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What is the PBSAA? PBSAA stands for the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Admissions Assessment.It is a Cambridge College registered assessment that was introduced by Cambridge University in recent years, in order to help them test some of the core skills necessary to thrive there. It is designed to be challenging, so that it can help them determine who should be invited to interview. Therefore it is an integral part of the application process.

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Common Entrance Science Syllabus The Common Entrance (CE) syllabus is determined by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB) and can be found on the ISEB website. At 11+, it is expected that content in the National Curriculum for KS1 has been covered, and the majority of KS2. At 13+, both KS1 and KS2 are assumed prior knowledge.

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The IB Economics Diploma Programme at Higher Level is a rigorous part of the IB. Like any subject, it is difficult if you don’t get to grips with the basics. Below, I’ll briefly outline the course structure, followed by a focus on the final exams and the internal assessment. I’ll share some revision techniques and advice on achieving the top grade.

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What is the difference between History GCSE and A-Level? Many students who have enjoyed GCSE History choose to continue studying the subject at A-Level, making it one of the more highly ranking courses in lists of the most popular A-Levels. One of the key differences between GCSE and A-Level History is the breadth and depth of content.

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What is the best way to teach children to read?  Teaching reading requires children to master two skills; phonics and language comprehension. They need to be able to decode by blending sounds in words to read them and they need to comprehend what the word means in the given context. In school, children will be taught these two skills at the same time. Phonics is used to teach word reading. Phonics connects letters (graphemes) with the sounds they make (phonemes).

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What is IB ToK? Theory of Knowledge (ToK) is one of the core components of the IB Diploma Programme. It is mandatory for all students and the ToK requirement is central to the educational philosophy of the IB Diploma. The ToK course provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on “how we know” what we claim to know.

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What is the extended essay for IB? The extended essay is a compulsory element of the International Baccalaureate for any subject group. The components are an essay of 3500 to 4000 words and a viva voce, and these are completed over the course of a year. The key focus of the extended essay is to allow students to develop research skills into a topic of their choosing, and extend their engagement beyond the school syllabus.

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We are often asked by parents which League Table is the most trustworthy and how important exam results are. Although we are firmly of the belief that a school cannot be judged on academics alone, we thought it might be helpful to answer some frequent questions regarding league tables. If you would like to know what other factors you should consider when choosing a school, please visit our blog on ‘How to Choose a British Independent School for my Child.

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In this webinar Keystone’s Director of Education, Ed Richardson, and Head of Consultancy, Harriet Brook, discuss school entrance interviews.

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How do I prepare my child for a 7 plus interview? A good starting point for preparing your child for the 7 plus interview would be to simply have regular conversations with them on any topic. Conversing with your child – taking turns in listening and speaking, with questions and answers included – will help your child to interpret and respond to the interviewer’s questions.

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How hard is it to get a 9 in GCSE French? French continues to be the most popular modern language subject at GCSE, with 126,185 provisional entries in 2022, but it saw a fall in the top grades: 31.4 per cent achieved a grade 7/A or above compared with 32.9 per cent in 2021 and 23.7 per cent in 2019. The pass rate fell by 5 percentage points to 78.1 per cent compared with 83.1 per cent in 2021 and 69.7 per cent in 2019.

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How hard is it to get a 9 in GCSE History? The grade boundaries for a 9 in History vary year on year, as well as between boards and papers, however, the 2022 exams indicate that a mark of around 75 per cent or higher will receive a 9 in the History GCSE.

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How hard is it to get a 9 in GCSE Physics?  Physics is quite often considered the most daunting Science for GCSE pupils, since concepts are challenging and there is a high mathematical element. But do not be perturbed! We will look closely at what is required to get top grades below, and hopefully shed some light on any concerns. On average, AQA award grade 9 to candidates scoring 70% and Edexcel to those achieving 75%. These grade boundaries vary annually.

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Non-verbal reasoning tests are used to assess how children process visual information and implement visual logic. They are sat for the entrance tests at all levels for a large number of schools in the UK, as well as being a part of the ISEB pre-test and UKiset.

