What Makes an Effective Tutoring Session?

great tutor

It is clear that classroom instruction is not always sufficient for many students to grasp important concepts; they need tutoring. The only problem is that not all tutors are created equal and each child has unique needs that not all tutors are adept at handling. 

If you are looking to discover what makes an effective tutoring session, you need to begin by looking at the tutor. What skills and characteristics make for a good tutor and, in turn, an effective tutoring session? In this article, you will learn how to define a tutor, what good skills a tutor needs to make an effective tutoring session, and the good characteristics of an effective tutoring session. Once you understand these aspects of a tutoring session, you will understand how they all work together to answer the question, “What makes an effective tutoring session.”

Good Skills

Tutoring skills

Let’s review and discuss what skills a tutor needs. A tutor with good skills is a giant part of what makes an effective tutoring session. Even if a tutor has a supportive attitude and patients, if they do not have a good skill set, they will be of no use to the student. Below are some good skills that are a large part of what makes an effective tutoring session.

Technical Knowledge

Technical knowledge is the basis of what makes an effective tutoring session. A tutor must understand the topic before they can teach it to someone else. A tutor must know everything that they want the student to know. If the tutor has more questions than the student, then the tutoring session will be useless.

Teaching Capabilities

Understanding a topic and relaying that topic in a way that an uneducated person can understand are two separate skills. Just because the tutor is an expert in their field, does not mean that they will be able to explain what they do in simple terms. A good tutor will explain topics in ways that are simple enough and engaging enough for the student to both understand and remain engaged. They will also understand that each student is different and that they will need to adjust their teaching style accordingly. If a tutor has both the technical knowledge and the skill to teach a student what they know, then the tutoring session will be effective.

Active listening

Many people do not truly listen. They do not absorb the meaning of what their conversation partner is saying. Nodding your head along to their speech and zoning out is not active listening. Not only would a tutor who is not practicing active listening miss important insights into what a student needs, but it can be demoralizing if the student feels like they are not being listened to. Active listening is the process of absorbing the complete message of what someone is trying to say. Active listening requires you to pay close attention. That means ignoring boredom and staying in the moment rather than formulating what you are going to say. Active listening is a good skill for tutors to have and is part of what makes an effective tutoring session.

Good Characteristics

Tutoring characteristics

In addition to having many good education skills, a tutor will create a safe environment for a student to learn. Below are some good characteristics that will help make for an effective tutoring session


Not all students will catch on to all topics quickly. In an effective tutoring session, the tutor will not become frustrated with the student. The student might run out of patience with themselves. In this case, it is all the more important that the tutor has enough skill to stay calm and reassuring. A good tutor will have the patience to try multiple approaches to the same subject until the student understands. 


A welcoming tutor will make their students feel comfortable and ready to learn. They let the student know that they can make mistakes around them and ask questions without fear of appearing stupid. They will get to know the student so that they feel like an individual the tutor wants to see succeed rather than just another student.

The Student

While the success of the tutoring session is dependent on the experience of the tutor, the responsibility of making the most of a tutoring session is also up to the student. The student needs to come prepared with their goals for the session and overarching goals, bring the required materials, and arrive on time. Much of what makes an effective tutoring session comes down to preparation. The tutor and the student need to work together to create an effective tutoring session.

Find a Tutor

Are you looking for a tutor? Acadomia is an online and in-person tutoring company with expert tutors ready to help your child. Whether they need math, science, or reading help, test prep, or classes in a foreign language, Acadomia has you covered. If you are interested in Academia’s tutoring programs, feel free to contact us with any questions.

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