Ways a Math Tutor Can Help Middle School Students Prepare Long-Term for ACT and SAT Tests

Last Updated on July 27, 2021 by Thinkster

Is your child struggling with a hard topic, falling behind, or not excelling in a way that you would like? A math tutor can be just the thing to get your student on track for math mastery and success now – and for the rest of their math career.

Besides just becoming more comfortable with math problem-solving, there are several other skills that students who work with a math tutor can expect to gain and use in the long run. We’ll address some of them here.

Math tutoring gives your student a strong foundation for more difficult math concepts

Of course, the first benefit of working with a math tutor is seeing your student perform better in math. No matter what level your child is at, this is the most important benefit of math tutoring that you should see — and this ensures that your student continues to stay on track and not fall behind with their current curriculum.

Improving skills now can also impact how your student learns and masters math topics down the road. Math is a subject that builds on itself, so as they progress into later grades and harder concepts, such as algebra and geometry, your student will still need to be comfortable with concepts learned in earlier grades to be successful.

And it’s not just higher grade levels that will come easier — think of the long-term benefits that will come into play when they’re ready to take the SAT or ACT. A large portion of the SAT, for example, tests problem solving and data analysis.

Your elementary school student may not need algebra help or geometry help just yet, but the math topics they are currently working on will be vital to success in these more difficult subjects when the time comes.

Math tutoring provides extra practice for word problems 

Approximately 25 percent of questions in both the ACT and SAT math sections are word problems.

Word problems are tough because they’re based on a written description. This requires students to have strong reading comprehension skills and the ability to translate a problem into a visual in order to help solve it. Written math problems are notoriously more difficult for students at all levels and are the focus of many math tutoring sessions.

If your student struggles with math word problems, make sure your math tutor focuses on this concept. Taking extra time outside of class to focus and practice on these types of problems with a private tutor can be just what your student needs to improve. Their math teacher in school may not be able to provide this extra focus due to the curriculum and time constraints, but your math tutor can.

An online tutoring program that provides unlimited extra practice, such as Thinkster Math, can provide an additional layer of help for these types of problems.

A math tutor can help fill gaps in math concepts

The ACT and SAT tests are designed to test what your student has learned so far. In class, teachers do what they can, but they’re not always able to teach every concept or show an example of every type of problem that your student will possibly need to know for these tests. Even if they do cover it, some topics are not as focused as your student needs, which can leave them with some knowledge, but not mastery, of that topic.

If your student is struggling with a concept or type of problem that their teacher has already moved away from, a math tutor can help pinpoint that need and provide math help and practice.

Finally, the way concepts are taught sometimes varies by school or teacher. Some schools focus on preparing for standardized testing, which helps students feel more prepared for the test. A quality math tutor can evaluate if there are any additional concepts your student is behind in and ensure that their mathematics education is well-rounded and thorough.

A math tutor can work ahead with your student

If your child does fine in math and wants to work ahead, you can work with a math tutor on the best way to do this and determine which topics are most appropriate for your student to learn outside of the classroom. If your student is excelling in math, they may need to see more advanced topics to keep the subject challenging, which will keep them engaged and motivated to learn.

If your middle schooler seems ready, you can encourage your math tutor to provide algebra help and geometry help, as these topics play a big part in high school math and are covered by the ACT and SAT tests. Learning these concepts early on can be very beneficial.

A math tutor can help with time management and organization

student schedule

The ACT math section is 60 questions long and your student is given 60 minutes to answer each question. The SAT has one section of 20 questions timed at 25 minutes and a second section of 38 questions timed at 55 minutes.

This timing requires students to work faster and more strategically than they do in their math class or while doing math homework. The tests assess your student’s speed as well as their math knowledge, so being able to process the questions quickly is key.

This also relates to overall time management and organization. For example, your student’s math tutoring sessions may need to fit into a busy schedule of other extracurricular activities. Building time in for tutoring and working independently on extra math skills shows maturity and time management skills.

With some practice, your student can learn to prioritize their schedule and maximize the time spent on extra math work, which can translate into faster times on standardized tests.

A math tutor teaches your student that it’s okay to ask for help

Another benefit from working with a math tutor is that your student will learn that it’s okay to ask for help on a math concept and use a tutor when needed. Sometimes students are embarrassed to receive private tutoring. Once they get a better grade in math and see how much they’re improving, their attitude will likely change.

This can come in handy especially as they’re preparing for the ACT or SAT later on. If your student does need extra help, they will already know that they work well with a tutor and will see benefits from doing so.

Working with a math tutor builds other intangible skills beyond math

Seeing success with a math tutor can benefit your student in a variety of other ways. Early tutoring can teach your student study habits that they can use in high school, standardized test preparation, college, and beyond. As the workload increases, these skills can be a great benefit.

Another benefit your student will gain from math tutoring is confidence. Tutoring shows them that they have the ability to learn and excel in math, and this encourages them to use these techniques when they get stuck on a new problem. As math lessons get harder in middle school and beyond, confidence can be the extra push they need to get them through.

Through tutoring, your student will also learn self-discipline and motivation. Having the past experience of overcoming difficult problems can impact how well they handle future struggles, especially when it comes to the ACT and SAT. Students without this experience may get frustrated and give up, but your student knows they have learned how to think critically.

Try Thinkster for online math tutoring help & unlimited worksheets (including word problems!)

Thinkster Math is an online tutoring program that offers your student all the benefits of a math tutor with a focus on word problems and unlimited math worksheets to practice with. You can try our program for 7 days to see for yourself — and we’re adding more worksheets all the time.

When it comes to standardized testing, the more practice and test prep your student can do, the better. And with the right preparation, you’ll be set up for success.

Have a high school and looking for SAT prep now? We offer a fully tailored training experience for students! Get performance-based custom training quizzes, and full-feature practice tests using AI technology.

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Pavithra Lakshminarayan

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