Tips for success and FAQs

Students studying in Science Tutoring LabHow to use tutoring

Prior to the tutoring session
  • Attend your scheduled class sessions. (Missed a class? Utilize your syllabus, textbook, and D2L to find what was covered in your class. Then make an appointment to meet with your instructor during office hours.)
  • Carefully complete your assigned work to the best of your ability. READ the study materials and the assignment fully.
  • Evaluate your strengths (what do you understand well in this assignment, topic, process, etc.).
  • Identify the area where you feel stuck or would like more support.
  • Write down as many questions as you can think of for which you need assistance.
During the tutoring session
  • Bring your textbook, assignments, and class notes to the study session.
  • Write down new notes when appropriate so that you can explain the idea to yourself later if you get stuck again.
  • Write down any helpful questions or strategies that tutors offer you.
  • Try part of the work on your own and explain your reasoning to the tutor while you work through it.
  • Share what you know about your learning style and try new suggestions; consider using drop-in support with a new-to-you tutor for a different approach.
  • Write down questions you may want to ask the instructor during the next class lecture.
After the tutoring session
  • Review! Review the syllabus and textbook notes. Review your lecture notes. Review your assignments.
  • Plan to study: For every hour in class, a student can expect to study two hours outside of class. Try various methods of studying or consult a College Guidance tutor to find out how to study more efficiently with your time.
  • Connect with your instructor! Visit during office hours, send an email to let them know how you’re feeling about your grasp of the concepts, and ask questions both in class and out.
  • Schedule yourself for academic support throughout the term. Start early and visit frequently. If you don’t have questions, consider joining a Study Group to improve your retention and mastery of the material.

How to prepare for an exam

On the day of the test
  • Be sure to be prepared physically. Do your best to get rest the night before.
  • Give yourself more time than usual to get to class and test technology. Anxiety over technical issues will heighten test anxiety.
  • Prior to class, remind yourself of acronyms, acrostics, formulas, mnemonics. Then take a few minutes to relax and breathe. Use relaxation techniques if necessary.
  • Visualize crushing the test. Change your frame of reference. Look at the test as a challenge to see how well you’ve prepared for the test, to show how much you’ve learned and how hard you’ve worked.
When you get to the test
  • Scan through the entire test. Are there essay questions? How long will they take you? Budget your time. How much is each section worth? If essay questions are only worth 20%, don’t spend 80% of your time on them.
  • Write down any difficult information you might forget: formulas, outlines, facts – Do this in the margins.
  • Then read the directions – slowly. Nothing is worse than knowing the information and getting it wrong on the test because you weren’t careful with your directions.
  • Answer the easiest questions first. This gives you the experience of success and stimulates connections.
  • Next answer multiple-choice, T/F, and fill in the blank. Proceed to short answers and finally essays.
  • Pace yourself – expect memory blocks, if you’re stuck, mark it, go on, and come back to it.
  • Look for answers in other test questions.
  • Answer every question – make your best guess if wrong answers are not penalized.
  • Work at your own pace. Do not be concerned when other students finish and leave before you do.
  • If time permits, review questions and answers. Remember, your first test response is generally your best.

Tutoring options

users Student Learning Center (SLC)

Tutors provide individual and/or group tutoring to clarify and review concepts taught in class, explain processes, and help students solve specific problems. Students are expected to come to the tutoring session with specific questions after having already attempted the work.

book open Reading and Writing Center (RWC)

RWC is here to assist with any reading or writing task for any subject. RWC supports students with understanding and breaking down assignments; overcoming writer’s or reader’s block; organizing and synthesizing reading assignments; strategies for drafting, with revising and editing written work; evaluating, integrating, and citing sources; writing scholarship essays, resumes, and more.

laptop eTutoring

Western eTutoring Consortium offers free online tutoring provided by PCC tutors and professional tutors from colleges across the country.


Reading and writing help


General help


Do you have tutoring in (subject)?

PCC tutoring services are available in over 50 subject areas. Please refer to the PCC public schedule or eTutoring schedule to see if your course is supported.

Are there any time limits to tutoring? Why?

Yes, tutoring is designed to support good study habits and facilitate learning rather than focus on assignment completion. Session lengths are based on the average time it takes to tackle one aspect of a writing assignment or one homework question.

Drop-in support: students can expect to work with a tutor for 15-20 minutes at a time before the tutor will allow the student to work on their own and utilize their new knowledge or skills. Each campus offers in-person drop-in tutoring Mondays through Thursdays between 12-2pm for Reading and Writing and math. Additional drop-in hours and subjects are available as noted in our public schedule.

