New York high schooler uses tutoring app to crush exams

School can be daunting: juggling extracurricular activities, exams, strategizing the perfect time to text your crush… it’s amazing sleep gets factored in at all. We want to tell your stories. We occasionally feature students who have run into academic roadblocks and used the Yup app to connect with a tutor for math, chemistry and/or physics.

This week, we interviewed a high school student who connected with one of our mobile tutors to prepare for New York’s especially rigorous testing system.


img_1973Gianna, 10th grade, New York

Favorite subject: Chemistry or English

Least favorite: Geometry

Extracurriculars: Soccer, acting, softball and/or baseball, and dancing.

Favorite app: Yup of course!

What kind of student would you describe yourself as?

I’m the type of student to try to do my work fast but also correct. Hoping to have a 95 average I try to study hard for quizzes and tests.

What’s the hardest part about high school?

The honors classes I’m in, and regents.

[Note: In New York State, Regents Examinations are statewide standardized examinations in core high school subjects required for a Regents Diploma to graduate. Most students, with some limited exceptions, are required to take the Regents Examinations. To graduate, students are required to have earned appropriate credits in a number of specific subjects by passing year-long or half-year courses, after which they must pass Regents examinations in some of the subject areas.]

What do you wish you’d have known freshman year?

I really should have known not to slack off.

What excites you about going to college?

College would be a life turning experience and make my dreams come true! I’m pursuing a career an acting, media and/or the film industry.

Any study tips? Life tips?

I really suggest using flashcards and asking your friends or family to help study! And don’t be afraid to make new friends in high school!

How’d you find Yup?

I found out about Yup on an ad and I was interested in getting better grades in a fun way!

Describe your experience with our tutoring. What was your previous tutoring experiences if any? Was the app easy to use? What was your tutor like? How did you work through the problem? How long did the whole thing take? Care to share an image of the problem(s) you worked on?

Previous tutoring experiences weren’t that easy. They didn’t make that much sense but since I used the app it was easy… the tutors were very nice and made the problems very easy. It depends on how long and difficult a problem is for them to work through it.

Usually it takes them 6-10 minutes depending on also the subject. In general Yup is a great app for new incoming freshman to get new subjects since middle to high school is a new jump. But I feel like it’s useful for any other grade!

What can Yup do better?

Yup is already a perfect app for my math needs, but I would love to see the tutors cover more subjects!

What is the future of education/technology?

The future of education and technology is gonna be enormous compared to what we have today! I’m excited to see what other ways we’ll find out innovative and fun ways to learn.

If your math test was NFL Game Day, which quarterback would you be?

Football is finally here, which means hours of watching the television when you could (and probably should) be studying for the week ahead. As you enter weeks one and two of the school year, your productivity in the classroom directly correlates to the quality of preparation you put in. The same goes for the pro athletes who play on Sunday.

The same pro athletes went to high school and college, too. We’ve analyzed the personality/performance traits of the top QB’s in the league and matched them with the most common types of students that emerge on the dreaded Exam Day.

Why? Because this is America, where the line between sports, pop culture and real life becomes more blurred with every viral end zone dance.

Are you a Fitzpatrick or a Kaepernick? Find out below.

downloadRyan Fitzpatrick

This is routine. You read the lesson once last week and once again while walking to class this morning… but you’ve understood the material since last year. Performing well on the test isn’t on your mind as much as scoring perfect on your next try at the SAT.

Unlike our friend Cam Newton, you’re not much for showboating your scores. You keep your smarts under the radar and hope nobody  This doesn’t mean your classmates like you very much, though.

200w.gifCam Newton

You were born for test day. You walk in with a fresh pair of Nikes just because it’s test day, sitting at the front of the classroom because you’re going to be first to finish anyway.

You make a spectacle of an entrance because that’s what winners do. Let your classmates groan at your enthusiasm. They’ll groan even louder when you mess up the grading curve and hit a celebration dance.

leepre8Jimmy Garoppolo

Everybody knows your big brother Tom, who graduated a long time ago and was notorious for getting caught cheating on a number of tests. Tom was a legendary math-lete. He wasn’t the quickest, but he could graph out parabolas with pinpoint accuracy – no TI-89 needed. He would even stay after school to tutor kids on homework, just because he was an old veteran.

… and you’re just Jimmy. All the teachers and kids in the hallway want to know: what are you made of?

Jameis Winston

You made a big name for yourself in early geometry – in fact, you knew angles and shapes like the back of your hand.

But that was last year. You’Jameis-Winston-Squint.jpg
re in the big leagues now – Calculus is known to swallow up rookies if they don’t study their playbooks. True, you came in hot d
uring week one and blew the first exam out of the water. But it’s week two and you forgot that tests are cumulative now.

Colin Kaepernick

You’ll ScreenShot2013-12-09at9.14.06AM_crop_exact.pngtake the test, all right – but not until the teacher answers some deep, existential questions first.

