10 Essential Materials for a Tutoring Session

By Lorena Roberts on August 14, 2017

Before you get so far into the semester that you’re failing too hard to ever come back, it’s important to discuss tutoring options. Hopefully you’ve found some resources on campus that offer tutoring in the subjects you need. But after you schedule an appointment, how do you know what you should bring?

Here are 10 essential materials you should bring to your next tutoring session.

1. Homework, tests, classwork, and NOTES

One of the most annoying things is when a tutee shows up with no materials and asks homework specific questions. It becomes a guessing game: “I think the question was something about interest … something … something …”

No. That’s not what your tutor wants to hear. If you’re going to a scheduled tutoring session, bring all the homework, tests, and classwork that you have. If you’ve taken notes, or your professor has printed PowerPoint slides, those are just as important to bring along. The probability that your tutor had the same professor you currently have is pretty low, and especially if it’s math, each professor is individually picky.

2. Calendar or planner

If you’re going to need to set up another tutoring appointment, you’re making a study plan, or something else comes up in your tutoring session, you’ll need your calendar handy.

3. Textbook

As previously mentioned, your tutor may not know the answer to every question you have. If you bring your textbook with you, it’s going to save you both a lot of time that could potentially be wasted. Get the most out of your tutoring session by bringing your textbook along.

4. Test-specific questions

If you have a test coming up, which may or may not be what led you to tutoring in the first place, make sure you bring questions that are test-specific. If your professor has given you study points (see more in point #5) you should definitely bring those. Your tutor can help you go over exactly what is going to be on the test.

5. Test study guides

Without a study guide, your tutor is going to be guessing at what’s going to be on your test. Bringing a study guide with you is the best way to ensure the best grade on the test. Your tutor can literally go over every single question with you. And more than likely, if they’ve taken the class before, they’re going to know what kinds of questions will show up on the test as a variation of the study guide.


6. Laptop

Especially if you have homework that’s due online — which seems to be the case more and more these days — you’ll need to bring your laptop and the charger. 

Sometimes your tutor may point you in the direction of some online videos — like Kahn Academy on YouTube. If you have your own laptop, you’ll be able to access these during your session if need be.

More often than not, at the end of your tutoring session, they’ll politely ask you to fill out a questionnaire to ensure they’re delivering quality tutoring services and you are satisfied with the session you just finished. Having a laptop with you just makes things more convenient.

7. Paper, pens, and pencils

We all know how annoying it is to get to class and not have a pencil, and those super nerdy kids will actually ask the professor for a pencil. And then the professor begrudgingly gets their only pencil out of their briefcase for that stupid kid who showed up without one, and you know their grade is going to be slighted at the end of the semester … yeah.

Same thing happens with tutoring. I’m not your supplier. And I’m also a student, so I don’t have extra writing utensils to just give away. Show up prepared and your tutor will be much happier with you.

8. Something to do in case of a wait

Some tutors have walk-in tutoring only. So if it’s the night before your big organic chemistry test, you may have to sit outside the cubicle for a few minutes. Bring something else to work on so you don’t feel like you’re wasting your time. Because trust me – tutoring is not a waste of time

9. Patience

Your tutor is probably not required to know everything about the class you’re in. When you have 1,000 questions, be patient with your tutor. Sometimes they’re probably going to have to look some stuff up, which is why it’s important to bring your textbook.

Remember that these tutors are students too. It’s unlikely that you remember everything there is to remember about a class you took two years ago — so don’t expect that of them.

10. A positive attitude

As an on-campus tutor, I can tell you the absolute worst thing is tutoring someone who has a bad attitude. I don’t have the time or the patience to deal with your whining and complaining about how awful your professor is. And I definitely don’t have time to sit there and watch you play Candy Crush on your phone.

If you want someone to honestly help you, show up willing to learn and ask questions.

Lorena graduated from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville last December with a BA in Honors Psychology. She has been accepted to Lehigh University's PhD School Psychology program beginning this August. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her Whippet mix, Gio, at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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