Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Math and Science FAQs
What subjects do you cover?

The OLA Math and Science tutors are mostly undergraduate UH Mānoa students majoring in STEM fields – for example, math, engineering, biology and computer science. The following subjects tutored include (but not limited to):

  • Mathematics (Up to at least Calculus I)
  • Biology (Up to at least College Level)
  • Chemistry (Up to at least College Level)
  • Physics (Up to at least College Level)

Many tutors are well equipped to tutor subjects beyond the above. Certain examples include:

  • Tutors (Engineering Majors): Can potentially tutor up to Calculus IV, Physics, and even various Engineering courses
  • Tutors (Biochemistry Majors): Can potentially cover higher level chemistry/biology such as Organic Chemistry and Microbiology

If you are requesting help with certain higher level subjects not listed above, email for more info.

How many students can be assisted by one tutor?
Tutoring sessions are typically one-on-one. If multiple students require help on the same subject or question, tutors may allow the option to work alongside a group of students. During busy hours, however, tutors all follow a “one hour” rule where students/groups must be limited to one hour sessions to accomodate students whom are waiting. Students requiring more help after the hour may come back at a later time when it is no longer busy.
Do tutors use the "Video"?

Most of the time, yes. However, the tutor will ask you at the begining of the tutoring session if you will be okay with the tutor turning on their video and audio. The student is not required to use their video and audio if they do not want to. 

Does this work on Both PC and Mac?
Yes, absolutely! The Zoom program used for Math and Science is downloadable for both Windows and Macs, as well as in mobile devices for Android and IOS phones. Please see the Math & Science Tutoring page for more information.
Can I use a mobile device (Ipad, Phone, tablet, etc.) or other handheld devices?
Yes, Zoom has an iOS App and a Google Play App. It retains many of the features you would have in a computer:

  • Annotation features, such as drawing, erasing or inserting shapes
  • Ability to share photos for homework within the mobile device
  • Audio capabilities and chat features

If possible, ensure that you are using Wi-Fi or have a stable 4G connection when in the Zoom rooms.

Do I need to have a headset or use audio?
Although optional, it is recommended to utilize audio communication to greatly increase communication response time. You may use the audio either through your computer microphone/speaker or a headset.

By default, tutors will utilize audio communication and test the audio with you at the beginning of your session. If you prefer the tutor to utilize message chats instead, let the tutor know at the beginning of the session.

How does the tutoring session start?

You will be greeted via chat by a tutor or tutors in the “main room.” The first available tutor will move you to a “breakout room” to begin the one-on-one tutoring.

The tutor will then test audio, collect a small amount of personal information for OLA’s records, and then get you started with the tutoring. If it’s your first time, the tutor will explain the tools and have you try things out. Ask lots of questions!

Why is personal information collected at the start of each session?
We collect your name, school, teacher, grade and class information for the OLA database records to help monitor usage, verify that you’re a Hawaiʻi student, and track program progress. All supplied information is confidential.
How long can I stay on for one session?

There is no time limit but if you’ve had a chance to work with your tutor for awhile and other students are waiting for a turn, the tutor is required to start helping a new student. You won’t have to log off, as you can continue working in your “breakout room” and use the “raise hand” feature when you need help again, but you will have to wait for the next available tutor. The tutors work hard to ensure that all students get served.

Why does my tutor ask so many questions?
Our tutors are trained to guide you, and they are expected to do this through questioning to assess your understanding. They will not simply provide answers, but will help you work through your areas of need. Please ask the tutors any questions that you have!
What are your hours of availability?

Our hours of availability are Sunday: 5:00-8:00p and Monday-Thursday: 6:00-9:00p. If you have any questions regarding the tutoring, please email for more information.

Writing Services FAQs
What can you help me with?
(Almost) anything—we’re committed to helping you from beginning to end! If you need help brainstorming ideas for an outline or you want us to help you put the finishing touches on a twenty-page paper — we’re here for you. If there’s writing involved, come see us…no matter what class you’re taking.
How often can I see a tutor?

You may schedule one appointment (45 minutes) per day, and up to 2 appointments a week.

How many students are tutored by one tutor at a time?
We will give you our undivided attention when you come to see us. All of our sessions are run on a one-on-one basis and we run the session at your desired pace.
Does this work on PC and Mac?
Yes, absolutely! Although we can never predict any technical difficulties that may occur, our tutoring does work on both PC and Mac. However, not all tablets may work well with our site. If you use a tablet to join your tutoring session, it is possible that not all features will be available, but we will always do our best to accommodate everyone.
Do appointments have to be 45 minutes long?

Yes, all appointments are 45 minutes long. You do not, however, have to stay with the tutor for the full time. By having 45 minutes to look over your paper, we will be able to take the time to really focus in on the things you wish to work on or need help with most. This may take ten minutes or the full time. Our goal is to help you as much as you need; we do not want to feel pressed for time.

When can I schedule an appointment?
Currently, you can schedule an appointment up to two weeks in advance. We also accept same-day appointments, as long as they are created prior to the appointment time. So, if you want to schedule your appointment at 5:00 pm, create your appointment at least by 4:59 pm.
How do I change my appointment time?
There are two ways to change your appointment time. You can click into the appointment you originally scheduled and choose a new start and end time and click “Save Changes.” This will only work if the new time is available to be scheduled. The second option you have is to cancel your original appointment and create a new appointment at the desired time and/or with your desired tutor.
How do I cancel an appointment?
If you wish to cancel an appointment, click into to the appointment you originally created and scroll to the bottom. You will find a link labeled “cancel this appointment” in red.
Why is personal information collected at the start of each session?
Not only do we want to know who we are working with, but we also want to be able to maximize our time together. To allow us to do so, we like to know a few things about you, your class, and your essay.
Why does my tutor ask so many questions?
We are trained to guide you. To do so, we like to work with you to discover your learning style. We do this through questioning to assess your understanding. Please ask the tutors any questions that you have!
Will you edit my paper?
Sorry, but no. We are not an editing service. However, we are here to help you, so any comments we make on your paper will facilitate your learning outside of the classroom. For example, if you want help on your thesis, we will try to understand what your argument is and provide suggestions to make your thesis stronger and clearer. We may also direct you to outside writing resources. This way, the comments we provide will help you throughout your educational career.
What experience/credentials do your writing tutors have?
All of the writing tutors are UH Mānoa undergraduate or graduate students with a range of writing and tutoring experiences. That, combined with our general love of writing, means that we are dedicated to helping you in any way that we can. If you want more information on any specific tutor, feel free to check out the tutor bios on our  Tutors page!
What are your hours of availability?

Please see our appointment schedule site to see the appointment availability of the day. We typically will have tutoring availability between 12:00-9:00pm. 

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