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Tutoring for A-Levels

30/08/2023 / Online Tutoring

An Outline of Tutoring

A-Level Tuition

An Outline of Tutoring

If qualified teachers are providing all the tutoring at Principal Tutors, you might be wondering what the difference is between teaching and tutoring, especially as the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Whilst a teacher usually works in a classroom teaching up to 30 children at once, a tutor usually works one to one, focusing on one learner at a time. However, qualified teachers make the best tutors, and your child’s tutoring session will draw together the strengths that a teacher brings as a classroom practitioner and those a tutor brings in focusing the learning on your child’s specific needs.

The tutoring that will occur in your child’s lesson is much more than simply reviewing learning that has happened in school (although that will form a part of it). Sessions may include:

  • Baseline assessments to establish areas that need revision
  • Completing practice questions to consolidate new learning
  • Reading for comprehension and vocabulary
  • Applying existing skills to more challenging questions
  • Problem solving
  • Role play of educational scenarios
  • Conversation practice
  • Reviewing modelled examples
  • Completing exam type questions
  • Targeted revision
  • Targeted feedback
  • Extension work in topics beyond the curriculum
  • Timed practice of exam paper

It will be up to you as the parent and the tutor to agree what the focus of the lessons will be. Most young people in sixth-form and colleges will also have valuable insights into topics they find challenging and would like support with. There is usually a strong correlation between the topics pupils find most challenging at A-level and the topics teachers expect them to find difficult, so this is a good place to start. 

Parents are usually happy to let the tutor take responsibility for the lessons after they have indicated any areas of difficulty. Recent school reports or notes from conversations with your child’s schoolteacher can form a useful starting point. However, the tutor will also be able to conduct their own assessments within the first few lessons and will establish for themselves where the focus ought to be. Time constraints will play a role too. A pupil who is four weeks away from an A-Level exam will require very different lessons to a pupil starting Year 12 with two years of tuition ahead of them. 

Whilst a few lessons before an exam can undoubtedly make a difference, a tutor who works with your child over a longer period will undeniably have a more significant impact. You should have complete confidence that you can leave your child’s education in the hands of a professional and qualified tutor and look forward to the positive results that will come with time.

Request an A-Level tutor

A-Level Tuition

A-Level tuition is best undertaken by subject specialists and qualified teachers with a clear understanding of the syllabus and the nature of the exams. In 2016, new reformed A-Levels were introduced that phased out module assessments and required content heavy linear assessments with exams taken at the end of Year 13.

With only 3 or 4 subjects routinely taken for A-level, the quantity of knowledge required can be overwhelming. Many students find the step up from GCSE more challenging than expected. Essay subjects can pose considerable challenges to students who struggle to organise their ideas academically and engage fully with the question.

Students who benefit from a tutor for A-Level need someone with the experience to support them with the requests they make for help, but also with an eye to the bigger picture. A student may be concerned about something quite specific; an experienced tutor will see how that fits into the A-Level course as a whole and encourage the student to see things from a bigger perspective.

It doesn’t take long to fall behind with an A-Level course. A short illness, a few weeks with a cover teacher, or a couple of missed homework assignments can quickly escalate into something more serious. Weighty topics at A-Level often need to be covered so quickly that there is little time for consolidation. It may only be when a topic is revisited shortly before the exam that the student recalls how little they understood that topic in the first place. A tutor can work with the student simultaneously reviewing topics throughout the course while developing their skills to support any current topic.

Tutoring support at A-Level might include:

  • Revision and reteaching of course material.
  • Completing practice questions together.
  • Reviewing model answers.
  • Working on timed answers.
  • Reviewing methods of approaching questions.
  • Working through past paper questions and mark schemes.
  • Detailed feedback and targeted strategies.
  • Support with revision planning and mock assessments.

Although A-level classes are often smaller than GCSE, some students do not receive high-quality feedback from their teachers, particularly for essay-based subjects. Students who receive feedback from teachers that their essay writing needs improving often need to spend time on fundamental English skills that are not covered in an A-Level classroom, where the focus is often on the content, rather than the structure.

Improving essay writing is very time-consuming, but ultimately one of the most valuable areas a tutor can focus on with an A-Level student who does essay subjects. Non-essay subjects will also benefit from focused feedback on method and approach, exam technique and phrasing of answers. The ability of the tutor to entirely focus on your child will be of immense benefit in helping them to progress towards their target grade.

If your child is aspiring to Oxbridge or applying for a competitive course (such as medicine), not only will they need the very best grades, but they may also need to complete assessments and interviews as part of their application process. A subject specialist tutor will be able to direct your child towards appropriate preparation material and may, if agreed in advance, be able to offer interview preparation and practice in addition to what they should be getting from their school or sixth-form college.

Overall, an A-Level is a long and demanding course. Even the brightest and most aspirational students benefit from support along the way to help them achieve the very best result. When students have university offers, they need to achieve to get on their dream course, every mark in every exam will make a difference.

Our Tutors

At Principal Tutors, all of our tutors are qualified teachers with expertise in the UK National Curriculum. You’ll get feedback after every single session to help you feel in control of your child’s learning and progress, and you can even download resources and request a recording of your tutoring session to help you remember key points later.

To learn how A-Level tutoring can help your child give us a call on 0800 772 0974 or you can request a tutor using our online form.


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