Choosing a Revision Course
We believe you should consider the following questions/points when choosing a revision course. This is not an exhaustive list of questions, but hopefully enough to help you to select a good revision course to meet your needs.
- For A-levels are the courses exam board, syllabus and module specific?
- For GCSE/IGCSE are higher and foundation levels mixed?
- For GCSE/IGCSE are there different groups for single, dual and triple award science?
- Do the students get the opportunity to do some exam practice?
- Are the residential students supervised in the evenings and overnight?
- What is the selection process for the tutors?
- What is the group size?
- Who are the tutors?
- Are the admin staff dedicated full-time to preparing the courses or are the courses a side-line to a bigger business or does the organisation use temporary staff to organise the courses?
Below are our answers to these questions:
For A-levels are the courses exam board, syllabus and module specific?
Since the introduction of the modular A-levels we believed that it is important that we teaching to the specific module’s syllabus. With the notable exception of a few of the maths modules it is practically impossible to teach more than one specific module in a group without wasting a great deal of time. Time is a precious commodity during revision, so we think that it is invariably best to have A-level groups that are module specific. Some organisations will offer generic A-level courses, for example A-level physics, in some case even mixing upper and lower sixth form years; although it is possible to teach such groups it is inevitable that almost all of the students will spend time on topics which are not relevant to their forthcoming exams.
For GCSE/IGCSE are higher and foundation levels mixed?
We feel that it is important for higher and foundation level to be taught separately. Students who are sitting foundation level in a subject usually find that particular subject difficult – it is not one of their natural subjects. The style of teaching and the content of a foundation level course will be different from the higher level.
For GCSE/IGCSE are there different groups for single, dual and triple award science?
Students sitting GCSE or IGCSE science may be working towards 1, 2 or 3 GCSEs/IGCSEs. Generally whether it is single, dual and triple award it will be taught and examined as 3 separate subjects (chemistry, physics and biology). However, the content will be radically different for single, dual or triple; roughly speaking there is three times as much content for triple award as there is for single. Obviously a course preparing students for triple award really has to be taught separately from single award – this is what we do.
Do the students get the opportunity to do some exam practice?
Some revision courses are teaching from 9 to 5, this may suit a small number of students, but the majority of students need to practice exams as well as review the content. Our courses are planned around a “teach and test” approach – typically a student will have a 50 minute tutorial followed by a 50 minute study session where they will do a practice exam. In the tutorial following the practice exam they will have the opportunity to review their work, discuss issue arising from the work and do corrections where relevant.
Are the residential students supervised in the evenings and overnight?
We like to ensure that our students work hard and play hard. After dinner there are various activities that the students can participate in, ranging from watching film through to bowling – for further details see: Social Activities
The students have to be in their houses by 10:30 and in their own rooms by 11. We have wardens to take a register for each house and to ensure the houses are quiet so that everyone can get a good night’s sleep. We also have night watch staff to make sure that the houses are quiet throughout the night.
What is the selection process for the tutors?
We have a large database of tutors and on our busiest courses we may employ close to one hundred tutors. All new tutors are interviewed and asked to give a short sample tutorial. We are very fastidious about the tutors we use – they are effectively our product.
What is the group size?
Our group size varies from 1 to 6 – as a rule if we have a group of 7 or more we split it whenever possible. Typically for A level the groups are around 1 to 3 students and similarly for IB, the GCSE groups for subjects such as maths tend to be bigger – around 4 to 6 students.
Who are the tutors?
Our tutors come from three main strands: full time private tutors, teachers from schools and post-graduate doctoral students (many of whom teach for the university). We do not use undergraduates to teach – unless of course it is their second degree.
Are the admin staff dedicated full-time to preparing the courses or are the courses a side-line to a bigger business or does the organisation use temporary staff to organise the courses?
There is a great deal of organisation that goes into running a successful revision course. We believe that it requires a full time staff – for further detail see: Our Staff.