I prefer tutoring in coffee shops, or the cafe area of a bookstore.

Sure coffee shops are noisy, but it’s actually good practice. On the actual test, there will always be distractions – the sniffling proctor, the heavy breather, the restless-leg-syndrome sufferer periodically kicking your chair. Coffee shops teach you to block out extraneous noise and focus on the test.

Coffee shops are so great for tutoring because students associate them with fun. People go to coffee shops to mingle with friends, relax, and enjoy a delicious latte. This relaxed, coffee shop attitude is perfect for stress-free test prep.

Some libraries are fine for tutoring, but many public libraries have been stuck in a time bubble since 1952. If you attempt to smuggle in a cup of coffee or talk at a normal volume, some rarefied, grizzled librarian who smells as musty as the reference books will come smack your knuckles with a ruler.

Home is obviously the most convenient for the student, but it is usually the worst choice for tutoring. Many homes, especially those with screaming children, make the coffee shop seem quiet by comparison.

Home can also be humiliating when family members start acting like well, themselves. For the first session or two, everyone in the home is usually on their best behavior. By the third lesson, everyone forgets the tutor is there and starts acting in the normal crazy way people act in the privacy of home.

I have heard everything from screaming matches to racist rants to fornication noises coming from the other rooms during at-home tutoring. My advice to students: if you have a crazy family- and most people do- spare yourself the embarrassment and meet your tutor at the coffee shop.

For more quirky stories, as well as some serious ones on how to be a better student, check out this website and read some of their articles.

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