Why is testing in your school district so frequent? Why do we say the Pledge of Allegiance? Suddenly the entire classroom is up in arms. Desks start flying. Oh well. You finish the test, put your Beats headphones on and walk out in silence.

Also, you scored higher than Cam Newton on last year’s final exam, and he is PISSED.

The NFL lineman who cracks helmets and math problems

Ever come home from an exhausting day of classes and extracurricular activities and practices and wonder how in the world you’re going to finish homework without passing out on your textbook?

Baltimore Ravens’ John Urschel was the guy who asked for more math and more football practice.

Let’s rewind: before he entered the league as a 2014 fifth-round draft pick, and even before he became captain of the Penn State Nittany Lions squad… Urschel was just a high school student-athlete shopping around for prospective colleges.

Stanford? Maybe. Princeton? Possibly.


His size, skills and strong math chops got him recruited to both these fine institutions, where he could have played football competitively while earning an elite education. When he chose to attend Penn State, people thought he was crazy. He told Wall Street Journal:

“… my principal told me I was a fool for picking Penn State…because he said I’m never going to play pro football, but I ended up getting the best of both worlds.”

Though he occasionally dabbled in statistics talk via online articles, he mainly focused on protecting Ryan Mallett and Matt Schaub in the pocket. This year, he dipped back into the math world, enrolling in a math program at MIT.  He is currently the only NFL player who is also enrolled in a Ph.D. program.

(Note: none of the online tutors at Yup have ever been, nor probably ever will be, professional football players.)

Athletics and math-letics isn’t new to Urschel, however. At Penn State, he juggled a physically-demanding D-1 football regimen with an equally-demanding role as an undergraduate teacher and tutor. It wouldn’t have been uncommon for him to have a copy of the playbook or Chaos: An Introduction to Dynamical Systems in hand.  

In a time when football seems to cause more brain injuries than brain conditioning, Urschel shows that there is no single image of a math guru; we don’t have to fit into a jock/nerd stereotype to excel in either category. In fact, we want to help as many students as possible break out of the mentality that they can’t understand a subject or a problem because of they “way they are”.

“I’d like to be known as a football player by football people, a mathematician by math people,” Urschel said. “Anyone else? I want to be known for both.”

When you see Urschel playing on Sunday nights, just know that there are more calculations floating around in his head than most humans could fathom on a weekend.

Olympic Student-Athletes: Life After Rio

In regards to all olympic sports, we can take a guess on the average athlete’s preparation regimen: thousands of hours of practice, laser-like focus on diet, lighting glass cups on fire and suctioning your shoulder (OK, maybe that’s just Michael Phelps). Don’t forget missing out on social life and carrying the pressure of representing your country.

Imagine shouldering that kind of responsibility, plus making a 9 AM lecture.

This year, the NCAA sent 168 student-athletes to Rio to compete in 15 sports and represent various countries. We’re featuring student-olympians in pursuit of STEM degrees to show how they manage their busy lifestyles with mathematical precision. Much like their coursework, their productivity is down to a science.

After reading the amazing stories below, we hope you feel encouraged to add more efficiency to your studying habits this semester. Try a mobile tutoring app like Yup, so you can understand your math/physics/chemistry homework and free up time to get active like an olympian.

Sovijja Pou, Brown University

Sport: Swimming

Major: Biology/applied math concentration, liberal medical education program



Representing Cambodia, Sovijja is dedicated to maintaining a healthy balance between school and swimming. According to his feature in the student newspaper, Sovijja still spends 20 hours a week in the pool during the academic year.

“At Brown, I’m not known as just ‘the swimmer’ or just ‘the student,’ ” Pou says. “I can have an intellectual conversation with anyone here — or I can choose not to. When I was younger, I would get wrapped up in overthinking things. When I got to Brown … the openness here made me feel a lot less stressed than I was before. This has improved my mental health, improved my grades and improved my swimming by just allowing me to let go and let things happen.”

Weinreich says that Pou’s work in the lab is defined by a quiet but confident and persistent work ethic: “He’s really unburdened by an ego. He feels there is a lot to learn and is keen to ask questions. He is prepared to work hard, and he just wants to get better.”

Pou swam the 100m freestyle to kick off the 2016 events.

Virginia Thrasher, West Virginia University

Sport: Shooting

Major: Engineering

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jeremy Lee

The 19-year-old from Virginia blew the competition away at the first finals in Rio: the women’s 10-meter air rifle. Her gold medal would be the first of many for the USA. What does a teen do after out-shooting her older competitors? According to USA Today:

She’ll go back to West Virginia, where she will be a sophomore. “I get home 20 hours before the first class. So I’ll be in physics at 8:30 a.m.”

Hold on… from Brazil to West Virginia with a gold medal and you still find time to calculate the acceleration of mass? Respect, Ginny.

