Tag Archive: tutoring

  1. Setting Up a Tutoring Business in 2024 – Step 1: The Why?

    Leave a Comment

    So, You’re Considering Setting Up a Tutoring Business?

    With plenty of head-scratching questions filling your head, potential knots in your stomach and friends, family, and colleagues questioning your sanity…

    It makes complete sense to do some research!

    But where do you begin? You’re probably eager to see how to price up your services and bag your first paying tutee. However, it’s important to take a sensible approach and reflect on one simple question:

    Why are you looking to set up a tutoring business?

    The “Why” To Setting Up Your Own Tutoring Business

    If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you are considering opting for a different career path to the one that you’re currently on. Whether that is leaving the teaching profession, entering the education sector for the first time, or simply wanting to gather inspiration for setting up a small business to call your own, the chances are your current job isn’t quite fulfilling your needs.

    So, why consider setting up a tutoring business? That’s really what you, and only you, need to answer. Nobody else will know exactly how your current circumstances are influencing your feelings and decisions.

    Helping To Answer Your Why

    Let’s have a look at some of the common reasons to enter the tuition game and hopefully provide you with more answers than questions!

    We each have our own perspective on life. On how we should manage our work-life balance and how we would ideally like to spend our valuable time.

    If you’re looking to start a tutoring business to have more free time, then you’re in for a shock! Of course, it all depends on your current workload, what your expectations are going into this process and how big (or small) you want your potential empire to be.

    Like any other start-up, a serious amount of time and effort needs to go into the early stages. Especially to get things off the ground initially. Plus, learning things that may be completely alien to you – such as business taxes and registering a company – takes time. Gov.uk is a great place to start. However, if you’re already familiar with that sort of jargon (or do friends’ tax returns as a hobby) then you can discount some of this time. However – if you have never run a tutoring business before, you’ll still need to dedicate a period of time to better understanding the profession. You will want to consider it’s need in your local area, the size of the opportunity in your location (unless you’re considering online tuition, which somewhat negates this) and the business model you intend to follow.

    “I want to be my own boss!” – a great idea in practice, but have you considered the implications involved with being the boss? Whether you plan on being a solopreneur or scale up to a full-blown operation consisting of hundreds of employees, the major decisions, headaches, and angst will rest on your shoulders. It’s not all doom and gloom of course. Ultimately, you’re in charge (to as much of an extent as is possible) of your professional fate. You get to decide who to hire and fire. You get to decide what the company culture will grow in to. And you get to pick the subjects and services that are offered to your students.

    Are you perhaps looking to move away from the ironically playground-esque staffroom politics within your current teaching role? It’s certainly a good enough reason to leave, but is it the reason for setting up a tutoring business? If you want to avoid the drama, but remain in education, would supply work offer a better solution?

    Found Your Answer?

    Hopefully by reading till this point, you have made some progress with reflecting on your why. Don’t be too stressed if you feel no further to discovering your why – there is no right or wrong answer. Besides, it doesn’t need to be a defined mission statement with which to base your entire business plans around.

    Make sure that, when you have identified your ‘why?’, it is strong enough to make the plunge worthwhile. There is nothing worse than dipping your toes in, failing, and then berating yourself for your business’ shortcomings.

  2. Top Tips for Revising English Literature Anthology Poetry

    Leave a Comment

    If there is one component of the GCSE English Literature course that fills most students with dread, it’s the Anthology Poetry unit.

    And to be perfectly honest, it’s not hard to see why.

    If you are studying the AQA course, there are 15 poems to study; for Eduqas things are even more challenging with a whopping 18 to get through.

    What Does the Exam Question Ask Students to do?

    When it comes down to it in the actual exam, students will only ever have to write about two of these poems. One of the poems you have studied will be printed in the exam paper. You will need to write about this poem and then choose another poem you have studied to compare it with.

    But because you have no idea which poem will feature in the exam, there’s no way you can cut corners in any way. You really need to study all the poems.

    That might not sound too bad…

    Until you remember that you are not allowed to take an anthology into the exam!

    In days gone by, students could take their annotated anthology into the exam. Then, for a few years, students were given a ‘clean’ unannotated anthology. Now, since 2015, students are not allowed to have an anthology in the exam at all.

    This means that essentially this component has become little more than a test of a student’s memory.

