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Live on ITV, Alex Dyer discusses revision tips for summer exams

June 4, 2014

Live on ITV, Alex Dyer discusses revision tips for summer exams

The importance of exam preparation and success.

You can read see more information on Alex Dyer’s ITV discussion. And although it was very early in the morning, and on a bank holiday, we think he did OK!.

http://www.itv.com/goodmorningbritain/news/gcse-revision-tips

How Private Tuition Can Help International Students in London

May 23, 2014

Regardless of the subject or level being studied, private tuition will support international students studying in London to help realise their ambitions and dreams.

Whether it’s A-Levels, GCSEs or the IB programme, private tutors can help international students understand the UK education system, assist with School and University applications and lastly improve their understanding and knowledge in their chosen field of study. Morever, help them with the IELTS exam

 

If you’re still weighing up your options and not quite convinced on what private tuition has to offer, we’ve compiled the main points in an easy-to-digest format.  

Preparing for the IELTS exams

The IELTS exam is the standard test used by most Schools, Colleges and Universities in the UK as a measure of language ability.

In order to studyA-Levels, students are generally expected to have an IELTS score of 6.0 and above, although it is advisable to contact the individual School or College as each institution will have their own entry requirements.

This is an essential  qualification to have for any international student hoping to start or continue their education in the UK. 

We Tutor House offers English Language training in order to help international students prepare for the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam. 

Meet Russell Group University Entrance Requirements  

With more and more students applying for University places, it’s essential that your marks hover between AAA-ABB  in your A-Levels.  The top Universities in the UK now require ABB as an absolute minimum.  

As an international student, you’re already at a slight disadvantage compared to local students. Private tuition can help you reach your academic potential sooner rather than later. The top London tutors can help get you up to speed  in no amount of time

UCAS Advice

International tutors can help you with more than just exam preparation. The UCAS application process for international students is no picnic and if you’re not accustomed to the process, it can seem confusing and daunting at the best of times.

 International tuition can help you to make sense of the small print and build your application to show off your academic achievements as well as individual qualities. Remember that Universities now look for more than just your  academic achievements!

Choosing Your University

While you want to go to a university with a decent reputation, it’s also important to go for one that fits your personality and interests. In addition, one university may be better than another in a specific field or department. This may not be 100% clear unless you’re familiar with the UK system.  

Help with Work Experience

Universities will also tend to look beyond your academic achievements. Universities like to see students that are well rounded with academic potential, extracurricular activities and work experience under their belt.

Therefore it is imperative that you include all relevant experiences and achievements on your application to demonstrate what you will bring to the University you are applying to.  

International tutors know exactly where you’re coming from and can give you advice on where to apply and how to get the position you’re looking for. Whether it’s helping you draft your first email or put a covering letter together, help  is on hand

Work on Key Areas

Don’t be put off from studying your desired subject of interest only because you do not have the prerequisites to do so. Private tutors are highly experienced in assisting you prepare and plan for any prerequisites needed thus enabling you to realise your dreams and true potential.

Boost Your Confidence

Sometimes all you need is the confidence that you’re on the right path in order to achieve the marks that reflect your true ability.  

Settling down in a new country and environment can be a daunting experience however private tutors can reinforce belief in your abilities by going over  subject material on a one-to-one basis.

Private tuition exam hall
Top Exam Technique Tips

Top exam tips for your GCSE and A-Level exams

The exam period is a stressful time for everyone involved. There is no doubt about it. Whether you are a parent, student or a teacher, the pressure, stress and anticipation is felt. 

It’s important not to let all your revision efforts go to waste by falling down at the last hurdle. Tutor House has come up with the following exam techniques to help students prepare for those all important and immensely stressful exam conditions.

Part 1: Before the Exams

Speak to a Private Tutor
The impact a private tutor can have on a student’s overall performance in an exam is often underestimated. Private tutors help address any key concerns a student may have regarding how to tackle exam questions, address any gaps in student’s knowledge or help boost confidence. Students with private tutors often feel better equipped when sitting exams and see a significant improvement in their performance.

