Super Tutors

Words by Steve Beale

30 June 2020

DO: Seriously consider one-on-one tuition.

“A dedicated tutor can give your child undivided attention,” says Jess Harris of Quintessentially’s specialist education department. “Unlike teachers in cramming schools, a dedicated tutor can tailor sessions to suit natural speed and ability. The dynamic also encourages pupils to tackle aspects of their study that are rather challenging to them, and which they might feel nervous asking about in class. The personal tutor can explain tough subjects in a way that might be better suited to your child – and it’s a huge confidence booster.” Quintessentially’s education team vets all its tutors in face-to-face interviews and can cater to foreign language students.

DO: Offer to help, especially with testing and organisation.

More defensive children might require careful handling here!

Students will have more time to focus on learning if you can help out with some of the extras, for instance, with planning the revision itself and ‘helping’ them stick to it – perhaps acting as their useful personal assistant, rather than a figure of authority. “They might end up grateful for you providing some structure, so that they don’t feel like it’s just them alone with their books,” says Jess.

Particularly, you can help with testing, which is considered the most effective form of revision according to a recent report in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Professor John Dunlosky of Kent State University, Ohio, told the BBC: "Students who can test themselves or try to retrieve material from their memory are going to learn that material better in the long run. Testing in itself - when you get the answer right or when you go through the process of getting it right - appears to produce a more elaborative memory trace connected with your prior knowledge, so you're building on what you know.”

DO: Read notes out loud.

Students are 50 percent more likely to remember facts spoken out loud than those that are simply read. So, rather than re-reading an essay or notes over again, they should mix up the techniques of reading aloud and in their head.

DO: Use classical methods…

Instrumental ambient music, including of course the classical composers, lifts the mood and frees the brain up to focus. Proper swots will want to type out notes in the Times New Roman font – the traditional-looking one – as it’s the easiest for the brain to read and take in.

DON’T: Leave revising until the last minute.

Startlingly obvious really, but there’s bound to be one classmate who’s boasting about their strategy to stay up the night before the exam cramming ‘because that’s what really works best.’ There’s actually a scientific term for cramming. It’s ‘massed practice’. Far more effective is ‘distributed practice’, where students revise in smaller chunks over longer periods of time. The sessions can always get more intense as time progresses – like actors rehearsing for a performance.

DON’T: Go for it too hard.

The best way to split up revision time is in sessions of 45 minutes with a 15- minute break in between. Rewards, such as favourite snacks or a spell on the dreaded social media, are absolutely acceptable. “Stay disciplined but remember that your student or child is obviously only human, and they need downtime,” says Quintessentially’s Jess Harris.

DON’T: Get up too late.

Bad news for all teenagers – facts are much more easily ingrained in the morning. So, rip off that duvet, and serve up a breakfast featuring the potassium-rich bananas beloved of sporting stars in search of a boost. And while we’re voicing unpopular truths, a digital detox of some kind, at least during revision hours themselves, is eminently sensible.

Meet Quintessentially’s top-of-the-food-chain tutors


Having attended Winchester College before studying at Oxford University (St Peter’s College), Charles is ideally positioned to support a wide range of students. Charles tutors a variety of subjects including 11+ entry, 13+ entry and English, Music and Maths at GCSE and A-level. He is a focused and experienced tutor, who has over 10 years’ experience teaching students of all ages. He can tailor his sessions to the needs of each individual student, ensuring they are confident with their course content and exam technique, plus helping them achieve fantastic results.


Harriet specialises in supporting students with entrance assessments to top UK independent schools. She holds an English degree from Oxford University (St Hugh’s College) and has been tutoring full-time since 2010. She has worked with over 50 students, from age 5 to 18, and has supported students with entry to schools including Wycombe Abbey, King’s Canterbury, Dulwich College, Eton and Marlborough. She has a comprehensive understanding of what these top schools are looking for in students and can ensure that children are as prepared as possible when approaching these assessments.


John is an extremely experienced History tutor, who holds a History degree from Cambridge University (Downing College) and a Ph.D. from the University of London (Goldsmiths). He has extensive teaching experience, supporting students with GCSE and A-level History, and has taught on a one-to-one basis, as well as in some of London’s top independent schools. He is passionate, engaging and instils confidence in his pupils.

For assistance with arranging private tuition, or for any alternative education enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of specialists at: [email protected]

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