Blog Parents Private Tuition 101 How to Turn Your Private Tutor into Your Secret Weapon

How to Turn Your Private Tutor into Your Secret Weapon

If you’ve made the decision to hire a private tutor in Singapore, you’re virtually guaranteed to improve. Tutors provide expert feedback and teaching aimed at helping you meet your goals. That’s what you pay them for.

But if you really want to excel at something, and if you really want to make the most of your tutoring budget, hiring a tutor isn’t enough.

In fact, hiring the best tutor in the world isn’t enough. Because the secret to unprecedented learning and reaching your goals faster than ever before is…


That’s right–your effort and your preparation as a student is the single biggest factor in determining how well you learn. And that’s a big responsibility.

But it’s also fairly awesome when you realize that the power to reach your goals lies in your hands and isn’t just the result of factors beyond your control. This article will get you started on unlocking your potential as a learner so that your tutor can guide you to unprecedented growth.

If you’re ready to turn your private tutor into your secret weapon, here’s a good place to start:

Fill in the Gaps

Private tutors can be remarkably helpful assets. They are not, however, superhuman. That’s why it’s important to maximize productivity during your time with a tutor (which will inevitably always seem to be in short supply).

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Before you meet with your tutor, try to determine exactly what you need assistance with. Do everything you possibly can to assess your skills and improve them before your tutoring session. That way when the time comes to meet with your tutor, you won’t be unnecessarily revisiting any material you’ve already mastered.

Ask yourself, “What am I currently struggling with?” “What remedies have I tried?” “How do I think my tutor can help me the most?”

Running through a quick checklist of these sorts of questions before each session will help ensure that time with your tutor is focused and productive.

Spend Time Together Learning, Not “Catching Up”

Ok, so you got as far as you could on your own. Great! The tendency now will be to pat yourself on the back and let the tutor take over from here. Don’t even think about it.

Instead, consider things from your tutor’s perspective. All she knows at this point–if you’re just getting started–is that you have hired her for, say, secondary level English tuition. And isn’t that enough for the first lesson?

Ermmm…not exactly.

Your tutor is still missing vital information she needs in order to teach you. Things like learning style, your background in the subject, your goals for the sessions you’ve hired her to teach…the list goes on.

(*Even if you’ve had the same tutor for years, there’s still material to prepare before a lesson. More on this in a moment.)

So instead of spending your money and tutoring time “filling your tutor in,” send this information to your tutor a few days before you meet. She’ll thank you, and your wallet will too.

Prepare Specific, Targeted Questions

Come into each tutoring session with a list of a few specific, targeted questions. Maybe you’ll use them in every lesson and maybe you won’t. Either way, they’re guaranteed to come in handy sooner or later.

Imagine you’re an avid tennis player, an absolute fan of the game. You play 3-5 times per week and study the strategy and technique of the professionals regularly. You study and study, but your serve never seems to measure up. You decide to hire a private instructor.

If you really wanted to get the most out of these lessons, what would you do? Would you show up and simply say, “I’m here to improve my tennis skills”? Of course not!

You would tell the instructor that you came specifically to develop your serve, and ask him a set of particular questions that you need answered. “Is my elbow too high?” “Why is my toss so inconsistent?” Etc, etc.

Instructors (and tutors) love it when their students prepare great questions. It allows them to immediately hone in on what–and how–to teach. And you, the student, get a tailor-made lesson. Win-win!

Take Notes on Anything That Can Help You

Perhaps the biggest benefit to having a private tutor is the personal feedback and attention. You get immediate, individualized instruction every single lesson. How great is that?

Strange, then, that many students only seem to take notes on the “material” proper, and miss all the other–sometimes more valuable–bits their tutor has to offer. You hired an expert to help you learn something…why not learn everything you possibly can from them?

One of the greatest mistakes students can make is to adopt tunnel-vision during their lessons. To think, “I came here for biology tuition, so that needs to be my sole focus.” Yes, you need to learn biology. But there are various skills and a lot of foundational knowledge needed to be a good biologist. You could even learn something which will prove to be far more valuable to you than biology in the long run.

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Stay focused on your personal goals, but not at the expense of missing other valuable learning opportunities.

There you have it–four ways for you to get started turning your private tutor into your secret weapon.

Want these tips to have maximum effect? Put them to use right now.

Don’t think that you’ll start on them later, because you won’t! They are new habits, new skills. And as such, they need to be cultivated right away.

Put on your thinking cap and begin filling in the gaps. Break out a pen and paper and start creating targeted questions. Then jump on your email and send a concise, yet detailed update to your tutor.

And if you’re wondering specifically how to turn your English tutor into your secret weapon, we’ve got you covered.

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.