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Revision tips for GCSE and A-Level exams
Last Minute Revision Tips To Help You Ace Those Exams!

April 21, 2017

There is still lots you can do in the lead up to your A-Level or GCSE examinations to help you with your revision and to feel better prepared and more confident come exam day.

Those last few weeks leading up to your exam are a crucial period where you still have plenty of time to get organised and design workable strategies for your revision, as well as practice your exam technique, and prepare for the day itself.

So what should you be doing now to boost your revision and make it as effective as possible? Here are some useful tips:

Adjust your revision timetable

If you started off with a well-planned out revision timetable and managed to stick to it then that’s all well and good. However, let’s be honest, for many students other things may have gotten in the way, causing them to fall behind! If this sounds like you, don’t panic! Take another look at your revision timetable, calculate what time you have left and what still needs to be done, and adjust it accordingly.

You may need to cram in a few more hours here and there, but it will be so worth it to feel calm and prepared when you come to sit your exam!

If you know there are certain subjects or topics you struggle with make sure you leave more time to revise these ones so you can fully get to grips with them without feeling rushed or putting too much pressure on yourself.

Create the perfect revision environment

It can be really difficult working in an environment that’s not comfortable. Find a quiet, clear space to do you revision and ask family and friends not to disturb you while you are working. Try to leave distracting gadgets such as phones out of the room until you’ve finished your revision and only check them when you are having a break.

Use your preferred revision techniques

By now you should have a better understanding of which revision techniques work best for you. Do you enjoy working alone or find you love bouncing ideas off friends? Do you need total silence or do you like to talk out loud to help information sink in? Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer reading and writing things down to best keep hold of the facts?

Discovering your optimum revision techniques will ensure you have productive and thorough revision sessions. If you aren’t sure, the VARK model can help you understand what type of learner you are and how best you should structure your revision.

Take plenty of breaks and stay healthy!

Taking regular breaks is so important when it comes to revision, particularly as the stress builds up when you are counting down the days until your exam!. If you try to do too much all at once you’ll burn yourself out and end up doing less overall.

Making time to relax and unwind is also crucial- if you find yourself getting too stressed out or feeling overwhelmed why not take a walk or try meditating to clear your head?

It’s also important to stay healthy and get plenty of sleep when you are revising too – this will keep both your mind and body in tip top condition and functioning at their best before and during the exam.

Reward yourself

Revision is pretty tough and it can be hard to stay disciplined. Make revision goals and milestones and make sure that you reward yourself when you achieve them. This will help keep you motivated.

Rewards can be small like having a cuppa and a biscuit when you have gotten through a few chapters of your revision or got all the answers on your question cards correct, or large such as a night out with friends if you hit all your revision targets by the end of the week.

Some interesting study hacks

  • Create your perfect study playlist to motivate and inspire you.
  • Mix up your learning so you don’t get bored, change subjects regularly but also switch from reading books to testing yourself to watching videos or documentaries on the subject.
  • Try teaching someone else what you’ve learned – this is a great way to show you have a good grasp on the material and can explain ideas succinctly and coherently.
  • Create mental associations, rhymes or diagrams to help you remember key facts and figures.
  • Type notes in Times New Roman font – it’s apparently the fastest font to read.
  • Use apps to stop you from getting distracted – if you find you are getting distracted by certain websites (we’re looking at you, Facebook) during your revision, you can download apps which will block you from using them for a certain period of time. Be strong!

Good revision is all about being prepared and disciplined. At the end of the day, it’s up to the individual to take charge of their revision and in doing so you give yourself the very best chance of success.

If you need some help with your last minute revision, hiring a private tutor can help. A private tutor will help devise a fantastic revision programme, help you with difficult subjects and advise you on how best to prepare for exams. If you are looking for a knowledgeable, experienced Tutor get in touch with our friendly team today!

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A-Level & GCSE Retake Courses – everything you need to know

March 23, 2017

If you find yourself in a position where you are thinking about sitting a retake course for your GCSE or A Level examinations you may be feeling slightly disheartened.

We understand that it can be disappointing and upsetting if you discover that you haven’t achieved the results you’d hoped for. However, it is important to remember that it is far from the end of the world. You still have plenty of options, including the opportunity to resit your exams,  meaning that you have another chance to achieve the grade you believe you are capable of achieving.

Why would you retake your GCSE or A Level exams?