Private tutors have been there and done it all before, each and every year. They come with a wealth of experience and can offer valuable insight. They can provide you with detailed guidance on how to answer questions, alongside strengthen your understanding and knowledge on the subject matter.

Mock Examinations and Practice Papers
They say ‘practice makes perfect’!. Get yourself a few past papers in each of your subjects and test yourself in exam conditions, as if you were taking the exam itself. This will not only improve your confidence but will also highlight any areas of difficulties.

Set a timer, turn off all distractions and don’t allow yourself any extra time other than what’s allocated.

Eat Healthy, Sleep Well
Leading up to and during the Examination period, it’s a good idea to get yourself into a healthy physical and mental condition.

It’s tempting to do some last minute late night cramming however lack of sleep could have adverse effects on your exam performance. It’s well documented that sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning, and sleep deprivation actually impairs attentiveness and your cognitive thought processes.

In addition, it’s important you avoid food and drinks that are notoriously bad for your short-term performance. Coffee, sweets, junk food and energy drinks are the antithesis of a healthy diet. Your brain will thank you if you choose to avoid them and go for natural brain-food alternatives like water, fruit and vegetables.

Part 2: During the Exams

Plan Your Answers
Don’t jump into your questions with a Gung-ho attitude. It may seem counter-intuitive when you’re working under timed conditions, but taking the extra time to plan and structure your answers will help enormously.

Read Through the Whole Exam Paper
Reading all of the questions on the paper before you start your exam may seem time consuming, but it will actually save you time in the long run. By knowing what’s on the paper you will subconsciously plan your answers before you start writing, you’ll also avoid any nasty surprises when turning the page.

Read the Question, Re-Read the Question
It may seem obvious, but its worth reiterating that you need to answer the question that is asked. Don’t be tempted to write down everything you know about a given topic and then create a tenuous link to what the exam is actually asking of you.

Always stick to the question. Read it a few times before you start answering. Make sure you understand what you’re being asked; be careful to pick up on any nuances that you may otherwise miss. It’s advisable to highlight any key words in questions so that there are no misunderstandings surrounding what the question is asking from you.

Do The Easier Questions First
There’s absolutely no reason to work through the questions in the order that they appear on the exam paper. You may actually find it beneficial to work on the easier questions first.

Getting a few questions under your belt will be a wonderful confidence boost, reducing feelings of dread when those inevitable harder questions come up later on. The easier questions will also take less time on average, and will ‘warm up’ your brain for the more challenging ones later on.

Cut Your Losses
If there’s a question that you’re struggling with, move on and answer a question that you do know the answer to.

You can always go back towards the end of the exam and give it your best shot. Don’t waste valuable time procrastinating over questions you’re struggling with because you’ll only lower your confidence, use up precious brainpower and put yourself in a distinct disadvantage.

10 Essential Items of Stationery for End of Year Exams

April 22, 2014

10 Essential Items of Stationery for End of Year Exams

For many students in the UK and around the world the end of year exams are stressful enough as it is, but not having the right stationery will add to the pressure, and will make the whole experience that much worse. You want to make sure you have all the items you need so that focusing on the task in hand is the number one priority during your exams. Realizing that you are missing something essential in the middle of your exam will just add panic and stress to the situation, which is exactly what you are looking to avoid.

This list outlines the top 10 essential items every student needs for their end of year exams. Make sure you are well prepared and have everything on the list well in advance. All those hours of revision and preparation need not be wasted because of something so easily avoided!

  1. Pens

Exam stationary Pens

Note that we have written pens, not just pen. The last thing you want is to run out of ink during your exam and have no other pens to hand. Not only will you have to disrupt your other students exam by asking for another pen, but it will also break your flow and concentration. We suggest using black or blue ink pens as these tend to be preferred and some examiners won’t actually allow you to use other colors, such as red. It’s worth getting yourself a pen you are familiar with too. It sounds slightly temperamental, but using a comfortable pen for hours on end can really make the difference – especially with big essay-based questions.

