Building Academic Confidence with One-On-One Tutoring Services from Novastar Prep

Academic subjects like mathematics and science are known to create the highest levels of negative emotions and stress. These complex subjects often rank lowest on the desired list of subjects for most students. However, it is widely accepted that providing a strong foundation for students in math and science subjects are important for both students and societies at large.


Our world will continue to receive increasing volume of information — from all sources – that is not always filtered for accuracy or even evaluated for all possible uses and users. Thus, the ability to make sound personal, ethical, political, financial, and social decisions requires even more complex (mathematical / proof based) thinking, careful observations, and sound deductions. Now more than ever, a well-educated workforce is needed to handle increasingly complex technology.


What are the causes giving rise to negativity and stress towards math and science?


When students develop a negative mindset towards learning a few complex subjects, their confidence begins to drop. Also, misconceptions about math and science, a few of which are mentioned below, keep students from learning:

  • One has to be very intelligent to be good at math or science.
  • It is acceptable to be bad at math because most people are.
  • Math and science are not used that much outside of special occupations, i.e. engineering or medicine.


“Teaching to the tests” has a negative impact even on the children who succeed with this approach. The problem isn’t that they won’t rise to standardized-test expectations; they will, but their achievement will stop there. However, when students truly understand how math and science concepts are applied in real-life terms, they would happily want to understand those concepts; they begin to see how mastering these subjects can serve as a powerful tool they can use for their benefit.


Many studies show that if students feel anxiety about a subject, information entering their brains is less likely to reach the more conscious thinking and long-term memory parts of the prefrontal cortex; and thus learning will not take place. For instance, If a student is not comfortable learning chemistry, all his/her efforts of look at the book and trying to understand chemical formulas reactions would be of no good at all. A chemistry tutor, who comes to the student and gives him/her confidence that they can get better in the subject, day by day and week by week, will enable the student to slowly and steadily understand what they can do to understand complex concepts, without putting too much pressure on themselves.


Stress is the primary filter blocker that needs to be overcome. Perception of a real or imagined threat creates stress, as does the frustration of confusion or the boredom of repetition.


When students are stressed, they can’t use their thinking brains. Therefore, reduction in math-related stress or for that matter, stress related any other subject is the key to success. Intervention, that can help students overcome their stress in learning, include the following:


  • One-on-one tutoring services as offered by Novastar Prep, a leader in individual and customized
  • tutoring services in Virginia, involves evaluating and planning that allows each student to work at an individually appropriate level of achievable challenge.
  • Teaching to student’s strengths and with their interests in mind.
  • Building missing foundation skills through strategies such as “errorless math” prediction and estimating, and scaffolding with cue words, previews, and calculators. Algebra is one such component of math that most students struggle with. An algebra tutor from Novastar Prep would incorporate these indicators in the learning process, and will make sure that a student is made to understand this complex math topic, keeping in mind his/her strengths and weaknesses, in the way he/she finds interesting.
  • Recognizing the link between effort and goal achievement.
  • Using strategies to reduce negative response to mistakes (modeling appropriate reactions, discussing common mistakes and how to avoid them) and increase participation levels.
  • Teacher / tutor must genuinely believe in the student’s hidden capabilities.
  • Focusing students towards achieving their personal excellence by making incremental progress.


It is very common to come across students with negative attitude carrying stress towards learning math and/or science. Over the past 8 years, with a core focus on confidence building, we have taken measured steps to reverse those negative attitudes. It starts with clearly understanding that every student learns differently. By providing students a positive opportunity to make real-life connections to complex subjects (i.e. math, science) at their own level they begin to value the acquisition of those complex subjects. Most studies reveal connection between enjoyable, participatory learning, and long-term memory. Students work harder and persevere through challenges when they have concrete personal goals and motivation for mastering complex subject matter, which lasts beyond the summer vacation.


Author, Rehan Dawer- Founder of Novastar Prep and resident of Great Falls, is an advocate of “critical thinking” for a productive society, which is at the foundation of Novastar Prep’s “Learner-Centric” tutoring concepts designed to build confident learners focused on achieving their personal excellence. He can be reached via or 703-435-9494.


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