Building confidence for exam success

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13+ exam (Common Entrance) By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: 13+ exam (Common Entrance)
Last updated: 01/05/2017
Tags: 13+ exam (common entrance), common entrance, entrance exams, scholarship

Families have approached me from around the world for general advice on tuition for public schools examinations, particularly the Eton King's Scholarship in the arts subjects. Over this period, I have also learned more and more about the process and pressures that children - and parents - are going through, particularly at the application and pretest stages. To assist with this, I draw on and share my own educational experience between the ages of ten and twelve. I had some physical challenges to overcome, as well as having mild special educational needs. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I draw on some of the negativity of that period to create something positive for my tutees.

A large part of my tuition is about instilling confidence and motivation, and fostering the capacity to conquer adversities and develop what I call ‘grit’. A tutor is there to support and encourage as well as to test the child. That, combined with providing the learning skills that they need to study independently at their respective upper schools after Common Entrance, is what enables them to succeed. At the heart of this lies the ability to build rapport, so that you can focus in on areas of weakness and reconcile issues quickly without the child feeling undermined or discouraged.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of reading to children on this journey. They should be reading and keeping up the pace of their reading. Reading for at least thirty minutes per day or at the very least ten pages per day. They do not have to read just fiction books; I have also recommended The Week Junior for instance. The choice of how they read is there too, whether hard-copy or on electronic device. It is worth noting that even an audio book or listening to the news can be part of this process. Finding the right reading list with many books to choose from is important too. It also makes children more aware of what others their own age are reading. Fostering a love of reading improves vocabulary and structure which extends to so many areas of study and exam technique.

The time to prepare for exams is critical and they must realise that some sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve goals. We as tutors should aim to be role models for those we teach in this regard. Introducing other role models, perhaps from the school that the child is aiming for, is a good motivator. So for the Eton scholarship, Bear Grylls would be a great example. An old Etonian, ex-SAS, explorer and Chief Scout, he is a role model who inspires young people to be more determined and able to tackle adversities and that hard work and effort is rewarded. For me, the mark of success is to see children becoming able to study for themselves, and show confidence in what they are doing. Seeing others do well is the ultimate reward for me, and that is the reason I find tutoring so attractive.

Adam Muckle Classics Tutor (South West London)

About The Author

Initially tutoring the Classical languages, I now specialise in tutoring, motivating, instilling confidence in 10 to 13 year olds to become independent learners, in preparation for pre-tests and scholarships to the top British Independent Schools.

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