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Archive for the ‘A level’ Category

Help! Could my UCAS ‘application’ be rejected?

Monday, October 24th, 2016

There is nothing worse than failing at the last hurdle by not being offered a place at your desired university. On top of that, imagine the misery of being told you can’t sit the course you’ve set your heart on.

Sadly, it’s more common than you imagine. Just applying isn’t enough!

Given that many undergraduate course deadlines are mid January, take a serious look at how you can improve your personal statement – and your opportunities.

How to give your personal statement the WOW factor

Here’s a useful round-up of tips from current university lecturers and our own experienced tutors on what NOT to do:

Don’t sit on the fence. Applications for both engineering and medical courses, for instance, show a passion for neither.

Given that course leaders would be sceptical about a student’s motivations if they didn’t focus on a specific course, you could end up being rejected for both. Is it worth it?

Don’t name drop. My dad/mum is… Universities course leaders want to know about YOU – no-one else.

Research the specific course carefully to understand its structure, modules, choices. Start with online prospectuses. Look for links to more information.

The more you drill down into the course and pull out specifics, the more you will show a university lecturer you are genuinely interested and excited by the course.

Avoid clichés… Phrases such as, ‘From a young age I’ve been interested in…’ or ‘Ever since I was young..’ or ‘I’ve always been…’ don’t go down well. Instead, universities want to know what’s shaped your most recent experiences.

Avoid quotes. Universities have seen a deluge of applications starting with a quote. Many institutions see this as glib, and insincere. Instead focus on opening your statement with genuine enthusiasm.

Universities want to read about YOUR real passion for the subject – not tired phrases.

Edit and spell check. If your application is littered with spelling and grammar errors – as well as poor sentence structure – the message you’re giving to the reader is that you don’t care enough to write an accurate application.

Ask a close friend to to go through it for you, read the statement out loud, and then leave it for a while to revisit your writing with fresh eyes.

A level tuition and statement support

At 121 Home Tutors, you have the pick of the crop of A level tutors and teachers across Manchester and Cheshire:

  • History and politics PhD teacher with examining expertise – Altrincham, Didsbury, Wilmslow areas
  • Biology and Chemistry teacher covering Alderley Edge, Macclesfield, Sale, Urmston, Wilmslow,
  • English lang and Lit tutor coveringAltrincham, Didsbury, Sale, Stockport, Wilmslow
  • Business Studies and Economics teacher, HOD, exam marker
  • Maths and Modern Language private tutors

Get in touch today to discuss how one of our locally recommended tutors can help your youngster achieve.

 

 

How To Make The Right A Levels Choice

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Deciding on your future is often a dilemma felt by students across Manchester and Cheshire this time of year. Many are compelled to pursue A levels as they improve your chances of gaining a long-term career.

They also give you the opportunity to properly consider all options while adding to your bag of qualifications.

Given, though, that A and AS levels are undergoing some changes, how do you know you’re making the best choice?

Swot up on the changes 

The new AS level is now a one year course, and doesn’t give you any marks towards your A level exam as in the past. Because new A levels are more linear in structure now, you can’t take exams after modules but at the end of the two year course.

Speak to your teachers about what the new exams ‘look’ like to see whether they are for you. Plus, be aware that UCAS have revised their points tariff for university entry. Check out the changes here.

Study what you enjoy

While A levels are different to – and much tougher than – GCSEs,  we still advise students to take subjects you absolutely love. If you are inspired by a subject, you’ll be inspired to work hard for it. As that’s what it takes!

Do your syllabus homework

If you’ve enjoyed a GCSE subject, we advise you carefully check out the A level syllabus whether you’re staying on at school or heading to sixth form college. Look at the range of topics and study opportunities – plus consider workload.

Look ahead now 

Already have a career in mind? Check out entry requirements for specific university courses now. Many of them require specific A level subject combinations, for instance – especially Medicine, Economics and Geology (amongst many others).

Improve your GCSE chances

First things first: you must secure your GCSE grades to open up your choices. Call 1-2-1 Home Tutors when you need a local private tutor to help boost confidence and give you the best chance of exam success this summer.

