• 11+ English and Maths: ISEB; public school entrance exams; and pre-tests (in particular in relation to Eton, City of London School, Harrow, Latymer Upper, Queensgate and Godolphin and Latymer)
• 13+ English and Maths: ISEB; public school entrance exams; and pre-tests (in particular in relation to Kings, Charterhouse, Oundle, Sevenoaks and Eton).
• 16+ English and Maths (in particular in relation to Benenden and Rugby)
• I/GCSE Maths: AQA, CIE, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC
• I/GCSE English Language: AQA, CIE, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC.
• I/GCSE English Literature: AQA, CIE, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC.
• AS/A Level English: AQA, CIE, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC.
• Preparing International students for entrance exams of all levels or to help such students keep pace with the UK National Curriculum standard.
I have experience tutoring English and Maths for 11+ and 13+ examinations, school entrance exams and public exams such as GCSEs. I break down these exams into their fundamental elements, developing comprehension, grammar, mental arithmetic and the ability to solve word based problems. Additionally, I will prepare students with revision and exam technique to ensure a strong basis for achievement.
Previously, I have both tutored privately and worked briefly within university-level academic marking. I have also worked as an in-school tutor at Heanor Gate Science College teaching English and Maths at GCSE level. I have delivered group and one-to-one interventions with students who, for a variety of different reasons, were not predicted to attain their target grades. I have received positive engagement from all pupils and the resulting assessments and grades reflected a substantial increase in progress across the board, with many exceeding their predicted grades. I have also performed cover supervision and unqualified teaching with full sized classes from year 7 to year 11 and in subjects ranging from English and Maths to Citizenship.
Due to my in-depth familiarity with exams and mark schemes, I have experience writing GCSE revision resources for my fellow teaching colleagues and was personally responsible for the creation of a school-wide scheme of English GCSE intervention resources which has subsequently been rolled out school-wide.
I also carry out work with students abroad, such as from Singapore, to help them maintain a level with the UK London Schools in order that any transition to a UK based education is as smooth as possible. Additionally, I enjoy helping students prepare for the common entrance exams as well.
After receiving A grade A-levels in Maths, English Literature, Critical Thinking and Art Graphics from the Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre, I moved East to study Law at the University of Nottingham. I spent my time between lectures illustrating and writing for student magazines, studying abroad, volunteering, and steadily realising that I enjoyed a great many things more than the study of Law. I completed my degree with first class honours, a merit in New Zealand Law, and an ambition to move into a new and more personally rewarding career.
Having tutored privately during my undergraduate degree, I transitioned into an in-school tutoring role in Derbyshire where I found a passion and aptitude for teaching and tutoring. After seeing my last GCSE cohort through their English and Maths examinations, I moved to London to start a career as a professional Keystone Tutor, where I have been working for the past few years.
My blog posts
28/03/2019: The LNAT Exam
Students both succeed and struggle for a variety of individual and unique reasons and, consequently, it is important always to take ones approach from evaluating and reflecting on the learning style of the individual student at hand.
In my experience, however, success can often be achieved by bringing complex subjects back to their fundamentals. This allows for the effective identification of issues in understanding and builds an enduring sense of confidence upon which students can develop. I try to combine this general approach with an engaging attitude, a high expectation of independent and creative work, and finally a supportive, knowledgeable environment for error and development.
When working towards specific exams and entrance tests, it is key to make additional extensive use of the relevant content syllabus, exam reports and mark scheme to familiarise students with effective strategies for achieving success.
I also have specific experience tutoring students from schools abroad, such as the Stamford American School and the Tanglin Trust School in Singapore, and feel confident in my ability to help coach such students through the new territory of London School Entrance Examinations. I enjoy online tutoring and feel that, with the right approach, it is every bit as engaging as face-to-face sessions.
What I do when I am not tutoring
When not tutoring others, I am often to be found teaching myself. During my time at Keystone, I have undergone post graduate study in illustration and a climate law internship with an NGO. I play the piano (decently), the ukulele (terribly) and am learning Spanish. I also love to read and dabble in creative writing when inspiration strikes. When my brain needs a break, I love being outdoors; whether it be by bike, hike, rock face or horseback.
I am also a freelance illustrator for a number of small publications and blogs. I like to consider art my greatest passion in life, and whilst I am certainly no Picasso, I am lucky enough to have found a few steady clients who appreciate my work.