    But All is Not Lost!

    Fear not though, all is not lost.

    While there isn’t a simple hack or way of avoiding the fact that you are going to have to remember a load of quotes, there is a way of focusing your revision, so that you just concentrate on the really important stuff.

    So, here goes:

    1. You should be able to summarise each poem in a sentence or two. Even better, narrow it down to a couple of key words/themes.
    2. Choose a key quote for each poem. Approach this as if you could only use one quote per poem – the absolute best one – that sums up the whole message of the poem.
    3. Try to learn another 4 (minimum) important quotes. Aim for quotes that cover a range of ideas – not just 4 quotes that basically say the same thing.
    4. Identify one of two methods – poetic devices, language, or structure – that each poet uses to get their ideas across.
    5. Identify which poems go well together and provide the best comparisons.

    Follow the above 5 steps and you will be well-prepared for the demands of the exam question.

    Finally, bear in mind this last point…

    When it comes down to quotes, it’s never simply about how many you have got. The most important thing is what you do with them. Make your quotes work for you. They should never be more than a line long – and if you can narrow them down to a few words – or even just one word – all the better. They will be a lot easier to remember this way, and you will dazzle the examiner with your understanding of the most important words that a poet has used.

    You can do this! – And with that we will leave you with 5 more tips for the secret to success during exams.

  3. How to Instil the Importance of Exams Upon Your Students

    Leave a Comment

    How do you instil the importance of exams upon your students without putting the fear of God into them?

    This conundrum is one of the biggest challenges facing teachers today in the classroom.

    It’s a real problem because of 3 factors: the nature of teenage life, human nature in general, and the nature of schools.

    The Nature of Teenage Life

    Young people, it’s worth remembering, go through a lot of change and upheaval during their teenage years. Their bodies are developing; their emotions and minds are developing; and they are beginning to find themselves and their identity.

    There’s a lot going on, a lot to handle, and an awful lot to deal with during your teenage years.

    Not least the pressure of exams.

    Human Nature

    The psychology behind our actions and behaviour is extremely complex. However, when it comes down to it – in certain aspects – human nature is really straightforward.

    When we are faced with pressure, some people seem to thrive on it – even seeing it as some kind of incentive. In essence, we rise to the challenge.

    On the flipside, many of us seem to do the opposite when faced with pressure. We find it really difficult to cope with. In essence, we buckle under the challenge.

    That can manifest itself in several different ways. We might try to deny the importance of something or put off dealing with the issue head-on – kind of hoping that whatever it is that is causing us the pressure or stress will somehow magically go away.

    Which, of course, it never does.

    Part of our ability to deal with challenges in our lives comes from experience.

    This makes dealing with pressure especially challenging for teenagers. For more help understanding what’s going on inside the teenage brain, check out this BBC article.

    The Nature of Schools

    Schools exist under the lingering and looming threat of Ofsted. Not only that, schools are at also the mercy of government decisions and education budgets. All of this piles pressure onto schools.

    Under constant pressure to continually improve exam results, the pressure school leadership teams feel feeds down to curriculum team and subject leaders. This, in turn, is passed onto classroom teachers.

    And – you’ve guessed it – teachers then pass this pressure down to their students.

    Teachers are feeling it, so the students they teach feel it too.

    It is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

    So, What’s the Solution?

    In all honesty, there are probably at least another couple of blogs waiting to get out (possibly even a book!) on this topic. We’ve actually posted another blog ourselves on the matter. But to keep things short and sweet here, let’s leave it with this:

    Just because exams are important doesn’t mean that we have to talk about them all the time.

    We don’t have to mention exams in every lesson or every assembly.

    Learning, exam preparation, and performance in exams all have a process. Refine those processes and have faith in them.

    Think how an athlete responds after a disappointing result or performance. They don’t panic or make any knee-jerk reactions; they trust in the process that got them there in the first place.

    Trust in the process is the key.

  4. Why is PPA Time Important on a Teacher’s Timetable?

    Leave a Comment

    It doesn’t really matter what stage of their career they are at – PGCE student or veteran with 20 years of experience in the classroom – all teachers will agree on one thing…

    There is just simply never enough time!

    There is never enough time to do all the work you have to do. There’s never enough time to do all the work you think you have to do. And there’s definitely never enough time to do all the work you’d like to do.