Thinking about going to university?

Monday, August 10th, 2015

There’s been a lot of talk in the news over the summer regarding university education. Now that the government has replaced grants with loans, there’s much to think about. Many students worry about how to cover all their outgoings during a university course.

So with student debt on the rise, it helps to look at your options. Here are some facts about student finance for you right here.

What if you don’t do as well as you hoped?

If you’re waiting for your A level results this week, no doubt finance will be one consideration on your mind. Another worry that most students have is ‘Will I get enough points?’

Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan. Of course, if you achieve the grades you need this week, all you need to decide is which university place to take up – and then go and bag your place through UCAS.

If, however, your grades are down on what you expected, don’t lose heart. There are still plenty of options open to you – including a possible place at your first choice uni.

You can ring up your preferred university to ask their advice. Who knows, they might have a number of ‘changed course’ offers available, perhaps combining your initial course with another subject.

Don’t forget to check out Clearing if you’ve had no offers, or if you need to look for other courses…

Take a gap year

Don’t succumb to the pressure to go to uni at any cost just because your friends are going. There’s nothing stopping you from taking a gap year.

It might even be useful breathing space to get some work experience, re-evaluate your options and perhaps re-take an exam.

Remember, while this is the start of your adult life and career, your exams don’t define you as a person. You’re not a failure if you don’t scrape enough points for a specific course. It might even be an opportunity!

If you are dead set on retaking, or need application support, give our 121 Home Tutors team a buzz. With personal tutors across the Cheshire and Manchester areas, we can help.

Applying to University? UCAS advice here

Monday, October 6th, 2014

If you’ve already decided you want to go to university, the next step is deciding where and what subject. With countless choices open to you, where do you start?

1. Choose your subject. What do you most enjoy? Consider how your subject choice could fit with your career path. What careers could your subject lead to? Consider all options.

2. Do your research. Check out prospectuses, visit open days, read up on different universities’ course details as they do vary.

3. Check application deadlines. For many courses – especially at Oxbridge – you must apply online by 15th October 2014! Applications for medicine, dentistry, veterinary and science courses usually have a 15th October deadline too.

4. Check entry requirements. How close are your predicted grades? With five university choices to plump for, be adventurous. Choose a course above your predicted grades (as many students do outshine their expected grades!); choose courses with achievable entry requirements; and choose one that’s under your predicted grades to open up your choices.

5. Refine your personal statement. Universities want to see your aptitude and passion leap off the application! Consider why you want to study the course. What evidence can you include to back up your enthusiasm? Perhaps you’ve done extra-curricular activities, visited events, read extra books? Maybe you’ve had a lifelong love for the subject? Universities also want to see you are a well-rounded student: what other talents or interests do you have?

Whether you need subject tuition throughout year 13, or help with your UCAS application, we’ve an expert tutor here at 121 Home Tutors ready to support you. We don’t just help students wanting to study here in Manchester, or Cheshire either. Get in touch! 

What if your A level results are better than expected?

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A level results day!  The day you find out whether you’ll be off to your first choice university. For some of you, who haven’t quite made the grade, don’t panic. You can find an alternative place through Clearing.

But what if you smashed your predicted grades, achieving higher than you ever thought possible? It happens every year!

The great news is: you don’t have to accept your firm placement offer. You can shop around for other university places through Adjustment – a UCAS service – without affecting your secure offer.

Better still, because of changes in student number regulations, universities now offer more places than ever before. That means you could still go to that dream uni after all!

Where do you start?

1. From 14th-30th August, register for Adjustment online. Just check your conditional firm choice has changed to unconditional (UF) first. Note: you only have five days to use the service and switch.

2. Call the university you are interested in as soon as possible. Or check if you can contact the admissions team via an online form rather than be on hold all day…

Explain you are gathering information at this stage to see what is available. Remember to have your personal UCAS ID to hand!

3. Consider why you want to switch courses. And don’t verbally accept a firm offer unless you really want to.

You can find more information about Adjustment here.

