For many students, Methods is the subject they find hardest. It is designed to provide a challenge to students who have good mathematical capabilities, and the subject is a prerequisite for many STEM-based university courses.

Methods demands students develop a robust conceptual understanding of the mathematics behind the course, but it also requires strong exam technique. Students must understand the concept, but they should be able to apply appropriate methods in assessment scenarios. Meeting both of these demands is what can make this subject a difficult one.

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**What to look for in a Maths Methods tutor:**

Students should look for a Methods tutor that truly understands the mathematics involved behind the ‘methods’ used in Methods; they should not simply know the formulas, but rather, they should understand *why* it works the way it does and *how* it came to be.

This is important because simply knowing the existence of a mathematical method does not enable a tutor to adequately explain or break down a concept for a student. This has serious implications for worded questions, as understanding the implications of formulae and its underlying mathematics will be the factor that allows a student to gain full marks for a question, or to increase their speed of work.

As far as communication goes, it’s important that a tutor has the verbal ability to explain things in different ways. People conceptualise maths differently, so it’s vital that a tutor be able to explain things a second, or even a third way in the event that a student fails to grasp the concept based on the initial explanation.

**How Maths Methods tutoring could benefit you:**

Textbooks often overexplain simple concepts in a convoluted and confusing way, which can make learning the Methods course far more time-consuming and laborious than it should be. Tutoring can be beneficial in that it can offer better explanations that save time spent trying to understand what is actually going on mathematically, and improve a student’s ability to excel in worded problems.

Many students find application questions the most challenging, as simply learning formulas does not mean you will know what formula to use in what scenario, and when you should use it. Of course, that’s if you can properly define what the question is asking in the first place! One benefit of a Methods tutor is their capacity to assist students in breaking down application questions and allowing students to recognize common patterns and filter out the relevant information from the irrelevant information.

Those are two major potential benefits; however, Methods tutoring can sometimes be beneficial around small areas. Things like how to answer things quickly but with accuracy, or using the most efficient method, whilst worth only a small proportion of marks in any given exam, can end up the difference between a moderately good score and an exceptional one.