  • If you have failed your GCSE or A Level examinations and needed to gain some qualifications.
  • If you want a higher grade than the one you have already achieved- some pupils find that, while they might have done well, their results do not match what they had expected or what they want, and therefore retake to try and improve their grade.
  • If you need a particular grade to get into a university course as Universities and professions often require certain grades in specific subjects. Thus some students may choose to retake if they didn’t manage to achieve what they needed to be accepted into a particular course or university.
  • Adult learners – those who have found a renewed interest in the subject and want to re-sit it. Maybe the revision courses weren’t available when they were at school, so they want to try to gain additional qualifications now that they are.

Pro’s and Cons of retaking GCSE’s and A-Levels

PROS OF RETAKE COURSES

  • GCSE and A Level qualifications are those that most Universities and colleges look at. Doing well in your GCSE’s will determine which subjects you go on to study at A Level, which can ultimately influence which course you choose to study at university. It’s much harder to jump into an A-Level course without having taken the GCSE first, so, if you fail or don’t do as well as you hoped at GCSE level, retaking your exams is well worth considering.
  • Most jobs require a minimum of a C or above in GCSE Maths and English. Even if you have no desire to go to university or college, apprenticeships usually require some qualifications for you to be considered for a place. The better qualifications you have, the more education and job opportunities will be available to you.
  • Retaking right away means that you still have a good amount of knowledge stored in your short-term memory. The longer you wait the more likely you are to forget the information, resulting in an increased amount of revision hours.

CONS OF RETAKE COURSES

  • Resitting exams takes time and can cause disruption to a student’s education. If there is too much focus on re-sitting exams instead of moving on and learning new material or accepting that perhaps this particular subject is not where your strengths lie, you could end up falling behind in other subjects.
  • Creates a sense of apathy. It’s paramount not to see the opportunity to re-sit as an excuse not to try your best first time round. Having an attitude of ‘I can always do it again’ is dangerous for self-discipline when it comes to revision and if you can do well first time it is much less hassle!
  • Schools may not be able to provide the resources to help students who wish to resit their exams. Schools are overstretched as it is and therefore if you do decide to retake you may have to undertake revision and study in your own time. However, hiring a private tutor to help go through course material and work through any areas you had trouble with before, is a fantastic alternative to ensure you give yourself the best chance of success.
  • You may still not get the grade you require which can feel disappointing and frustrating.
  • Resitting exams costs money. Each time you decide to retake an exam you have to pay an entry fee and doing this time and time again can add up. You may also wish to hire a private tutor to help with your revision and this is an additional expense. However, at Tutor House, we aim to make tutoring available to everyone, with some of our tutors offering to teach for just £20 per hour. Choosing an affordable tutor can mean you achieve that desired grade first time round, saving you time and money in the long run.

What are the alternatives to GCSE and A Level retake courses?

If you don’t feel as though re-sitting your exams is the right option for you, there are still plenty of alternative paths that you can consider to help you continue your education or start your career. For example, there are many opportunities for apprenticeships which don’t require you to have any formal qualifications, so these are worth looking into if you haven’t managed to pass any of your exams.  You can find out more about apprenticeships here.

  • Work Experience or internships – if you can get work experience or an internship in an industry you love, you could end up being offered a more permanent role.
  • Volunteering – do some valuable volunteer work in an area you are interested in. This will look great on your cv which could lead to a paid role. It will also make you feel happy to know you are giving something back too!
  • Taking a break – you don’t have to resit your exams right away! Explore different avenues and options, and take the time to think about what it right for you. Sometimes getting some distance can help you to think about what you really need, and if you do decide to come back and resit your exams, you can always refresh your knowledge by  hiring a tutor to help you.
  • Resitting your GCSE or A Levels can be advantageous for many reasons, but it is important to think carefully before you decide to. By hiring a tutor to keep you focused, work through difficult topics and help with your revision strategy you will give yourself the best chance of success.
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Does Your Child Need A Tutor

March 22, 2017

Does Your Child Need A Tutor?

All parents want their children to have the best possible education, help them achieve their desired grades, and ensure they are able to continue their studies and realise their goals after they leave school.

While some parents take it upon themselves to impose timetables and rules to ensure their child studies productively, many choose instead to employ the services of a professional private tutor.

Hiring a private tutor can be an extremely effective way of helping students to fulfil their academic potential, surpass expectations and secure them a place at top universities and colleges.

Employing the services of a private tutor has become an increasingly popular option in recent years. Whether your child is doing well at school but needs an extra push come exam time, or they are struggling and need a tailored learning plan and 1:1 attention, a private tutor could be the solution.

If you are contemplating hiring a private tutor, here are some of the questions you might want to ask yourself, and your child:

Are they struggling with a particular subject or topic?

