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Expect the unexpected in your exams

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Every year, the GCSE and A Level examiners outdo themselves by throwing in cryptic questions which only Sherlock Holmes could crack!

This year is no exception – if the Science and English exams are anything to go by… How can you get round this? It’s all bananas … or is it?

How to handle the unexpected

  1. Learn to think. First, exams are not designed to get you to merely regurgitate facts. It might seem like that, but in reality, education is designed to make you THINK on the spot. Many exams ask you to solve problems, or use the information you’ve learnt.
  2. Take a deep breath. Does an awkward question throw you off beam? Don’t let it. Sit with it for a minute or two. Try to re-think the question in your own words – in your head. Even write notes round the question to generate ideas. Sometimes, abstract questions need a little more thought. Take a deep breath, don’t let it outface you, read it again and again.
  3. Don’t expect the obvious. English Literature exams are perfect examples of this. Students pray that the main characters come up in the questions, and then when they are nowhere to be seen, internal panic spreads across the exam hall like wild fire. (Cue Lord of the Flies!) It makes sense to learn about some of the other characters and poems in your texts. But, more importantly, if you know WHY the writer included them in the first place – and there is ALWAYS a reason – then you won’t find it so tricky if other characters are the unexpected stars of the exam paper show.
  4. Practise practise practise. This goes without saying – the more you practise exam questions, the more you’ll be able to fend off an attack of nerves when a ‘bonkers’ question pops up.

If you are in year 10 or year 12, it makes sense to start your exam prep early so you can handle those tricky little beasts with ease. Your final year flies by so fast, that it’s worth taking this on board early.

If you’ve still got two weeks of exams to go after half term, spend half term planning for the unexpected. As you just never know…

As ever, contact our tuition dream team here in the heart of Cheshire if you want to get cracking early. With a bunch of the best tutors across the Manchester area too, we’re ready when you are.

How to get yourself through the exams

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Exam season is finally here – whether you are sitting SATs exams, GCSEs or A Levels. Tutoring young people day in day out, we understand how important this point in your life is to you.

We also know what a struggle it can be to get through it all – especially when you are not feeling confident.

So, our fab tutors across Manchester and Cheshire would like to share some thoughts with you to help you on your way.

  1. Keep going, don’t give up. It takes courage to sit any exam, and you have loads of it. Look at all of your achievements so far. Those practice exams you didn’t think you could do, those quotes you remembered, the way you picked yourself up after not doing so well and kept going… Incredible. You CAN do this!
  2. Keep trying. Tempting as it is to think you are rubbish at a subject that is important, don’t listen to negative thinking. Instead, do something positive today to help you tackle your fears: create mind maps to single out areas you know about to give you confidence. Then mind map the areas of the syllabus you are still unsure about. Tackle those first.
  3. Take each day as it comes. Every day is a new day. If yesterday’s revision didn’t go to plan, let it go. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, think about what you can do to put it right. Struggling with something specific? Get help with it. Ask teachers, look online, arrange a tutor.

Remember: worrying gets you nowhere. Your worth in life is not measured by your SATs scores, or your final exam results.

While exams can open up doors and offer opportunities, there is so much to experience in life and look forward to.

Give your all to these exams now, and try your best. No one can expect anything more of you.

Then look forward and focus on your next challenge in life without looking back or worrying about how you might have done.

Last minute exam support is here

If you need a burst of confidence, practical knowledge or techniques to take you through the exams ahead, call our 121 Home Tutors team today.

 

Beat exam anxiety this summer

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Is your child facing GCSEs and A Levels this year? Look out for signs of panic: sleeplessness, complaints that they just can’t revise, restlessness and moody behaviour.

The problem with stress is that it stops you from thinking straight. If you can’t think, you can’t process information. And when that happens, an already anxious head becomes overwhelmed fast.

