learning center tutor tutoring a student

Meet with a Tutor

The Learning Center offers free in-person (NQ 350) and online (Zoom) tutoring for Ball State students for many different courses on campus.  We update our list each semester (and throughout the semester). Courses are limited during the summer.

Tutoring appointments are available at a variety of times throughout the week. Students can make their own appointments and check appointment availability using Navigate. For further assistance or instruction on booking a tutor with Navigate, please watch this video or read our written instructions.

Get A Tutor

Courses offered Summer 2024

The following list is subject to change:

  • ACC 201, 202, 301
  • ANAT 201
  • BA 205
  • BIO 215
  • CHEM 111, 112, 231, 232
  • CJC 101, 102, 251
  • COMM 210
  • ECON 201, 221
  • HIST 150, 201
  • ISOM 210
  • MATH 102, 110, 112, 113, 125
  • NUR 228, 330, 340, 350, 370, 402, 404, 406, 423, 425, 430
  • PHYC 110
  • POLS 130
  • PSYS 100, 241, 284, 285, 479
  • SNLN 251, 252, 253, 254
  • Study Skills
  • THEA 100
  • Writing

Get the Most From Your First Tutoring Appointment

We suggest several ways you can get the most from your tutoring session:

  • Attend your tutoring session well prepared: bring textbooks, class notes, past exams, course syllabus, etc.
  • Attempt any class assignments prior to your tutoring session.
  • Attend all class sessions.
  • Use other resources available to you, such as Supplemental Instruction sessions and review sessions if they are offered in your course.
  • Be informed about professors' office hours.
  • Be willing to actively participate in your tutoring session.
  • Arrive on time. Sessions start on the hour.
  • Academic Integrity Policy: Students and tutors are expected to comply with the academic ethics policies stated in Ball State University's Student Code.

Tips and Strategies

Below are some tips and strategies that can assist your academics both inside and outside of your tutoring sessions:

Course Improvement

1. The Principle of Motivated Interest

  • Naturally interested.
  • If not, create an artificial interest and enthusiasm.
  • When you begin to learn something about a new subject, chances are great that you will find it genuinely interesting.

  2. The Principle of Selectivity

  • Have the courage to select and reject.
  • By evaluating and judging this, you will be learning.
  • With practice you get better at this.
  • May go through a chapter twice.
  • First get main ideas.
  • Second time fill in the details to the framework.

  3. The Principle of Intention to Remember

  • Pay attention.
  • Get it right the first time
  • Understand before trying to remember.

  4. The Principle of Basic Backgrounds

  • Your professional life begins with your freshman courses.

  5. The Principle of Meaningful Organization

  • Use the category system.
  • General headings and sub headings.
  • Chunk information in groups of seven.
  • Magnetic centers - once you learn a word or fact, you will see it repeated.
  • Power of association - good background helps you see organization.

  6. The Principle of Recitation

  • Transfers information from short term to long term memory.
  • Saying aloud ideas you want to remember.

  7. The Principle of Consolidation

  • Hold ideas in mind for 4 or 5 seconds.
  • Review notes immediately after class.

  8. The Principle of Distributed Practice

  • It is best to have several short study sessions, rather than one long session.
  • Neural processes of learning continue to work during rest time.
    Holds both immediate and long term retention.
    • This will prevent fatigue.
    • You will be more motivated.
    • Practice, practice, practice.
    • Read, recite and review.

      9. The Principle of Metacognition

    • Monitor your progress!
      • Are you putting in enough time? 
      • Do you have clear goals?
      • Which are your hardest classes?  Easiest?
      • What are your current grades and your desired grades? 
      • What do you need to do to get your desired grades?
      • What do you know about your learning?

    While taking notes:

      1. Don't write word for word.

    • Get all the main ideas.
    • Record some details, illustrations, implications, etc.

      2. Paraphrase.

      3. Integrate with other knowledge you already have.

      4. Underline and star major points.

      5. Leave plenty of space for additions.

      6. Note speaker's organization of material.

      7. Be accurate.

    • Listen carefully to what is being said. Ex: If a professor indicates potential test questions, make a note of this.
    • Pay attention to qualifying words. Ex: sometimes, usually, rarely, etc.
    • Notice signals of transition.

      8. Be an aggressive listener.

    • Ask questions and discuss if permitted.
    • Seek out meanings.
    • Relate the material to your other classes and your life outside of school.

      9. Develop a suitable system of mechanics.

    • Jot down words or phrases.
    • Develop some system of shorthand and be consistent in this use.
    • Leave out small words.
    • Use abbreviations and contradictions.
    • Use symbols: +, =, @, &, etc.

      10. Decide what note-taking method is best for you (writing vs. typing). 

    After taking notes, review and re-word them as soon as possible.