Often even though a child is doing well overall, there may be a particular subject, or topic within that subject they can’t quite get their head around. If this is the case hiring a tutor gives them dedicated time with an expert to help them get to grips with that subject or topic and overcome the challenges associated with it.

Do they need help revising for exams?

Many students feel the pressure come exam time and are desperate to achieve the grades they know they can. Concentrating on revision and creating a revision schedule that works when left to their own devices can be tough. A private tutor can not only ensure that study time is used effectively but can also devise a tailored revision schedule that will ensure they dedicate the right amount of time to each topic and develop strategies depending on their learning style to optimise their revision time.

Do they need a particular grade for university?

It may be that your child had their heart set on a particular university or particular course. If this is the case, giving them the best chance of achieving the grades that university requires is crucial. Every private tutor has specialist knowledge in particular subject areas, so you can pick the tutor that can help your child get the exam results they need.

Are their grades lower than expected?

If teachers are always telling you that your child has the academic potential yet always seems to fall short come exam time, a private tutor can help. They can teach the student exam techniques, help with practice papers, and work with them to understand why they aren’t achieving their expected grades.

Do they feel as though they are behind?

Do you feel as though your child’s confidence is slipping? If they feel as though they are falling behind in class this can quickly become overwhelming and turn into a vicious cycle where they never feel as though they are able to catch up and therefore become more and more disheartened and/or disinterested in that particular subject.

Hiring a private tutor can help identify gaps in a student’s knowledge, and spend time focusing on very particular parts of a subject where they haven’t fully understood the concepts or learning. A private tutor will help your child regain confidence both in their subject(s) and in themselves, whilst also deepening their understanding in the subject matter.

Do they need to learn exam techniques?

It might be that your child, while demonstrating knowledge and understanding in the classroom, falls apart under the pressure of exams. A private tutor can work with them to develop their exam technique, as well as teach them how to manage stress and stay calm and confident under pressure. This way they’ll go into their exam feeling fully prepared and ready to tackle it head on.

Do they struggle to be taught in a group situation?

Does your child get distracted easily? Are they too scared to speak up when they don’t understand something? Do they complain that other disruptive children in the classroom make it impossible to learn? If your child finds it difficult to concentrate when learning in a group environment, the 1:1 attention they benefit from with a private tutor can make all the difference.

Do they lack passion and motivation?

If you child lacks the motivation to study, a private tutor can provide the structure and learning environment they need. Private tutors will not only improve your child’s confidence, they teach that taking responsibility for one’s own learning is essential, that good organisation is key, and that developing a passion and enthusiasm for learning will make it much more enjoyable. These are all valuable skills to take with them to university and beyond.

If you aren’t sure whether your child could benefit from a private tutor, asking yourself the above question can help determine the answer.  Tutors can work at a pace that’s right for your child, give 1:1 attention, understand how they learn and therefore the optimum way to explain difficult topics to them, work with them through specific learning obstacles,  create tailored learning programmes, and teach them useful study and exam techniques.

If you are looking for some additional help for your child in a specific subject, want to provide additional help for them when they are revising for those all-important exams, or simply think it would be useful for them to have some extra tuition outside the classroom, then hiring a private tutor could be an excellent choice. Our friendly team are on hand to help, so why not contact Tutor House today to discuss your child’s requirements?

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A-Level & GCSE Retake Courses – everything you need to know

March 16, 2017

If you find yourself in a position where you are thinking about resiting your GCSE or A Level examinations you may be feeling slightly disheartened. But don’t be, retaking your GCSE’s or A-level’s couldn’t be easier!

We understand that it can be disappointing and upsetting if you discover that you haven’t achieved the results you’d hoped for. However, it is important to remember that it is far from the end of the world. You still have plenty of options, including the opportunity to resit your exams,  meaning that you have another chance to achieve the grade you believe you are capable of achieving.

Why would you retake your GCSE or A Level exams?

  • If you have failed your GCSE or A Level examinations and needed to gain some qualifications.
  • If you want a higher grade than the one you have already achieved- some pupils find that, while they might have done well, their results do not match what they had expected or what they want, and therefore retake to try and improve their grade.
  • If you need a particular grade to get into a university course as Universities and professions often require certain grades in specific subjects. Thus some students may choose to retake if they didn’t manage to achieve what they needed to be accepted into a particular course or university.
  • Adult learners – those who have found a renewed interest in the subject and want to re-sit it. Maybe the revision courses weren’t available when they were at school, so they want to try to gain additional qualifications now that they are.

