Frequently Asked Questions

Questions are followed by a list of what you can and cannot expect from a tutor.

Can I make regularly scheduled appointments?

Yes. We encourage students to use the ARC on a regular basis.

How long is a tutoring session?

A typical session is one hour. Shorter appointments can be scheduled, but there may be insufficient time to cover everything.

Can I leave an assignment with a tutor and return to pick it up?

No. The purpose of using ARC is to help you improve your skills, and this requires that you work with a tutor. If you don’t have time to meet with a tutor, you have the option of using the online tutoring service by going to

Which subject areas do you tutor?

We provide tutoring in multiple subject areas. Visit or call us to inquire about your specific need.

Do I need to make an appointment?

It is recommended that you make an appointment. However, if a tutor is available when you come by, the tutor will work with you. We are very busy around midterms and finals, so make an appointment well in advance.

How do I get the most from my tutoring session?

Bring all of your course material. This will help your tutor understand what the professor is requiring for a specific assignment. In addition, ask questions if you are not following what the tutor is reviewing with you. SStudents who need tutoring in writing must bring at least one hard copy of the completed or partially completed essay. Two hard copies is recommended. This does not apply to students who need help with starting a paper. In addition, you may want to bring previous papers that were reviewed by your professor.

What should I do if I can’t make my appointment, or I am running late?

Please call us to cancel as soon as possible. Another student may want your time slot. We hold appointments for only 15 minutes. If you are going to be more than 15 minutes late, you should call us to reschedule.

Do you have textbooks for students to use?

Yes. We have a limited number of textbooks. They can be used at the center only. You must leave your ID with a tutor while you are using a book.

Can I request a specific tutor?

Yes. Students should work with tutors they are most comfortable with. It is fine to work with a few tutors at first. This will help you know which tutor is best able to work with you based on your needs.

Can ELI students use the ARC?

If an ELI student is enrolled in a UB undergraduate class, then she/he may use our services for that course.

Here’s what you can and cannot expect from an ARC tutor:

  • Expect that your time working with a tutor will be an active experience.  The tutor will work with you, not for you.  You cannot drop off a paper or assignment and expect a tutor to do your work.
  • You can expect your tutor to know the basic concepts you are studying, but the tutor may not have been assigned the same books or had the same professor as you.  You can expect, for instance, that your math tutor will be able to explain the quadratic equation, but you can’t expect that your writing tutor will have read the same essay that your particular instructor assigned.  You cannot expect that your tutor will know the answer to every question.
  • The tutors can help you work through problems with your homework.  The tutor will do a sample problem for you, explaining the steps that you should use in your own work, but the tutor will not do your actual homework problem. The tutor will guide you through the homework problem, prompting you what step comes next or when you’ve made a mistake, but the tutor will not do the problem for you.
  • The tutor may be able to explain a concept from your professor’s lecture if you have taken notes in class and marked that section of your notes.  However, because the tutor has not been to your class, he or she cannot speculate as to what material the professor presented in the lecture. Even if the tutor has taken the same class with the same professor, he or she will not share past tests or notes with you.
  • The tutor will be able to explain a point in your course reading if you have done the entire reading and can point out a particular passage that is causing you difficulty.  The tutor will not do the reading for you.  And, even if the tutor has read the book you’ve been assigned, he or she will not summarize it for you.
  • The tutor will help you to clarify your ideas. If you have been assigned to write a paper, for instance, that compares Locke’s and Hobbes’ views of punishment, but you don’t see the differences, the tutor will ask questions and help you talk through your ideas.  You must have done your reading before you meet with a tutor; the tutor cannot give you the answer.
  • The tutor will not help you with an out-of-class quiz or test.  Professors expect that you will do these assignments independently.
  • The tutor will help you learn to edit your paper, but he/she will not do this for you.  The tutor will point out the grammar or punctuation error, for instance, and explain why there is an error and suggest some options for how to correct the error.  The tutor will not necessarily go through your entire paper with you.  Copyediting your paper is not a service we provide.

Our thanks to Southern Methodist University for permission to use some parts of their website copy.