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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.

 

Is writing a write-off for your son?

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Is writing a write-off for your boy? Research shows that there is still a gender gap between boys and girls. In fact, girls are twice more likely than boys to get writing outside of lessons. Plus, girls enjoy writing far more than boys in school.

Is your son the same? It’s a worry as writing is an essential life skill.

Writing helps to formulate thoughts, and nurtures self expression – empowering young people to go out into the world and be heard. Writing letters, advertising one’s business, persuading a future employer to give you the job all involve having top notch communication skills.

That’s why it’s vital to nurture a love of writing from the word go. Even if your child is older, it’s not too late!

How to ignite your boy’s interest in writing

  • Tick their boxes. Boys will be more willing to get writing if it’s connected to something they love. It might be dinosaurs, superheroes, X Box gaming or football? Get them to make up a story where they are sucked into their console game; perhaps a Superhero gets lost and crashes into your school instead; maybe they time travel in a Tardis, open the door only to find themselves in a Jurassic universe!
  • Create a comic strip! Boys are often visual learners. Get them to design a comic strip adding in the pictures, story and speech bubbles as they go. Or they could use an app by capturing phone shots they’ve acted out, and then uploaded to the app with the story line. Brilliant app idea here.
  • Harness the digital revolution. Kids LOVE internet apps. Little wonder: their generation has grown up with them! Why not encourage their natural instinct to go online by encouraging literacy games such as these?
  • Get competing! Boys love a good old competition. This Wicked Young Writer Awards could do the trick! Deadline for this year is almost up, but the site is fab as it’s full of great ideas to get your boy’s motivation pumping! Get them to read previous entries… There’s a non-fiction entry for 15+ young people too. Worth a go to get your teen interested in something real.

Need to switch on your child’s writing mojo?

Speak to us here at 121 HomeTutors about arranging private English or Literacy lessons with a fabulous tutor. Whether your child is in KS1 or 2, sitting entrance exams or GCSEs, mastering English is essential.

With tutors across the Manchester to Cheshire areas – including Stockport, Bramhall, Wilmslow and Altrincham – get in touch now.

How To Stay On Track This Term

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Is your child is facing end of year exams this year? Whether in year 6, 11 or 13, this can be a stressful time for everyone.

With the Christmas holiday break, short days, endless rain and cold weather, your child might be less than enthused about school work this term. How do you get them back on track?

For some children, the enormity of what lies ahead can de-rail them at any second. That’s why it helps to set some smart goals this time of year to help your child stay positive.

Let’s get practical

  1. Get into a routine and stick to it. With 16 weeks until the exam season, it can help to set out your short term and long term goals. Prioritise the key subjects you KNOW you need, and whittle down the key areas you struggle with. Once you do that, set aside some time during the week and weekend to focus on them.
  2. Keep a tick-list with built-in rewards. Reward yourself with something fun and relaxing each time you tick a goal off your list. Create playlists on Spotify that relax you so that you enjoy your downtime. Get some brain-boosting exercise!
  3. Fight negativity. If you’re at your desk and boredom creeps in, or nothing’s going in, cut yourself some slack. Instead of feeling frustrated, go and do something physical rather than forcing yourself to stay at your desk. This way you’ll keep your stress levels in check and will come back to the task refreshed.
  4. Keep the end game in sight. Write your goals on a sticky note or create a poster. Perhaps you have a long term dream? Even if it’s just to go to college, have a swish car one day, or to travel, do this and you’ll have a daily reminder that this study time is short lived. Remember: this is the final push before your future happens. Keep telling yourself, ‘I CAN DO THIS!’ 

Still struggling? Help is here

If you’ve lost sight of the future, are wracked with worry or feel stuck with a key subject you simply HAVE to pass, consider a course of private tuition.

With a choice of GCSE or A Level tutors handpicked for you, you can be back on track in no time!

  • In Wilmslow, Bramhall, Urmston or Trafford and need a Maths or Science tutor?
  • In Bramhall or Chorlton areas and looking for a fab English tutor?
  • Perhaps you need a language teacher? If you’re in Altrincham, Didsbury, Saletown or Trafford, you’re in luck.

Get in touch with our popular tutor team today.

Which GCSE subjects do you NEED to pass?

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

Have you just sat your mock exams? If so, or you are about to, you might be worried about how you’ll do in the ‘real’ exams coming up in just a handful of months.

Mock exam results can be a shock to the system. Achieving below C grades can cast your immediate study plans in doubt. And if you achieved 2s or 3s (E and D equivalent), you might be panicking about how you’ll do in the summer.

The truth is, as important as all your subjects are, some are more crucial than others. That’s why it helps to sniff out what the entry requirements are for further education colleges and 6th forms.

