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Dr Martine Hooper A-level Chemistry Tutor (Guildford)

Dr Martine Hooper Gold Member

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I am a rare element, with a positively charged formula - a full-time specialist Science/Maths Tutor, dedicated to budding white coats & collars: medics, dentists, vets, pharmacists, scientists, finance, & tecchies needing grade A*/A/B.
Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
It's easy and free to install Skype and WhiteBoardMeeting for my students! WhiteBoard does exactly what it says: students can see me write and vice versa. I have to pay for WhiteBoardMeeting as I'm using it commercially - but you don't! So you simply go to Skype first and download it. It takes about 10 minutes. You send me your skype name and I'll invite you (or vice versa). You then download WhiteBoardMeeting and then it should be straightforward to commence the tuition (we set it up well before the tutorial to make sure it works!). I can load up documents directly on it, but also pre-send them via pdf and email in advance.
Which subject(s) do you teach?
My specialist subject is Chemistry (I hold both a BSc and a PhD in Chemistry) at AS & A2 Level, GCSE/IGCSE, IB & younger. In case you haven't realised it until now, the sciences/maths & its related fields, are tough! Due to the need for my students to achieve top grades across the board for academic level entrance to medicine, dentistry, finance etc, and through requests from current and past students, I have selected and trained a number of other dedicated academics in my methods to co-tutor my existing students/families in related science/high-flying subjects such as Biology, Physics, Maths/Further Maths, Economics, Business Studies and Geography at A-level, GCSE & IGCSE, KS3/KS2 and IB. I also coach for the scientific/non-verbal reasoning content of the 11+ and 13+ common entrance examinations. I also run AS & A2 level Chemistry Exam strategy/pitfall workshops courses in London - soon to extend to other science subjects. In addition, I have taken on a number of students for home schooling over the last few years. I and my co-tutors are all syllabus-led and we tutor directly to the relevant syllabus: OCR (A/B Salters), AQA, EdExcel, CIE for students needs - using the exam board specifications, their past papers and mark schemes. The core syllabus content is similar between examination boards - it has to be as it is the same qualification! However, the challenge is always in interpreting the way the question is written, and figuring out a response that will net the student the max number of marks. Most students lose marks on not reading/intepreting the question correctly, not thiking before thhey write, making silly errors, not checking whether what they have written will net them the marks, and repeating the same point twice for multiple mark questions. Hence, according to the subject my methods highlight the common pitfalls, . When you have learnt to make pasta wrong several times (e.g overcooking it, undercooking it, not draining it properley, adding too much sauce or too little, suddenly you know how to make it right! :)
Tell me about your qualifications.
PhD. Chemistry (University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2000) BSc. Chemistry (2.1 with honours University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1996) A-level Chemistry & GCSE science subjects - all grades A/B (we didn't have A* in those days!).
What kind of experience do you have?
Current: 4+ yrs Private Chemistry Tutor of A-level/GCSE/IGCSE/degree level, UK. Past: 5+ yrs Director/Founder/Teacher of ISC (International School of Chromatography Ltd) course provider teaching analytical science to laboratory analysts worldwide, UK/NL. 6 years teacher of chromatography and mass spectrometry, business/technical development of chromatography products and global product management of chromatography/mass spectrometry products, UK/the Netherlands.
How much do you charge?
In general, prices are indicated as above, for either 1hr/1.5 hrs weekly, or fortnightly 1.5/2 hours, plus a small fee to cover fuel/parking etc. I like to talk with parents first before accepting a student, so please call for a discussion - a price will be sent over upon receipt of my enrolment form - as it is dependent on the duration, level, location & number of student(s)/siblings. I offer either weekly or fortnightly tuition sessions (the student needs momentum), or in the in the case of medical entrance exams, intensive tuition is available.The tuition is pay as you go via monthly invoice either by bank transfer or cheque; no cash can be accepted as all my invoicing/bookeeping is outsourced. I am approximately one third to half the price of London based tuition agencies, and with a repuation that has been built up via word of mouth. Tuition fees include tuition, all materials and travel. Me and my co-tutors cover the following regions & their surroundings: Chertsey, Weybridge, Egham, Virginia Water, Shepperton, Walton-on-Thames, Staines, Ashford. Chobham, Esher, Feltham, Claygate, Cobham, Sunningdale, Sunninghill, Oxshott, Godalming, Guildford,Hampton Court/Hill, Richmond upon Thames, Twickenham,Teddington, Kingston upon Thames, Hounslow, Kew, Ealing, Isleworth, Brentford, Epsom, Slough, Datchet, Ascot. Central & West London: Hammersmith, chiswick, Kensington, Chelsea, Westminster, Mayfair, Hampstead, Clapham. For students living abroad, further afield, or families needing a more flexible way or simply need a more economical way of tutoring, both I and my co-tutors offer skype tutorials - the idea for which came from a parent! At first, I have to say, I was reluctant. But thanks to him, I have tutored students all over the UK and abroad from Alevel to UKCAT via Skype. After all, youngsters love technology and sitting in front of computers! Skype tutorial charges are £35 phr for all levels; £40 phr for medical entrance exams. You only need Skype (free to install and takes 5 minutes to download)and a webcam, speakers or earphones, an email account, a printer/scanner and a pad and pen. All documents will be sent in advance of the tutorial, in pdf format via email. I am currently piloting the use of bamboo tablets and Scribblar as a new addition to Skype tutorials as this will enable my students to see me write on a virtual whiteboard - free to download too.
