• GCSE/IGCSE Maths: AQA, CIE, Edexcel and OCR.
• A-Level Maths: Edexcel, OCR, CIE and AQA.
• IB and Pre-U Maths.
• Oxbridge Preparation (STEP, MAT, ECAA)
• Mathematics Olympiads. UKMT Olympiads: experience tutoring all Olympiads from JMC up to and including British Mathematical Olympiad Round 2. I have experience tutoring for equivalent Olympiads in France, Denmark and Malaysia.
• Experience conducting mock Oxbridge interviews at Cambridge university open days and at state comprehensive schools local to Cambridge.
I have over 4 years of experience tutoring GCSE, A-level / IB Mathematics, MAT and STEP.
During my time at Cambridge, I was a part-time tutor, catering for a range of both academic levels and student potentials: from struggling GCSE students to excelling Oxbridge candidates seeking an extra challenge. Additionally, I tutored first year Science undergraduates attending London universities who required assistance in Mathematics modules.
I have authored materials (mainly model solutions) for the Edexcel A-level Further Mathematics on behalf of Pearson Ltd, as well as the new syllabus MYP and International Baccalaureate (SL & HL) Mathematics for Oxford University Press. I am particularly familiar with these syllabi as well the OCR MEI A-level syllabus (since I sat this myself), though I have taught students across all main examination boards and of course have in-depth knowledge of topics across all curricula.
I have been working with Keystone since mid-October 2018. Since then, until date, I have clocked in excess of 1000 hours of tuition with Keystone and over 1500 hours of tuition in total, receiving consistently excellent feedback. The majority of my tuition is focussed on A-level, International Baccalaureate and Oxbridge Mathematics, though I additionally tutor talented younger students looking to be stretched. Further, I have tutored for the Mathematical Olympiads (JMC, JMO, IMC, SMC, Kangaroos, BMO1, BMO2 and international competitions in Asia). A large proportion of my tutoring is online, and this has proven to be as fruitful as face-to-face tuition, often more so.
Over the last two admissions rounds, all of my Cambridge Mathematics applicants received offers and consequently met them. Multiple other students have achieved places, for Mathematics programmes and joint schools, at top institutions such as Oxford, Imperial College London and universities in the US
I grew up in North-West London, attending a state comprehensive school for the majority of my secondary education, from which I was the only student to progress to Oxbridge in my year. Throughout my childhood, I had a great passion for music, achieving distinctions in the highest grades in both trumpet and piano performance at a young age. On a rather contrasting note, I also spent far too much time on my BMX (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue5Q0YEGaC0 - thank me later).
It was only upon transferring to Dr Challoner's Grammar School for my sixth-form studies that my love for Mathematics, and more generally problem solving, became apparent. The transition from being good at - but not passionate about - Mathematics, to finding myself spending numerous hours voluntarily poring over the subject was due largely to an inspirational teacher. I source great motivation from the prospect of being able to have a similar impact on the performance of students who are eager to learn.
Having prepared for the STEP and MAT independently, I am acutely aware of areas that students new to the examinations may find difficult or daunting, and more importantly I have retained a recognition of the recurring tricks, as well as some personal exam-related strategies which students have historically found beneficial to their approach. After successfully tackling the challenging STEP examinations, I was granted admission to St John's College, University of Cambridge, where I studied Mathematics. Towards the end of my degree, I took courses in Mathematical Methods, Number Theory, Theoretical Physics and Quantum Information & Computing.
After leaving Cambridge, I worked on a research project before interning within eFX trading. Currently, I'm completing a Master's Degree in Machine Learning (Computer Science faculty) at UCL, taught in part by Google DeepMind, Facebook and the Gatsby Institute. This summer I will work as a trading intern at The D. E. Shaw Group.
Over the last few years I have seen that my tutoring has been most impactful when I am viewed by the student as a mentor, rather than a tutor in the traditional sense. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the olympiads or university admissions. Half of the battle is often to calibrate student's expectations as to how hard they need to be working and the standard that is required. Especially in Mathematics, largely a skills-based subject where fluency is paramount, tuition is not a replacement for consistent hard work - rather, it should be used to amplify the benefits of individual hard work, by guiding the student in the optimal direction and resolving issues that the student has already attempted to work through. Other than for quick checks or when absolutely necessary, I generally forbid students from using calculators or looking at solutions, instead encouraging them to email in for hints. Relying on these conveniences often impedes progression, and by not permitting their use, I have found that students develop both their efficiency and persistence when solving challenging problems.
• GCSE/FSMQ/A-level/IB: every student is capable of achieving the top grade in these examinations. The syllabi are strictly defined, and question format, length and difficulty remain somewhat constant between years. Firstly, ensure comprehensive understanding of the entire syllabus, before increasing efficiency and familiarity through past paper practice.
• MAT: firstly, issue a pack of questions that I have constructed based on the MAT syllabus and themes recurrent within the past papers. Home students find this useful as a checklist to ensure they have a solid grasp of the fundamentals, and the many international students I've taught for the MAT have found this to be useful as a means to bridge the gap between their local curriculum and the MAT syllabus. Thereafter, we work through the available papers in full and, with good reason, I encourage students to attempt all questions on each paper during preparation (except in mocks), regardless of course choice.