    And it doesn’t matter how much you try to work smarter rather than harder.

    It never seems to make any difference.

    That’s why PPA time is so important on a teacher’s timetable.

    What is PPA and What is it for?

    Planning, preparation, and assessment (PPA). This time is a statutory entitlement for all teachers in England and Wales who work under the STPCD (School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.) Therefore, it applies to most teachers who work in state schools.

    PPA time is non-contact time that is allocated on a teacher’s weekly timetable. The statutory requirement is that PPA should amount to at least 10% of their teaching timetable. The National Education Union has more resources on their website if you want to find out even more about PPA.

    During the allocated PPA time, teachers cannot be directed by school leaders or managers to do any particular tasks. Teachers should be free to use the time to plan lessons, mark work, or to catch-up on any other work.

    Why is PPA time so important in a teachers timetable?

    Hours that teachers work and the holidays they get have always been a source of misunderstanding among the general public – and misrepresentation in the media.

    Comments such as, ‘All the holidays teachers get!’ or ‘I wish I could just work from 9-3!’ echo in teachers’ ears.

    Only if you are a teacher yourself – or live with one – do you truly understand the number of hours that teachers have to put in outside the classroom.

    This is why PPA time is absolutely vital.

    The idea that all a teacher’s planning, preparation, or marking can somehow be rattled off in a couple of PPA periods a week is an absolute nonsense.

    In reality, it isn’t even enough to scratch the surface.

    It’s also fair to say that the way PPA is delivered across the nation’s schools is inconsistent. Many schools do allocate more PPA time to their teachers than the statutory requirement. For those who do, this time is seen – as it should be – as absolutely sacrosanct.

    However, in some schools there is still an unwritten expectancy that ‘if duty calls’ then PPA time could be either taken away, rearranged – or that teachers might still be directed to do other tasks during their PPA time.

    All in all, though, while PPA time is not perfect and not enough… it is something.

    Yes, it only goes some way in lessening a teacher’s workload. However, it goes a long way in terms of its benefits for a teacher’s wellbeing. For more advice on how to better your wellbeing as a teacher, check out this blog post.

    Even if it just gives a teacher the opportunity to catch their breath during the hectic school day, PPA is well worth it.

  5. What is PHSE?

    Leave a Comment

    PHSE – Personal Social & Health Education – has taken many forms and gone under several different names over the last 30 or so years in our schools.

    At various points over that time, it has been pushed to the fore of the curriculum. However, at times it has also been left for schools to ‘fit in somewhere’ – almost as an afterthought – onto the curriculum.

    However, one thing has remained constant: its genuine importance.

    Of course, exams and results matter. But they don’t guarantee your personal, social, emotional, and economic wellbeing – or your happiness.

    Life is a little bit more complicated than that!

    And that’s why PHSE is, was, and always will be a really important part of the school curriculum.

    PHSE might not be a compulsory exam subject, but you could argue that there is nothing more vital than supporting a young person’s personal, social, and emotional wellbeing.

    At the end of the day, is there anything more important than happiness and good health?

    Exactly. That’s why PHSE really matters.

    Why PHSE is important

    Although the fact can get lost sometimes under the relentless focus on exams, exams, and more exams, there has always been much more to schools than just results.

    Schools play a crucial role in young people’s personal, social, and emotional development. Not only that, but schools can also support children’s mental health. To find out more about supporting kids’ mental health in schools, check out our blog post on the matter.

    Emotional well-being and self-esteem should not be underestimated, not just during your school days but also in later life.

    A carefully planned PHSE curriculum delivered well in schools can go a long way in breaking down a young person’s self-limiting beliefs and perceptions. Such a mindset can seriously stifle aspirations and make it much harder to achieve.

    Happiness is the key

    Happiness in life trumps everything else.

    When you are happy, it is much easier to cope with the challenges of GCSEs. When you are happy, you are best placed to thrive in your chosen career. You are also far more likely to be able to build and maintain friendships and relationships.

    What brings you happiness is a complex question, and a lot will depend on the individual. However, a common denominator is confidence.

    Having confidence in yourself and who you are and the confidence to cope with anything that life throws at you will go a long way in bringing you happiness.

    And that’s another reason why PHSE is so important.

    No other element of the curriculum has such a focus on the developing ‘the whole person’.