 

Click here to view some pens we recommend 

  1. Pencil

    exam stationary pencils

Some people prefer mechanical pencils, but they are not always allowed at exams so be sure to find out if they are if you plan on taking them in with you. Otherwise, classic wooden pencils are just fine. You will usually need pencils for multiple-choice exams, as you may want to change your mind on questions you may not be sure about. You should also ensure that they are all sharpened b

eforehand to avoid fiddling with sharpeners and pencil shavings during the exam.

You may also want to bring some colored pencils with you in case you need them, such as for geography exams. If you’re allowed to take notes in your exam, colours are a fantastic way of memory association too.

Click here to view some pencils we recommend 

  1. Eraser

exam stationary eraser

Bringing in an eraser is always a good idea in case you need to make any changes to your answers, especially in multiple choice exams and exams that require additional workings (like maths and physics). Be sure to take any wrapping off beforehand and make sure your eraser is totally plain, as branded or patterned rubbers are usually not allowed.

Click here to see some erasers we recommend 

  1. Small Sharpener

sharpener exam stationary

A small sharpener is best, as they won’t take up much room and won’t be a fuss. Buy a good quality sharpener, such as a metal one. These are cheap, easy to find and you won’t have to worry about them breaking like with plastic ones. It’s worth noting that it’s a good idea to sharpen all your pencils prior to each exam, as to not waste precious time or distract yourself and others during the exam.

Click here to view some sharpeners we recommend 

  1. Ruler

Ruler exam stationary

Many exams will require the use a ruler, such as maths, physics and geography. Choose a sturdy or bendy ruler that won’t run the risk of snapping. Again, it’s probably best to buy a plain ruler with no branding or patterns on it, as these could be taken off you if deemed inappropriate by the exam moderator.

Click here to see some rulers we recommend 

  1. Highlighter

Highlighter exam stationary

Highlighters can come in handy, especially in English literature exams where you may need to read long pieces of text. You can highlight anything you feel will be relevant when answering the questions at the end. In fact you could use a highlighter to breakdown and highlight key parts of questios that you don’t understand. This is a great way to dissect complex questions in any subject. 

Click here to view some highlighters we recommend 

  1. Geometry Set

geometry exam stationary

You will usually be asked to bring in a geometry set with you if you are taking a maths or physics exam. This includes a compass and protractor, so be sure you have them with you. In certain exams a geometry set is an actual requirement, and in many schools they could potentially provide students with a set if needed, however it’s almost certainly easier and an advantage to have your own set for the sake of a few pounds. 

 

  1. Calculator

calculator exam stationary

Check with your exam moderator which type calculators you are allowed to take in with you for your exams. Usually, a scientific calculator will be sufficient. You may need a graphic calculator if you are taking a more advanced maths exam, but they are not always allowed for other exams so it’s best to check beforehand. The last thing you want is to be left without such an essential piece of stationary. 

Click here to view some calculators we recommend

  1. Clear Pencil Case

You will need to buy a clear pencil case so the examiners can clearly see what is inside. This is necessary, in the eyes of the exam’s adjudicators, to prevent students from cheating. In any case (no pun intended) it’s a lot less hassle to just buy a clear pencil case then carry it all in a Ziploc bag.

Click here to view a clear pencil case we recommend 

  1. Bottle of Water

Finally, you should bring a bottle of water with you to the exam. You might need to take the label off first, but they should be allowed to be placed on the floor next to you. Just make sure you don’t take any answers with you into the exam on the inside label!

Now that you have all of your essential stationary items for your exams, you should be ready to give the exams your best shot.

Best of luck everyone!