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Should I take Maths for A Level?  Mathematics has been the most popular A Level choice for some time now. This is due to Maths being a highly applicable subject in a range of professions, and is often a requirement for some university degrees. While it is a popular choice, it is also a challenging subject that will require a lot of work to get top marks.

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Which is ‘best’, Oxford or Cambridge University?   It should be clear that the ‘best’ of these two historic institutions is going to be the one which has the most to offer you. This decision should be based on careful and thorough research. Knowing exactly why you want to go to Oxford over Cambridge won’t just help improve your application, it will be the reason behind it, as you cannot apply for both.

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What is an EPQ?  An Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a standalone A-Level qualification designed to extend students beyond the A-Level specification and prepare them for university and beyond. It is worth half of an A-Level (28 UCAS points for an A*) and is recognised for university applications.

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Keystone’s Director of Education, Ed Richardson will be joined by Jenny McGowan, Keystone's Director of Asia, and Florence Curtis, one of our professional tutors and a former research fellow at Queen’s College, Oxford, to discuss Oxbridge Interviews.

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The Spectator produced a fascinating table listing the various figures showing which schools achieved the most Oxbridge offers last year. Over the years, both universities have increased the proportion of acceptances from state schools: 69 per cent, up from 52 per cent in 2000. Of the 80 schools, 35 are independent, 21 grammar, ten sixth-form colleges, seven selective sixth-form colleges, six comprehensives or academies, and one is a further education college.

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Keystone's Head of Consultancy, Harriet Brook, was joined by David Hawkins, Founder of the University Guys, to discuss their top tips on applying to universities outside of the UK and US.

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Deciding whether to study Double Award (Combined Science) or Triple Award GCSE Science can be a difficult decision and one which might influence future A Level and degree choices. In this article we discuss the differences between Double Award and Triple Award Science, the pros and cons of each and how to decide between these two GCSE qualifications.

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Are you taking your GCSE Biology exam this summer and looking for guidance on how to achieve a top grade? In this article, Keystone Tutors have compiled the best advice for acing the GCSE Biology exam, including how best to prepare, top tips for achieving a Grade 9, and key findings from examiner reports.

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In this joint discussion hosted by ESM Prep and Keystone Tutors, ESM College Coach Josh Davis and Keystone's Head of Consultancy, Harriet Brook, meet to compare the US and UK university application processes. They identify key differences between the timelines and requirements, discussing the best way to balance both processes with limited stress and maximum effect.

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Keystone's Director of Education, Ed Richardson, was joined by Olly Jackson, one of Keystone's most experienced tutors, to discuss the 11+ Pre-Tests.

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With A level Results day almost upon us (Thursday 18th August), here is a helpful guide to ensure you are appropriately prepared.

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GCSE Results Day 2022 is finally upon us (Thursday 25th August)! We thought it might be helpful to share some top tips to help you to navigate the day.

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In our modern world there are so many different ways to access information, from reading, to websites, to YouTube videos. A growing way to learn nowadays is through the use of podcasts and these are becoming increasingly popular within the realm of homeschooling. They are a fantastic resource due to the fact that they don’t involve staring at a screen, they can be used on the move, and they are accessible to everyone.

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For this event Keystone's Head of Consultancy, Harriet Brook, will be joined by James Darley, the Founder and CEO of Transform Society, to discuss graduate employment in the post Covid era.

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Below you will find the recordings of our five-part webinar for school leaders on Oxbridge applications.

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What is STEP Maths?  STEP stands for Sixth Term Examination Paper and is a collection of three exams (STEP 1, 2 and 3) which traditionally are used in conditional offers by Cambridge to determine if you get accepted for Maths or Maths-related degrees. Other universities, like Warwick and Imperial, use STEP in some of their Maths offers. You sit these papers in the Summer alongside your other exams like A-Levels, IB and Pre-U.

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In the press

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Times Educational Supplement
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