Choosing A Tutor
In taking on a private tutor you should be confident that your specific needs are being listened to and will be addressed. You should also be confident in the professionalism of the tutor you take on. I hope that my biography will reassure you, but do get in touch with further questions if there is anything else you would like to know.
I Can Help Your Confidence Increase By:
improving your understanding of chemistry
helping you develop revision strategies and study techniques
improving your examination technique
preparing you for university application and interviews
helping you prepare effectively for re-takes if you need to improve your grade
To help me do this, I have a wide range of text-books, explanatory sheets that I have written myself, practice questions, extension resources and visual resources. Paper copies of materials will be provided as part of the lesson cost.
Lesson Format And Style
Lessons will usually be an hour long, though you can have shorter or longer sessions if you wish. Anything longer than 90 minutes is not advised - there is only so much a person can take in in one sitting, and working 1-to-1 is pretty intensive! My style is informal but rigorous. I'm absolutely determined that you will understand things properly, and so I dig down into the theory to get to the fundamentals and the details, rather than just teaching you 'short cuts' or 'methods' to get things right. This 'black box thinking', as I like to call it, is shaky ground to be on - sometimes the question will not be 'like the ones I've practiced' and then what do you do?
Of course, once you have understood something, there is nothing wrong with applying a method to ensure questions are answered fully and mistakes are not made, so I have lots of strategies for different parts of the course to help you answer as well as possible.
If I know in advance what the topic of our next lesson will be, I can have appropriate resources ready for the session. Don’t worry if this is not the case - I am used to thinking on my feet whatever direction the conversation takes us in!
During the lesson I will go over key areas of the theory and provide explanatory notes which we look at as we go along and annotate as necessary. It is a good idea to go over these in the next day or so after the session to help the ideas bed down. We may try questions on the topic during the lesson but more usually this will be up to you in your own time. We can go over problems that have arisen the next time.
Practicing questions is a really important part of the learning process and to help with that I will provide you with strategies to help you use your time effectively and the resources you will need to be able to put those strategies into place. Once a few questions have been done on a particular topic, patterns usually become apparent in terms of the kinds of the things examiners tend to ask.
AS and A level Chemistry
The choice to study chemistry A level or equivalent opens many doors for the future. A good grade at chemistry A level shows University admissions tutors a number of key things about your skill set: abstract thinking (some very demanding ideas at this level!), logical deduction, mathematical skills, concise writing, assimilation of specialist terminology, factual recall, practical competence, application of knowledge…. these are all hard currency skills!
The pace of teaching at A level is incredibly fast and students also have to make a transition from the GCSE style to the more demanding world of advanced study. This can be pretty overwhelming at the beginning and some good support to get the right mindset in place early on is invaluable. In the second year of study much of the content builds upon a secure foundation of knowledge and understanding from the first, so it's important to start well.
The second year allows the student to mature and really make connections between topic areas as well as meet a lot of new and more technical material. By the end of the course this can be rewarding: it becomes clear to students that they could not be learning and understanding the final topic areas without all of their prior knowledge to support them.
The GCSE curriculum has many different flavoured topics and a final examination deadline sometimes approaching rather quickly! Topic areas, though distinct from one another, build on a set of core skills which include understanding key theory, application of knowledge, numeracy, organisation of factual information and practical chemistry. Staying secure with the main ideas is the key to success here. If you are confident in these, then you are much more likely to apply them correctly to an examination question.