 

help overcome procrastination
5 Tips on How to Prevent Procrastination When Revising

April 10, 2014

5 Tips on How to Prevent Procrastination When Revising

The lure of procrastination is a danger to students everywhere – that productive study sessions can quickly turn into hours of surfing the net, watching TV, or finally deciding to finish your household chores. In short, any excuse is used to put off revision.

To prevent procrastination, you need a proactive approach. If your revision is to be a success, consider implementing the following 5 tips. You’ll soon find you have plenty of time to get your work done and have a little fun as well.

1. Join a Study Group

No, this isn’t an excuse to hang out with your friends. Instead of picking your favourite people, opt for a selection of students that are up for being productive. In many ways joining a study group is similar to private tuition, as it allows discussions to be had and ideas to bounce off one another.

The reason this works so well is that you’ll feel motivated by seeing others put in the work as well. In addition, you can get your hands on their notes, their brains, and their company to make sure you don’t get lonely (and distracted!).

2. Write a To-Do List

When you feel like the pressure is on and time running out, the last thing you want to do is add more tasks. That’s why many people forego spending time on creating a to-do list, which throws organisation into disarray. Distractions become easy options when we’re not quite sure what we’re meant to be doing.

To-do lists don’t need to be detailed schedules of our study plans. They just need to be quick and dirty, easy to follow and simple to put together in just a few minutes. Checking off what you need to do will make the process more enjoyable, organised, and effective.

3. Take Breaks

Many students that have wasted their time procrastinating will try and abolish all breaks. Unfortunately, this is simply untenable and usually leads to procrastination. That’s why it’s so important to give yourself a break every hour or so.

This reinvigorates your body and mind, giving you plenty of energy to tackle more revision without getting distracted. It also gives you something to look forward to, allowing you to focus until that time comes.

4. Turn Technology Distractions Off

The web offers a wide range of study benefits, having the information of the world at your fingertips. However, students will usually opt for funny YouTube videos instead of revision material.

That’s why you need to turn all of these distractions OFF. Your Internet connection, iPad and smartphone should pose no danger if they’re not connected to the rest of the world.  

5. Set Yourself Realistic Goals

There’s a reason you want to revise in the first place – and that’s the role your revision plays in achieving your goals. Whether you’re looking to improve your job prospects or trying to get the marks to get yourself into a specific University, revision has a very important part in making things happen in your life.

Think about those goals when you start your day or when you find yourself tempted by the various distractions. Consider how wasting time doing these things will ultimately affect you, despite the short-term fun you may be having while watching TV or checking out Facebook.

Ultimately, it all comes down to taking appropriate action. You’ll never completely eradicate procrastination. After all, you’re human – over time, however, you can train yourself to become a very effective revision machine.

5 Fun Ways to Improve Your Handwriting

April 1, 2014

5 Fun Ways to Improve Your Handwriting

To celebrate National Stationery Week we’ve decided to come up with 5 fun ways in which you can improve your handwriting in preparation for the UK’s end of term GCSE and A-Level exams.

In the age of computers, tablets and smartphones, putting pen to paper is becoming a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, despite its declining usage, handwriting remains a critical cog of the way we communicate – think of examinations, conferences, lectures or meetings. 

Improving your handwriting has several key benefits. Firstly, it speeds you up – you’ll be able to answer questions more quickly and keep up with what’s being said during meetings or workshops. It also makes it legible, which makes it easier for examiners to mark your paper and for you to be able to read your own notes later on. To improve your handwriting without making it seem like a chore, why not try these 5 fun ways?

Write Letters

Since the inception of emails, people hardly send letters anymore. It’s quite a shame, as they’re more personal, unique, and it’s just appealing to receive something tangible. So next time you want to write your friend an email, why not turn to writing a letter instead?

Try and convince your friendly and family to get in on the action as well. Try and exchange letters or cards once or twice a month with a few people – you’ll soon notice a noticeable improvement in your handwriting!

