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Archive for the ‘preparing for exams’ Category

Why hire a private tutor?

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Why are more and more parents turning to private tuition to support their child achieve? Everyone has a personal reason, of course.

However, as one of the top tuition services across Manchester and Cheshire, here are just four reasons we constantly come across:

A confidence booster

If your child is struggling at school, and just can’t get a handle on a weaker subject, private one to one tuition can help your child get to grips with a tricky topic fast.

Unable to ask for help

Many children are introverts, and hate asking for help in class. Usually the fear of looking ‘stupid’ in front of peers can scupper them from sticking their hand up. Over time, struggling becomes the norm, followed by plummeting grades and student stress.

One snag is that if you went to school in the Dark Ages (!!), you’ll know that many subjects are taught differently nowadays.

So if you don’t feel confident teaching trigonometry, Science subjects or 19th century literature, a private tutor can help! Besides, most children prefer their parents to be parents – not teachers.

Teacher change/issue

Some children feel lost when their teacher leaves – often finding it hard to transition to a new one.

Sometimes, too, teachers are so busy fire-fighting poor behaviour in class, that your child’s problem gets inadvertently over-looked.

Quality time with a tutor can help your child re-engage with the subject again.

Lagging grades

If your child or teen comes home from school with a bad report and shame written all over their face, you’ll know how hard the fall is when grades slip. And worse, some children find it so hard to claw back by themselves…

A private tutor will not only help your child work out why their grade slipped in the first place, but help them develop new strategies to ace it next time.

Finally, a good tutor will help your child believe in themselves more rather than feel such shame at failing. After all, learning from failure is the way we all learn in life.

Call 121 Home Tutors today

Call Alison and the team if your child is struggling, if they need a boost to their grades, or you want your son or daughter to prepare for an entrance or mock exam.

The Science Behind How to Study Successfully

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

It’s true! Science proves beyond doubt that there are certain learning and revision techniques which just work. If you find studying for your GCSEs or A Levels a hard slog, try these little beauties:

  1. Keep on movin’:

    Yes… Gone are the days where you have to stay cooped up in your bedroom for hours on end. Studies show that the brain is more active if you not only switch study locations regularly, but if you move around every hour too. What’s not to love?!

  2. Exercise your mind:

    Would you believe that getting regular exercise increases your capacity to think, remember information and solve problems? It does. No excuses now!  

  3. Variety is the spice of life: 

    Not only will studying one subject per day bore you silly, it’ll be counter productive over time. Chop and change subjects every hour with a break in between to help memory recall and keep your brain tip top. 

  4. Get some shuteye: 

    What’s just as important as exercise? Sleep! The days of staying up all night revision cramming before an exam are over. Remember: deep sleep nurtures and repairs brain cells. Fact! Interested in more sleep science? Check this link out. 

Study skills rusty? Unsure how to do your best?

Studying isn’t easy – especially when you seem to have a million and one things to do. That’s why it can make all the difference in the world to get some expert help from a one to one tutor.

With private tutors available across the Manchester and Cheshire areas, there’s someone there to help you find your way. With tried and tested revision tips ‘n tricks on hand, you can get through it all with confidence. Get in touch with Alison and the team for a no-obligation chat today!

What’s your secret revision weapon?

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Facing GCSE or A Level exams can feel like you’re stepping into battle! And there’s no turning back…

So, you have to decide right now: are you going in fully armed ready to take on anything? Or will you have no plan of attack and simply try and dodge the bullets?

Metaphors aside, what’s one of the smartest secret weapons you can use in your run up to the exams? The internet! Where a treasure trove of past papers doth lie. YES! That’s the secret. Practice papers…

Better still, most exam board websites have them – including marking schemes. Dynamite!

Why are practice papers such a fantastic resource?

Simple! They:

  • Help you familiarise yourself with what to expect in a typical paper
  • Reduce your stress levels since the more you practise, the better you become
  • Allow you to check your answers against the examiners’ marking scheme
  • Help you get used to juggling different topics at the same time
  • Give you an opportunity to test yourself to exam conditions
  • Give you insight into the range of answers that examiners are looking for
  • Help you highlight weaker areas to focus on as part of your revision

Of course, there is only so much you can do in the lead up to your exams. That’s why testing yourself against exam standard materials can’t be beaten!

How to win the long term learning battle the smart way

If your child is in year 10 or 12, the smartest move is to plan ahead.  As our local tutors and teachers across Manchester and Cheshire say every year, they always come across a stressed-out teen who’s left revision to the last minute.

Far better to iron out any learning hurdles this year, than have a huge mountain of them next. Booking a tutor early rather than leaving it to year 11 or 13 is also a clever move. Many of our tutors are so popular that they are booked ahead.

If you don’t want to miss out, contact Alison – 121 Home Tutors’ head tutor – for a chat to discuss the best plan of attack!

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.

How to get first past the post this exam season

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

You’ll know from our last post – Testing times in education – that your child’s school life is full of challenge. And for some of you with teenagers facing mock exams in the next few weeks, it will be all too real.

Of course this year, exams will feel much different than previous ones. At GCSE and A level, your child will be the first generation of students facing the new linear exams – notably in English and Maths. This means a single exam at the end of the course rather than exams with coursework assessment staggered through two years.

‘Performing on the day’ has never been so important!

