Tutor House offers private tuition for children preparing for Common Entrance (C.E) from the age of 10 years old. Our tutors work with children to answer past paper questions and help them understand key areas within the common entrance exams.

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Maths:

“C.E. is the first time a child will encounter topical questions in an unfamiliar
order or form (depending on how much exam experience they have had). There is
no point re-trudging through maths text books, in C.E. a child’s intelligence
is measured by his or her adaptability. Once a solid foundation of knowledge
has been formed, investing in revision books where a child must ‘chop and
change’ are a good idea. One exam question will often test three or four
topics, a child must be used to recognising which mix they are being faced
with. This is a different skill to working through the same type of question in
a textbook exercise, even if you’re getting them all correct.” (Such text books
can be procured from Waterstones or WH Smith. I would recommend either Letts or CGP. I am not a fan of brand’s own or the bond books: the questions
in these bond books rarely have much in common with questions in C.E. papers.)

“It is an obvious one, and marries well with my last point, but you must know these
topics inside out, upside-down, if they are wearing a rain mac and false
moustache you should be able to pick them out of the crowd. Not only this, but
how they interact with each other, what happens when an x and a / face each
other in a judo match? Who will win? or a + and -? Lots of practice with BODMAS
basically.”

English:

“Ah!
I love teaching C.E. English; it is one of the last few chances children have
to be creative with writing. There is not enough creativity in the
GCSE syllabus in my opinion. Lots of reading is paramount. The more a
child can be encouraged to experience new and exciting things they can draw on,
the better. Creative writing for fun, and brainstorming for ideas with others,
is to be recommended. This is a lovely exercise which parents can get involved
in too. Getting children to verbally describe their day at school so that they
can re-create an experience with words is all practice. A child’s lateral
thinking ability will be tested e.g. “How did this happen? As a result of
what? Why did this happen?” Often exam questions come in the form of a
passage which a child will be asked to continue. A tutor can easily get hold of
practice questions. Writing should include lots of imagery and
literary techniques, similes and metaphors etc. should be drawn on frequently.
Show off! One of the best exercises for those struggling, is to present a child
with a picture which will appeal to them (eg. warring Vikings!) and ask
them to write a story explaining how this picture came to be.”

“It is all very well letting creative juices run havoc but remember: structure
structure structure. A plan will go down with an examiner like a cup
of camomile tea (or something stronger) after a long day of marking. ‘The
student can think ahead!?’ ‘There is a through line!’ Or ‘Ooooooh THAT is what
they are getting at!’ It is not just a rambling (however
imaginative) inner monologue. It can be difficult to explain to a child:
‘you want me to be free and creative? but you want me to stick to a ridged
through line?’ To a grown up that’s: ‘just DON’T do a Virginia
Woolf OK?’ ”

“You win half the battle with comprehension through practice. Training the brain to
find the appropriate information to answer the question is something which
takes time. Focus is important, they now use a form of comprehension as the
first level of vetting people for MI5, this may give you an inkling as to
the importance of attention to detail. The questions where the marks can be
really hoovered up are the ones which ask for analysis. You have spotted the what, but what about the why and the how? Emotional intelligence and maturity are a big help here.”

“The poem is sometimes overlooked as so much emphasis is placed upon comprehension. Make
sure you are familiar with all the appropriate terminology: metaphors, similes,
syntax, sibilance, alliteration etc. What has the poem made you think and feel,
how has the language generated this response in the reader?”

History:

“Remembering dates is as important as it always has been I’m afraid. The new and arguably
more interesting take on examining history is the importance of the ‘human
element’. Remember these were real people making emotive decisions. Why did
Elizabeth I behead Mary Queen of Scotts? Why were people
scared of witches in the middle ages, but not now? Why could
this source be biased and who has written it?”
Change anything you like, if I have been too wordy feel free to re-do! xx

Good Luck Everyone. C.E with tutor house.