How to help your child stay calm in a crisis

  1. Practise deep breathing techniques. Spend some time practising breathing in for five counts, and then exhaling out for twice that. It really DOES work!
  2. Focus more on key subjects.  If your teen needs specific subject grades to go onto further study, help them focus on those subjects now. Ideally, list any areas (for each subject) that cause anxiety and then make a plan of action to confront them. Ask teachers for specific help, add to revision timetable, enlist support of a private tutor.
  3. Put health first. If your teen eats well, sleeps well, gets fresh air – and doesn’t stay glued to revision every minute of the day – they are more likely to do well. Less sugary snacks and drinks – and more water, fruit and veg – are natural brain boosters too!
  4. Talk Talk Talk! Exam nerves are normal… Keep reassuring your teen that it’s OK to feel anxious to help them keep the exams in perspective. Use lots of positive talk, not negative ‘if you don’t pass…’ type language.
  5. Look online… Childline is a fantastic resource. There’s hints and tips galore to help your struggling teen manage their exam nerves this summer. Check this out!

As ever, our experienced tutor team across Manchester and Cheshire know all about exams!

When you need some last minute support for this year, or you want to help support your child taking exams next summer, get in touch with us here at 121 Home Tutors.

Help! I can’t cope with exams…

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

This time of year feels like GCSE and A Level students are wading through a mud swamp!

With teachers still completing the syllabus, practicals and coursework to finish – and endless mocks on top – it’s not surprising if your teenager feels up against it just now.

What can your son or daughter do to avoid burn out this time of year?

  1. Get positive feedback. If a recent test in school has left your child demoralised, speak to the teacher about what you can do to help. Dwelling on a bad result is a sure-fire way to knock confidence at such a critical stage.
  2. Chunk big challenges into small ones. Stress can strike overnight when a student feels overwhelmed. Help your teen break down a big challenge into several parts. This way, your son or daughter needn’t be floored by challenges, but will be able to work through them.
  3. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is tricky as you can end up doing a 1000 things at once and not achieving anything. Instead, encourage your teen to work on top priorities first, and then dividing up time between them. It’s worth checking with the school about deadline dates too.
  4. Don’t leave things ’till the last minute. This happens ALL the time! Nothing can bring a bout of stress on than being late, not being organised, leaving everything to the last minute. Get a calendar just for your child’s studies to add exam dates, list things needed for specific dates, and deadlines. This will help you plan ahead!

Be wise and revise

If your child needs an extra burst of energy, confidence or practical knowledge, arrange a private tutor.

With the Easter holidays in sight, it makes sense to make the most of the Easter holidays by planning out revision and addressing any difficult areas before the summer term.

Just reach out today to our fab tutor team here at 121 Home Tutors across Cheshire and Manchester.

 

Eat Smart to Boost Exam Performance

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Did you know that food CAN improve exam performance? In fact, when you ‘eat smart,’ you can give your brain a massive dose of much-needed energy. Essential when you’re flat out revising and sitting exam papers…

Tasty tips to feed your brain

  1. Don’t skip meals… Breakfast has been proven to be the best meal of the day for teenagers sitting exams. Not only will you perform better, you won’t be struck with hunger pangs just at the moment when you’re trying to think of that quote or formula! Opt for energy-giving porridge and oat brekkies. Nosh on protein such as eggs and nuts to fill you up for longer.
  2. Drink like a fish. Water hydrates you, whereas sugary drinks eventually zap energy. If sipping water isn’t your thing, add sugar-free juice to water instead. It’s a much better option than fizzy colas or sodas as it helps keep you alert, keeps headaches at bay, and helps you perform for longer. Milk is fab too!
  3. Snacks to snaffle. Exams can drain your energy big time! Tempting as it is to raid the biscuit tin as soon as you get home, nibble on nuts instead! Fancy a fruity something? Opt for bananas and apples which slowly release energy into your bloodstream helping spread your energy out over the day.

And if you are a ‘stay-up-late-to-revise’ type, aim to get some shut-eye earlier than usual. A lack of sleep can affect your memory, as well as slow your thinking down. So get yourself tucked up in bed by 10pm!

Whether you’re in year 5, 10, 11 or 13, a healthy mind and body will boost your chances of passing those pesky entrance, GCSE or A Level exams first time round.