Elevate your English exam technique

Getting through the post will be much harder for some students than others. In GCSE English Literature, for instance, all exams are closed book ones. Students, then, will need to revise key quotes and information across several texts and poetry to do well.

A useful tip now is to create mini postcards, mind-maps or index cards for each text character, theme and poem. And to revise them over and over. A flashcard system is handy to create since it can be used again for the summer exams – rather than lost in paper files.

Master maths the easy way

Likewise in Maths, getting past the post has higher hurdles than before. With previous higher paper content filtering down into the foundation paper – and the higher paper expanding in difficulty – again there’s more emphasis on students recalling information fast.

That means memorising key mathematical formulae by heart, and practising sample questions time and again to increase confidence.

Failure isn’t a disaster…

Year 11 and 13 students often hit a brick wall this time of year – when mock exam results are a shock to the system. But don’t lose heart. Failing an exam is only true failure if you give up. Instead, see these exams as a dummy run – an opportunity to iron out what to focus on next year.

Above all, work on a system to help you learn in bulk, and to test your knowledge over and over. For extra support in handling these new GCSE and A level exams, call us at 121 Home Tutors.

With some of Manchester and Cheshire’s finest tutors to hand, that post will seem so much easier to whizz past!

Need last minute revision techniques that work?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

May is officially the start of exam season! It’s also the time when panic can seriously set in if you haven’t got into the habit of regular revision yet.

Rather than freak out, here’s how to get organised … fast!

1. Spread revision topics out over several days, rather than revise one subject intensively. This will give your brain the space it needs to absorb facts!

2. Get testing! Test yourself with practice papers, then test your knowledge on a mate.

3. Turn off the music. Studies have concluded that listening to music while revising stops your brain from recalling information as fast. Gives you something to look forward to after revising…

4. Mind map, don’t highlight.. Interestingly, research has shown that highlighting text doesn’t work unless you connect ideas together. Mastering mind mapping instead will help you remember more in a short space of time. Simples…

5. Step away from your smartphone. The biggest distraction known to man and student? The humble smartphone. It’s all too easy to get Snap chatting, or Face booking without realising it.

In fact, the temptation to take a sneaky peek at your texts or Facebook timeline is a real problem, researchers say. If revising, then, be brave: switch it off!

Last minute tuition support

With exams on over the next six weeks, it can make a huge difference to draft in some professional last-minute help.

With GCSE and A Level tutors at the ready across Manchester and Cheshire, call 1-2-1 Home Tutors to help you make the grade!

How To Create Your Revision Timetable

Monday, January 18th, 2016

For many of you taking exams in the summer term after Easter, it’s essential to get your revision underway now.

Now’s the best time to perfect your revision timetable, and to address any grey areas you’ve always struggled with. Leaving this until after Easter will cause panic.

So instead, here are some practical revision suggestions to help you through the spring term:

1. Get mind mapping!

Create a mind-map for each subject, detailing all the key areas and skills you need to know. Now using three highlighter pens, identify the areas you are confident in with one colour, the areas you need to brush up on, and the areas you  really struggle with.

2. Get planning!

Using this information, focus on planning out how you’ll cover those weaker areas. Don’t worry about them, get proactive instead! Can you pin down a teacher to help you with that algebra question which flummoxed you in the mock?

Can you ask if there are any revision sessions planned by departments? Can you arrange a local tutor to take you through those difficult skills your teacher doesn’t have time for?

3. Get practical!

The sales are still on. Buy some new notebooks, pens, index cards and folders to get organised. Keeping tidy revision folders will stop you from panicking. In each one you could write a tick list using your mind maps to help you stay on track.

Plot out all the difficult areas into a timetable/calendar and stick to it.

Get help!

Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t just hope the problems will go away. They won’t… Use the time you have now and over the coming months to give yourself the best chance of success.

With SATs, GCSE and A level tutors covering Manchester and Cheshire from Stockport to Wilmslow, Hale to some areas of Cheshire, that help is just a phone call or email away. Get in touch with 1-2-1 Home Tutors now…

How to Beat Exam Stress

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Does exam pressure worry you? An NUT survey revealed that children in Year 2 upwards are getting more exam stressed than ever before – with some avoiding school all together!

How can you help your child overcome exam nerves? Whether sitting SATs, Entrance tests, GCSEs or A Levels, why not try these practical tips:

  • Get planning! Map out what the exam papers cover, dividing revision into manageable chunks.
  • Take breaks. Don’t sit revising for hours on end. Instead, balance work with play/free time. Get some fresh air! Do something active. Go to the cinema…
  • Have fun. Short bursts of brain training can keep motivation up: play word games, have competitions with friends, do 10 minute activities, create flash cards to learn from.
  • Tackle past papers against the clock! A great activity as it fine-tunes your timing, and helps identify tricky questions.
  • Praise praise praise! The end result can seem a long way off. So keep your child’s spirits up by reassuring and praising them – often.

Remember: exam success often depends on a child’s confidence. Plus, knowing the right technique is half the battle! That’s how we can help…

So worry no longer. At 121 Home Tutors, specialist teachers can prepare your child for those dreaded tests, inspiring them to try their best. After all, that’s all that matters…

Exams imminent? With just two months to go before children sit independent school exams in Manchester, we can help. Call us today!

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.