Pro’s and Cons of retaking GCSE’s and A-Levels

PROS

  • GCSE and A Level qualifications are those that most Universities and colleges look at. Doing well in your GCSE’s will determine which subjects you go on to study at A Level, which can ultimately influence which course you choose to study at university. It’s much harder to jump into an A-Level course without having taken the GCSE first, so, if you fail or don’t do as well as you hoped at GCSE level, retaking your exams is well worth considering.
  • Most jobs require a minimum of a C or above in GCSE Maths and English. Even if you have no desire to go to university or college, apprenticeships usually require some qualifications for you to be considered for a place. The better qualifications you have, the more education and job opportunities will be available to you.
  • Retaking right away means that you still have a good amount of knowledge stored in your short-term memory. The longer you wait the more likely you are to forget the information, resulting in an increased amount of revision hours.

CONS

  • Re-sitting exams takes time and can cause disruption to a student’s education. If there is too much focus on re-sitting exams instead of moving on and learning new material or accepting that perhaps this particular subject is not where your strengths lie, you could end up falling behind in other subjects.
  • Creates a sense of apathy. It’s paramount not to see the opportunity to re-sit as an excuse not to try your best first time round. Having an attitude of ‘I can always do it again’ is dangerous for self-discipline when it comes to revision and if you can do well first time it is much less hassle!
  • Schools may not be able to provide the resources to help students who wish to resit their exams. Schools are overstretched as it is and therefore if you do decide to retake you may have to undertake revision and study in your own time. However, hiring a private tutor to help go through course material and work through any areas you had trouble with before, is a fantastic alternative to ensure you give yourself the best chance of success.
  • You may still not get the grade you require which can feel disappointing and frustrating.
  • Resitting exams costs money. Each time you decide to retake an exam you have to pay an entry fee and doing this time and time again can add up. You may also wish to hire a private tutor to help with your revision and this is an additional expense. However, at Tutor House we aim to make tutoring available to everyone, with some of our tutors offering to teach for just £20 per hour. Choosing an affordable tutor can mean you achieve that desired grade first time round, saving you time and money in the long run.

What are the alternatives to GCSE and A Level resits?

If you don’t feel as though resitting your exams is the right option for you, there are still plenty of alternative paths that you can consider to help you continue your education or start your career. For example, there are many opportunities for apprenticeships which don’t require you to have any formal qualifications, so these are worth looking into if you haven’t managed to pass any of your exams.  You can find out more about apprenticeships here.

  • Work Experience or internships – if you can get work experience or an internship in an industry you love, you could end up being offered a more permanent role.
  • Volunteering – do some valuable volunteer work in an area you are interested in. This will look great on your cv which could lead to a paid role. It will also make you feel happy to know you are giving something back too!
  • Taking a break – you don’t have to resit your exams right away! Explore different avenues and options, and take the time to think about what it right for you. Sometimes getting some distance can help you to think about what you really need, and if you do decide to come back and resit your exams, you can always refresh your knowledge by  hiring a tutor to help you.
  • Resitting your GCSE or A Levels can be advantageous for many reasons, but it is important to think carefully before you decide to. By hiring a tutor to keep you focused, work through difficult topics and help with your revision strategy you will give yourself the best chance of success.

 

Could online tutoring benefit your child?
Could Online Tutoring Benefit Your Child?

January 3, 2017

Could Online Tutoring Benefit Your Child?

Whether it is studying for exams or simply to get some additional help with a particular subject or topic, online tutoring could be a helpful solution to students looking for some extra support.

In fact, the rise in the number parents and students turning to online tutoring over the past decade demonstrates just how effective it can be when it comes to improving grades, preparing for further study and undertaking A-Level and GCSE examinations.

Online tuition is particularly advantageous for a number of reasons and suits students and parents who perhaps need more flexibility and a more cost-effective solution than private face to face tuition offers.

What are the benefits of online tuition?

  • Availability
  • Value for money
  • Technology
  • Confidence

So is online tutoring the best option for your child? Let’s explore some of the benefits.

Availability & flexibility

Often parents are keen for their children to receive additional tuition. However, logistics can get in the way. Online tutoring can be done remotely, so geography and time aren’t limiting factors. The convenience of online tutoring means parents and students can find tutors who are experts in their subjects and can be readily available at a time and date that works for them. With these restrictions being no longer a barrier, finding a tutor to suit their needs inevitably becomes so much easier.

Value for money

While many pupils prefer to have 1:1 tuition face to face with a tutor, if you are looking for a service that provides a high level of tuition without having to incur the expense of fuel and travel time, then online tuition offers a fantastic alternative. Because competition between tutors is fiercer one can also be more selective – tutors are competing for your business rather than vice versa. Therefore, you can be confident the tuition students receive will be extremely high quality and consequently feel assured you are getting good value for money.

