Keystone Tutors Blog
Is it getting harder to win a place at the best universities in the UK? In 2022:Oxford received 23,819 undergraduate applications for 3,271 places.Cambridge received 22,470 undergraduate applications for 4,238 places.
This video provides an overview of the application process and will be helpful for any students (and their parents) looking ahead to their UK university applications. The blog below provides further detail and there are many links to resources which students should find helpful.Occasionally there are changes to deadlines, admission test requirements etc. and this guide aims to provide a general overview.
How hard is it to get a 9 in GCSE Chemistry? GCSE Chemistry can be a nerve-wracking subject as it not only involves learning the content, but being able to apply it to experiments and the use of equations. But, getting a 9 is definitely not impossible! Around 15% of students get awarded a 9 at GCSE, with grade boundaries varying each year, fluctuating between requiring around 70-80%. In papers you should be aiming for at least 80%.
Homeschooling has gained immense popularity in recent years, offering families an alternative approach to education that caters to their unique needs and aspirations. This rise has come as a result of many factors, one of which is of course the pandemic, as shown in this 2022 article by the BBC. In an article published in May 2023, The Guardian cited this rise and commented on the risk of those missing out on education through a lack of homeschooling structure.
The teaching of languages at A Level is facing a number of challenges in the UK.
UK boarding schools boast a long tradition of excellence in education. There are a number of options for boarding including:Weekly boarding: Students will live at school Monday to Friday and spend weekends with their parents.Flexi boarding: Parents can choose how many nights a student spends at school or at home.Full boarding: Students live at school all the time apart from exeat weekends (designated weekends each term where students can leave) and school holidays.
What are super curricular activities? Every student that applies to university will know something about psychology. They may have seen a true crime documentary about a serial killer, read an article about attachment styles, or even studied the subject at GCSE or A-level. But in order to convince universities to give you an offer for undergraduate study, you will need to go above and beyond this level, exploring the subject to a greater extent.
With A level Results day almost upon us (Thursday 17th August), here is a helpful guide to ensure you are appropriately prepared.
GCSE Results Day 2023 is almost upon us (Thursday 24th August) so we thought it might be helpful to share some top tips to help you to navigate the day.
Keystone's Head of Elective & Homeschooling, Poppy Dundas, was joined by Sarah Warley, Founder at The Key Clinic. Together they discussed the work that Sarah and her team do at The Key Clinic, getting to the root cause of a child's difficulties in order to unlock their full potential. They discussed this in relation to homeschooling and tutoring, and the common issues seen within children.To find out more about how Keystone can support with homeschooling, do follow this link.
In this webinar Keystone's Director of Asia, Jenny McGowan, was joined by Oli Rose, one of Keystone's most experienced tutors, to discuss sixth-form entry and the 16+ admissions process. Jenny and Oli covered all of the key steps, from registration timelines to assessment and interview formats. They advise on how and when to start preparing for 16+ assessments and interviews, along with other application requirements including 16 plus personal statements.
How important are University League Tables? University League Tables are not nearly as important as they are often believed to be. While it may be true that there are employability advantages if you attend Oxford, Cambridge, or another top institution (e.g. from the Russell Group), the biggest advantage you can give yourself is to study the right course for you at the institution that suits you best.
The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a medical and dental course admissions test used and created by multiple universities across the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It is used to assess candidates in conjunction with your UCAS application and is an important part of your application. Make sure to check the entry criteria for your desired course to see if the test is a requirement. The importance of your UCAT score varies across universities.
The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is an alternative to the UCAT created by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing for a handful of medical, dental, biomedical, and veterinary degree programmes. There are six UK medical schools that require the BMAT; Brighton and Sussex, Imperial, Lancaster, UCL, Cambridge and Oxford. Check your course page to see if it a requirement, as the BMAT is not just for medicine! Some international universities require you to take the test too.
Keystone's Managing Director, Ed Richardson, will be joined by Olly Jackson, one of Keystone's professional tutors, to discuss all aspects of 11+ Pre-Tests, including what they consist of, who uses them and how to best prepare.