    No other subject has the potential to future proof a young person for later life.

    Nothing else at school can help young people to develop the resilience, confidence, and emotional intelligence needed to lead a happy and successful life.

    The Talk is a new video learning platform aimed at providing teachers with all the information, tools and resources needed to deliver an engaging and modern PHSE syllabus.

    The Talk’s vision is to revolutionise the way PHSE education is delivered in schools. The platform is designed to teach young people essential skills for life through dynamic content.

  6. The Difference Between Learning Objectives and Outcomes

    Leave a Comment

    Learning Objectives and Learning Outcomes have been a fixture of most lessons in schools for close on thirty years now. But there is still a fair bit of confusion around what they are, how they are different, and why they are important.

    So, let’s try and make everything crystal clear!

    How Are Learning Objectives and Outcomes Different?

    In simple terms, an objective sets out the knowledge or skill that is being introduced, developed, and learned by students during the lesson.

    The outcome, meanwhile, is the work or evidence that the students will produce during the lesson. Typically, this is used to measure how effectively the objective has been met.

    Why are Learning Objectives Important?

    It is slightly punitive and unfair to judge the quality of a lesson on its shared learning objective. An appropriate and suitable learning objective has the power to bring all the elements of a quality lesson together.

    And many a lesson has lost its effectiveness because of an unclear or inappropriate learning objective.

    What Should a Learning Objective Include?

    To achieve consistency, many schools instruct their teachers to follow a particular model. Some will ask their staff to frame learning objectives in a certain way. Of course, this makes sense as it helps it to become familiar for the students.

    So, there are several possible ways that you can word a lesson or learning objective. And while it’s all just an issue of semantics, there are couple of non-negotiables when it comes to writing a good learning outcome.

    Firstly, a learning objective should focus purely on the learning that is going to occur in the lesson. Essentially, lessons should be focused of one of two things: knowledge or skills.

    If you want to understand more about which one to focus on, check out this helpful blog about balancing the two.

    Include anything else and it will be flannel, superfluous – and quite possibly unclear.

    Secondly, learning objectives should always be student-focused.

    An objective needs to be concise and accessible for all students. The aim is to make it clear to students the point of the lesson ahead.

    To this end, it’s always important to take time at the start of a lesson to introduce and explain the learning objective – especially if there are any specific key words or terminology to be covered in the lesson.

    Should Learning Objectives Be Measurable?

    Yes, and this is where the learning outcome comes in.

    If there is an objective or aim to any lesson, there must be some form of measurement to check that this has been achieved by the end of the lesson.

    Therefore, the learning outcome should measure the progress students have made towards meeting the learning objective.

    This means that the wording of a learning objective needs to be precise, focused, and really specific to the aspect of knowledge or the skill that the students need to know.

    The broader, more general, or less specific an objective is, the less effective the learning will be.

    Finally, a learning objective should never be task-driven. Studies around how we learn best indicate that an objective acts like a North star to help guide the learner. If you want to learn more about the science behind learning, check out this article.

    Therefore, the objectives are not the activities the students will complete during the lesson.

    The objective must come first, this should then be followed up with a sequence of activities that work together and help the students to achieve the objective.

    The tasks in the lesson should be seen as the implementation of the learning.

  7. Everything you need to know about the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ GCSE Exam Question

    Leave a Comment

    With February being the month of romance, it seems appropriate to take a close look at one of the most romantic stories of all time – Shakespeare’s classic tale of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. So, while there’s romance in the air, let’s spread the love with some top tips for how to answer the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ GCSE exam question.

    This tragic play, depicting the lives and deaths of two star-crossed lovers, is one of the most loved works in literary history.

    And, of course, there’s also the little matter of the fact that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a text on the GCSE English Literature exam.

    The ‘Romeo and Juliet’ exam question: What to expect?

    First and foremost, let’s deal with the basics. What can you expect on the exam? Regardless of whether you are studying the AQA or the Eduqas syllabus, the demands of the questions are very similar. There will be a short extract from the play printed on the paper. The question will then ask to focus on a particular character or theme in the given extract. 

    The AQA exam will then ask you to write about the same character or theme in the whole play. For example:

    Starting with this conversation, explore how Shakespeare presents the relationship between Romeo and Juliet. 