Technology

In our contemporary society, young people are far more at ease communicating via technology, perhaps even more so than face to face! Working with a tutor online means that work and communication can be saved and stored for future reference. It is easy for students to pause and go back over work or information to refresh their knowledge, and useful aids such as presentations, diagrams, and other online resources can easily be accessed and referred to in a more seamless way. Screen sharing, virtual whiteboards and file sharing are made easy in an online tutoring session.

Confidence

Your child may prefer seeking help from a tutor online rather than face to face as there is more of a degree of anonymity this way. Often students can shy away from the idea of 1:1 tuition and the intensity of this way of learning may deter them. Seeking help online, therefore, can feel more comfortable and is a good compromise for students resisting tuition face to face.

The benefits of online tutoring can be discovered by a range of students studying at all levels of their academic learning. Naturally, pupils studying for GCSE’s and A-Level’s, particularly in the lead up to exams will find extra tuition helpful. However, students going on to study further in higher education institutions can also benefit.

Additional benefits of online tutoring:

International students attending UK universities

Online tutoring can be very helpful to those students coming to the UK to study at university. Tutors can help them to understand the UK education system, help them prepare for university life, guide them through the application process, and work out the key topics that they should focus on before starting their university courses. The immediacy of online tutoring is also appealing for students abroad where time zones and geography don’t get in the way, and they can quickly and easily find answers to the questions they have.

Online tutors can also help international students with English language teaching, helping them to improve their command of the English language both more formal language teaching including grammar and spelling and conversational English language tutoring too.

UK students heading to international universities

In recent years there has also been a massive increase in the number of UK students considering studying abroad. Now many students are choosing universities outside the UK for further study, online tutoring has expanded its repertoire with tutors now specialising in helping these students apply for international universities as well as prepare for university life abroad.

Online tutoring is quickly becoming one of the most viable methods of gaining readily available support for students needing extra tuition during their academic schooling. With the only requirements being a computer and access to the internet it is now possible for students all over the world to tap into the expertise that online tutors can provide. With this flexibility, they can connect with tutors as often or as little as is necessary, and therefore can create their own bespoke, on-demand learning programmes to suit their unique needs.

If you are looking for an expert tutor to help you or your child, Tutor House can help. Our online tutors have a range of expertise across all subjects, and we can match a tutor to suit the needs of any student. Find out more about how our online tutors can help you here.

Find a tutor online

All our online tutors are DBS checked and degree educated, guaranteeing a first class tuition. If you feel you or your child could benefit from online tutoring search our online tutors for any subject here.

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How to Prepare for an Oxbridge Interview

December 6, 2016

Want to know more about the Oxbridge process and how to optimise your chances of getting in to one of the world’s best universities? If you, a friend, or family member is considering applying to Cambridge or Oxford then there are essential steps that they should be following.

Read more here:

 

 

Tutor house come to you.
Should ‘dead’ languages be kept alive in modern day A-level and GCSE curricular?

November 24, 2016

Should ‘dead’ languages be kept alive in modern day A-level and GCSE curricular?

For many, any mention of the classical world triggers the conjuring up of scenes from the current HBO cable network series, ‘Game of Thrones’. However, the fictional world inhabited by John Snow, Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen couldn’t be further from the real ancient world, that boasts its own group of notable individuals, which, although some might argue they do not possess the same modern romantic appeal, certainly have a charm all of their own. Another detail is, of course, the language spoken by the protagonists in such TV programmes. If it were a true representation of the era then the native tongue would not be English of course, a Western Germanic language, but a ‘dead’ language such as Sanskrit, Latin, or Akkadian. However, we can not blame the producers for not achieving this level of authenticity, for who would understand what was being said? Many dead languages, such as Akkadian, are nigh on impossible to learn, let alone draft into a film script.

So are they dead?

Whether or not dead languages have a place in education systems in the 21st century has been hotly debated, with many arguing that they are both irrelevant and a reminder of the class divides that have plagued our social system for more centuries that one might wish. But, of course, there is no excuse why anyone in this day and age should not be able to learn a dead language, even if they are obliged to learn it themselves, from a book.

There are significant advantages of studying a dead language which are often overlooked. The pre-occupation in today’s world is, ‘What can you do with it?’ In other words, can you get a job where it is useful. That may be the level of comprehension for some, but for others it goes deeper than that. For example, by learning a dead language (i.e one no longer spoken), you can learn the roots of many modern languages, therefore making modern languages easier to comprehend. More than 70% of English words have a Latin root. With Latin as a base, this could lead to the acquisition of a number of European languages that came under its influence, such as French, and this could stand a budding employee in good stead when applying for a job in marketing, business or even the Foreign Office.