    • Don't just re-copy without thought.
    • Reminiscing may provide forgotten material later.
    • Rewrite incomplete parts.

    Improving Concentration

      1. Do whatever is necessary to ensure understanding of what you are reading or studying.

    • understand course content each day.
    • relate concepts to something that you know.
    • actively participate to understand by questioning, writing, and etc.
    • create an environment conducive to learning. 

      2. Maintain an interest in what you are studying.

    • if you are not interested, find someone who is, perhaps as tutor.
    • survey and preview material.
    • organize the material.
    • focus on the big picture or main ideas.
    • plan and arrange for a variety of study activities.
    • study the most difficult course first.
    • plan rewards and recreation for completed tasks.

      3. Have a definite purpose in mind.

    • set goals in terms of what you want to accomplish, be SPECIFIC.
    • push yourself a little; challenge yourself to read a little faster.
    • read to seek answers to questions.
    • approach new information globally, then break it into smaller chunks.

      4. Maintain a pattern of attentive work.

    • study in short blocks of time.
    • make sure you have had adequate sleep and have eaten so you have energy to concentrate.
    • take breaks.
    • use a check system; every time your mind wanders, jot a check mark on paper. Try to reduce the number of check marks per study session.
    • create a worry list or a to do list.
    • stop and tell yourself, "No, I will get back to work."
    • avoid looking up when you hear a noise.
    • challenge yourself to increase your concentration in small increments of time.

      5. Transform good study procedures into habits.

    • have a study schedule and stick to it.
    • have a study environment as free of distractions as possible.
    • do the most difficult when you are the most alert.
    • remember it takes 21 days to form a habit.

      6. Ensure that you are rewarded for productive study.

    • reward and treat yourself for completed tasks.
    • create opportunities to praise yourself and receive praise from others.
    • take inventory of all the new learning that you have acquired.
    • give yourself a mental "pat on the back."

    Improving Memory

    1. Use spaced rather than massed learning.
    2. Transfer learning from short-term to long-term memory.
    3. Practice self recitation.
    4. Relate to new and previously learned material.
    5. Make study guides, flash cards, concept maps, tables, diagrams, etc.
    6. Memorize some material.
    7. Review frequently.
    8. Review before sleeping.
    9. Mentally decide that you intend to learn.
    10. Write specific objectives for yourself.
    11. Stay actively involved; Ask "What do I want to learn?", "What do I know?", and "What did I learn?"
    12. Use artificial aids such as mnemonic devices.
    13. Use visualization techniques.
    14. Use picture-object associations.
    15. Use memory pegs.

    For Online Students - Since so much of your material is visual, you may need to activate more of your learning modalities by intentionally reciting information, reciting out loud, or writing study guides, flash cards, practice tests, etc.  Remember to use visual, auditory, and tactile strategies.  Click here for more information on learning styles.

    Follow this link for a detailed outline on how to calculate your grade point average:

    Grades and Calculating GPA

    Have you ever read an assignment and when you finished couldn't recall anything you read? Do you have a hard time staying awake while you read? These may be signs that you need to get more actively involved in the learning process. Some suggestions include:

    Survey the assignment.

    • Analyze the purpose of the assignment.
    • Look over the introduction, headings (subtitles), italicized words, summary, etc.
    • Get a general idea of the material.
    • Review what you know and make predictions about what you think you will learn.
    • Make a sematic map of the chapter before reading and then fill in sections as the text is read.
    • The author had a plan to organize the material.  What is it?

    Turn headings into questions and read to answer the questions.

    • Break the material into chunks and make notes on the main ideas or questions answered.
    • Confirm or revise the previous predictions made while surveying.
    • Use the SQ3R reading method.
    • Make concept webs or maps.

    Other tips:

    • Review the information read by reciting the questions and corresponding notes.
    • Restate the information and link it to information already known.
    • Make study guides.
    • Organize the material if possible. Example: cause/effect flow charts, classification charts, thematic schemes, or hierarchical systems.
    • Periodically review to store the information in long term memory.
    • Be active while reading; not passive.
    • Set up a study schedule.
    • Know your professors' names and contact information.
    • Study in a comfortable environment.
    • Study without distractions.
    • Study with others in your class.
    • Stay current with your assigned readings.
    • Take breaks (average attention span is 20 minutes).
    • Put information into your own words.
    • Read in increments (20 pages or 10 pages here and there).
    • Connect new information to old information.
    • Take notes on major points in the text.
    • Read with a pencil or pen in your hand and reactively make comments.
    • Reward yourself for productive study sessions.
    • If you continue to have trouble in an area or subject, seek out tutoring at the Learning Center.

    For Online Students - Keep a file of some sort on key concepts, resources, or possible test questions.  Don't let important ideas slide away!

    Test anxiety is normal, but excessive anxiety can interfere with your academic success. If anxiety is excessive, you must learn to recognize your anxiety and deal with it appropriately.

