Sometimes, I feel that the dominant cultural image of tutors is of people who “force” their students to work through tons of practice tests, as if we were academic drill sergeants. The reality is very different. One of the most important responsibilities that tutors have is to teach students how to study effectively and efficiently (not just for long periods of time). Not surprisingly, as a person who has been a tutor for almost 10 years, I’ve put a lot of thought into what studying ought to look like, which is why I was so pleased when I was contracted by Pacific Medical Training to write a short guide on study methods.
Pacific Medical Training specializes in providing online courses for adults preparing to take the ACLS, PALS, and BLS (all of which are certification exams for providers of emergency medical services). Over the years, they have encountered many clients who have had difficulty studying effectively either because they have been out of school for a long time and have forgotten what techniques worked for them or because they do not have the luxury of studying the way they did as teenagers now that they have jobs and children.
Although I do not work with medical licensing exams, study methods are broadly applicable to almost any content. Rather than tailoring advice to the subject being studied, it is most effective to give advice based on the needs of the student. Thus, the test preparation advice I wrote for Pacific Medical Training is mostly about time management and efficiency. If I were writing for a high school or middle school audience, I would have addressed different challenges.
I’m pleased to see Pacific Medical Training doing the right thing by working to remind clients who haven’t been in school for a long time how to most effectively use their time. In fact, I’m so impressed with the idea that I will be writing a second study guide, this time for teenagers, and posting it in my blog.