Moving from algebra to geometry can stump even the most savvy math students. All of a sudden the Xs and numbers you’ve grown to love have become angles, proofs, and theorems. It can take time to wrap your mind around how to tackle a geometry concept. If you find yourself saying “huh?” more than “so that’s how you do that!” it may be a good time to work with an online geometry tutor.
If you want to get the most out of your lessons, two expert geometry tutors on InstaEDU — Brian R. from the University of Chicago and Amanda S. from University of Pennsylvania — share their best tips below.
Both Brian and Amanda say the most important thing you can do is recognize you need help a few days before a big assignment is due or midterm is scheduled. “If there are topics in class that you aren’t understanding or homework assignments that go poorly, it’s time to look for help,” explains Brian. Amanda adds, “I find that students generally know that they’re a trouble when they see a geometry problem and their first reaction is ‘Huh?’.” When you find yourself with a “huh?” moment, schedule a lesson with your tutor; don’t wait until you have three or four concepts you don’t understand.
Use the tools in the lesson space
“In geometry it’s always helpful to draw a picture when you start working on a problem, so make sure to use the whiteboard,” says Brian. Amanda agrees: “For geometry especially, students should definitely make sure to use the whiteboard and the upload a file button.” With recent improvements to the InstaEDU lesson space, students can now use math shapes including triangles and lines on the whiteboard. For geometry, specifically, these shapes are super useful! Lastly, if you’re going to be doing regular math tutoring, Brian suggests learning LaTeX, which allows you to easily type in math symbols to in-lesson chat.
Don’t give up
The bad news is, there isn’t an easy way to avoid working hard if you want to learn a new subject. And while InstaEDU tutors are there to help, they can’t do all the work for you. “My students who succeed the most understand that tutoring does not mean you get off easy; even in a tutoring lesson, we’re still expecting you to do the work for yourself, we’re just here to help!” says Amanda. So before you enter your lesson, make sure you 1) know what you need help with and 2) are ready to do the heavy lifting so you can understand it.
Reading to start learning what the Side-Angle-Side theorem is all about, or what special qualities equilateral triangles have? Set up a lesson with Brian or Amanda, or browse all of our geometry tutors to find the perfect fit for you.