But learning a language is hard, especially a ‘dead’ one.

The arduous task of learning Akkadian or Sumerian demands the student to learn over a 1000 different signs, with signs often standing for a number of different phonetic sounds or whole words. Not surprisingly, such difficulty is off-putting to all but the most dedicated. It is for this reason that these niche dead languages are only available at the most prestigious UK universities such as London, Cambridge and Oxford. Other dead languages such as Ancient Greek and Latin are more widely available. However, the social stigma that is attached often causes controversy in these politically correct times.

The study of classics was originally reserved for the social elite, therefore isolating any which didn’t fit the necessary requirement of being wealthy. The study of Latin and Greek is still rarely seen in many state schools today because, one imagines, they have little to offer the State, but what about the individual? Public and private schools traditionally hold up the tradition and, no doubt, find much to recommend them.

Another reason for pursuing the study of dead languages is the body of literature that it enables you to connect with the past in an intimate way. There is an indisputable beauty in reading original texts in their native tongue, for it allows for a deeper understanding of the text which is otherwise lost in translation. Looking for similarities, for example, gives a surprisingly humanistic touch. In Akkadian, Sennacherib, writing an account in the 7th century BC, about his campaigns, talks about pitching his camp at ‘the foot of the mountain’ and strange clauses ‘he came into contact with his mountain’ (i.e. he disappeared), add a further depth. More recently, if one wanted to experience such phenomena, then one might turn to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Middle English), Beowulf (Old English), Plato’s Apology (Ancient Greek) or The Vedas (Sanskrit). Additionally, the learning of a language allows for the opportunity to explore an ancient culture, and how the language and philosophy have affected civilization up to the present day. The information gained could be used when studying other subjects such as history or anthropology, giving both a deeper and broader subject knowledge.

Another reason for learning a ‘dead’ language is the many cognitive benefits that it offers, with the practice leading to improved decision making skills, an enhanced memory, and a decreased risk of dementia.  But for the practical reader who thinks dead languages have no value in the modern world, one is reminded of a CEO of a large multi-national company who was once asked why he employed so many Oxbridge Classics graduates, his answer is a gem: ‘Because they sell more oil’.

Looking for a languages tutor? – Click here

A-Level Results Day Guide 2016

June 23, 2016

A-Level Results Day Guide 2016

Key Points:

  • A-Level Results Day is Thursday 18th August 2016.
  • GCSE Results Day is Thursday 25th August 2016.
  • Don’t panic but make sure you’re fully prepared for results day 2016.
  • Bring your mobile phone, a pencil, a copy of The Independent or Daily Telegraph newspaper and a calculator.
  • Tutor House is offering free advice for all London students on A-Level results day 2016.

Preparing for A-Level Results Day 2016

This year A-Level results day is on 18th August 2016, GCSE a week later on 25th August. We’ve come up with an A-Level Results Day guide to help students in London and the UK prepare for receiving their results.

Worrying about your results won’t make the slightest bit of difference now, and it certainly won’t change your results. That being said it can be hard to switch off as you eagerly (or not so eagerly) wait to hear how you have done.

We’re giving FREE advice to all students on Results Day:

We have put together some ideas to help you manage any stress that you may feel while you wait for A-Level results day on Thursday August 18th 2016.

Tips for A-Level Results Day 2016:

1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before

Sleep, as most students will already know by now, is key to having a fully functioning brain, and this is just as important to preparing for results day. Make sure you get a solid 8 hours so that you are rested and clear headed for the big day.

2. Eat a hearty breakfast

We know that on the day you will most likely be a mixture of nerves and excitement, however eating a decent breakfast will help set you up for the day. It is likely to be an emotional day whatever the results are so make sure you have the energy to cope and make the right decisions.

3. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.

You are going to want to be able to call the important people and let them know how you got on. You may also need to call University of choice to confirm your place, or call other Universities to find out about getting a place through clearance should you not get into one of your first choices.

4. If you didn’t get the results you hoped for don’t panic!

Take a deep breath and then find a trusted teacher to talk over your next steps with you. Alternatively we will be available all week to give free advice on what to do if you didn’t get your desired grades to get into University.

The most important thing to bear in mind is that you have plenty of time to make your decision, whatever that turns out to be. Even if your first two University choices aren’t accepted, you still have the possibility of getting a University place through UCAS clearing. Just remember, there are always alternative options available to you.