Call the tuition team

And don’t forget, when you need an extra helping hand, our team of tutors are on hand with support, motivation and learning techniques. Spanning the Manchester and Cheshire areas, there’s always someone here to help you through.

Four fab stress busters!

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Have you noticed your child showing signs of stress? Given that over half of schools across the UK recently reported an increase in kids feeling more anxious, stress is becoming a more common childhood experience than ever before.

With endless pressure to pass exams and achieve – on top of the usual hormone battles – the mix is a potentially damaging one.

Firstly, bad stress impacts on learning. Anxiety stops the brain from processing and retaining information. As a result, frustration can set in – leading to children feeling overwhelmed.

Of course, stress can be a motivator. It’s a natural part of life… That’s why it matters that we help children to feel more empowered by the challenges ahead, not daunted by them. Here’s four ways to do it.

Strategies to beat stress

  1. Set realistic goals: Rome wasn’t built in a day. When you help your child win the smaller challenges, it helps build their resilience to cope with the bigger ones. Achievable step-by-step targets across several months also break down the enormity of the final exam.
  2. Make mistakes: Making mistakes helps children learn. If your child writes a story or essay, or does a subject practice paper and the result isn’t what they expected, encourage them to think about the result differently. Rather than dwelling on negatives, get them to ask: what could I have done better? Or What worked well? Reflecting on what went wrong and right, encourages a more balanced response.
  3. Think positively: Negative self-talk is something we all need to deal with at times. But in children looking for acceptance and success in life, it’s even more important that we teach our children to feel good about having a go, to accept failure and then move on to the next challenge. Encourage your child to see that doing their best on the day is good enough.
  4. Pamper yourself: Exams are not everything in life. Help your child get what their body needs: sleep, nourishing food, relaxation, fresh air. Don’t pass on your deep worries about them passing or failing exams; just try to encourage them instead. This will help them relax during downtime rather than dwell on problems.

Top local tuition to fix learning problems

Whether you live in the Manchester area, or across Cheshire, it can make a difference to seek out support with an experienced tutor. Our 121 Home Tutors team can be reached by getting in touch today.

Exam failure isn’t the end of the world

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Have you just taken your GCSE or A level mocks and didn’t get anywhere near your predicted grades? Perhaps you’ve exams after the holidays, and are worried you are just not performing at your best just now?

Yes, that’s me. What now?

First off, you’re not alone. Thousands of students like you will be feeling the same crushing disappointment, the same ‘punch’ in the pit of your stomach.

It’s natural to feel gutted that your mock grades don’t match your potential at this moment in time… However disappointing, it’s important to not let yourself feel too overwhelmed.

Instead, as our very experienced tutors and teachers will tell you, now is the ideal opportunity to dust yourself down and look at the big picture… Here’s our top three suggestions on how to handle mock exam disasters:

  • Learn from your mistakes

We’ve all made them. Trick is to use your exam papers to identify where you went wrong and how you can resolve these weaknesses by the final exams. Are you weaker on specific papers than others? Is it a question of timing? Was it your exam prep which might have something to do with it?

  • Fight back with positive action 

Once you’ve pinpointed where you went wrong, use that information to put together your ‘fight back’ regime! Perhaps you need to try different revision techniques? Perhaps you need to practise more exam questions under timed conditions? 

  • Keep your chin up

An exam is only truly a ‘fail’ if you let it. Accept this happened, and move on with determination that these pesky exams are NOT going to get the better of you! Having a positive outlook will help you more than anything just now.

Focus your mind on your long-term goal. Once you’ve decided THAT is worth fighting for, it will make it easier for you in the coming term to leap beyond this annoying blip, and achieve the future success you deserve.

Tackle tricky topics with targeted tuition

Aside from reading more of our exam success tips, you can always get in touch to arrange some focused tuition with one of our experienced GCSE or A Level tutors.

With a pick of the best tutors across Manchester or Cheshire, dedicated 1-1 personal tuition can help you revise all those tricky topics that have held you back before.

Who says you have to be perfect?

Monday, May 16th, 2016

With the year 6 Sats last week, reports in the media revealed how stressed children were in the lead up to them.. And how tough the tests were.

