As the summer A Level exams approach many students seek private tutoring to help revise two years’ worth of work hoping that good scores will help to set them up for life.
The A Levels have recently come under fire for being too lax in preparing students for higher education. Students spend two years preparing for exams that will help to determine the choices they make in the future. There is no doubt that the final years are stressful for the students with pressure from both the parents and the teachers to perform well. However, some have questioned how much is meaningful learning and how much is rote learning?
As a private tutor in Chelsea and the adjoining borough of Knightsbridge I have seen students that have prepared for the A Level exams without understanding the course work they are memorising. While some rote learning is necessary for exams, to properly understand the text a more meaningful undertaking is required to create a higher quality of work and help to receive a deeper, more well- rounded education that the student can take with them throughout their life.
A private tutor can help the students have better recall of information by helping them to explore the course work in-depth, which is more in line with higher education learning. The first English literature exam I sat at university was so far removed from the exams I sat at A Levels that it sent me into a panic as I was unprepared for the type of learning that was demanded of me at university. At A Levels you have 2 years to learn the course work. At university however you study numerous texts per week, so having a meaningful understanding of the course load is more important than being able to spurt off a handful of quotes due to rote learning.
As a private tutor in London I also spend time helping students whose first language is not English. Students who don’t speak English as a first language can have a harder time understanding the deeper meaning of some text due to a lack of familiarity and understanding of the complexity of the English language. They therefore have a hard time understanding the text by rote learning. A private tutor can help them to grasp the more complex meanings, enriching their understanding of the text or historical event. This helps the student to improve the quality of their answers in an exam setting and give them confidence in those answers, which can often be a major factor in testing well in exams.
Having a private tutor to help study for the A Levels not only helps the student to get better results and therefore a better opportunity to get in to the university of their choice but helps them to have a deeper understanding of what they are learning that they will hopefully carry with them for life.
(*) Sam Cagorski writes for Simply Learning Tuition, a private tutor agency in London that provides expert private tutors and educational consultancy.