    Write about:

    • how Shakespeare presents their relationship in this conversation
    • how Shakespeare presents the relationship between Romeo and Juliet in the play as a whole.

    The Eduqas exam will also ask you to focus on a character or theme in the extract, but the second – separate – the question could ask you to write about another aspect of the whole play. For example:

    Read the extract on the opposite page. Then answer the following question: 

    Look at how Juliet and the Nurse speak and behave here. How do you think an audience might respond to this part of the play? Refer closely to details from the extract to support your answer. For which of the male characters in Romeo and Juliet do you have the most sympathy? Write about how Shakespeare creates sympathy for your chosen character.

    So, how do you approach the task?

    Focus on what the question is asking you to do

    It sounds obvious, but one of the biggest mistakes students make is not focusing on what the question is asking them to do closely enough. Many simply write down the main things that they can remember about the play; choose a few quotes to back up the points they have made; and make the occasional comment about Shakespeare’s language.

    Of course, some of all that will be relevant but certainly not all of it. 

    You need to make sure your answer remains totally focused on the demands of the question, from the outset.

    Romeo and Juliet

    Take this example:

    Starting with this conversation, explore how Shakespeare presents aggressive male behaviour in Romeo and Juliet.  

    Write about:

    • how Shakespeare presents aggressive male behaviour in this conversation
    • how Shakespeare presents aggressive male behaviour in the play as a whole.

    You need to come up with a statement – an argument – that sums up the main points you are going to make in your answer, such as:

    In the extract and throughout the play as a whole Shakespeare presents male aggression through every male character – with the exception of Benvolio. This aggression is one of the main reasons why things go wrong during the play of Romeo and Juliet.’

    Exam Paper

    Using Quotes

    One thing you can be sure of is that you will be expected to use quotes from across the play in your answer. Have a few saved up about characters and themes. However, there’s a lot to remember so it’s best to keep them short and sweet; easy to remember; and to select ones that say a lot about the story.

    ‘The Prologue’ – right at the start of the play – is as good a place as any to look: “ancient grudge” shows that the problems between the Montague and Capulet families are deep-rooted and long-standing. Similarly, both “star-crossed lovers” and “death-marked love” show that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship was doomed to end in tragedy from the beginning.

    If your son or daughter is struggling with the Shakespeare question, hopefully, this blog will have helped a little bit…

    But one of our English tutors would be able to help them even more – with ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and all aspects of GCSE English Language and English Literature. Get in touch for a chat to find out more.

  8. Is tutoring the perfect part-time job for undergraduates?

    Leave a Comment

    Here’s the short answer… ‘Yes!”

    And now for the longer – ever so slightly more detailed – answer…

    Look, if you’re currently a student at university, we hear you… we feel you… times are tough! Why would you be so stupid to be an undergraduate in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, ‘eh?

    But it is what it is… and you’re in it – hey ho – but there’s no need to worry. 

    What if there was a great way to make some much needed money AND give your future job prospects a massive boost too?

    Well, we may have the answer for you.

    Yes, tutoring might just be the perfect part-time job for undergraduates!

    Here’s why…

    The perfect part-time job for undergraduates – It’s rewarding

    The big difference between tutoring as a part-time job and virtually all the other types of part-time jobs that students typically do, is that you’ll find tutoring far more rewarding. Take bar work and the hospitality sector – the hours can be long; the pay is generally pretty poor; and you’re likely to be rushed off your feet during every shift. It can be a thankless task sometimes! Not only that, but there also isn’t a great deal of job satisfaction gained usually from pulling a few pints or waiting on a few tables.

    Tutoring, on the other hand, is extremely rewarding. It’s great to see a student go from one level to the next, and watch their confidence grow as a result. Tutors have the rare opportunity to genuinely make a lasting and positive impact in students’ lives. That’s something that will give you a buzz and is something to be proud of – especially when you reflect and realise that the improvements a student has made is down to you!

    Tutor when you like – It’s flexible

    Finding a part-time job to fit around your studies can be a challenge. You’re often tied to shift patterns and specific hours. With tutoring, typically, sessions will be for an hour at a time – making it much easier to fit in around your existing commitments. Not only that, but tuition can also be delivered both face-to-face and online, so you have even more flexibility. Of course, you will never be expected to take on sessions that you don’t want to. You essentially set your own hours!

    Student using tutoring as a part-time job for undergraduates.

