OXFORD INDIVIDUAL TUITION

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Easter Revision Courses

  • Individual tuition
  • Pre-formed pairs and groups also accepted
  • All subjects, specifications, set texts, options, and modules covered
  • Flexible course dates and daily timetables
  • Residential option
  • Friendly, highly qualified, and experienced tutors

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Dates and syllabus

As we offer tuition to individuals or to pre-formed pairs and small groups, students may book whichever week or weeks they wish during their Easter vacation. This gets round the problem of the dates of the Easter holidays varying widely between schools: hence many students find that the rigid dates of group Easter courses do not suit their particular schedules. Secondly, we can offer a very particular focus on the individual’s syllabus in any given subject. We can, for example, always offer tuition on the specific set books of A level Classics, English and Modern Language. Those revision courses that put a number of students following different syllabuses into the same group are usually unable to meet this need.

Why follow an Easter course at all?

At one level, an Easter course is simply an intensification of supplementary or revision tutoring which may take place at any time of the year. The key word, however, is intensification. Students should have completed the initial coverage of their courses by the Easter break. It is the first and last major stretch of time which can be devoted overwhelmingly to revision rather than to other academic imperatives. First, students should review their work for the summer examinations so far as a springboard for strengthening their grasp of the subject by remedying weaknesses and maximizing strengths.

Easter courses take place at the strategic moment: close enough to the examinations for what is learnt to stick, but still sufficiently far away for there to be time to effect a marked improvement calmly and systematically free from any last-minute freneticism.

Whatever the quality of their term-time study and existing attainments, all students doing revision need an expert to appraise their performance in this crucial period between terms, to give their revision structure and focus and to ensure that it is “active”. It is highly unlikely that students who try to revise in isolation can supply all this for themselves by in effect acting as their own supervisors. This is the indispensable role of the Easter course tutor at a time when the regular school is shut.

Easter Revision: Form and Content

Revision needs vary with the individual, not just in the obvious sense that they will be different for a high and a low achiever, but more subtly: two members of an AS Geography set, for example, who have both scored 57% in a recent test will have achieved this via a different combination of strengths and weaknesses. Thus everyone will need a tailor-made revision programme within the general structure, and for each individual some aspects of what follows will be more important than others, or at least the aspects will have to be presented in a different way.

The initial appraisal and diagnosis

Student and tutor work together on this. The more briefing the student can provide the better, e.g. school assessments/reports, predicted grades, grades already attained, recent work. All this will enable the student to self-assess, and this will be complemented or offset by the tutor’s assessment.

On this basis, the tutors then set up the revision programme, whose general structure is set out below.

There are two main aspects:

Subject Knowledge

Gaps in this must be filled in. They may occur because the student’s understanding of a given topic is weak; or, more starkly, because his or her school, lagging behind, has simply failed to cover it. Even students with a comprehensive grasp of the material will benefit from the fresh perspective or information that their tutor will bring to it.

Study Skills

Creating a revision timetable

This is the essential framework. The first step is to quantify the amount of time available and set it against the amount of revision to be done. This leads into breaking down the work into priorities: certain topics/modules may be more time-consuming than others. The objective is to create a specific timetable stretching from that day to the examinations themselves, and then to stick to it. Obviously the first, bedrock, weeks will fall in the Easter period itself. The essence is to assign specific days to the revision of specific topics until they have all been revised, banishing the mindset which sees “revision”as an unanalysed aggregate which the student vaguely intends to get round to tackling some time between “now” and the onset of the examinations.

Specific Skills: a summary

  • Reading, note-taking and summarizing, i.e. the most effective absorption of relevant information: the relevant use of time and resources. Tutors may well direct their students to hitherto untapped sources of information.
  • Focus: Understanding the question and planning a relevant, comprehensive answer to it. Competence in the first is essential to competence in the second. Essay planning is the most commonly cited expression of this; but answers in all other formats also have to be planned. This is the core of active revision. During the tutorial tutor and student work together in analysing questions from past papers, for example, and in planning answers to them. Then the tutor will set the tutee comparable questions to answer as homework. The next tutorial will bring feedback on these. Thereby the student becomes increasingly skilled in active i.e. effective revision; in applying core skills when working on his/her own.
Study Skills and Subject Knowledge

Listing skills in the abstract is clarifying but artificial: in practice, of course, they are always applied to knowledge in a specific subject: to the selection, absorption and deployment of it. The two aspects constantly feed into each other. Students who have a wide, deep and accurate subject knowledge are well placed to select from it appropriately to answer any given question relevantly and adequately.

Complementarily, those well-attuned to question analysis will be able to pinpoint what extra information they need to provide an acceptable answer. This leads back to the sources: note-taking and summarizing.

Hence in practice the various skills are intertwined; indeed often fused.

Examination Techniques

Not, strictly speaking, study skills in themselves, but an application of them when under pressure. The core skills of understanding a question and planning an answer remain the same, but the process has to be immensely speeded up. “Examination conditions” i.e. the crucial time constraint is the overarching difference. Thus study skills must have been thoroughly absorbed beforehand so that they can be rapidly and successfully deployed under pressure.

Understanding the questions is also essential to selecting the most favourable ones where a choice is offered. Candidates also need to divide the time allowed proportionally between questions.

Age-range

Traditionally, Easter courses have attracted A-level and GCSE students. Common Entrance and Scholarship candidates, however, whose examinations will occur in late May or early June, will also find intensive tuition at this period useful.

Applications for the Easter course

These may be made at any time. Naturally we prefer reasonable notice, but our tailor-made and individualized approach enables us to respond flexibly to late applications: for example, even those made when the student’s Easter holidays have already started. For specific details, see How to enrol

 

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