Where do you teach?
I provide one-on-one tuition and home schooling in the comfort of the family home of my students. Alternatively, at a suitable address that is mutually convenient. Or if you are sufficiently open-minded enough, you can arrage tuition on a more flexible basis and at reduced cost, by trying out online tuition using Skype, from my home to wherever you are located. I no longer offer tutoring in my own home for the rest of 2013 - this situation is expected to change in 2014 when I hope to move to a new home - and even better - with a dedicated tutoring facility :)!
When are you available?
I am a rarity in that I am a dedicated full-time tutor. I tutor Monday - Thursdays 10 am (first tutorial) - 7pm (last tutorial). Friday is my work at home day. I also tutor every alternate Sunday afternoon (slots pretty much booked up in advance) and throughout the half-term, Christmas and Easter and International holidays - which is a fairly extended period due to the lengthy holidays offered by private and international schools. Hence there are not that many term-time weeks where I am forced to fit students in after school hours. Alevel students also usually prefer to be tutored in their free periods of afternoons/days off - if they are lucky enough! I and my co-tutors like the student to have a regular session - either weekly or fortnightly as I have found it maintains momentum. There is some flexibility to change slots occasionally - but please see details in the enrolment form provided regarding this. I won't overtutor a student as it only encourages the student to become dependent, and the job of a tutor is to develop a student to do it for themselves. During exam season, my timetable gets extremely busy and slots can get booked up many months in advance. however, I also need to distribute my available slots to all my students as when we start we need to committ to them. Therefore I wont reserve extra slots in advance. and so for AS & A2 level students needing late help, I am introducing a 2-day exam strategy, pitfalls & scientific communication workshop, based on past papers of all the major exam boards. I recommend having tutorials weekly or fortnightly in order to keep up the momentum. This information should also bring to your attention that exam season is not the best time to wait till to start working on your weaknesses! I advise you to start tuition earlier on, perhaps fortnightly, and then increase your tuition as you move towards examinations. I could make far better gains with my students the earlier they start with me. Even if it is just a few hours to begin with, as I get them to start implementing tehcniques from the start.i
Which ages and levels do you teach?
Mostly A-level and GCSE/IGCSE, IB students: so from ages 16-18, 14-16 and of course 11-13 for the 11+/13+ entrance exams. I occasionally agree to tutor students of a lower age whom are taking GCSEs/Alevels early. I am equally willing to help mature students.
Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
A-levels: AS & A2 level, GCSEs and IGCSEs, IB, BSc/MSc/PhD, University entrance exams eg UKCAT, GAMSAT etc, 11+/13+ common entrance, American SATS.
Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
Yes, my latest CRB check was conducted in the Summer of 2011 and I am happy to show my certification to pupils and parents alike.
Do you belong to any professional organisations?
There isn't yet a professional body for private tutors..though there is talk of it! :)
Where and with whom did you train?
I trained at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Tell me about some of your current students.
I only have students who really care about their studies - that is the most enjoyable bit about my job. It;s simple: if they are not bothered they never contact me! A common scenario is a top performing A*/A/B grade GCSE student starts to get C/D grades on their Chemistry A-level or other science subject - there is a massive gap between the two. There is no limit on grades for acceptance for tutoring: I have students starting with grade U up to grade A with me from across state, private and international schools. All of them develop, bit by bit. I have yet to have a student who hasn't increased their marks and grades. The lower a students grade, the more determined I am to get it up! :) Science A-levels in particular are very hard and it can take several resits to get those A/B grades. However, start earlier with me before exam season begins, and we should see greater improvements quicker - especially if you are planning to study medicine as some of these courses will no longer permit or favour resits at entrance. Latest results 2012: all my 2nd yr students got grade A/B, with one exception. All my frst year A-level students got at least a grade B in one of their units - all improved by at least 1-2 units in subsequent units. All my GCSE students got a min of 70% or above (grade A). = happy student + happy parents + happy tutor!
Do you have a personal message for students?
Put the extra work in now, will pay dividends later! You don't need extra stress of trying to understand things last minute before exams, or figuring out how to answer exam questions when you should be revising. Do it as you go along - and develop some independent study techniques throughout the year, such as reading before you attend classes, so you can keep up with your teachers. There is an easy way to a grade A!