5. Take your time making decision.

It’s easy to fly into a panic if you did not get the results you wanted, however a calm mind makes the best decisions. Wait for a few hours, and talk it over with teachers, UCAS advisers, friends and family, before making any important choices about what to do next.

Take a day to think about your options before you make any decisions, but begin thoroughly researching the Universities you’re interested in, and even call them to discuss your prospectus course.

6. Check the UCAS website or The Daily Telegraph newspaper for clearing places.

Our top tip for results day 2016? Well, for those that didn’t get into their chosen University it has to be grabbing a copy of The Independent and checking the UCAS website for clearing places.

If you are looking to get a place through clearing you will need to act quickly, these places are normally all taken within a couple of days. If you are expecting to go through clearing make sure you do grab your copy of The Independent as it’s the only newspaper in the UK to publish a full list of all the clearing places available to students.

7. Don’t keep it to yourself.

Whatever your results, good or bad, don’t keep it in. Results Day, for better or worse, is an exciting day and a day that changes the lives of thousands of students across the UK. Talk it out with friends, family and teachers about how you are feeling.

What to bring for Results Day 2016:

There are a number of items that all students will need to bring on results day, if not just to make sure that they’ve got all bases covered, it’s so important to think carefully about the following:

  • Your results – specifically your UMS grades.
  • A Calculator for adding up module grades.
  • A Pen and Paper.
  • Mobile Phone (fully charged and topped up) for calling home and/or universities if clearing is required.
  • UCAS and University acceptance letters for grade references.
  • Personal statement and references to aid with clearing.
  • Be prepared to pay for any re-marks that may be required, it’s always better to send these off as soon as possible to secure your University place.

Receiving your A-Level Results

You can get your results online, via email, text or in the post. You can also go to your college or school to collect them in person.

Choose the method that feels best for you. Some students like to receive their results in private, whilst others go to collect their results with a group of friends for moral support.

One advantage of going to collect your results in person is that you will have teachers on hand to offer support and guidance about your next steps and options that are available to you.

You can use the UCAS tracking system to track the progress of your application to any Universities, as they will already have received your results. Here is some information on how to track your application via UCAS.

If you got the results you wanted, congratulations! If you didn’t get the results you had hoped for now is the time to get some good advice. Sit down calmly and look at your other options, then you can make the necessary arrangements for your next steps.

What happens if you didn’t get your required grades?

So you’ve opened the envelope, checked your results, re-checked them, re-checked them again, and again.

Don’t panic. You’ve plenty of options here.

One key thing to remember is that you are in control of your choices, and you have plenty of options available to you no matter what the outcome of results day.

Firstly you should get that pen, paper and calculator and re-calculate your UCAS points just to be sure that a mistake hasn’t been made – you know, it happens! If no mistakes have been made, get straight on the phone to your University of choice to ensure that you’ve definitely not been accepted onto your course.

If you’re absolutely sure that you didn’t achieve the grades to get into your first choice University, call your second, third and forth choices. Discuss whether anything can be done in order to achieve an acceptance.

Your next steps…

If you didn’t get the results you wanted check out our advice on what to do if you failed your A-Levels. Remember, academic results are just one consideration for an employer.

Personality, life experience, adaptability and ability to work effectively alongside others are all important qualities that cannot be marked on in exams.

Countless students that we’ve worked with have been surprised by how much better their exam results were than they were expecting, and many didn’t get the results they required for their chosen University. Disappointment is a hard lesson to learn, but a necessary and important one in life. It’s something that we’ll all have to learn to deal with at some point in our lives.

IGCSE exams
Understanding the IGCSE, GCSE, and New Examination Reforms

April 26, 2016

Everything you need to know about the IGCSE and GCSE exams.

The history.

GCSE’s were first introduced in 1986 by combining the ‘O’ Level and CSE exams together and making coursework a part of the overall assessment.

The International GCSE or rather IGCSE first came about in 1988 and has since been internationally recognised, available in over 120 countries around the world, with over 70 subjects on offer for study, including many languages. It has been permitted in state schools since 2010 as an alternative to the traditional GCSE examination.

Initially, it was introduced to give greater access to overseas pupils whose first language was not necessarily English. However, when re-introduced in 2010 the move was seen as a positive step to close the gap between state and independent schools by giving state schools the opportunity to offer the IGCSE too.

At the time, Schools Minister Nick Gibb said

“Schools must be given greater freedom to offer the qualifications employers and universities demand, and that properly prepare pupils for life, work, and further study.”

“For too long, children in state maintained schools have been unfairly denied the right to study for qualifications like the IGCSE, which has only served to widen the already vast divide between state and independent schools in this country.