Simone Manuel, Stanford University

Sport: Swimming

Major: Undecided, considering communications or science, tech, and society


RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 11: Simone Manuel of the United States celebrates after winning gold in the Women’s 100m Freestyle Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old made history by securing a gold medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, becoming the first African American to win an individual swimming event in the olympics. She has shattered other records while at Stanford and is feared by her competition.

To compete at the highest level, she opted to take time off her freshman year:

“I wanted to put 100 percent of my effort into Olympic trials and not separating my, I guess, uh, … man, being out of school has, like, fried my brain,” said the 19-year-old, with a laugh. “I didn’t want to separate my priorities.”

But she still encourages her teammates who remained in class:

“I definitely don’t feel guilty,” said Manuel, with another laugh, who is in full support of her teammates at Stanford. “I’m giving them all the encouragement that they need. Asking them, ‘How are finals?’ But that was another reason why I decided to redshirt and take the last quarter off academically. It’s stressful preparing for finals and trying to swim fast at this meet and at trials and move out of your dorm.”

Manuel will return as a sophomore in Stanford this fall, with more time to devote to academics in the off-season.

One tech gadget you need to crush homework this year (hint: it’s not a gadget)

Going back to school in 2016 means equipping yourself with the right tools. YouTubers FungBros recently dropped a video on the best back-to-school tech goodies on the market:


Some of these trinkets are flashy (see the HuaWei smart watch) and some are geared more towards entertainment than homework (Google Chromecast and virtual reality goggles). These gadgets are like the guac on your burrito — you never regret it but you know it’ll cost you extra.

Before you comb through your hardware options, you might want to check out the software available to the devices. What apps will you most immediately need to complete tasks, and which apps are, well, guac?

Earlier we reviewed the best apps for helping you optimize your sleeping patterns so you can stay awake in class. For note-taking (but also word processing), we recommend Evernote. Fried hard drive? No worries. You can store your notes in the cloud and access it from multiple devices.  In addition, make sure to sync your calendar/task manager apps across your devices so no assignment falls through the cracks.

But for all the time management apps out there, none can prepare you for getting stumped on a homework problem. If you’re the type of student who works through math homework at night/on weekends, then your calendar won’t save you; but a tutor might.

Yup is a 1:1 tutoring app that pairs students with a live tutor in a text message interface. These world-class tutors are undergraduates (or higher) at schools like MIT and Stanford or have backgrounds in teaching math, physics and/or chemistry. Instead of other services that provide you with a quick answer (and no explanation), Yup’s tutors create a dialogue with you until you reach a conceptual understanding of the problem.

So before you get frustrated with homework and reach for the virtual reality goggles (while it does seem like a great distraction), swipe on over to Yup, snap a pic of your problem, and  crush the problem set first.

If you like school-related memes, follow us on Instagram. To stay updated on the EdTech world, follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Why aren’t more students meditating?

Meditation Middle School
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 6: Students from the Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School take part in a meditation session during class Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (Photo by Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post)

According to a psychological study on American teenagers, 27% reported experiencing “extreme stress” during the school year. 34% of teens expect to feel even more stressed in the coming year.

Many stress management strategists have given suggestions to reduce these rising numbers, ranging from physical relaxation stimulus to sleep efficiency. As online math tutors, we hear from stressed-out students every day. Yup is a unique mobile tutoring app that helps you battle homework anxiety. Technology, combined with healthy studying and lifestyle habits, can all reduce stress. But there’s one often overlooked factor:


Continue reading

Students: Want to get ahead? Learn to code

Once an elusive skill known only to the computer geeks who residing in Silicon Valley, coding has since become accessible to anyone with access to the internet.

These days, even your grandmother and cousin in elementary school can tap into free (yes, free) resources to begin learning different languages of code. For good reason, too: it teaches problem solving, analytical skills, perseverance and attention to detail. Employers around the country are looking for more young coders, and not just men.

Even supermodels and high schoolers are coding.

The coders who built the Yup app created the chat-based interface so students can connect with a live tutor for help with their math homework. As such, we want to give YOU the resources you need to get started coding your own app (or website, or just coding for fun!)

Coding for youngsters provides educators with the tools to teach coding to users of all ages. It uses games targeted at specific age and skill levels — an enjoyable way to immerse students in programming concepts. For inspiration, you can review actual projects students have made.

That one time, at Coding Camp

For working professionals, Northwestern University recently opened doors to its new coding ‘boot camp’, which claims to make a web developer out of you in 24 weeks. This camp is unique in stressing that coding isn’t just for the millennial generation: current professionals can and should add coding to their skills repertoire.

For students, Apple has added coding and robotics sessions to its summer camp


You’re Not Bad at Math

Okay, maybe you’re bad at math… BUT it’s only because you think are. Seriously, it’s scientifically proven.

Maybe you think you were born bad at math. You might think it’s genetic or that you’re more right brained than left brained. Since you’re good at art and English there’s no way you can be good at math, right?

Continue reading