Peer tutoring is available to all students. Through peer tutoring, you have the opportunity to work individually or within a small group setting with second year and beyond students who have excelled in their coursework. Through this program, you can learn more effective study strategies, reinforce course material, and work with others who are facing similar challenges.
Many medical and graduate students at Einstein come from strong academic backgrounds and have served as advisors and tutors to other students. They may find that once they are in medical or graduate school, their previous methods of studying and approaching their school work are no longer effective in producing the same results that they had become accustomed to. For some, this may be the first time in their life that they have faced the possibility of failing an exam or not keeping up with the course material, despite their many efforts to study and follow through on course requirements. For others, merely not comprehending a lecture can induce a great deal of anxiety that can further impede the learning process. In these cases, the tutoring program is a resource that can provide an opportunity for students encountering difficulties to improve their academic performance. The OASC’s tutoring program offers students:
- 1:1 consultation to discuss academic issues and the potential benefits of tutoring
- peer tutors for the basic science courses, USMLE Step 1, and Shelf exams
- performance monitoring
- follow-up appointments - at no cost to the student
FAQ About Peer Tutoring
What is a peer tutor?
A peer tutor is an Einstein MD/MSTP student in, at least, their second year of medical school who has been selected by the Office of Academic Support and Counseling. Factors that make a student eligible to tutor include but are not limited to achieving approximately 1 SD or greater in their coursework (the criteria will vary depending on the demands of the course), be in good academic standing, have a strong interest in teaching, good knowledge of the subject area, and excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Students who have failed courses are not eligible to register as a peer tutor.
Do I have to pay a fee to have an Einstein tutor?
No. Although peer tutors are compensated, students seeking tutoring do not have to pay.
How do I sign up?
Come to the OASC - Belfer 410A. Fill out a "Request for Tutoring" form. When you submit the form, you'll be given a list of tutors for the course you're interested in. Tutor lists include the name, class, E-mail, and telephone number of each tutor. If you are seeking a tutor for the Clinical & Developmental Anatomy course, the process is just a little different. The course director has requested that you meet with the director of OASC, prior to receiving an anatomy tutor list. The Clinical & Developmental Anatomy course has Peer Assistants in place under the directorship of the course leader; however, the anatomy tutors are not the Peer Assistants.
What if I'm not sure if I need a tutor?
Doubts are common. Try it. Some students work with tutors only once or twice. Others meet with their tutors regularly for the duration of a specific course. Scheduling is arranged between you and your tutor.
How do I make the most out of peer tutoring?
Three suggestions. First, try your best to identify areas you would like to work on. For example, some students struggle with rote memorization, or organizing large amounts of information, or have trouble understanding concepts, or need help applying their knowledge-base clinically. Second, it's best to be prepared for your sessions. Peer tutors are students as well and have busy schedules. If you have a specific need or concern, let them know. E-mail specific questions or general topics you'd like to review in advance of your sessions. And lastly, be open to switching tutors if necessary, try a group, or 1:1 tutoring.
If I work with a tutor am I guaranteed to pass?
No. However, many successful students have worked with tutors at one point or another.
Here are a few comments from students that signed up for tutoring:
I was a skeptic at first... I wasn't sure if it would be helpful to me... I was initially embarrassed to contact a peer tutor, I was afraid of what they might think...but I'm really glad I got over that!... I was tired of being in the middle of the pack or just average... I wanted to do better... I was really struggling, I wouldn't have passed that course if it wasn't for my tutor... My tutor helped me focus, stay on top of the material, and get organized... Our tutoring group was great... I loved the talking and exchanging of ideas!
FAQ for the Potential Peer Tutor
What do Einstein Peer Tutors Do?
Peer tutors work with students individually or in small groups of up to 3 to clarify information, review specific course material and encourage effective study skills. Tutors are encouraged to stimulate critical thinking, foster an understanding of the "big picture," and help students become active participants in the learning process.
How do I become an Einstein Peer Tutor?
You will be contacted by our office indicating the courses you are eligible to tutor. You will be asked to indicate which courses you feel you are realistically available to tutor. All new tutors must attend a “Basic Training for Peer Tutors” session at the beginning of the school year. In this training peer tutors will learn about the role and expectations of Einstein Peer Tutors. Students will also learn about the necessary information for compensation. Encounter forms, documenting the sessions with students will need to be completed. Similarly, each student is expected to complete and encounter form on their tutor indicating how the session was helpful or where there is room for improvement. Timesheets and encounter forms must be submitted for compensation.
How do I know if I'm eligible to tutor?
Although Einstein doesn't have a ranking system, the OASC has access to and monitors the academic performance of all students. A student is typically selected to become a tutor by the Office of Academic Support and Counseling if they are in good academic standing and has a strong interest in teaching and working with other students. All peer tutors must be approved by the Office of Student Affairs.
How does it work?
You're contacted by interested students by phone or E-mail. You arrange either an individual session with a student or meet with a group - it's all based on your schedule and the student's availability. Tutors are advised to limit their hours to 8 per week and limit their group sizes to 6 people. Hours vary. Tutors are also encouraged to carefully consider prep time, availability over the duration of a given course, and juggling the demands of their Einstein course work, board study, research, etc.
What are the benefits of tutoring?
Peer tutors gain experience in teaching, which can be later added to their CV when applying for residency. Tutors benefit by reviewing basic science topics, as they prepare for tutoring sessions. This review can be especially helpful in preparing a student for Step 1 of the USMLE. Tutors are also paid for their efforts. Copies of the current fee schedule are available in the OASC.
What do I do to sign up?
You will need to contact our office. We will forward links to the Human Resources forms to be completed. You will have to provide proof of employability (proof of identity and of citizenship or immigration status) to HR. You will be assisted in making these arrangements. Time sheets and student encounter forms are found on the OASC website and must be submitted for compensation.
Have tutors ever been suspended from the program?
Unfortunately, yes. Tutors have been and will be suspended from the program if they treat tutored students in an insensitive and disrespectful manner, promise specific grades, tutor subjects without prior permission from the OASC, post signs to advertise their tutoring, or falsify their hours or courses tutored on timesheets.
Below are a few comments from peer tutors:
I enjoy helping students learn and think... I like teaching... It helps to keep material fresh in my mind... I got to help other students GET a hard subject... It forces ME to really master a subject... and review for Board exams. I appreciate the opportunity to refresh my memory of the preclinical coursework... I liked being an inspiration to first and second years... getting paid for it didn't hurt either.
For more information on the peer tutoring program, please contact us at (718) 430-3154.