School Support Tutoring: Vicious to Virtuous

School Support Tutoring: Vicious to Virtuous

Classroom success is like jumping rope.

Two people turn the rope, and from then on, it is up to you to find the opening to jump in. Once you’re in, though, momentum takes its course and you’re having a good time.

In the learning process, momentum is key. But similarly to jumping rope, if you miss your chance once, it’s hard to find another opening to jump in. As students watch anxiously for an opening, it is easy for them to get frustrated and give up.

A vicious cycle of frustration, lack of confidence, and complacency.

This is where MEK’s School Support Tutoring program can help. MEK tutors make those openings for students to get back on track, gain momentum, and regain confidence.

A virtuous cycle of encouragement, confidence, and progress.

The goal of School Support Tutoring at MEK Review is to take students off the vicious cycle and make openings for them to jump into virtuous cycles and academic success.

Case Study: Brian

Name has been changed for student privacy.


Brian came to MEK in September 2020, at the beginning of 9th grade. Like most 9th graders, especially in the pandemic-era classroom, he was not very motivated to study and didn’t like to smile much, but he was well-mannered and seemed to be receptive to feedback. He did not worry us too much.

During the initial consultation, Brian’s parents were concerned about his math performance and mentioned common issues. Brian did not bring up his academic difficulties to his parents, which meant that his parents only knew about them after they received his test and quiz grades. So naturally, they were reluctant to check his grades frequently, in fear of their disappointment—that is, until his teacher emailed them and brought the issues to their attention.

When our academic counselors asked Brian what he had difficulty with, he didn’t know. He was very obviously disengaged and indifferent. For all he knew, he had no hope. He started School Support Tutoring sessions to reinforce his Algebra skills and rebuild a foundation of concept mastery.

A few sessions went by, and it seemed that Brian was not making progress. While it didn’t seem like he was having difficulty in the tutoring sessions, his school grades fluctuated gravely: some days he would get B’s, while other days he would get C’s and D’s. Both student and parents were frustrated at this lack of progress.

Our academic counselors called for another meeting to investigate the issue more deeply. After deep conversation and with insights from Brian’s tutor, we found that Brian had a fairly strong foundation of basic Algebra knowledge. His understanding was not the issue. It was his momentum.

Brian was lost in class because he didn’t have any routines or study habits in place to keep his momentum going. But with just a slight change in his Individual Tutoring Plan, we could get him back on track.

From that point forward, Brian’s tutor spent more time asking questions. How was school this week? What did you learn in Math class? What were the most challenging questions? Did you use the way we studied together the other day? When is your next assignment or test?

By getting Brian to think more critically about his school classroom and talk about it, his tutor was able to get him more interested in doing well. Of course, his tutor continued to teach concepts and complete practice questions to reinforce them. But by forcing him to reflect, his tutor was able to get him to connect the lessons to his learning in the school classroom.

Soon, Brian started to bring issues and concerns to his tutor without being asked! He asked about how he should prepare for tests and quizzes and prepared questions to ask. This routine of reflection, concept learning, and practice questions became his virtuous cycle.

After six tutoring sessions, Brian was consistently receiving B’s and B+’s on his tests and quizzes. From that point, his tutor started to go ahead of Brian’s school curriculum, having him practice skills and prepare for tests before they were implemented in class. Brian is continuing to work with his tutor to make even more progress and aim for A’s!

But our biggest indicator of success? Brian started to come to each tutoring session with a smile on his face. During his last meeting with our academic counselors, he happily told them, “My tutor helped me so much.”

Whether they know it or not, students spend 40 months preparing for successful college admissions, from the first month of freshman year to the December of their senior year. For schools that operate on marking periods/quarters, the transcript that they send to colleges includes 14 quarters. One quarter is approximately 7% of the total 14, meaning that one dissatisfactory marking period can have a large impact on your admissions to your dream school.

The GPA shows students’ every day performance in the classroom in just one number, a mere few digits. However, this is the most important part of college application evaluations. Students cannot be left on vicious cycles, expected to change their course without help.

Let’s bring our students to the virtuous cycle and have them stay there. Once they’re there, high school will be as enjoyable as jumping rope.

Next Steps

Want to change your course from the vicious cycle to the virtuous cycle? Get started today by filling out the following Tutoring Interest Form! We will get back to you within three (3) business days with your next steps.

In the meantime, read more about our Tutoring Programs and our course offerings!

We hope to talk to you soon!

Jaehee Ahn

Jaehee Ahn is MEK Review's Director of Academic Counseling Services and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She is also an alumnus of MEK Review's SAT Prep program. If you have any questions about our College Counseling programs or wish to set up a consultation, you can email Jaehee at


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