“By removing the red tape, state school pupils will have the opportunity to leave school with the same set of qualifications as their peers from the top private schools – allowing them to better compete for university places and for the best jobs.”

(BBC News, 7 June 2010)

The assessment for the GCSE examination had previously faced criticism from education bodies up and down the country, with teachers concerned that the lack of clarity and unification across England, Scotland and Wales meant there was no ‘absolute standard.’

Higher grades, therefore, became more readily available to less able students, reflected in the increasing number of students achieving A and A* grades across the board. The suspected reason being that the assessment was becoming less challenging for more gifted pupils due to the large amount of coursework required which was not marked in a uniform way. The coursework element also gave poor performing students the opportunity to go back and revise it before submitting for final assessment, therefore making the qualification easier for all students across the board.

The IGCSE was thought to be a positive alternative to the unfairly assessed GCSE, and, with the GCSE considered to be no longer academically challenging or rigorous enough, many schools turned to the IGCSE as a way to address this. Though similar to the GCSE in terms of content, the IGCSE includes little or no coursework, and students and teachers are offered greater flexibility in terms of chosen reading around the subject.

However, the notion that the IGCSE is indeed more challenging has been widely debated. The move away from the modular structure of the GCSE and the formulaic approach to answering questions has left some teachers commenting that the IGCSE is far easier to teach and learn, and with consistent pressure to optimise students’ examination results, despite the qualifications lack of ‘educational bite’, have chosen to opt for this simply to achieve their targets and get their desired results.

The number of candidates opting for this qualification over GCSE’s has steadily increased, with schools that have traditionally struggled to achieve consistently high standards in GCSE exams turning to the IGCSE to boost their rankings, pass Ofsted inspections, and fulfill government targets.

The increasing number of pupils taking the IGCSE could, however, be due to the increased number of foreign language students coming from abroad to study in the UK, the freedom for teachers to choose from a wider, more diverse range of reading material, and the belief that it allows increased scope for the most promising students to undertake more challenging and interesting work.

Some schools also encourage students to take both the GCSE and IGCSE qualifications – giving them a better chance of achieving their desired grade in one or the other. This is a move that the government has criticised.

GCSE changes.

Since 2013, there has been a move to reduce the amount of coursework required in the GCSE examination to the absolute minimum, and the emphasis on the final exam, after two years of study, is far greater.

In fact, most GCSE subjects now require no coursework at all, and therefore the lines between the GCSE and IGCSE qualifications are becoming increasingly blurred. While many teachers prefer this more linear approach, some voiced concerns that the removal of coursework will not benefit all pupils, and the pressure of 2 years worth of learning, resting on one final exam could damage some pupils chances of getting the grade they actually deserve.

GCSE’s will also be graded differently from 2017 with students receiving a 1-9 grading rather than the former A-G. The changes are being implemented over time with English and Maths being the first subjects affected. The changes also expect to make the examinations harder, and any coursework element more rigorous, with students expected to cover more challenging topics in a more in-depth way.  Greater attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling is expected and will also affect the students’ final grade.

These changes are only being implemented in England, with Wales making its own changes and Northern Ireland with no current plans to change anything, once again creating barriers and divides across the country. How to create an absolute standard for GCSE examination assessment and grading has proven to be a great challenge.

IGCSE’s are also to be removed from the league tables for English and Maths in 2017 as part of the government’s shake-up, with further subjects expected to be removed by 2018.

The government has stated that new GCSE’s are not comparable to the IGCSE, therefore, will not ‘count’ in the league tables once implemented. This could naturally affect schools that currently focus and promote the IGCSE, and it is possible this may mean a decline in schools offering the qualification in the future.

What does this mean for the future of the IGCSE exam?

IGCSE’s are still offered in over 300 schools all over the UK and are widely recognised by higher education institutions as part of their entry requirements.

While many students in schools are not necessarily given a choice about which qualification they will be entered for, if a student has a particular university they want to get into, it is important to check their preferences before deciding which qualification to take.

Though now widely accepted, the IGCSE is not universally so, therefore researching entry requirements is essential.

IGCSE is now widely offered in schools all over the UK. However, it can also be a practical choice of qualification for homeschooled children as well.

Assessment can be taken at a number of test centres throughout the world so this can be a useful and preferred choice for homeschooled children, and for those who live abroad.

If your child could benefit from private tutoring for their GCSE or IGCSE examinations then Tutor House can help.

We work with talented, passionate tutors who are experts in their subjects, and will come up with a tailored programme of learning to suit your child’s needs.

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