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Posts Tagged 'Study Skills'

What is Academic Coaching Tutoring?

What is an Academic Coach and how can they help out students?

Academic coaching is support in the following areas to help strengthen students skills and become effective learners.  Building strong skills can help students develop habits to succeed in school and reduce anxiety.  In particular, as students move through middle school and into high school, these skills become increasingly important.

Homework Skills: Our tutors work with students to prioritize homework based on the importance of each assignment and its deadline.  They also help set up a proper work space and routines in order for students to ultimately work independently.

Note Taking: Great note taking skills can help students develop strategies to layout their notes in their own words, formats and summaries.  For further note taking strategies click here.

Organizational Skills: Having strong organization and planning skills is key to ensure students have their papers, notes and other key materials in a convenient and easy to find location as they are studying and / or doing homework.  Also using an agenda or planner is key to a students success.

Time Management: Last minute exam cramming, forgetting homework can cause anxiety and reduced grades for students.  Through developing strong time management skills students can avoid procrastination, priortize, stay organized and on track to timelines.

Test and Exam Preparation: Students learn to study and prepare for specific tests and exams based on the materials.  Through the process they learn to ask the appropriate questions, make study notes and ensure they cover areas they are not familiar with.

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Study Skills: How to Avoid Procrastination

Girl Studying

With the summer approaching, it is easy for students to find a million other things to do besides homework, studying and exam prep.   Delaying challenging course work can feel rewarding in the short-term, but will only increase student’s stress and anxiety as they get closer to test or exam time.

Developing strong study skills might not come naturally and take work and time to develop.  Here are some ways to learn effective study habits and avoid procrastination.

Plan, Plan Plan: Make a plan for studying with the following items.

i) Calendar:  Use the calendar to mark down all the upcoming assignments, tests, exams and projects.  If you like being creative, pick a different colour for each subject to differentiate.

ii) Make a Weekly Plan: Narrow the calendar down to make a study plan for each week and ensure there is time to complete each of the key items due.   You can also create a checklist to keep track of the items outstanding and what is remaining to be completed.

Location: Work in a quiet area with limited interruptions, traffic and distractions that has good lighting.  Remove anything you don’t need to study like TV, smartphone, music, etc that could cause distractions.

Keep Materials Organized:  Make a plan to keep the study area organized with school supplies available and in one place.  Ensure you have a spot for each subject to ensure papers don’t get loose or lost.

Expectations: Having a firm grasp of expectations and what is expected is key to ensure studying and homework is done successfully and on time.  If you are unclear about any expectations, we would recommend students and parents approach teachers to understand what is expected of them and make a plan.

Be Positive:  Being in the right mindset can make a huge difference to stay on top of work and avoid procrastination.  Parents can encourage their child to stay positive heading into exams and avoid negative thinking.  Help turn negative statements into positive ones by encouraging strong study habits.

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2017 Educational New Year’s Resolutions

As kids get back to school in January, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the first half of the school year and to make some educational resolutions.

In the new year, we usually start off with the best of intentions, but don’t always follow through with the resolutions we make. That’s why our team of tutors recommends continuing to engage your child and track their progress.

Here are some subject and skill specific ideas to help start 2017 off on the right foot.


  • Practice makes perfect – Math homework can be an opportunity for students to reinforce the concepts they learned.   Schedule a regular time and location to develop a routine
  • Play Math Games to make learning fun.  Here are some of our favourites
  • Use these helpful Math apps for enrichment or support learning in more challenging areas
  • Introduce Math into real life settings. For example: on the next drive learn about distance and time.  Or during cooking time – learn about measurement.


  • Read with your child frequently and engage them by asking them to explain the story
  • Use flash cards to learn important words.  Once your child gets comfortable, combine the flash cards to create common sentences
  • Label items around the house and practice reading them with your child
  • Reading apps can help engage your child and leverage technology.  Some of our favourites include: Dr. Seuss’s ABCReading RavenQuestion BuilderWord MagicGraceabc PocketPhonics


  • Cook in French – think about all the great food you can cook and eat (ie. Crepes, Croissant)
  • TFO – Games:  Wonderful games to help improve French vocab, math, reading and science
  • French TV: expand vocabulary by watching age appropriate shows
  • Leverage technology with these helpful French Apps
  • Sign up for a French enrichment March Break or Summer Camp
  • Watch online videos to sing songs and learn new vocabulary


  • Use sports make science fun and connect it with real life.  Ie. hockey can be used to learn the Physics of friction and momentum or athletes’ nutrition can be used to learn Biology and the science of proteins, sugars and fats
  • Explore the world of science with these helpful apps for children of all ages
  • NBC Learn has wonderful videos to explain the science of everything

Organization, Time Management and Study Skills:

  • Use an agenda / planner
  • Make a consistent schedule
  • Provide a place to study with limited distractions and good lighting
  • Develop a system to track important papers / materials
  • Communicate with your child’s teacher on an ongoing basis

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Four Ways To Refresh Study Habits For Spring

Student Studying

There are only a few months left in the school year and with nicer weather and plethora of outdoor fun to be had, it can be difficult to maintain the good habits that have seen your child through the school year.

