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In general, the students we help are in full time education and the work we do with them supports and enhances the studying they do in class. These students fall into four different categories listed below. Scroll down to find out more about each category or browse through other programmes like IB and home tutoring by selecting options from the ‘Programmes’ drop down menu.
From an early age, your child will be soaking up all that is taught at school at an impressive rate as their brain develops. But often children can be overwhelmed by the experience of school or can suffer set-backs through illness or learning difficulties that only become known at a later stage. It is incredibly important that key concepts and building blocks are understood and become second nature early on in a child’s academic development. If we try to build on shaky foundations, eventually areas of that learning process will fall through the gaps and confidence and grades will take a knock. Seeking tutoring in areas such as literacy and numeracy early on, could be key to your child’s development and happiness.
Additionally, there are certain pupils that stand out as top performers from an early age. To keep them at the peak of their performance, it is imperative that they are kept stimulated and challenged. We work with an enormous number of kids who, according to the school report or National Curriculum Levels, are “doing fine”, just to make sure that they are as confident, supported and happy as possible.
Tutor Doctor Cambridge gets very busy with primary students over the Summer holidays. We have found that students who are prepared to work for a few hours a week during the holidays, return to the new school term ahead of the rest and with greater confidence.
Once the student has reached secondary school they have well and truly begun their journey through the maze of subjects and modules that will extend on to GCSE’s and A-levels.
The first year at secondary school, Year 7, seems to be a real ‘settling in time’ for most students, whilst Year 8 and Year 9 make up an important stage of a child’s education in establishing their grasp of fundamental concepts, before the formal examination process begins in Year 10 and 11.
In Year 9, students will also start thinking about which subjects to choose for their GCSE’s which they will study for over a 2 year period. As the learning and level of subjects becomes increasingly complex, many parents find it difficult to assist with homework and look to us to introduce a dedicated and knowledgeable tutor who can work with their child at a time when, experience suggests, they don’t respond as well to Mum and Dad’s help as they once did…
We aim to find the tutor whatever your needs. Our most currently demanded subjects at Secondary School are:
Recently, there has been a change in format for GCSE examinations across core subjects – it seems schools have reverted back to the former style of examinations, setting all exams to be taken at the end of Year 11, rather than being spread over a few years, tackling one module at a time. Some schools in Cambridge have responded to this by, for example, offering Maths GCSE to the most capable kids a whole year early, but whatever the approach is, there’s a lot at stake for students to get their grades to place them in the best possible position for entry into sixth form and to work opportunities in the short or long term.
And of course, it’s not just about the grade but about getting the foundations right and enjoying learning. If the plan is to go on to A-levels, a degree and a career in Sciences, the better grasp of the fundamentals at this stage, to really, really understand the concepts establishes the student for future success. Be as good as you can be, why wouldn’t you?
Some students aim high and put the work in and others don’t spend enough time revising or focusing on the areas that will increase their marks. Some students simply don’t know where to begin or how to revise. Whatever the problem, Tutor Doctor will provide structure and improve study skills such as time management, and will work with the student throughout the period to ensure that they are confident and best prepared when they enter the examination room.
Examination technique is important of course, but content is key. By following the building block approach, we can revisit those important foundations that might have been missed back in Year 8 or 9, that they may well not have appreciated were vital in helping them sit their GCSE’s two or three years later.
Regarding examination technique there’s certainly opportunities to practise the approach with the tutor and work on the strategies that will work best for the individual student. It is imperative that there is sufficient time to answer each question accurately and, with time to spare, check back over earlier answers identifying any silly mistakes that have been made, and thus improve the overall grade.
As well as working to deepen knowledge and improve exam technique, GCSE students face an organisational challenge. Probably never again will the student sit such a variety of examination papers in such a short space of time, when there are many and varied distractions at play and a possible lack of discipline in terms of study. We can help with this.
Having narrowed down their subjects to three or four favoured routes, A-level students regularly have a rude awakening as they enter the sixth form. Students could find themselves in one of the excellent sixth form colleges in Cambridge or still in the more familiar surrounding of the school they’ve been at for a while now, but sixth form is different and A-levels are hard.
Things have changed this year with the structure of A-level examinations and the January sittings are a thing of the past (for now), but the reality is that the work starts straight away and typically half of the available marks are secured during what used to be known as the “lower sixth”. The hard work must therefore start from day one and it’s not unusual for us to get calls at the very beginning of the academic year, asking to help steer and support the students in this tough new world.
It does vary slightly in each subject but generally, there’s a significant leap in difficulty from GCSE to A-level, which is partly due to a change of style and approach to learning. A-levels encourage independent learning and students are therefore expected to spend more time understanding fewer subjects. The discipline of working alone and creating structure in one’s own personal time becomes of great importance.
As the pace of classes is often rapid we find that teachers cannot repeat their lessons and give extra time to making sure understanding has sunk in for individual students. Our tutors can. We can revisit topics as often as necessary. Learning, to a certain degree, is a function of repetition.
As with GCSE’s, exam technique is also a key factor and in particular we are very busy working with students in subjects that are new to them in Year 12 or 13 such as Psychology, Sociology, Economics or Business Studies. These are subjects that require a more mature outlook than was previously demanded of the student as often topics encountered are more abstract and really force students to think and understand the world in a new way. We can help revisit concepts in detail which have been taught for the first time and teach how to apply these concepts in the exam room to greatest effect.