can provide ways to approach questions, shortcuts, exam tips and more.
All my friends are doing tuition so I should do it too
It’s easy to be swayed by the crowd and to go tuition with your friends. However, before you make that decision, you need to ask yourself what subjects you are struggling with. It’s a good idea to make decisions in high school that will help you achieve your goals.
I’ll end this blog with a key takeaway. Think of tuition as an investment for your future. It’s a short-term commitment. You might be opposed to the idea, but give it a try first. You never know what tips and tricks you might learn from your tutor.
This blog was written by our tutor, Chloe. You can find her profile here.