What are the typical entry requirements?

In many cases, you are expected to have at least 5 GCSEs at grade C or above – with English Language, Maths and Science usually specified as essential. This is certainly the case if you want to pursue A levels.

If instead you have your eye on a BTEC or vocational course – vocational level 2 or above – you need to check as many courses still require minimum 4 GCSEs with English Language and Maths as standard.

Some colleges such as Loreto in Manchester expect you to have a minimum of 6 GCSEs with at least 2 at grade 6 or above – B equivalent – in order to study there.

How to achieve the grades you really need

  1. Over the next few weeks, why not prioritise those key subjects you KNOW you need in order to move forwards after the summer exams. In reality, you have 16 weeks from now to shape those grades up.
  2. Re-taking isn’t an easy option these days, so it makes sense to try your level best first time round. Narrow down where you went wrong in your mocks – which key subjects, papers, areas of study – and focus on those as part of a revision plan.
  3. Arrange tuition with a professional, private tutor who has supported previous students in your position through their final exams.

Where to go from here? With some experienced English, Science, and Maths – plus 11+/entrance test – tutors across South Manchester and Cheshire on the team, we can get you ship shape in no time.

And if you are in WilmslowDidsbury, Sale or Chorlton, we’ve a tuition team ready and waiting to help. 

Ready to explore how personal tuition can work for you? Please contact Alison at 121 Home Tutors today.

Do you get the new GCSE grades?

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

Have you got your head around the new 9-1 grades yet? It’s a tricky old business if you’ve got used to A*- G grades for the past 30 years! So easy to be at sixes and sevens with it all!

No wonder there has been some confusion, not least because both A and C have two numerical grades – not one. How do they break down?

9 is a super A* grade with only the top 3% of students expected to achieve it. 8 is an A*, whereas 7 translates into a lower A. 6 is a B. C is a 5 and 4. With D as a 3, E and an F as a 2, and G as a 1, it will take some time before we understand these grades back to front.

To C or not to C?

Controversy over what constitutes a C grade has hit the headlines for the past year. Originally, 5 was promoted as being a strong (more desirable) C grade pass.

Education Sec. Justice Greening then stressed that pupils needn’t resit GCSE Maths or English if they achieved grade 4 – leading to the view that 4 was now deemed a standard pass.

Whether this is understood in the wider world just yet remains to be seen. Certainly, future employers in the Manchester and Cheshire areas will need to be educated themselves about how the new system works. But let’s be positive…

Let’s embrace change

Despite all the controversy, numerical grades are here to stay. And while it is tempting to try to compare them to previous years, it is pointless to do so since the exams have changed in nature. English and Literature GCSEs are all closed book exams with no differentiated tiers.

And with Maths – though still offering higher and foundation tiers – there’s no doubt that the higher papers have much more demanding content than ever before.

And while the new exam specs are different to before, it’s better to see them as do-able challenges rather than horrible hurdles.

Your child is more than a number

As ever, it will take at least another year or two before everyone gets to grip with the new numerical system. By 2019, numerical grades will be phased in across all subjects anyway.

Ultimately, for new students just about to embark on their GCSE courses this year, it’s essential to remember that you are more than a number. If you are finding it hard to get to grips with your GCSEs, always ask for help. Of course, our team of top tutors are always on hand…

Why is GCSE English such an important subject?

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

English GCSE is a core subject – compulsory for every student. If you don’t achieve a C grade at 16, you have to stay in education until aged 18 to re-take. But why?

1. Communicate your way into the future

Being able to express yourself clearly, hold a conversation, persuade others and think critically are much-needed assets in the world beyond school.

Whether you want to start a business, work for an employer or travel the world, you’ll need excellent English skills every day.

2. Understand people

In the real world, life’s all about getting on with people, understanding how they tick, and using psychology. Studying novels and poetry teaches you all this and more…

Life isn’t black and white: it’s full of grey areas. People, too, are complex. By studying literature, you can fine-tune your empathy and understanding – while opening your eyes to different cultures and thinking.

3. Be human in a digital age

Both verbal and written communication skills are essential in the digital age. Just because using computers and tablets are the norm, you still need to be able to write well – with correct punctuation and spellings. That’s just for starters.

While a relief that you might be able to avoid inflicting your messy handwriting on anyone, you still have to communicate professionally to employers, staff, clients.

You might need to write CVs, letters, blog articles, website content, reports… All of which rely on good, old-fashioned written communication skills.

Pass GCSE English with flying colours

Exam season is hotting up in Manchester and Cheshire. If you’re in the Stockport, Bramhall or Woodford areas – including Poynton and Hazel Grove – call us.

With experienced GCSE and A level English tutors available now, your child can secure their future today…

 

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…

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.