In this webinar Keystone's Managing Director, Ed Richardson, was joined by Jenny McGowan, our Director in Asia, to discuss the sorts of preparation students can complete over the Summer Holidays of Year 12 to ensure they submit a strong UCAS application. The discussion covers how to prepare effectively with particular reference to the importance of super-curricular learning, admissions tests and the personal statement.
Extra curricular activities are a great way to enrich the curriculm, and there are a range of activities that can complement an existing hobby or introduce your child to a new interest. Here is a list of recommendations of places we would suggest looking into in addition to your child’s academic lessons to enrich their learning. Please note these are not tried and tested by Keystone Tutors.
Postgraduate or graduate education refers to the courses and qualifications beyond undergraduate level. This can include further degrees, certificates, diplomas or professional qualifications. Postgraduate study doesn’t need to be directly connected to the course you graduated in at undergraduate level, though it is often the case, and a strong performance in your undergraduate degree can certainly help strengthen your application.
How hard is it to get a 9 in GCSE Geography? Geography is often misperceived as an “easier”, less academic subject. I think one of the main reasons for this is that it is an interdisciplinary subject. Geography touches on lots of different subject areas (science, economics, politics, sociology etc.) so the depth on knowledge required in each aspect is not to the same level as if you were studying each component subject individually.
What are ‘Super curriculars’? Super curricular activities are essentially extracurricular learning activities that are specifically related to your chosen course of study at university. They can include many different things, including experiences and academic research. Incorporating these in your personal statement, and using these experiences in your interviews, can really help improve your chances of being accepted onto your chosen law course.
How do Super-curricular Activities help applicants to top Universities? Anybody can say that they have a passion for history and many people do. Most of us are interested in some aspect of the past, whether we are keen students of local history or the traditions associated with our favourite sport, or fascinated by a particular figure whom we have encountered in a book or historical drama on TV.
One of the key considerations when choosing a school for your child is between day school and boarding school. Would you like your child to be a day student, a full boarder or a weekly-boarder? To attend a day school, you would need to live nearby whereas boarding widens the geographical area for you to choose from.
What is a gap year? A gap year, sometimes known as a ‘year out’ is typically a year long break taken between completion of Year 13 (Upper Sixth) at school and the start of college/university. In the United Kingdom the practice of taking a gap year became popular in the 1970s. The year out was seen as an opportunity to gain life experience through travel and volunteering.
This guide is for anyone applying to sit Physics or a number of STEM courses at the University of Oxford. In the sections below you can find out if you need to sit the test and how you go about doing that. There is also some advice on how best to prepare for the test and how important the test will be to your application to study at Oxford.
Parents who are interested in the top independent schools for girls that are part of the London 11 Plus Consortium need to ensure that their child is well prepared for the entrance exam the Consortium uses.In the article below, Keystone’s expert tutors have compiled a list of extensive answers to the key questions most parents ask about the Consortium and the exam itself, as well as their top tips for preparing effectively and achieving the best possible results.
Choosing your A levels can be a challenging time. In the UK, we specialise at a relatively young age, meaning that choices you make at 16 will have a not-insignificant influence on your future employment prospects. But choosing your A levels shouldn’t be this daunting, so, in this article, I’ll cover some common questions many have surrounding A level Economics.
Keystone's Head of Elective and Homeschooling, Poppy Dundas, was joined by our guest expert Clare de Lotbiniere, a BACP Accredited Psychotherapist and Professional Tutors Jon Gale and Lara Isaac. Lara is also a trained nutritionist and together they discuss how best to get your child prepared for the upcoming exams, including dealing with exam anxiety and calming nerves, keeping motivation strong, the best foods to eat and general revision tips and tricks.
Key findings from past examiners reports for GCSE Latin Examiners release reports talking about how well students got on in that year’s exams and highlighting common mistakes that were made. Given these examiners are the ones who make the exams, we should probably pay attention to what they have to say! We trawled through these examiners’ reports, as well as past exams, to put together a list of the top 5 areas that students often stumble on in GCSE Latin.
A webinar for school leaders.
Geography is, in its broadest sense, the study of the Earth. The study of the natural environment is referred to as physical geography, and humanity’s interactions with the environment are referred to as human geography. Overall, the study of geography helps us understand the world we live in and the different ways that people and places are connected.