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about 2 years ago

So You Suck at Studying

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Here at Onward State, we care about your educational welfare. In this two-part series, we will be bringing some perspective on the tutoring options you can pursue to bring that daunting GPA up a few notches.

By this point in the semester, you’ve gotten back your first midterm. You have a general idea of which classes will take more work. Sometimes a class can feel so overwhelming that you don’t even know where to start.

The first part in the series aims to examine the professional organizations located in downtown State College. The big advantage to this route is the experience and credibility of a legitimate business. Since many students have gotten help over the years, these companies understand what will be relevant for exams. There are three main services offered: class notes, test review, and weekly tutoring.

For class notes, nothing beats Nittany Notes. Either online or on Pugh Street, there are hundreds of sections of notes for purchase. Their database is unparalleled and includes subjects like Astro, Comm and Psych. While this is the most inexpensive option (between $5-15 for a set of notes), there is a difference between having the information and studying it.

For those struggling with time management, it might be more useful to attend group tutoring and/or a test review session. There are two choices: PSU KnowHow or LionTutors. They both offer weekly tutoring and test reviews in the broad foundational courses for science and engineering majors, including Math, Physics, and Chemistry.

PSU KnowHow has classes in the facilities directly across from the Shandygaffe on Calder Way. There is both a large classroom downstairs which seats around 100, and a smaller instruction room upstairs that can hold around 40 people. Test reviews are $30 for a three-to-four hour session, with some exams requiring multiple sessions.

 Lion Tutors offers review sessions for many of the same classes. They are located next to McDonalds, on College Avenue. Their sessions are more expensive at $40, but worth noting is the $10 off coupon and the money-back guarantee offered on the website. While they don’t go so far as to say that better grades are guaranteed, they can guarantee “that you will be satisfied with the services we offer.”  Also offered is a weekly 1.5 hour review session for certain classes such as Chem 110, at $75 per exam.

As one student who has experience with both companies said, “PSU KnowHow seemed a lot less intimate for some reason. I didn’t feel as comfortable asking questions. I think it has to do with how the room was set up. There was probably the same amount of people at each place but it was the way we were seated.” Anyone who has walked by PSU KnowHow can picture the large whiteboard at the front of the room, with the tables lined up like a middle school cafeteria.

At PSU KnowHow, there are at least two rooms where instruction takes place. I went to a test review for Organic Chemistry last semester, which took place in a much smaller room that was about half the size of a typical classroom. It was similar to a recitation session with the same students answering all the questions. However, it was much more relevant in terms of the information presented than a typical recitation. We were there to learn what would be on the exam.

Assuredly, the best way to get good grades is through weekly meetings with a tutor. Individual attention is obviously the best, but also the priciest option. The same student quoted earlier also said, “I tried group tutoring sessions through PSU KnowHow and I found that really helpful. I tried it for a week but it was too expensive, so I stopped.” Whereas Lion Tutors charges by the exam, PSU KnowHow charges hourly for their private sessions with prices ranging from $15/hr for a group of six to $60 for one hour of personal face time with the head instructor.

There are plenty of options for a student struggling with studying. It’s not too late in the semester to salvage a decent grade. The good thing about the professionals is the credibly tailored plan to make sure you’re prepared. That is, if you can afford it.

This concludes part one, check back next time for part two, where we take a look at PSU Learning, the elusive private tutor, office hours, and more.

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