• STEP: this is the least straightforward, but the most enjoyable and rewarding, to prepare for. The syllabus is comparatively vast and question difficulty can fluctuate significantly between questions and years. However, the question style is unique and there are repeating themes and tricks that must be familiar to the student, so past paper practice should be encouraged from early on in the process. This preparation process is very much individual: some students come to me already capable of attempting papers in full, others need to first take some time to broaden their grasp of the syllabus, particularly for STEP III. Many students wish to only focus on the pure section of each paper, but this is a terrible idea for many reasons, the most notable of which being the a priori risk that there are an insufficient number of 'nice' pure questions in the paper. Whilst it is advisable to practice across all three sections (for the sake of university preparation if not for the exam itself), aside from candidates with a very broad education in Mathematics, I have found that students who try to specialise in both applied sections end up lacking sufficient confidence in both, and therefore end up only attempting pure questions in the exam. For the same question choice (from the perspective of maximising STEP marks) retrospectively this suggests that a better strategy for them would have been to not bother with applied in the first place and allocate all of their time to pure. Ultimately, due to the nature of question selection, a candidate who is strong across the majority of the topics will almost always score higher than a candidate who is average across them all. Therefore, to balance the tradeoff between the risk prior to the exam of specialising on too narrow a syllabus, and the potential for spreading oneself too thinly by striving for exam standard across all topics, the baseline I initially aim for when preparing a student is to ensure competency across the entirety of pure and one of the applied sections. When this is achieved, then we can move onto the final applied section.
What I do when I am not tutoring
Socialising, exercising, music, programming, reading academic papers
"Alex was a wonderful tutor and my son loved working with him. Anyway I would highly recommend Alex and Keystone so thank you for your help." (Mother of Oxbridge Student)
''Alex has been an excellent tutor for my daughter. She has learned so much from him and we appreciate all of his effort and thoughtful teaching. His experience, knowledge and care for her studies has been among the best she’s has in her life. We will continue with Alex in prep for her interviews.'' (Parent of MAT student)
"Alex is a remarkable young man and we have been very privileged to have him as a tutor. He is a wonderful tutor and has made a huge difference to the depth of my son’s knowledge. In a year he has managed to cover above and beyond the requirements of the 13+, challenged my son and most importantly inspired him to develop a love for the subject. It is wonderful to see his confidence in maths and repeated success at top UK schools." (Mother of 13+ student)
"Apart from being professional, helpful, effective and efficient, Alex genuinely cares about my son and always has his best interests at his heart. Hence, Alex is willing to go an extra mile to accommodate my son’s learning needs by providing model solutions on past MAT papers. We truly appreciate Alex's kind support and guidance to my son when he himself has such hectic daily schedules. We’re really lucky to have Alex as my son’s tutor." (Mother of MAT student)
"On our side, I have been meaning to write too to say how fully content we are with Alexander (Aits) and how very impressed we are with his extraordinary depth and breadth of knowledge and ability when it comes to mathematics. He’s shown to us what it would appear to be endless knowledge, huge flexibility, willingness and readiness to engage with our son on whatever type of mathematical problems that may be depending on the questions and needs he had at any given point in time, and all that with boundless energy, ongoing rigour of transmitting the knowledge, excellent interpersonal skills that make for a great teaching process, and very positive encouragement noises which result in our son wanting to always do better. Truly a gifted and all-rounded tutor." (Mother of A Level Maths Student)
''Just to let you know that Alex Aits is doing a brilliant job with my daughter. He is incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about Maths, and this really comes across during his lessons, which is inspiring my daughter. His enjoyment of the subject is really infectious. Also, he has been very reponsive to my requests for sharing study-skills/time management strategies with my daughter, these areas perhaps being more of an issue for her than the actual Maths. He has been particularly holistic in his approach, showing great understanding of the school/IB environment. Most of all he is an extremely energetic and positive presence, which enables my daughter to experience Maths in a much more positive way. Hooray!'' (Mother of Year 12 IB Maths student)
"Alexander has an extraordinary ability to engage the attention of the student throughout his lessons, his speed and level of engagement and delivery is high, and it seems to me just the right for my son to be fully involved. Alexander seems to manage to provide a lot of content in a structured way (which is promising and important for me as a parent) and to deliver it in such a way as to make my son love the time spent together and to want to do more maths:-)
Alexander is a pleasure to communicate with; he is very responsive and thorough when he writes to say how he approaches the lessons. We feel hopeful that my son will be able to learn from him a lot in terms of content and through a very enjoyable process." (Mother of MAT student)
Alex seems excellent and my son seems to welcome his input and guidance. I would definitely recommend Alex to others.
"Our son just received his STEP results - he was awarded a Grade 1 in STEP II and a Grade S in STEP III, so he's off to Cambridge next year! The support that Alex provided was nothing short of exceptional throughout. He consistently goes above and beyond; we cannot thank him enough." (Father of successful Cambridge applicant).
"Just to say that [student] started MAT tuition with Alex yesterday and said it was fantastic. [student] was nervous about the prospect of tuition but said that Alex made her feel really comfortable and was very encouraging. I have seen Alex's feedback and plan and I am really impressed with the level of detail, guidance and support he is offering her already. He seems to be very positive about her prospects... My renewed heartfelt thanks for setting all of this up and for recommending and securing such a kind, high-quality tutor"(Relative of MAT student)
"We just got home to find an email from Sevenoaks School offering [student] a place and asking him to sit the Scholarship papers next year. They said that [student] was one of the top performing students this year ... I am really happy that he performed so well. A big part of that success is due to your hard work. Please accept our deepest gratitude for all the preparation you did with him." (Mother of successful 13+ Sevenoaks applicant)
''We are very happy because [student] had a 9 in maths! ... Thank you very much for your help which was decisive and very important to [student] obtaining this grade.'' (Mother of IGCSE student)
''...I've regarded Alexander as one of the most intelligent and conscientious individuals I've met; this is evident in his deep understanding of Mathematics and profound ability to explain its concepts... I attribute my success in these exams largely to our work together, and I am yet to come unstuck due to a problem that Alexander is unable to solve with a moment's thought. I strongly advocate not only for his tutoring ability, but for his affability'' (First year undergraduate, Imperial College)