Keystone Tutors Blog

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The internet has been abuzz with a Maths problem that has everyone stumped. It was set by the Singapore and Asian School Math Olympiads. The question (and solution) are below.

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Easter is at a sharp approach and following this weekend students and parents may be feeling daunted by the exams ahead. An organised approach to revision is fundamental to success and I hope the following suggestions will help you in the run up to the summer exams.

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Keystone was fortunate enough to be invited to hear the outgoing Headmaster of Eton, Tony Little, speak last week. To a packed house at the Royal Geographic Society, he delivered an excellent paper for the Old Etonian Association titled… “The New Etonian.” You can view a video of the lecture on the Eton website.

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I recently came across an article in which Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, claimed ‘Britain is still in denial about its Maths problem.’ Truss is amongst a wealth of other significant figures in government, education and public life, most notably Carol Vorderman, who have, in recent years, paid reference to the fact that UK students are falling behind their international peers when it comes to mathematical competence.

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I was delighted to speak at The National Tutoring Conference today. I had been asked to comment on where the demand in UK for private tutoring had come from in the past 10 years, and started by pointing out that the market is now so broad and fragmented that my own observations were bound to be limited and were not necessarily representative of the UK tutoring market as a whole.

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The International Baccalaureate is now on offer at 194 schools across the UK, educating over 5000 students. The UK has happily ambled through the last half of a century with dreams that the A-Levels are the best assessment for eighteen year olds. Whilst most of us would have agreed, clearly others have been left wondering if there is a better option.

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Keystone was delighted to sponsor Politeia's Winter Address by Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan. Keystone has been a long standing supporter of Politeia's education programme which has been provoking expert discussion and generating wide ranging opinion on curriculum reform.

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It is a fact of living in a diverse city like London that it is home to both families of privilege and those of more modest means.  As a company, we were keen to make sure that we do not ignore those children for whom tutoring was not so easily affordable but who would nonetheless derive much benefit from it.

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It has been great to have the whole team back in the office, well rested and eager to get cracking in 2015. We were given an early spur by the launch of our new website, which Josh has been working on since the latter part of last year. As well as updating the site’s appearance and wording, we wanted to make the new site mobile- and tablet- friendly.

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Holding crucial entrance exams in early January is causing parents and students unnecessary anxiety over the Christmas period.

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Children as young as three are being put under strain because the private schools market is so competitive that parents feel they have no option but to hire tutors, experts have warned. Keystone has warned that parents should approach tutoring for younger children with caution.

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The global reputations of leading independent schools are being tarnished by unscrupulous education advisors who are charging overseas parents tens of thousands of pounds for poor advice that fails to secure places for their children, a leading tutoring firm has warned.

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In my consultations with parents from outside of the UK, I am often asked to clarify the Common Entrance. What is it? How important is it? What is the best way to prepare for it? This overview aims to clear up any misunderstandings.

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Whether poem, essay, novel or tome, literature should accompany you wherever you go this summer. We thought we would recommend some summer-themed literature for you, all of which are suitable for pupils older than 14.

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At Keystone we believe that, in the hands of a good teacher, online learning can be a match for learning in-person. However, if there is one concern that our tutors most often voice about their online classes, it is that they find it hard to check on their pupils’ note-taking. Lessons themselves are obviously crucial; without revision from one’s notes, however, their effect is drastically diminished.

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One of the secrets of Keystone’s online tutoring success is that it relies on the age-old relationship between a teacher and pupil. Facing their pupils head on, Keystone’s teachers use our online platform to convey their knowledge and instructions directly. By placing all our trust in the quality of our teachers, we feel that the geographical distance between the teacher and pupil is more than compensated for by the chance of a genuine intellectual relationship.

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It is the lot of every Latin teacher to answer, each and every year, the same tedious question from the class wise guy: “What’s the point of learning a dead language like Latin?” .

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Exams have a way of creeping up on you, don’t they? It was not long ago that you were starting the academic year, and now your final exams are just weeks away! It is easy to get caught up in the stress and panic of the final weeks, but few things more imperil successful exam performance than unnecessary worry. As such, we thought we would share a few final pre-exam tips that our students have found useful in the past.

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Some of the most common mistakes that Keystone’s tutors see relate to exam technique. So many marks are lost by students who have not read the question properly and answer the question they thought they read, or wanted to read.

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Parents often ask us whether we can help them prepare their children for UK boarding school pre-tests.

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With the Easter holidays on the horizon, many Keystone students are gearing up for those final few months of GCSE revision.  Here are Keystone’s NINE top tips to help you with the process.

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The march of Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Non Verbal Reasoning (NVR) is relentless. More and more schools, it seems, are choosing to screen students using reasoning examinations, believing them to test for innate, as opposed to coached, ability. At Keystone, we are often asked what parents can do to help their children prepare for such examinations.

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“We will soon be nothing but transparent heaps of jelly to each other.” So wrote the furious New York Times in 1877 at the introduction by Alexander Graham Bell of his new invention: the telephone. New technology is often met by such scepticism – and rightly so. Online education is just such a technology, and it is not surprising to see some parents and teachers respond to it with uncertainty.

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When I started tutoring almost ten years ago, one of the first things I did was search the Internet for information on the examinations I was preparing students for. The 11+ left me bamboozled. The 11+ is a loaded term, which means different things to different people. The frustration for Keystone parents and students is that much of the public 11+ information and material is not written with them in mind. This post tries to clear up some of the muddle.

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In the press

Knight Frank
Ed Richardson
Times Educational Supplement
The West Journal