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Qualities to Look for in a Math Tutor

If you’re struggling with math, know that you aren’t alone. Despite this knowledge of shared anguish, for students experiencing difficulty, a math test can be the most daunting thing in the world. Math is difficult for many students, and often, they seek the help of a tutor.

Finding a good tutor can also feel difficult, but if you know what you’re looking for, it can be an experience well worth the time. So what qualities should you look for in a math tutor?

Good communicator

It may seem obvious, but it is important that you and your tutor be able to communicate well. This means more than just during the time when you’re together – you’ll need to be in touch at other times, too. Make sure that you find someone who is quick to respond to emails, phone calls, or texts (as long as your expectations are reasonable).

If you can find a tutor that understands your learning style and is able to communicate the material, you’ve likely found a keeper.


Similarly, another quality to look for in your math tutor is patience. Math can be difficult to learn. Sometimes, it takes more than one (or two or three) times to get an idea firmly cemented in your brain. If your tutor grows frustrated, you will also be frustrated with the entire process. Find a tutor who is willing to explain a concept multiple ways to help you fully understand it.

A natural teacher

A tutor has to posses both the skill level and ability to relay information in order to successfully teach someone else.

While it can be difficult to find someone that has both the math knowledge and the teaching talent, the search may be worth the end result.


Often, the best tutors and students are those who are passionate about a subject. Look for a tutor that loves everything about math. Chances are, he or she will be excited to explain everything to you because he or she truly loves and enjoys the subject. Find someone who wants to share his or her passion for derivatives and integration with you, and you’ll likely both benefit from the relationship.


Finally, look for a tutor who is asking the right questions. While you may enjoy the idea of someone who does the work for you, it is important that you learn to do it yourself. Find a tutor that provides encouragement along the way, but ultimately requires you to answer the question. Asking the right questions is crucial for any tutor – and for you as a learner.

As you’re searching for a tutor, you may have to switch things up a time or two. Not every tutor and student will work well together, so don’t feel bad about trying tutors until you find a good fit for you. Understanding the qualities to look for in a math tutor can help you find your perfect tutor faster. Ask your own questions, interview tutors, and maintain your standards – your math grade may thank you for it.


Stuart Raffeld

B. A. Operations Research & Statistics, California State University, Long Beach, Teaching Assistant undergraduate Mathematics. B.S. Mathematics, California State University, Long Beach. Mathematics University of California, Irvine, Teaching Assistant undergraduate Mathematics. Completed course work for MS Degree with 4.0 GPA. M.S. Mathematics, Kingsbridge University. Transcript available upon request. 1988-Present: Mathematics tutoring--One on one tutoring for SES students through YP institute and Academic advantage. Tutored students with low learning skills as well as very bright students. Tutored groups of four students in math classes from basic mathematics through calculus. Mathematics teaching for EFN, Inc., a private school.

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