Remember to…

As with any decision, go into it with your eyes open. Research the course/university carefully; always consider whether switching will affect student accommodation and student loans. Talk to a teacher at school… Or call the Exam Results Helpline: 0808 100 8000 

Good luck! In the meantime, get in touch with us at 121 Home Tutors if you are in the Manchester/Cheshire area and need A level resit tuition.

5 top tips for exam success

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Exam season is here again. But are you ready for it? With just weeks to go before sitting your GCSE or A level exams, revision can feel overwhelming.

And if you missed part of the course through illness, or lost confidence after a mock exam disappointment, it’s essential to make the most of any spare time you have.

First, don’t panic! Here are 5 useful revision tips from our team of private tutors across Manchester and Cheshire:

  1. Do plenty of timed practise papers to help you overcome exam nerves. Sit with an egg timer – without tv or music distractions – and practise, practise, practise!
  2. Look over marked mock papers and test questions. Where did you go wrong? Spend longer revising those weaker areas to boost your confidence.
  3. Organise your time. Draw up a revision time table and stick to it! Lots of 30 minute intense revision sessions can be more productive than sitting for hours at a time not getting anywhere.
  4. Use sticky notes for quotes/facts, acronyms and mind maps to help you remember key information.
  5. If you hit a brick wall during a revision session, take a break and come back to it with a fresh mind.

Focused revision now will help you get through the next few weeks still smiling. That’s where one to one tuition with a subject specialist can really help.

Instead of wasting time trying to find answers, we can teach you all the revision techniques you need. For focused exam support with a local GCSE or A Level tutor, call 121 Home Tutors now.

Did you revise over Christmas?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Last year the Government decided to remove the modular exam approach to GCSEs and A Levels. They also removed opportunities for unlimited resits and instead students sit all exams at the end of the academic year (in June). The aim of the changes is to make learning more rigorous and increase standards at GCSE and A Levels.

This is the first year we have seen the impact of the changes and we’re concerned.

At 121 Home Tutors we have seen a drop in the number of enquiries during the autumn term for GCSE and A Level tutoring. Normally the bulk of our enquiries would come in during this time as students prepared for the exams during the academic year.  There are some students who recognise that preparing ahead is important but we’re worried that as June seems so far away many are in danger of leaving things until the last minute.

Many of our students would have used the long Christmas break to revise for their exams in January. But this year there’s no (or very little) revision to do – for either mock or real exams.

Are we storing up problems for later in the academic year when we’re expecting a flood of panicked students who have left revision until the last moment. One benefit of the January exams is that they revealed weakenesses, which could then be corrected, earlier in the year. There’s now no opportunity to do this and we’re worried it’s leaving some students open to failure. So here are 2 things to think about in the next month…

– Where are your weak spots – look at them now and decide if you need tutoring help.

– When are you planning to start revising? At least think about when that might be and ensure you have plenty of time for all your subjects (and a life!).

If you think you like some help preparing for GSCE revision and A Level exams then drop us a line at 121 Home Tutors.

Be prepared – GCSE and A Level exam changes

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

In the last few months there has been a considerable amount of change in the way testing is carried out for both GCSEs and A Level.

There has been a move away from coursework and module based testing throughout the year. Instead most schools are moving back to one main exam in May and June.  This academic year some students will sit their exams in June instead of split between January and June. But we’re already hearing rumbles that this might be causing some students (and their parents!) a few headaches.

For many students they are panicking about the emphasis being on one set of exams and they are realising there’s an awful lot to learn in one go. They’re smart because they know early preparation is the key to success – but only if you can get past the panic and start to plan. On the other hand June seems very far away and a lot of students aren’t even thinking about exams. But it’s surprising how fast time can pass and if you aren’t prepared last minute cramming can spell disaster.

What can you do to ensure you pass next June?

