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Courses or tuition for A* at GCSE

(49 Posts)
Dreamgirl1000 Thu 20-Apr-17 09:29:51

I would be very grateful for any advise and comment on tuition centres or GCSE courses in or near London.
My Dd will be taking hers next year and needs to achieve as many A* as possible.
I have studied abroad and am not very familiar with the system and exams here. Your help will be appreciated.

TeenAndTween Thu 20-Apr-17 09:35:21

Sorry this isn't going to be all that helpful, feel free to ignore.

Next year they will be numbers not A*
If you are pushing her to achieve all 9s then that would be very unfair.

Why does she need such high grades, and why do you think she won't be able to achieve them herself with support from the school?

What are her current predictions?

London is a big place, if you posted your general area you may find some people with local recommendations.

LadyPenelope68 Thu 20-Apr-17 09:41:05

Why is it so important that she needs such high grades at GCSE and why you think this can't be achieved with support from school?

Dreamgirl1000 Thu 20-Apr-17 10:10:28

She wants to go to a Medical school, so 9s in most subjects are advisory.

YogaPants2441 Thu 20-Apr-17 12:21:20

You can find a tutor in your area on the following websites:

We found our tutor from tutorhunt and she will work with both of my DC until GSCEs.

I also would like them to have high grades too.

titchy Thu 20-Apr-17 13:04:28

9s in most subjects are NOT advisory at all. 7s and 8s, yes, 9s, no.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 20-Apr-17 13:08:13

To be fair most medics will be naturally academic and bright and if she needs to have extra tuition to get to that grade at GCSE then will be she bright enough to get the grades she'd need at A level.

If she is bright and you just want to give her the best shot at doing well then that is a bit different. where is currently at school though? Will they not be supporting her efforts if she truly is a possible medicine candidate?

TeenAndTween Thu 20-Apr-17 13:12:41

I also think there is a difference between focussed tutoring for 1 or 2 subjects to reach that top grade / just pass or somewhere in between, and blanket tutoring 'to get top grades'.

You can't realistically tutor everything so you need to think which subjects you want to focus on.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 20-Apr-17 13:15:02

I agree with TeenandTween concentrate on the sciences and maths if she wants to go into medicine.

Dreamgirl1000 Thu 20-Apr-17 15:35:00

Most courses concentrate on the core subjects anyway.
There are far too many of them though in London. There are online ones, residential ones, revision ones....
This is why I would be grateful if anyone shares their knowledge and experience on the matter.
Up to now, one needed at least seven to eight A*s to secure a place in a top medical school. I do not think that a 7 is enough to get you in.

titchy Thu 20-Apr-17 15:47:01

Up to now, one needed at least seven to eight Astars to secure a place in a top medical school.

Where did you get that information from? Given that a 9 is higher than the current A star I can guarantee you won't need any 9s at all.

And top medical school - you need to work out the best medical school for your child, one that fits their learning style, academics, pre-test profile and work experience - there is no such thing as a top medical school. They all lead to the same qualification and employability.

BossWitch Thu 20-Apr-17 15:50:26

No one in education is anticipating individual students getting numerous grade 9s, OP. The 9 grade is essentially A* as you are likely to need 98-100% to get it. So put the thought of 9s out of your head. The whole point of that new grade was to differentiate between the bright and hardworking who grafted their way to an a* (possibly with the help of a tutor) and the stunningly bright who could have hit the a* on a bad day, half asleep.

If you are aiming for medicine you will need 7s and 8s, with 8s in maths and sciences. You should concentrate any tuition on these. However, I would also say that if your dc needs to be tutored that extensively, they are unlikely to be medicine material. Gcses are the easy bit. A levels are harder, and will need to be passed at all a*. Plus she'll need to have done extensive outside reading in the field, plus some kind of meaningful work experience or volunteering, plus she'll need to impress at the interview which is less likely to happen if you've needed all that extra tuition just to get that same grades as all the other people interviewing for the same place.

Not meaning to piss on your chips OP, but I've taught a lot of kids who were determined (as were their parents) that they were going to be doctors, and they just weren't clever enough. They were tutored and they worked their socks off but even with the right gcses and the predicted As at a level, the unis saw straight through them, and they got no offers.

BossWitch Thu 20-Apr-17 15:53:11

That should say 9 is essentially A triple star, not worked when I used the * symbol!

Dreamgirl1000 Thu 20-Apr-17 15:54:20

Up to now, I only received one answer to my question. Thank you VanillaLatte13!
I was only asking about tuition centres or courses, not about my daughter's or her school's abilities or about the admission criteria of the Medical schools.

BossWitch Thu 20-Apr-17 16:03:31

That's because you asked a question on a public forum to people who are in no way obliged to give you the answer you wanted!

I'd point out that the balance of replies might indicate something important, but that would be pointless as it wouldn't be the exact information you are looking for.