    What do you get from it? It’s great experience

    Although you should never take on anything purely ‘because it looks good’, the fact of the matter is that tutoring does look good. It’s a great thing to be able to put on your CV! Regardless of the subject taught or the age of the student you work with, being a tutor proves to a prospective employer that you have a particular skill set, not least that you can instruct and explain topics and concepts concisely.

    Naturally, a tutor is expected to adapt their teaching style and methods to meet the needs of the individual student. In doing so, you are showing that you are flexible and can approach different situations in a variety of ways. Of course, if you are planning on applying for a postgraduate course in education, tutoring will give an invaluable taste of what teaching is like – and it shows that you have a commitment to improving the prospects of young people.

    And don’t forget… It pays well!

    In general, tutoring pays a lot better than other part-time jobs. As it is a professional speciality, you are rewarded for your academic achievements and experience. You don’t need to be a qualified teacher to become a tutor. Maths and English tutors are always in demand. But equally, students are often looking for tutors in specialist subjects – from Mandarin to Psychology or Sociology. Typically, these types of placements can be tricky to find suitable tutors for. 

    So, whether you see it as a stepping-stone into a lifelong career in education – or just a job that will be a bit more fulfilling than working behind the bar at the Dog & Duck, tutoring might just be the perfect part-time job for undergraduates!

    Get in touch for a chat with our friendly team to find out more.

  9. Maths Tutors in Warrington

    Leave a Comment

    One of – if not the – most frequently asked questions we get here at TutorRight is ‘Have you got Maths tutors in Warrington?’. The good news is that our answer is definitely, ‘Yes!’

    It’s the time of year when most Year 11 students sit a set of mock exams for their forthcoming GCSEs. Mocks have always been important, because they are the best opportunity for students to experience a taste of their ‘real’ exams. No amount of practice papers completed in class or at home can really prepare a young person for what it feels like to be in the sports hall with the rest of a year group, sat in rows, completing exams next June.

    The results that students get in their practice exams provide invaluable information for teachers too. It gives them a clear sign of how their students are doing at that moment in time. There is no better way to inform future teaching.

    Mock exams can be something of a traumatic experience for many students though. Not only are they nerve-wracking, there’s also the small matter of what to do if results are disappointing.

    Don’t panic! It’s what the mocks are there for!

    Of course, in an ideal world, every student would do brilliantly at every exam they sit. Yet – sadly – we all know the world isn’t like that!

    If results aren’t as good as you’d like them to be, the best piece of advice is quite simple: Do.Not.Panic.

    Remember that mock exams, although important, are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Put it this way, once you have done your final GCSE exams, nobody is ever going to ask you, ‘How did you do in your mocks?’

    Similarly, although setting out to do badly in your mocks isn’t advisable, it’s important to remember two things:

    1. If you do have a stinker in a mock exam, you probably won’t make the same mistakes again!
    2. Nobody ever got better at something by getting everything right anyway!

    A clear snapshot of where you’re at right now

    Ultimately, your mock results provide you with a clear snapshot of where you’re at right now. 

    It’s often the point at which we get called upon too. The results state how far off you are from where you need to be. It’s no surprise that many parents and young people start asking for maths tutors in Warrington.  We certainly notice a spike in interest and enquiries around the time that students have had mock exams.

    Maths tutors in Warrington available today

    We have local tutors who specialise in Maths, from primary level right through to degree level. As professionals, mathematicians, and educators, our Maths tutors in Warrington will instinctively know how to plot your child’s Maths learning journey over the next few months so that they end up where they want to be… Destination Success!

    Our tutors get called on for GCSE exam preparation more than anything else. But remember we have specialists who will tutor students at any stage or age. 

    Would you like to join the TutorRight team?

    As we’ve already mentioned, as the mock results roll in at schools around the area, we see a big increase in enquiries for Maths tutors in Warrington. 

    We’re always on the lookout for new tutors to join the team! Simply complete our quick Tutor Registration Form to get the ball rolling. You will always be in complete control of how many students you take on. We will treat you professionally and pay competitively. 

    Get in touch

    If you think your son or daughter would benefit from some extra support in their Maths, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch if you’d like to arrange a Maths tutor in Warrington today!

  10. ‘A Christmas Carol’ GCSE English Exam Question Made Easy!