  • Don’t think as far ahead as June. Instead put your effort into your mocks – this is a chance to really test your knowledge and shouldn’t be a wasted opportunity.
  • But don’t leave things to the last minute – think about revision 6-8 weeks in advance of the exam and create a plan. If you need help with planning or revision then a private tutor can really help.
  • Have a look at our revision blogs on How long you should spend revising and Revision over Christmas. 

If you need help with revision or revision planning for CGSE or A Levels (English, History, Maths and other subjects) in Manchester or Cheshire (covering Heaton Moor, Levenshulme and other areas) call 121 Home Tutors today. 

 

How to write a personal statement

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

If you want to go to university in 2014 then you’ll probably be applying right now. For most people the hardest part of the UCAS application is the personal statement section. We’ve put together some top tips on crafting a great personal statement.

1. Your personal statement is 47 lines (4000 characters) which tells the university you are applying to why they should offer you a place. It’s your chance to explain exactly why you want to study on that course and at that university. It’s also a chance to blow your own trumpet about what a good student and well-rounded person you are.  Admissions tutors will use this (and sometimes an interview) to decide how well-suited you are to a course and university.

2. You need to be aware of the UCAS deadlines (some have an early October deadline) and decide which course you want to study. It’s better if your personal statement relates to the course you want to study for.

3. Start with writing down some general ideas. You might want to think about why the course interests you, any work experience you have, why that particular university appeals to you, any committees or out of school clubs you are involved in, any hobbies you have, any awards you have won, examples that show you are a contentious student.

4. On a separate sheet clearly define why you want to study a certain course – your passion has to jump off the page.  It’s a good exercise if you want to check that a specific course is the right one for you.

5. Have a look at example personal statements to help with language and layout but remember your personal statement has to come from you.  It has to be honest and reflect who you are, but keep it positive and enthusiastic.

6. Think about your format – it’s best not to write in one big block, consider breaking your statement down into sections such as introduction, work experience, interests outside of school (remember to focus on those that show you’re a responsible, confident person who sticks at things).

7. Always do a rough draft first and then edit down.  You don’t have to write precisely 4000 characters.  If you are struggling then check university websites to see if they have any advice on writing personal statements as this will give you an idea of what they might look for.

8. Finally check the UCAS guidelines for formatting your personal statement – remember the 47 line/4000 character limit.

If you need help with your personal statement one of our personal tutors based in Manchester or Cheshire can help, just call 121 Home Tutors today. 

Choosing a degree

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

If you are getting close to making decisions about university how will you decide what you will study? Are you going for a subject you love? Maybe you’re choosing something  you know you are really good at? Or perhaps something you know you want to build a career in?

We all know the job market is tough at the moment with 2.5 million people out of work. The graduate job market is now fiercely competitive, with those fresh out of university applying for the same jobs as those who have years of experience. Recent reports suggest that students are shunning traditional subjects – like English and Maths – in favour of practical degrees that will give them a better chance of securing a job at the end.

Applications for medicine degrees have risen by 12% in the last five years, while business and management degree students have risen by 9%. On the flip side applications to study English were down by 11% and European languages have dropped by 13%.

It would be great if we had a crystal ball and could predict what the job market would be like in 3 or 4 years time but instead we’ll give you some top tips on choosing a degree that suits you.

  1. Think about what you enjoy – you’ll be studying for at least 3 years so it’s best to choose something that you at least think you’ll be interested in.
  2. Although ‘practical’ degrees can seem like a safer future career choice you never know where a traditional degree like English or languages could take you. There are lots of careers that don’t require a specific degree. If you aren’t sure what job you want after uni then a non-specific degree might be a better bet.
  3. Whatever degree you choose you’ll gain a lot of soft skills that matter in most jobs – analysis of information, ability to present work, acting as a team. Most employers will be looking for those skills as well as your chosen subject area.
  4. If you do want to go into a specific field after graduation (such as law or medicine) then do choose the right degree – speak to a university admissions tutor or someone at your college or school for advice.

If you need academic tutoring or support during your A Levels or when you get to University 121 Home Tutors can help with most subjects (we cover Manchester and Cheshire including Hale, Heaton Moor and Didsbury).