Life, of course, is full of challenge. We can’t shield our children from that… After all, once they are in the job market, they’ll face stiff competition to get on in life. A dose of testing can help children prepare for the future..

However, a test or grade must never define a child’s worth… That’s why we were especially moved to read Willesborough Junior School’s letter sent to parents and pupils before the Sats exams.  Isn’t it great?

We catch them when they fall

What matters most is that children feel supported through these challenges. That there are safety nets when life at school gets tricky…

As a popular tuition service across Manchester and Cheshire, our lovely tutors often work with children whose confidence is in tatters, or are struggling with a subject.

We love nothing more than restoring a child’s confidence, and seeing big smiles when they’ve cracked a challenge that stumped them before.

Though we can’t stop Sats or 11+ tests, GCSEs or higher exams, we can make life easier for you. With the security and trust of a personal tutor, you can build on your subject weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

If we can help, just give our tuition team a call at head office.

Remember … no one is perfect. And even if you don’t do as well as you expect in future exams, never never give up.

 

 

How to boost your child’s self-esteem

Monday, April 25th, 2016

It can be heart-breaking for a parent to hear their child say ‘I’m rubbish’ or ‘I just can’t do it.’ Have you experienced this?

The primary school environment can be highly pressured where a child’s self-esteem can easily take a hit if he or she gets low marks in a test, if there’s a change of teacher, or even being moved down a set/class/table.

At secondary level, if a mock exam is given back without lots of positive feedback, it can massively affect a student’s confidence – even knock them off course at the final hurdle.

Endless supply teachers can also disrupt learning, where students don’t feel confident that they know enough.

How can you stem the tide?

1. Challenge negative self-talk with encouragement 

Remind your child how well they have done on something else in the subject previously, to help them balance out their perspective. Then offer to help: ‘Let’s work through this together…’

2. Reward effort, not just success

Children need to hear that they are ‘doing their best.’ If you only praise when they get something right, it can make them feel inadequate when they get something wrong.

3. Share your own failures 

Empathy is a powerful emotion.. When you share that you too used to find X subject tricky, or failed an exam but never gave up, it helps your child to see that getting it right first time doesn’t always happen.

Teaching children to not give up – to find different routes round a problem – can help them feel success is more reachable.

Get academic support from a personal tutor

Here at 1-21-1 Home Tutors in Wilmslow, we hear from worried parents all the time requesting exam and study support at stressful times in their child’s school career.

Luckily, we have a team of the loveliest tutors across Manchester and Cheshire who are there when your child needs that extra bit of help.

Contact us if you too need some advice. Remember, you’re not alone.

Have you got an exam tomorrow?

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Exams seem to strike fear into even the most confident student. It’s the moment you’ve been gearing up for since you first started school way back when. Finally, it’s here.

It’s natural to feel nervous. Everyone feels this. The trick is to try to relax as much as possible the night before rather than sit and dwell on the day ahead. More top tips next!

The day before:

  • Check you have the right equipment ready to take with you. Does your calculator work? Essential for Maths and Science. Do you have spare pens in case yours run out?
  • Read over your main notes without obesssing about them. Then go off and do something relaxing: read a book, watch a funny movie, have a kickabout with your mates outside
  • Eat a decent meal to power up your energy. This will help you sleep soundly too. Plus remember to set your alarm!

The day itself:

  • Eat a hearty breakfast. Don’t skip eating! Even a banana will give you energy.
  • Try to stay calm. Get comfortable at your table. Make sure your desk isn’t wobbly. Speak up if it isn’t otherwise it’ll annoy you. Take deep breaths too at your desk to calm yourself down.
  • Whether you’re taking GCSE exams this week or sitting your A Levels, remember that it’s just an exam. Most students do much better than they think they will. So go in there with your head held high, and give it all you’ve got!

May we wish all of our fabulous students across Manchester and Cheshire the best of luck. Go for it! In the meantime, if you need any last minute guidance or exam tuition, call the 1-2-1 Home Tutors team for a chat.