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GCSE science tutor - when to start?

(17 Posts)
hanette Thu 30-Apr-15 20:18:41

Hi my DS is in year 10. He's taken triple science and is finding it harder and harder as this term is progressing. He got a C today in a test and has come home disappointed.

I have been suggesting to him that we get a tutor but he has resisted in the past - he's now agreed he'd like the help

So - do I find someone straight away? Or wait til September at the start of year 11 as there are no continuous assessments this year.

The exam boards are Edexcel and AQA - are these common?

Also would one tutor teach all 3 subjects?

Thanks in advance

TranquilityofSolitude Thu 30-Apr-15 20:28:09

It depends what kind of help he needs, but my DD uses Tassomai which claims to guarantee A grades in science GCSEs. It's an online programme which asks multiple choice questions and sets targets etc. It's quite expensive and rather demanding but might be worth a try?

LynetteScavo Thu 30-Apr-15 20:35:01

Is he struggling equally with all three sciences?

If he's disappointed with a C does he usually score higher? I don't think a C in Y 11 is disastrous. I would see what his grades are at the end of the summer term and go from there.

GasLIghtShining Thu 30-Apr-15 20:36:38

My DD had tuition for maths. I feel I left it too late when she started n Y11, She was having 2 hours a week to catch up. I was lucky that the tutor was cheap so it was costing us the same for the 2 hours as it was costing others for one hour.

I would strongly recommend asking around and getting a recommendation. Although out tutor was cheap he was excellent and came highly recommended and several of her peers used him

LIZS Thu 30-Apr-15 20:37:26

Could he take double instead? He'd still study all 3 but can use the next year to consolidate rather than try to learn new subject matter.

hanette Thu 30-Apr-15 20:47:03

Many thanks for the replies. I'll definitely look at the online course. Don't mind whatever expense with reason at the moment

I wonder about dropping to two as well, but he seems to be determined to do all three and get better. He's getting Bs in the other two. Last year when it was one subject he was doing really well so I think the move up to this level has been a bit of a shock for him!

hanette Thu 30-Apr-15 20:58:01

Hi Tranquility - Tassomai looks v interesting. I can't find any prices on the website, do you mind me asking how much it costs?

LIZS Thu 30-Apr-15 21:06:50

But double is still all 3 subjects, you just get 2 gcse grades not 3. Unless he wants to pursue science long term it may be a good option.

hanette Thu 30-Apr-15 21:12:30

Ah right! I didn't realise that - go les that work? They do all three subjects but to a lower level?

hanette Thu 30-Apr-15 21:13:08

*how does!

MagratGarlik Thu 30-Apr-15 23:16:09

I'd suggest looking around as soon as the current exam season is out of the way (so, from mid-June onwards), then it gives the summer holidays with maybe a session every couple of weeks to help him get to grips with the subject without pressure.

Whether you will get one tutor to cover all three sciences will depend. I do cover all three sciences at GCSE, but some of my other tutors (who are qualified teachers) will only over one or two of the sciences for triple. It depends on the individual tutor. Ask around parents at school to find someone, or many of my students come directly from students discussing tutor details amongst themselves, which would also help him feel he has chosen the person.

If you can't find someone by recommendation, ask for references, ask to see qualifications, ask to see enhanced DBS checks. Checking tutors are registered with The Tutors Association is a good place to start, as all tutors who are members have signed up to a code of ethics and it gives an independent body who can handle complaints etc, should a dispute arise. I also welcome parents sitting in for sessions if they want, so they can see for themselves how things go.

PurpleDaisies Thu 30-Apr-15 23:22:20

Science tutor here! I obviously have a vested interest but I would say that no online course is as good as sitting down with someone and talking through concepts that don't make sense. Lots of students really struggle with getting their understanding into a form which scores lots of marks in exams. A good tutor can tailor things exactly to where your son needs the most help. Starting earlier is miles better. Lots of topics build on others so if you're behind to start with it only gets worse. I often pick up people late into year 11 when there just isn't time to cover everything properly. I do all three subjects but it depends on the individual tutor's level of geekiness!

Your son sounds like a perfect candidate...being motivated to get to do well is the most important factor in how well tutoring will work. It sounds like it would be a shame for him to lose a gcse when he's keen to try. If you ask around at school you can probably get a recommendation.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

hanette Fri 01-May-15 07:16:22

Hi - thanks Purple and Magrat, v helpful

Whyjustwhy Fri 01-May-15 07:22:01

My dd has a tutor who covers both maths and the 3 sciences. I agree that an hours 1 to 1 with the opportunity for dd to ask questions is of far more value than online course would be (for her)

HeidiVodka Fri 01-May-15 10:47:53

DD has a tutor who is a Maths & Science tutor. DD was tutored on and off through Yr 10 and then more structured tutoring through Yr 11 mainly in science.
Tutoring has helped her, despite her being an able student, in a couple of ways:-
1. She is able to ask for explanations that she wouldn't otherwise be able to in class.
2. She has been given valuable help with exam technique - in that she now knows what phrases to crowbar into certain answers. What the examiners are looking for and where to focus for extra marks.
To be fair her school is now doing revision sessions which are covering point 2, but we are now less than 2 months away from the final exams.

As triple science is examined at the end of Yr11 over 6 exams, I would suggest from DDs experience to look for a tutor now and book them to start after the current GCSEs finish. Encourage your DS to work with the tutor over the summer to cover any gaps in P/C/B 1, 2 and 3 and possibly any gaps in maths techniques. (I'm not suggesting full on, spending full days cramming - just gentle confidence building and ensuring that all of the bases are covered and he has a firm foundation to start Yr11 iyswim).

Then he can start Yr11 confident and ready to tackle modules 4,5 and 6.
I would then consider tutoring weekly as, in our experience the teachers run out of time in Yr11 as they have to cover 9 modules plus the controlled assessments. The CA can take up an enormous amount of time ( and student angst.

I hope this helps, good luck!

TeenAndTween Fri 01-May-15 12:16:23

OP - as you seem a bit hazy on double v triple science GCSE.

Double Science - 2 GCSEs (Core and Additional)
6 papers & 2 practicals:
Physics1, Chemistry1, Biology1, practical coursework (core)
and Physics2, chemistry2, Biology2, practical coursework (Additional)

Triple Science 3 GCSEs (Either Core, Additional, Further, OR more likely Physics, Chemistry, Biology)
9 papers and 3 practicals: what you had for the double plus paper3s in each science and another practical coursework.

So double science gets you to about 2/3rds the level in each science that triple would.

Is triple taking an extra Option block compared with double, or is it 'accelerated' ? (if accelerated may be easier to drop down a set than if it is a whole option). There is a lot of content in Double, and at DD's school the accelerated goes very fast and some self teaching is needed. I think they may have even now dropped the accelerated option.

If he might want to do any science A levels then worth persevering with triple, otherwise double is OK. Physics 2 gets quite mathsy, so I would expect Physics3 to get even more so.

Speaking as someone with Physics A level, I think double is quite sufficient for a solid background in science for everyday life.

Last science GCSE exam will be around 19th June or earlier so tutors busy with y11 will become free then.

You do have the appropriate science revision guides for his board, don't you?

hanette Fri 01-May-15 13:54:59

Hey thanks everyone, that's really helpful - much appreciated. Also for the clarification re: triple/double - he's doing Chemistry Biology and Physics as separate subjects but clearly I need to ask him more!

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