We’re sharing four tips to help you and your child refresh their study habits and end the school year strongly.

Make a Weekly Schedule: With your child, plan a weekly schedule that includes their extra curriculum activities, free time, and when they will work on their homework. When scheduling homework, build in a buffer for extra time and breaks. This will help teach your child time management and prioritizing their different assignments and homework.  Also plan for tests and exams in advance so studying is not left until the last minute. If an unexpected outing disrupts the schedule, work with your child to revisit it and plan for the shift.

Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher: Check in with your child’s teacher to ensure that they are making progress along the learning continuum. If they have missed an assignment or are not understanding a topic, there is still time in the school year to work with the teacher to make a plan and support your child.

Prepare for Tests: Find out from your child’s teacher (or ask them to find out) if there are any sample questions or tests that you can use to help your child get to know what to expect on the exam or even EQAO if your child is in a testing year. Knowing what to expect, even visually, can help to reduce test-taking anxiety. If your child needs some extra support, now is a good time to connect with a tutor to help them revisit or learn concepts.

Get Plenty of Sleep: While this tip may not be exactly a study habit, getting enough sleep helps your child be prepared for learning. It’s easy as the sun stays out longer to delay bedtime but after a couple of evenings, you’ll notice your child’s behaviour is greatly affected. Be consistent about the timing of bedtime, as well as the expectation that they need to rest.

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Developing Strong Organization and Study Skills

Study Skills

Organization, time management and study skills are key to a students’ success.  When students manage these areas well, it helps them stay on top of projects, tests, assignments and exams along with reducing their anxiety.  In particular, as students moves through middle school and into high school, these skills become increasingly important.

Below are some of our best practices we recommend students leverage:

Tips to Improve Organization and Study Skills:

1) Use an Agenda/Planner:  Help your child get in the habit of writing down their homework for each subject and checking it off once completed.  There are also numerous apps for students to stay organized electronically.

2) Make a Schedule: With your child, plan the times they will work on their homework and the items they will cover.  Be sure to build in a buffer for extra time and breaks.  This will help teach your child time management and prioritizing their different assignments and homework.   Also plan for tests and exams in advance so studying is not left until the last minute.

3) Provide a Place to Study:  Select a spot with limited distractions, good lighting and an ability to focus on your work.

4) Develop a System to Track Important Papers / Materials:  Create a system with binders, folders for different subjects and materials.  Sometimes it can help to have a folder for items that need to be turned in and a folder for items that have been returned from the teacher.  That allows the student to stay on top of their notes while the information is fresh and prevents papers from becoming loose and ultimately lost.

5) Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher:  Understanding upcoming assignments is important to manage a students’ time.   Strong communication with a teacher is important to help manage their schedule and ensure their are focusing on the relevant items.

Finally, strong organization and study skills take time to develop and learn.  Practice makes perfect and we would encourage for students to continue to develop a structure and process that works best for them while utilizing best practices.

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How to Prepare for High School

high school student

Transitioning to grade 9 can be a challenging time for students.   Students move away from middle school and enter a larger, more independent and fast paced environment.

Even though summer is in full swing, it is never too early for students and parents to begin to think about the transition to high school.  Below are some helpful tips to help any new grade 9 student succeed.

1) Develop Strong Study and Organizational Skills:  Setting up a successful study area and routine are keys to success.  To read more about successful study and organizational skills, click on our article here.

2) Learn About the Curriculum: The Ontario Ministry of Education has wonderful material about all of the courses available to students.   During course selection time, we would recommend reviewing the high school courses to better understand prerequisites required for future courses and the material covered in the course.   Also, review the grade 12 requirements for any specific college or university programs you may be interested to keep your options opened.  To read more on our course selection tips, click here.

3) School Orientation:  Many schools offer orientations to students before they start high school.  Take advantage of this opportunity to meet teachers and guidance counselors, tour the school to understand the layout and learn about clubs or sports teams your son or daughter can join.   If your high school does not offer an orientation day, we would recommend contacting the school to arrange one.

4) Chat with Current Students:  Encourage your daughter or son to reach out to any friends in the neighbourhood or relatives what it is like to attend high school.   Current students will help provide the inside scoop on all and every question a student could have.

5) Be there to Support:  The next four years will be a challenging time for any student.   Whether it is their academic or personal challenges, your child will count on you  to be a sounding board and support them with any obstacles.

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