Having tutored a great number of students over the last fourteen years, in both long-term and concentrated exam revision situations, I have found that each of them learns and makes sense of their subjects in particular ways. As such, I always try to match my teaching style with the learning style of my student. I consider myself patient yet energetic, and am not averse to using games and memory techniques to enhance learning.
At school, I was fortunate to be taught by excellent Science teachers who developed my interest in the Sciences and the natural world. Sadly, the most common complaint that I receive from Science students today is that they cannot connect with their Science teachers, or that they fail to see the relevance of the Sciences to their lives. My approach to Science tutoring is to break down these barriers. Science can be both fun and interesting; the common confusions that I come across are so easily unravelled. My time as a journalist and life sciences PR consultant have helped me to develop my ability to summarize large amounts of complex information into simple, easily digestible facts, which is key to success in Science examinations. One of the main reasons that so many students struggle with the Sciences is that they are not taught exam technique or lateral thinking. I make it a priority to focus on these key tools, and I know that this approach works: every Science student that I have tutored has raised their standard by at least a grade. I get as much pleasure from helping an A grade student achieve the A* grade that they need to study medicine as I do from helping the D grade student achieve what once seemed an impossible B.
My approach to tutoring English is spirited and systematic. My first priority is to ensure that the foundations of the language are well established: I take a rigorous approach to grammar and sentence construction. Far from finding this traditional approach tedious, my pupils report how satisfying it is to master the rudiments of the English language, and therefore to be able to express themselves. Once the foundations have been laid, I encourage a comprehensive reading and writing programme. Further to this, I encourage my students to develop their own individual feel for language, and assist them in exploring their own ideas, without stifling their natural creativity. I choose as texts the masters of the English language, using them as models for my students’ own creative writing. By so doing, and in conjunction with a wide range of past examination questions, I also prepare my pupils for entrance and national examinations at 11+, 13+ and GCSE.
In terms of pre-tests, I recommend building up a thorough knowledge of the 11+ Maths and English syllabus and focussing as much as possible on comprehension, grammar and cloze procedure and mental arithmetic and word problems. I use a variety of activities to target the time pressured nature of the tests and problem solving.
Schools that I have tutored for (entry to these schools and/or support for students already at these schools) include: Benenden, Cheltenham Ladies College, City of London, Downe House, Eton, Harrow, Latymer, Marlborough, Radley, Rugby, Sevenoaks, St Edward's, St Mary's Ascot, St Paul's, Tonbridge, Wellington, Westminster, Winchester, Wycombe Abbey