"I think this has been an excellent option for us in our particular situation (i.e. stationed in Kuwait). We did look for local tutors in Kuwait but couldn’t find anyone suitable. Keystone was recommended to us by a friend in Kuwait and to be honest we were a little dubious about the remote nature of this format of tutoring. However, we have been pleasantly surprised how well the technology has worked. My son has found the on-line nature of the tutoring very easy to work with and is very competent in its use. Kate has been an excellent tutor and provides a very positive and supportive environment to work within. The materials that she has used have been fit for purpose and adapted to the level at which Dexter is working. Kate has been very responsive to our communications and has been able to adapt timings of sessions to meet our needs. She has also turned around his homework in good time so that they can work together on it during each session. Overall this has been a very positive experience for us and we would recommend it to others in our situation." (Parent of Year 8 student)
"Kate always sends reports by mail after each lesson, which are also really valuable in keeping us updated and keeping my daughter on track. She’s a great teacher and I feel very fortunate that we found her at this important time for my daughter." (Mother of Year 6 student)
"You had her attention right from the start - and she came from a base of being a little negative about the concept of an online tutoring format. I think you are so gifted in the way you related to my daughter and taught her, unwrapping the problem in a helpful way, but still challenging her to believe she had the capacity to find the solution. The way you do it with humour and make it fun – honestly, it was an education watching you in action! Thanks for the clear follow up and notes below." (Mother of Year 6 student)
''Just a quick mail to say we’ve just had our first session with Kate Mackenzie. She is fabulous! She had a great way of supporting and helping my daughter, but also taking no nonsense and building respect right from the start. My daughter was a little negative/uncertain about the concept of the online tutoring format, but has been entirely positive as a result of the first lesson. Given it was a first session, they covered a lot of ground and my daughter seemed very engaged throughout the hour. It was fascinating to watch Kate in action today – she is a gifted teacher. Thank you so much for putting us together and I’m confident that this will give my daughter the best possible support in this important school year.'' (Mother of Year 6 student)
"The first lesson was brilliant, Kate was fantastic. My son thoroughly enjoyed his lesson and said he thought she was really lovely and kind. He also said he could see his improvements already. I’m so pleased we’ve embarked on this with you." (Mother of Year 7 student)
‘’Just wanted to inform you that I obtained 8/9 in my IGCSE! I’m really satisfied with my grade and you helped me so much to get it. Thanks for everything, you helped me so much, taught me a lot and it was a pleasure having lessons with you! I really hope other students get to have the same IGCSE tutor that I had’’ (GCSE Maths Student)
''Kate is fantastic, patient, encouraging and makes things that seem difficult at the start much simpler by breaking it all down for my daughter. I feel confidence growing in her, Kate makes everything very relatable.'' (IGCSE Maths student in Singapore)
''We are thrilled with Kate, the boys are really enjoying their tutoring with her - her enthusiasm and happy/bubbly character is perfect for them. They say that she explains things very well and they are happy to have the tutoring. It is obvious that there are quite a few gaps in their knowledge of Maths but Kate is very much helping with this.'' (Mother of year 8 twins preparing for 13+ entry to Fulham Senior School from Singapore.)
''My son felt she was very structured and had specific results-oriented feedback on his essay. Hopefully we can see her continue with him for a few months so she can also monitor his progress.'' (IGCSE English student in Singapore)
‘’She was fantastic! Kate really helped clarify things my daughter didn't understand, she gave her all sorts of tips to use when tackling certain problems and most of all she knew exactly how to instill confidence. Wonderful, thank you!’’ (Mother of Year 6 Student)
''With the tests behind [our daughter] and the results in, I wanted to personally thank you very much for your help and attention over the past few months. [Our daughter] has genuinely enjoyed your lessons. Your advice will serve her well, way beyond the tests, as very helpful guidance about how to approach her academic work in general. You managed to do this while keeping it all fun which was fantastic.
[Our daughter] got into JAGS and is delighted. Much of this is thanks to you'' - Mother of 13+ Student
''I am delighted to let you know that I have just received an offer from Cambridge!! Thank you so much for all your help and assistance in making this happen... Thank you so much for all your help. I really enjoyed our time together and you have definitely been extremely helpful.'' - Law Applicant
''More good news! [Our daughter] received offers yesterday from all of the schools to which she applied at 11+! ... It’s in no small measure down to your tutoring. She often says ‘Kate told me how to do this’ when doing a sum or when helping [her sister] with her homework. You’ve really unlocked her confusion around maths during this past year and we’re all incredibly appreciative.'' - Mother of 11+ Student
''We heard last night that [our son] was successful in his entrance examinations and interviews and has been offered a place at Norwich School in Sept.
We just wanted to say thank you for your contribution to [our son's] achievement. You were exceptionally professional and showed great patience in your approach to tutoring. I am sure that your support was critical in ensuring [our son's] success. Thank you again'' - Father of 13+ Student
“Kate is one of the best tutors I’ve ever worked with. The kids all seem to really get on with her.” - Kate Cook head of department English Heanor Gate Science College.