    Leave a Comment

    “Deck the halls with boughs of holly – Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

     ‘Tis the season to be jolly. Fa-la-la-la-la…”

    If you study GCSE English Literature, this is also the season (or term) to be revising Charles Dickens’ classic yuletide tale, ‘A Christmas Carol’.

    The novella has a heart-warming ending with Scrooge miraculously metamorphosising from the archetypal tight-fisted miser into a generous, laughter-filled lover of all things festive.

    The Christmas Spirit abounds in the story’s closing pages but, sadly, for our intrepid GCSE students there is often no similar conclusion: no mince pies around the open fire and no presents under the tree… just… er… a mock exam!

    Bah Humbug, indeed.

    But have no fear, the TutorRight team are here – not quite to save Christmas, but to make those pesky ‘A Christmas Carol’ GCSE English Exam Questions seem much easier.

    Understanding what to expect from the exam question

    There should be no surprises when you open the exam paper. The good news is that there won’t be any nasty surprises with the ‘A Christmas Carol’ question. Although there are very slight differences between the exam boards (Eduqas or AQA). The general principles and format of the questions are very similar.

    You will have a printed extract from the novel in the GCSE English Exam Question. You will then be asked to focus on a particular aspect (usually a character or theme) in the extract. Then you will need to write about the same focus across the whole novel.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    Eduqas GCSE English Exam Question: 

    ‘At the beginning of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge says, ‘‘I wish to be left alone’’. Write about some of the events in the novel which cause Scrooge to change his mind and how they are presented. 

    In your response you should: 

    • refer to the extract and the novel as a whole
    • show your understanding of characters and events in the novel
    • refer to the contexts of the novel’

    AQA GCSE English Exam Question:

    ‘Starting with this extract, explore how Dickens presents ideas about joy and happiness in A Christmas Carol. 

    Write about:

    • how Dickens presents joy and happiness in this extract
    • how Dickens presents ideas about joy and happiness in the novel as a whole.’

    Top Tip 1: Scrooge, Scrooge, Scrooge

    As the main character in the story, it kind of goes without saying, if you have focused your revision heavily on Scrooge, you won’t go far wrong. As you can see from the example questions above, you may or not be asked specifically about the character of Scrooge. 

    But even if you aren’t, you’ll still end up spending a lot of time writing about Scrooge – and you need to do this. This is because what he does – and how he reacts to what he sees others do – is so pivotal to the whole story and Dickens’ message overall.

    Top Tip 2: Answer the exam question in a sentence

    Now don’t get us wrong here – we’re not saying you can write a one sentence answer and that will be enough! But, where a lot of students go wrong is that they don’t write an answer that is completely focused on what the question is asking them to do.

    Unfortunately, when examiners mark students’ responses they might be forgiven for thinking that they question set was: ‘Tell me what you can remember about ‘A Christmas Carol’.  Some students seem to randomly chuck in anything they can remember!

    The thing is… some of it will be relevant but a lot of it won’t be. It’s remarkably easy to write quite a lot but not answer the question at all.

    Trying to answer the question in a sentence before you start helps you to avoid this. It should help to keep you focused, and it can be your opening sentence too!

    It can be simple:

    For example: ‘how Dickens presents ideas about joy and happiness in the novel as a whole.’

    A one sentence answer might be something like:

    ‘At the start of the novel, Scrooge thinks joy and happiness are all down to money but as he sees the way the Cratchits and others with very little celebrate Christmas, he realises that money is not the most important thing.’

    Top Tip 3: Characters, themes… and context

    Focusing on the characters and themes in the novel is essential. It’s also important to write about the context. This means the background to the novel and why Charles Dickens wanted to write the story.

    With ‘A Christmas Carol’ this is straightforward. Dickens had experience of poverty himself as a child. He had empathy for the poor and was angry about the situation they found themselves in at the time. He felt that society needed to change. 

    Throughout your answer, keep referring to why Dickens wrote the story – not just what or how he wrote it.

    Follow these top tips to keep well on track with any ‘A Christmas Carol’ exam answer.

    Get in touch if you’d like a tutor from TutorRight to give you more detailed help and guidance around GCSE English.

    And in the words of Bob Cratchit, we are left with with just one more thing to say:

    “A Merry Christmas to us all…”

Newsletter Sign Up