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GCSE and A Level Tutoring Works!


 

Preparing for GCSEs and A Levels is highly challenging, and has been made even harder for the current cohort by the pandemic, with interrupted schooling and prolonged periods of home learning. A timely intervention using some targeted professional tutoring can make the difference between disappointing results and outstanding outcomes. A good tutor can provide challenge, encouragement and individual attention, as well as expert teaching and guidance in both study skills and exam technique.

 

Teaching Transferrable Skills

High quality tutoring doesn’t just cover the curriculum for the relevant subject, it includes the teaching of transferrable skills. For example, teaching a history student how to structure a piece of writing and construct an argument gives them a set of skills that can be transferred and adapted from history to English or indeed any essays. Similarly, helping a student to recognise how they learn and therefore how best to revise, is invaluable knowledge that can be applied to all their subjects.

In exam preparation, teaching students how to break down a question and how to answer different types of questions is crucial. Students need to know that rather than trying to write down everything they know about a topic in an exam, they need to recognise what is required for each question type. A good tutor will equip students with mental checklists to use in answering questions asking them to evaluate, describe or discuss a subject.

These transferrable skills are of lifelong benefit, building an understanding of the best way for an individual to learn and work, but they are obviously also valuable for exam preparation in the short term. It’s not unusual for students to get to Year 11 or even Year 13 without really getting to grips with the best way for them to revise for exams. The vast amount of learning required to sit a set of GCSE or A Level exams makes efficient and effective revision essential, and our tutors can help with this. The following case study provides an example of the powerful impact of a set of tutorials with a study skills expert.

 

A GCSE Study Skills Case Study

We were approached by Oscar*, a potential client who wanted to help his daughter Isobel* improve her study skills as she entered Year 11; she also needed some support with the GCSE maths curriculum. Isobel had had disappointing Year 10 exam results and her parents were concerned that she didn’t really know how to organise herself and revise effectively, even though she had resisted any attempts on their part to give help and advice.

After careful consideration, the Matching Team chose an experienced tutor who has a long track record in improving students’ revision skills, and is also a talented and patient maths teacher. A block of four two-hour sessions was agreed, and the tutor initially set about assessing Isobel’s revision approach and the revision notes she had already created.

The tutor was able to advise on and demonstrate more active learning techniques, and set targets for organising Isobel’s weekly workload and creating structured revision materials. Isobel was also able to seek help in areas of the maths curriculum that she had been struggling with, which has boosted her confidence and enjoyment of her lessons at school.

Six weeks after the block of tutoring sessions, Oscar has reported that Isobel is still building up her revision materials in a proactive and methodical way, making sure that she has notes from each week’s new lessons ready to return to for her mock GCSEs. This is a major improvement from the previous situation and Oscar is delighted with how much Isobel is now engaged with her learning.

 

Tutoring Track Record

The tutors that work with JK Educate are former senior teachers and school leaders, or experienced professional tutors specialising in a range of subjects and entrance exams, as well as university entrance preparations. Many tutors have more than twenty years of experience to draw upon, but all our tutors receive in-house training so that they can provide first class support to our clients. They are also consistently monitored to ensure that JK’s high standards are maintained and that students are meeting their targets. We carefully match students with the tutor who will best suit their personalities, learning style and curriculum requirements, which makes their work together more effective and enjoyable. This is the level of bespoke attention that makes a real difference to outcomes for GCSE and A Level students.

Recent GCSE students receiving JK’s support in subjects including English, history, French, biology, chemistry, physics and maths achieved final grades two levels above their predicted grades, and the same for our A Level students in subjects including History of Art, maths, psychology, politics, sociology and DT. Our tutoring for Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students is highly effective, whether it takes place face-to-face or online tutoring, for a fixed period or on a long-term basis.

 

 

An A Level Case Study

Following a disappointing school report, a previous client sought JK Educate’s tutoring support for her Year 13 daughter, Fatima*. The aim was to highlight any areas that required intervention and ultimately to achieve Fatima’s A Level target grades for university. Fatima admitted that she hadn’t been working hard enough, so we worked with her to put in place a checklist that allowed her to take greater responsibility for her learning and become more accountable.

To best support Fatima during this critical period in her education, three achievable targets were identified around focus, demonstration of commitment and producing quality work. And to ensure ongoing accountability, she was asked to assess herself against the three targets and compare it to her tutors’ overall impression after each lesson.

Fatima worked very well with her new plan for self-assessment, actively reflecting on the quality of her work and progress, and becoming more invested in her progress. This resulted in a marked improvement in her retention of knowledge and the quality of her written analysis, and her improved autumn test results were back on track to meet her predicted grades.

 

A Short Term Boost?

Tutoring for Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students doesn’t need to be a long-term commitment. Short sets of well-targeted lessons can also be very effective in solving any problems students are having with specific aspects of the curriculum, filling any gaps in learning or difficulties with study techniques.

 

A GCSE Physics Case Study

This is a success story about a mother called Ameera* approaching us to tutor her Year 11 son Rahul*, and support him with his GCSE physics. Ameera specifically wanted an accomplished teacher to support Rahul with curriculum consolidation, targeted teaching for areas of difficulty, and exam technique.

A block of five sessions was booked with a carefully matched, appropriate tutor who has the relevant experience and expertise. This block of lessons allowed the tutor to assess Rahul’s prior knowledge and clarify areas of difficulty. The lessons allowed for topics to be revisited in greater depth and for more complex concepts to be demystified; extensive practice with past papers to improve exam technique was also an ongoing target for Rahul. A regular dialogue with Ameera meant that the tutor could tailor each lesson to be as effective and productive as possible.

Rahul found the tutorials to be invaluable and is now engaging more enthusiastically with physics. By the end of the block of five lessons, he had a better grasp of topic areas that he had previously found challenging. He also gained confidence in his ability to complete exam questions on this range of topics and Ameera has already booked another block of lessons before Rahul’s mock exams in December.

 

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