Pass Entrance Exams: Finding the Right Tutor
If you are hoping to get your child into a private, independent or selective school, then finding the right tutor is all-important. No matter how bright your child may be, learning how to pass entrance exams is the key to getting in.
Many parents – and teachers – liken passing entrance exams to jumping over a series of hoops. Once you know how high the hoops are and at what sequence they occur, they are easy to jump over. Without this knowledge, they can be insurmountable.
Getting the right tutor is essential to jumping over all the hoops successfully, the first time round. But how can you find the right person, to help your child make the leap?
What Makes a Good Tutor?Many parents think a tutor is someone with knowledge of a specific academic subject, such as science, German language or English literature. But to pass entrance exams, tutors must have much more than simply knowledge in specific subject areas.
A qualified tutor who teaches children how to pass school entrance exams will not only teach subject basics, but also:
- Verbal and non-verbal reasoning - the bulk of most entrance exam tests will be made up of these two components – as well as checking fluency in specific areas specific to each school.
- The art of test-taking - exam technique is often what makes the grade. Going over verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests is important, but learning how to take the test is at least equally so.
- How to do well at an interview - if your child passes the written exam with flying colours but is tongue-tied and awkward at the interview, all might not bode well. Being confident and learning to master the art of small talk is vital to get into some schools; less important for others.
Where to Find a TutorNow that you know the type of tutor you are looking for, finding that special person is the next step. You don’t want to hire just anyone; you want to hire someone who is right for your child, and whose tutoring is designed to get your child into that specific school.
Remember, a tutor who appears nice and easy to get along with may not be the best tutor for your child. While having a pleasant personality helps, you really need a tutor who knows how to get good results. Ask about their track record, and find out which schools they have successfully been able to get their pupils into.
Tips for Finding the Right tutor:
- Word of mouth - many parents rely on word of mouth for finding the right tutor. Many tutors know how to tutor children to pass exams for specific schools only, so it’s important you learn which tutors specialise in which schools.
- Look online - many tutors advertise online, so that is sometimes the best way to start. Make sure you meet with the tutor in person, and play it safe: never drop your child off at someone’s home who you do not know.
- Ask at your local school - some teachers do private tutoring as a sideline to make extra cash, although this can be frowned upon by some headteachers. Other schools might be able to recommend the right tutor for your child – hopefully someone in your local area.
When to StartWhen you want to hire a tutor depends on many factors, including the type of school your child is applying to. Many parents hire a tutor throughout the second half of Year 5 to get into secondary school, for example, although they may have to sign up with a specific tutor a year before that, to ensure their child has a place.
Local tutors who get good results are highly sought after, so never leave looking for the right tutor until the last minute. If you do, you may very well be sadly disappointed.
Unfortunately, the price is usually set in stone, and will depend in part on which part of the country you live in, and also which type of school you are aiming towards. It’s usually worth paying the going rate, as you get what you pay for. If you skimp on the tutoring, your child might not get the place.
Make the Right DecisionA good tutor will help your child do well in verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests, build up your child’s confidence, and practise specific subjects. He or she will also help your child master the art of exam technique, which is ultra-important when it comes to taking entrance exams.
The right tutor for your child will also ensure your child does well at the interview, if there is one, which is an important factor in gaining entrance to many selective schools, and help them feel relaxed when it comes time to take the entrance exams. Good luck!