Take Up Drawing

If you’re not much of an artist, why not give it a try by taking up a bit of drawing? It’s a fun pastime that will help you develop your skills with your pen, resulting in improved handwriting without you even realising it.

You can sign yourself up with a private tutor to ensure you use the right drawing techniques. It also makes the process much more fun when you start seeing actual development in your skills!

Play Games!

Wait, how do games help with handwriting? It’s all about getting involved with something that requires you to draw and/or write. Think about anything that requires your hand to be precise and the pressure applied to be just right – games like Jenga or Don’t Spill the Beans work extremely well.

Dot-to-Dot and Maze Worksheets

The traditional dot-to-dot is one of the most effective ways to help develop a younger student’s handwriting at an early age – they improve how you use your pen, as you have to be very careful and precise when connecting the dots. Mazes also work extremely well and they’re also quite challenging for younger students.

The web is full of these that you can print off for free, meaning it’s a cheap way to work on your handwriting without actually having to write!

Finally, Find The Right Pen

Most of us simply write with whatever we can find, whether it’s the cheapest pen at your local stationary shop, or something you just found lying around at home. This is a mistake – the first step to great handwriting is using the correct equipment.

You don’t need to invest in an expensive fountain pen. You just need something that works. Wait till you come across a model that feels comfortable to the grip, and where the ink comes out without the need to apply a lot of pressure – fingers tire very easily while writing for hours on end!

Make the process fun by going to the shops and getting a range of different types – try them all out and see which one feels right. Don’t go too crazy with the colours though!

Private Dyslexia Support
5 Tips for Teaching a Student with Dyslexia

March 25, 2014

5 Tips for Teaching a Student with Dyslexia

Whether you’re a parent of a child with dyslexia or teaching a child with learning difficulties, it can present a real challenge. It’s said that up to 20% of the population has a form of reading disability, with dyslexia easily being the most common type, with 10% of the UK diagnosed with dyslexia.

While the exact causes of dyslexia aren’t fully understood, studies have nevertheless brought us a wealth of knowledge about how teachers can help students to write well. The following 5 tips have been shown to improve performance, leading to increased confidence and results.

Dyslexia cannot and should not be categorised as one overlaying issue that children suffer from. A student may be a visual learning, an auditory learner or a kinesthetic learner; a student may struggle with numerical work but excel in other academic areas, and so on.

The overall message here is that just like in all walks of life, no two people are the same, and often you will find that different learning techniques will benefit some students more than they do others. Teaching Dyslexia needs to be attentive, and more so than the average classroom in the UK.

Identify where the student is weakest, and what areas of learning they struggle with the most, then use these five quick tips as a guide to support the learning process – nothing is impossible and you’re not alone.

1. Practice, Practice (and More Practice)!

Many Dyslexic students struggle with interpreting information. One of the best ways to combat this is actually showing them how something is done, rather than simply explaining a subject with no other sensory stimuli.

Once the student has been shown what they need to do and the types of techniques they can use to take advantage of improved learning, they will hugely benefit from implementing these steps themselves. This needs to be done many times over, and it will take more effort compared to the average student, but the rewards will be worthy of the hours put in.

However, don’t make the mistake of overloading dyslexic students. Don’t rush through materials and ensure you add in plenty of breaks, and varied learning techniques. It’s all about consistency, repetition, and organisation; not simply adding on additional hours of block-style learning or cramming. Dyslexia shows no correlation to the level of intelligence a student may or may not have, it simply affects the way in which someone absorbs information.

2. The Right Environment and Materials

You need to give a student with dyslexia an environment where he or she can thrive. It should be quiet, structured, calm, and consistent. The student needs to know what to expect so that focus can be retained throughout each study session.

If you’re teaching a child from home or an environment outside of the typical classroom, it’s a good idea to establish a specific room or area as a ‘learning zone’. Ensure they’re aware that this is a place where they need to focus and take new things in – otherwise information will never stick.

