Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 43
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
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It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

LESSONS IN LEARNING: “The idea of Chyten is very solution-focused. We specialize in private one-on-one tutoring, but we also have small classes.” Kathy Robins, co-owner of Chyten Educational Services of Pennington, looks forward to helping students achieve their academic potential.

Chyten Educational Services of Pennington Offers Private Tutoring and Test Preparation

“Learning how to learn” can provide skills that will last a lifetime. Motivating a student to enjoy learning and to hone his or her intellectual curiosity is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

And, more immediately, with college acceptance more competitive than ever, students need all the tools at their disposal.

Chyten Educational Services has been helping students achieve academic success for more than 20 years, and now there is a franchise in Pennington. Independently owned by Kathy Robins and her sister Patti Robins, it opened at The Shoppes at Pennington, 21 Route 31 North, in 2009.

“We offer a complete range of academic subject tutoring for students at every level and test preparation tutoring for SSAT, PSAT/SAT/ACT and AP courses and exams,” says Ms. Robins. “We also offer unique programs developed to help students realize their full academic potential, including a comprehensive reading and study skills program we call RANDD, designed to provide your child with strategies for a lifetime of achievement.”

Tutor's Report

Started by Neil Chyten in 1984 in Newton, Mass., the Chyten program now has 33 educational centers and franchises nationwide. With its emphasis on the highest quality services, all Chyten tutors hold a masters degree and/or Ph.D., have professional teaching experience, and strong communication, interpersonal, and motivational skills, notes Ms. Robins.

Extensive background checks are needed, and after meeting the initial requirements, tutors must train from between 30 and 100 hours for each test they will teach. During this time, they are taught the Chyten methods and strategies. All classes, lasting one or one and a half hours, are held in the Chyten center. Parents receive an on-line tutor's report about the student's progress after every session.

“We have 10 full-time tutors and others as needed for their specialties,” says Ms. Robins. “A tutor needs to have a talent as well as a skill, and empathy for the student is so important. Every student is different. Our tutors have terrific intuition, and they really appreciate people. They have a love of knowledge and want to share it. We only have tutors who love to teach.”

Students range from nine years old to 17, with the majority in middle and high school. They come for many reasons: at their parents insistence or acting on their own motivation. “We have one student who came on his own because he wants to be a better writer,” reports Ms. Robins. “Others may be failing geometry or be nervous about test-taking. Some are very good students who want to improve test scores.”

In addition to focusing on specific subjects or SAT or ACT test-taking, Chyten offers its own special 14-session reading and study skills program, which teaches a series of proprietary study techniques and advanced reading techniques.

“We help them with ways to address their homework,” explains Ms. Robins. “How to study and get information. The intake of information includes effective note-taking, organizing and reviewing each chapter, and asking themselves questions along the way. Are they meeting their goal of understanding the material?”

Time Management

Time management is very important, she adds. “We'll ask kids about where and when they study and do homework. ‘How tired are you?’ ‘Where's your little brother?’ ‘Is the TV on?’ All these can be distractions.”

With the number of activities students fit into their busy lives these days, they may well be tired by the time they do homework. Some kids are better multi-taskers than others, but with all that is going on, a time management plan seems all the more important today.

Students may also be experiencing stressful home situations, such as parental divorce, illness, etc. that can detract from effective study. Tutors will be tuned into such situations.

If test-taking is a nerve-wracking ordeal, the student will be assigned test preparation at home, and then practice and practice. Gradually, the test experience becomes less daunting, and Ms. Robins reports that students have raised their test scores by as much as 400 points.

In addition, Chyten offers a special ACT vs. SAT comparison test to determine which test best matches a student's academic abilities.

Reading specialists and college advisors are also available. “We have college counselors who help the student determine which college is appropriate for them,” says Ms. Robins.

Head Start

Chyten also offers summer sessions, both to bone up on difficult subjects or to get a head-start on their next year's curriculum. “A lot of students like to do this and get a jump-start on the next year,” she adds.

Chyten is competitively-priced, she notes, and it is a pay-as-you-go program. Each class is paid for separately. In addition, there is a life-time membership program for $79, which offers savings on all tutoring sessions, whenever the student chooses to take them.

The Chyten Center in Pennington offers an attractive setting with several private study rooms, equipped with computers, as well as a more traditional classroom, with eight chairs facing the board and instructor.

It is open seven days, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, with evening hours available for tutoring.

"We are set apart by being the solution," notes Ms. Robins. “At other places you are not going to get the type of holistic attention we give students. The point is to help students fulfill their potential, whatever it may be. The relief and pleasure on someone's face when they have done well on a test is wonderful to see.”

For information, call (609) 737-8910. Website: or

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