Appointments: Reading and Writing appointments are 30 minutes each. All other subjects are available for 25-minute sessions. Students may schedule up to 3 tutoring appointments per subject, per week in any of our PCC centers. Be sure to read our cancellation policy and attend appointments as scheduled.

If my tutor doesn’t have another appointment, can I ask another question?

Our tutors can be very busy, and are often booked with several appointments or scheduled breaks during their work shifts.  However, students are welcome to check in with their tutor, and if time and need permits, a tutor may be able to continue tutoring a bit longer.

How do I get extended time?

The session times are designed to support student-directed learning around one concept or question, or to support with one paper or reading assignment. To make the most of your time with a tutor, be sure to prepare for your tutoring appointment. Students may schedule up to 3 tutoring appointments per subject, per week in any of our PCC centers. Beginning Fall 2023, students are able to book 2 of those tutoring sessions back-to-back through There is no limit to the number of drop-in tutoring sessions a student may use each day, pending subject availability and time constraints based on first come, first serve student demands.

What happens if I can’t make it to an appointment?

Our appointments can sometimes be in high demand. Students are responsible for attending any scheduled appointments. If you’ve booked a tutoring appointment and cannot attend, you can cancel your appointment through TracCloud. Multiple no-show appointments (scheduled sessions that are not attended and not canceled in advance) have a negative impact on tutor availability and will result in a pause in your ability to book future appointments. Drop-in sessions will continue to be available.

How do I cancel an appointment?

Use your MyPCC username and password to log in to our appointment platform (TracCloud). On the right side of the page, look for the yellow box listing your upcoming appointments. Click on the X in the top right corner of the yellow box. Click Confirm Cancelling Appointment. Thank you for releasing your reservation so other students can schedule or connect with a tutor in the center.

Why do you open week 2?

The first week of an academic term often involves scheduling changes for tutors and students. We encourage students to use this time to build study plans and identify tutoring needs. The Tutoring Schedule is posted during week 1 and students can begin making appointments week 1 once they identify a need.  Students are also welcome to join drop-in virtual tutoring through our partner organization the Western eTutoring Consortium during week one.

Are you open for exam week?

All students are encouraged to join drop-in virtual tutoring through our partner organization the Western eTutoring Consortium for any last-minute questions during exam week. Science tells us that cramming does not lead to long-term knowledge retention and skill development, and it can be bad for your health. We encourage students to plan regular study sessions, including working with a tutor, throughout the term.

I was hoping to work with a few other people from my class. Is this possible?

Of course! Just let the folks at the front desk know you’ll have people joining you and we’ll be sure to direct them to the same table as you during our open hours.

None of the hours available are convenient to my schedule. Are there any other options?

We plan our open times to correspond with when students have visited us in the past, and based on tutor availability. Each term we adjust our hours to try to maximize the benefit to students. If you need access to tutoring outside of our campus hours, please visit our online drop-in tutoring partners at the Western eTutoring Consortium for extended hours, including weekends.

How can I access the Western eTutoring Consortium and how does it work?

PCC, along with several other colleges, has an online drop-in tutoring platform where students registered for credit classes can meet with tutors through Zoom. View the eTutoring schedule and access eTutoring with your MyPCC username and password. Students meet with tutors in a Zoom room with up to 3 other students on a first come, first serve basis. Sessions are designed to support each student with one concept or question and you can return to the queue for support with additional questions.

How much does tutoring cost?

You’ve already paid for tutoring as part of your tuition! There’s no additional charge to use the service through any of our available modalities as many times as you’d like throughout the term. We want everyone to use it often!

I have more questions about tutoring! How can I reach someone in Tutoring Services to get my questions answered?

You are always more than welcome to join our Zoom room, stop by one of our four campus centers, or call us at 971-722-1555 for help during our hours of operation to talk with any of our staff at the front desk. You can also email us at

I missed a class. Can I use tutoring to catch up?

PCC Tutoring Services are designed to support questions based on homework, reading, or writing assignments for PCC coursework after students have attended class. As tutoring is not a replacement for missing class, students are encouraged to connect with their instructors during office hours for missed instruction. For guidance on how to efficiently read a textbook for academic learning, consider booking an appointment for reading support with an RWC tutor.

Can my tutor help with a take-home or open-book exam?

Tutors cannot assist students with quizzes, tests, exams, or other types of course activities that require students to demonstrate their own comprehension or understanding of course material unless assistance has been explicitly approved by the instructor(s) on the original paperwork.