    Test anxiety is identified by the following components:

    1. Physical symptoms include knotted stomach, wet hands, trembling, or nausea.
    2. Emotional symptoms include feelings of fear or panic.
    3. Mental symptoms include forgetfulness or disorganization of thought.

    Reduce anxiety by learning to relax both physically and mentally as follows:

    1. Being prepared is very important in reducing test anxiety.
    2. Start studying at least a week in advance.
    3. Get at least eight hours sleep the night before a test, and don't forget to eat breakfast.
    4. Prior to a test, focus on relaxing muscles throughout the body and take deep, slow breaths.
    5. Replace negative, worrisome thoughts with positive, reassuring ones.

    For more information about relieving stress and anxiety, contact the Ball State Counseling Center - (765) 285-1264 in Lucina Hall room 314.

    For Online Students - Please review other sections for study tips.  Frequently test anxiety can be reduced by proper preparation; especially in the area of time management.

    Preparation for a test begins with reading the assignments, doing the homework, and going to and actively listening to the lectures. Once a test has been announced, preparation may include the following activities:

    Before the Test:

    • Review systematically over time.
    • Reduce the information to study; focus on unknown information.
    • Survey the material you need to know for the exam.
    • Find out if the test questions will cover notes, books, etc.
    • Link new information to old.
    • Make study sheets - include definitions, theories, and formulas.
    • Find out the form of the exam.
    • Predict exam questions.
    • Rehearse material via flash cards, outlines, and mapping strategies.
    • Recite the information out loud.
    • Create memory and mnemonic devices.
    • Seek academic resources (professors/tutors/classmates).
    • Contact Counseling Center for extreme anxiety.

    During the Test:

    • Get a good night's sleep before the test.
    • Have ample supplies - at least 2 pens or pencils, scrap paper.
    • Avoid classmates who might heighten anxiety.
    • Read the entire test before starting.
    • Budget the allotted time.
    • Do not rush through the exam.
    • Read each question and answer choices carefully.
    • Circle key words which focus attention.
    • Dump information on the margin or the back of the test.
    • Be test wise.

    After the Test:

    • Talk to the professor about errors.
    • Attend Supplemental Instruction sessions and Learning Center tutoring.
    • Discuss concerns with academic advisor.

    Procedures for Attacking and Solving Problems

    1. Read the problem rapidly to obtain a general idea of its nature. Try to answer the questions: What is it about? What does it involve?
    2. Read it again carefully, noting the details. Underline the parts that you think will be needed to solve the problem. You should now be trying to determine the conditions and the requirements of the problem.
    3. Try to restate the problem using only the necessary information. Be sure you have identified the unknown.
    4. What symbols, formulas, or equations will be needed? You may be uncertain about the necessary equations at this point. if so, wait until Step 7 for that information.
    5. Convert the data to appropriate symbols so that each given and required part of the problem is represented.
    6. If possible, try to represent the problem by drawing a figure. Label its parts.
    7. Select the equations necessary to solve the problem.
    8. Estimate your answer before computing.
    9. Manipulate the equations, checking each step for carelessness in basic arithmetical processes, i.e., mistakes in adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, dropping of signs, and the use of wrong signs.
    10. Check the final answer obtained and see if it meets the conditions of the problem.

    Critical Thinking Skills

    The ability to think critically, to evaluate systematically what we hear and read, rests on a set of specific skills. These skills include the ability to identify ambiguous claims or arguments, to identify unstated assumptions, and to detect bias. Critical thinkers are able to evaluate evidence. They are able to distinguish between verifiable facts and value claims, and between relevant and irrelevant information, claims, or reasons. Critical thinkers are able to determine the factual accuracy of a statement and the credibility of a source. They recognize logical inconsistencies or fallacies in a line of reasoning and can determine the strength of an argument or claim.

    10 Steps to Better Management of your Study Time:

    1. Decide that how you manage your time is important.
    2. Evaluate your study needs for this term.  Which classes will demand the most time? 
    3. Record how much studying you are now doing.  Is it enough?
    4. Set a weekly schedule based on your needs and desires. 
    5. Keep a semester schedule with due dates on it.
    6. Keep a daily "To Do" list.  Break large assignments into smaller parts and schedule them on your "To Do" list.
    7. Revise your schedule as needed.
    8. Schedule study time during your open blocks of time.
    9. Try to study in small blocks of time during the day.
    10. If you get off your schedule, don't discard it.  Restart.

    For Online Students:

    Procrastination can cause trouble faster than anything.  Be very aware of timeliness.  Online classes are often very time-driven with specific deadlines.  Login every day to keep up with the discussions.  Jumping into discussions at the last minute is not conducive to learning and many teachers deduct points for this behavior.