Ask a tutor and they will tell you that an hours tuition can do as much as a full weeks’ worth of lessons, more if the two are working together, rather than as two independent study sessions.
But an hour is still just 60 minutes, how much work can you really do in that time? It turns out a lot if you have things sorted out in your mind and in advance.
Speaking as a tutor there is nothing more frustrating than turning up to find your tutee is still watching tv, doesn’t know what they want to do, or even where their pens and paper are.
Have a plan in place. What do you want to work on, if you can arrange to email the tutor beforehand all the better, do you want to recap a topic or technique, have you recently done a mock test and want to look at the results, do you struggle with a specific part of exam technique? Or do you want to start looking ahead in the syllabus so that you can get the foundations in place before tackling the harder topics in class. Have a specific target in mind.
Tutors are not mind readers, if you need help with a maths problem the tutor won’t have any idea if the problem is in the basics, or in more recent work. So have examples ready to go, and if asked to demonstrate something painfully easy, do so. If the problem seems too hard discuss what you understand and where you are getting stuck with your tutor.
If your tutor, and your teacher, say you need to practise something, do so. It’s no use spending an hour practising a topic that you could practise on your own without the tutor sitting there. There is a lot of debate about the benefits of homework, yet the results are clear, for older students, those who do homework have better results in exams.
So you have a burning questions, or a topic that you need answers to, write down your questions. Then see if you can answer them online first. This way you are getting the most out of the time with the tutor.
In a classroom teachers often set questions, hand out worksheets, and expect a certain amount of work. But in a 1 to 1 situation you can learn in different ways. Discussions, questions and answers, listening as your tutor explains things, these are all valid learning methods, as are worksheets and text books.
Don’t be afraid to ask for questions that you can do after each session, your tutor might point you in the direction of online resources, or ways you can print out past papers.