Why use a tutor ? 

Advice given in many areas by schools and Admission Authorities is that preparation for tests is unnecessary, the argument being that these papers test innate ability and therefore they cannot be “taught”.

Many parents take this advice at face value. However, various studies show the opposite to be the case. e.g Bunting and Mooney , 2004, Northern Ireland. A summary stated that “coaching by tutors can significantly boost attainment in the Eleven Plus exams. Five hundred students were asked to complete a number of tests – with some given tuition beforehand. Just three hours of extra help was shown to have a significant effect on attainment – and this effect became substantial after nine months of tutoring”.

So, it seems that tutoring can and does have an effect on the outcome of the test. It provides increased familiarity with the question types and allows the child to practise the techniques needed to solve them, in much the same way as doing a Sudoku puzzle or long division sum, it becomes easier the more frequently you complete it. As seems logical, the speed with which tests are completed increases too. 

Where tests also comprise English or Maths papers, the case for tutoring depends on the quality of your child’s current teacher, their current level of attainment and whether they are undertaking tasks in school that are similar to those set in the exam. 

Although it is possible to prepare your own child for exams, many parents choose to employ a tutor instead for various reasons. Some parents are too busy to commit the time, while others feel that they do not have the right skills. Many parents (I used an external tutor for my children too) feel that their child simply won’t respond as well to a parent coaching them with a strong likelihood of friction. 

Regular tutoring sessions can also help to motivate a child, provide a clear structure to the process and help to reduce the stresses and strains between parent and child. With a good tutor preparing them for the tests, your child should approach the exam with increased confidence.

Another benefits of tutoring is on the general quality of your child's work in English and Maths. This should not be underestimated. To concentrate on the basics at this important stage prior to secondary school, whether grammar or not, can have a marked effect on the performance and  confidence at a time when many children are quite vulnerable.  It also enables children to make a good impression and a strong start in classes where setting may take place.