Different learning environments can have a huge affect on what a student associates learning specific subjects with. For example, a typical ‘dull’ classroom may not have as much of a positive effect as a room with range of sensory stimuli with practical learning tools.

3. Multi-Sensory Approach

Most students with learning difficulties will benefit from a multi-sensory approach to taking in new (or repeat) information, but dyslexics really reap the benefits from teaching that uses sight, sound, movement and touch.

Try and incorporate a range of quality sensory learning techniques during a single session, they will not only improve the rate of learning but also break up the lesson nicely.

The trick is in teaching the same (or similar) things with various methods, which helps the information stick. Use pictures, multimedia, play games, draw and paint, listen to books on tape, or simply watch a documentary with discussion points.

It all helps and it’s worth getting creative!

4. Keep Your Child Healthy

Dyslexic students tend to have difficulties with focusing on singular tasks in hand, and with short-term memory absorbtion. If they arrive tired, hungry or ill, they’re less likely to be able to maximise the learning experience.

Although this rule isn’t exclusive to students with dyslexia, the same can be said for all students; especially at a younger age.

If being tired or ill is something circumstantial that can’t be helped, work with the situation instead of against it. Reading is probably something you should reserve for another time – try going for a discussion or an artistic pursuit as an alternative. Look to engage the student and raise their attention to the task at hand.

It can be incredibly frustrating for students with learning difficulties because they will want to learn and do well in exams, just like other students. Ensure that you don’t punish them for lackluster grades. If one method of learning clearly isn’t working for them, try others – and keep going until you crack it.

5. Professional Dyslexia Tutors

By no means should seeking out professional dyslexia tutors be the last port of call here. Getting professional help really could make the difference between a student suffering without the knowledge of how to deal with dyslexia and a student learning to cope with learning difficulties.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need to tackle the entire teaching experience on your own. Even if you’re an experienced teacher, it’s important to use alternative resources to ensure the child gets the best possible education.

For example, get your hands on the latest technology that has been shown to help dyslexic students. Games and multimedia programs have been specifically developed to help.

You can also employ someone to give your student some high quality private tuition. It helps tremendously and won’t make the child feel as if they’re falling behind their peers.

Remember, dyslexic students aren’t unable to learn – they simply struggle with certain aspects of your run-of-the-mill teaching methods. With just a few adjustments and tweaks, dyslexic students can achieve just as much as anyone else, if not more!

 

Alex Dyer discusses the PISA tests live on the BBC News

December 20, 2013

Alex Dyer discusses the PISA tests live on the BBC News

According to a report by the BBC and the results from the latest Pisa tests, the UK is falling behind global rivals in international tests taken by 15 year olds, failing to make the top 20 in maths, reading and science, and currently being ranked 26 in the world!

The Pisa tests (Programme for International Student Assessment) have become widely recognised as the most influential rankings in international education, testing up to 500,000 15 year old pupils in maths, reading and science in 65 countries.

Here’s a video of Alex Dyer speaking live on the BBC last month:

Why UK children are academically falling behind other nations

Why UK children are academically falling behind other nations

Tutor House was recently asked to do an interview live on the BBC. Alex was asked a number of questions relating to the latest PISA results and how they’re relevant to our educational standards.

Why is the UK lagging behind other countries around the world? And why is Asia paving the way to academic success?

Is short, Asian countries, including China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan place huge importance on education, learning and tuition. Students spend hours of additional time, outside of school, being privately tutored. Passing exams and going to university is the most important thing. Teachers and tutors are well respected in Asia, they’re idolised and looked up to. That’s not really the case in the UK. Yes parents require tutors for they’re children, and 1 in 4 children are tutored at some stage in their lives in the UK. However, it’s the time and effort that non-western students spend on their education and studies. In some Asian countries children spend up to 5 hours a day studying, most 16 year olds in the UK, that would be per week.

You can read more here.