Next time, just try Google.

MaisyPops Thu 20-Apr-17 16:14:27

Pushing her for all 9s would be tough and stressful. 9s are norm referenced anyway so what it takes to get a 9 will vary year on year.

In essence, no tutor can reliably say they know what will get a 9 and be genuine. Remember, students are sitting exams in 8 weeks in maths/English and they're still playing around with what a pass will look like.
Next year English/maths will have a vague idea what it'll look like but all other subjects won't have a clue (they'll be where we are now) so any tutor claiming they can teach to a 9 is just lying.

Honestly, I'd have a chat with your child's teacher. Explain that you'd like them to be stretched towards the top end specifically. A very able student would be able to get an 8/9 off the back of working hard in class, doing their homework to a high standard and revising well. In the case of my subject (English), what makes the difference is how well-read the child is. The students who make the more perceptive points and write well are the ones who read a range of challenging material. A tutor can't teach that.

I'm very much of the opinion that bright children can do very well without being hot-housed by pushy parents.

Clonakilty Thu 20-Apr-17 16:32:50

According to the government only 2 students in the country will get straight 9s anyway.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 20-Apr-17 17:41:35

Clonakilty - that stat has been revised now to about 180

JustRichmal Thu 20-Apr-17 17:54:44

I thought GCSEs just tested what level a student had attained, not whether they had got there by excellent education, natural brightness or their own hard graft. Education will never be a level playing field. Some will have been educated in classes of 30+, some in classes of 15 or fewer and some 121. OP, if you think this is money well spent on your child's future, spend it.

My dd uses CGP books and does a lot of exam papers closer to exam. It is no use just reading, they have to do example questions, or mindmaps or something with the information for it to go in. You could give this a go if you did think a tutor too much.

MaisyPops Thu 20-Apr-17 20:25:09

I know it doesn't say how they got that grade.
I'm just saying that a child who is "bright" enough to be getting to med school will probably be able to get it by grafting themselves and doing what is asked of them.In that case the tutor may be a stressful path to go down for them and places undue pressure on the child (every year I see kids crippled with anxiety caused by pressure from homr).

Generally I find the biggest gains with tutors are in the middle ability bands.

Also just pointing out to the OP that nobody knows what a 9 will be like so any tutor claiming to know is simply making it up.

Tutor if you like. But be aware what you're signing up for.

Dreamgirl1000 Thu 20-Apr-17 21:42:08

I don't think she needs one to one tutoring but perhaps a revision class will give her some extra reassurance and confidence that she is on the right path. She does not get stressed by exams, on the contrary, she always likes to go an 'extra mile' when preparing. I know you guys will say: 'Let her study at home, it is enough', but sometimes changing the settings, the point of view, method, a different teacher etc..., clears the head and does help.

MaisyPops Fri 21-Apr-17 07:26:16

I think we just differ on what we mean by the extra mile.
In my subject there are some funny questions and most teachers will teach the questions in a set way.
Child goes to a tutor and gets told different advice.
Then child returns claiming school are teaching it 'wrong'..neither are wrong as such (many ways to skin a cat) but that child now has conflicting advice, potentially mxes strategies up etc which is more stressful than then just using the advice from school.

Tutors can be good in my subject for discussing the literature texts and working on writing skills. But I dislike it when they undermine the techniques I'm teaching in school.
At the end of the day, I'm judged on these results so when kids come back saying "but tutor said..." it's like they take their £30 and aren't held accountable for the outcome. Then I see on their websites they claim they have X% pass rate! They don't. They aren't teaching the kids 8-10 hours a fortnight.

I'm very cautious with tutors and I don't think enough parents are aware of the challenges required to use a tutor well. Where it's worked well, parents and I have chatted about it and I've made suggested areas for the tutor to develop.

I'd just get them a space in a coffee shop or local library for a change of scene. Maybe invite friends round to do some together.

sheepskinshrug Fri 21-Apr-17 07:58:14

The brightest students don't always make the best Doctors! I knew too many people who choose Medicine because they could get the grades - their people skills were shit though, I thought Med schools were trying to change the way the selected to weed out these types. I think if your dd want to go to med school then support her as much as you can.

RoseAndRose Fri 21-Apr-17 08:04:40

I find you (usually) get better answers on MN than on google.

And where the thread goes as well can be interesting (though I suspect in this case, it's not going to be hugely useful to OP).

I really don't think there's anything wrong with asking for reviews (whether positive or negative) for a service that'll return hundreds of hits if you just google it. MNers are usually helpful.

(But I can't be, as I don't have any experience in this. I just wanted to say that I think that asking for reviews is OK on MN, and I hope you do get some more)

sashh Fri 21-Apr-17 08:13:56

What are her predicted grades? It might be best to start there.

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