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Why is verbal reasoning so important?

For anyone who sat, or has children sitting the 11+ exams as part of the UK school entrance procedure will have their own view on the relevance of these tests. But verbal reasoning is not only used for the 11+ it is also frequently used by employers to test the skills of their prospective employees.

What is verbal reasoning?

Verbal Reasoning is basically all about the way we think with words. It is a form of understanding and reasoning concepts based around words and language. It involves:

  • problem-solving around words
  • thinking about text
  • following written instructions and deciphering a solution
  • understanding letter sequences
  • decoding letter and number-based codes

Insert a letter, where you must find a letter that will fit onto the end of one word and the beginning of another to form two new words.

Find words that do not belong in a set group of words

Find words that have the same, similar or opposite meaning

Find hidden words within a sentence

Work out which number stands for which letter

Word corrections

Letter and number sequences

Reading information and analysis

Eg:

  1. If A=4 B=6 C=7 D=30 E= 13. What do C+A+E+B =

Answer = D (Simply add up the numbers represented by the letters and the answer is 30. This is represented by the letter D)

2. Gerry’s dad Mike is three times as old as Gerry was 2 years ago. If Gerry is 17 next year, how old is his dad?

Answer = 42 (If Gerry is 17 next year that would make him 16, meaning he was 14 two years ago. 14×3 = 42).

3. If the code for the word YACHT is BZXSG

What is the word for NLZGH?

Answer = MOATS (This is a simple matter of working out the relationship between the letters. You will notice that Y is to B as A is to Z and C is to X. You should now be able to spot that the first letter of the alphabet transforms to the last letter of the alphabet, the second letter to the second to last letter, the third letter to the third last letter and so on. In this way we are able to work out that the words NLZGH is actually MOATS. You can also check this as two of the letters in the first coded word are also in the second coded word, A and T, so you only have to work out the other three.)

4. Read the following passage and decide which statement is true.

On Saturday Olly, Jim and Christian like to go to the cinema. In the cinema Olly likes to buy popcorn and Jim always gets something to drink. Christian sometimes gets some sweets but will always get what Jim gets too.

A. The boys go to the cinema every Saturday.

B. Popcorn is the cheapest to buy.

C. Christian doesn’t have much money.

D. Christian always gets a drink.

E. Jim is the richest one.

The answer is D. (These questions are simply a matter of elimination and again, logic. The statement states clearly that Christian always gets what Jim gets and Jim always gets something to drink. Therefore the only answer that is certain is D).

5. AB is to CD

As EF is to =

Answer = GH (The letters are a continuation of each other in the alphabet)

6. Which number comes next in the sequence?

12 6 16 10 20 14 (?)

Answer = 24 (If you look at the numbers you will notice a pattern. Taking the first, third and fifth numbers they all progress by adding four each time. Then taking the second, fourth and sixth numbers also progress by adding four each time. Therefore the seventh number would just be four more that the fifth number).

Verbal reasoning is always based on logic. It is simply a matter of finding the sequence and following the trail of logic within it. Patterns are a great starting point.

The importance of verbal reasoning is important in a child’s academic life and their adult lives. Developing their verbal reasoning skills will allow them to become socially independent and succeed in thier professional life later on, Having verbal reasoning skills will allow your child to develop qualities such as perception, understanding and solving complicated subject questions, empathy and logical reasoning as well as ensuring they have a great vocabularly.

One of the best ways to encourage your child to develop their verbal reasoning skills is to encourage them to read. Reading will not only increase their vocabulary but they will learn to interpret workds and understand comprehension. Other ways to help your child develop their verbal reasoning skills are to: Play word games with them, encourage them to do word searches and crosswords, do spelling tests, to write stories, to improve their general knowledge with online quizzes and by playing detective games with them round the house.

Our tutors work with children to help them learn verbal reasoning skills, this is great addition to your child’s learning not just to pass 11+ exams but to give them skills to work out exam answers and problem solve all the way through their educational journey.

To conclude some children are naturally very good at verabl reasoning whilst others require more practice and a helping hand. Whatever the case, your child will need verbal reasoning throughout their school days and on into adulthood. Encourage your child to develop their verbal reasoning skills through games, trips and simple tasks at home. This will not only help them in the future but it is great fun as well.

If you enjoyed the sample questions above, why not check out our great selection of verbal reasoning resources. https://heatherharries.com/verbal-reasoning-resources/

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Everything you wanted to know about IB

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a two-year curriculum for high-achieving high school students. The IB Diploma Programme is the most widely offered IB program in the United States. 945 high schools are authorized to use and teach the IB diploma curriculum.

Why should I consider the IB Programme?

International Baccalaureate programs are offered and recognized worldwide. The idea is that students in a variety of different countries will learn the same curriculum during high school. When it comes time for students to apply for college, institutes of higher education will know exactly what an applicant’s high school curriculum entailed. They’ll also know that the student has met college entry requirements.

Within the United States alone, over 1,600 colleges have policies that recognize the IB coursework that students completed in high school. For some institutions, qualifying grades on IB exams are enough to bestow college credit, while at other institutions, qualifying grades may not provide credit but may allow students to skip ahead past introductory-level classes.

Classes are offered at two levels: standard level (150 hours of instruction) and higher level (240 hours of instruction). In a given year, students must take three or four higher-level classes, and the remainder must be standard level. The classes generally cover the same material, but higher-level classes may delve deeper into some of the covered topics or include topics that are beyond the scope of a standard-level class. For example, Language A: Literature at the standard level covers 10 literary works, while the higher level covers 13.

In addition to taking classes from the six core subjects, students are also required to complete three other requirements:

  • The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a course that requires students to reflect on what it really means to learn, how we as a human race learn, and how we know what we know. It culminates in a verbal presentation and a 1,600-word essay.
  • The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word essay on a self-directed research project. Students have the freedom to choose a topic that interests them, provided it is related to one of the six core subject areas.
  • Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is required but not graded. Students perform a variety of projects involving creative thinking, physical activity, and/or volunteer service. The IB curriculum intends for students to develop both inside and outside of school.

At the end of the school year students are subject to an exam period, during which they are tested over everything they’ve learned in each of their IB classes.

Exams are graded from 1 to 7, and exam grades for classes in the same subject area are averaged so that at the end of exams, students have a score ranging from 1-7 for each of the six subjects. These are added together to give an overall IB score. The TOK and the Extended Essay may add a combined 3 points to a student’s total score. The highest possible IB diploma score is 45, but students who earn at least 24 points, do not have any failing scores, complete the entire curriculum, and meet other eligibility requirements are granted an IB diploma. A score of 1 is a failing score; students with a 1 in any subject will not earn an IB diploma.

Does it make any difference in terms of university entrance?

The key element in a university application, is for the admissions tutor to be able to assess the level of academic attainment that the applicant has achieved to ensure that the university’s minimum criteria are met in the appropriate areas for a particular course of study.

The admissions tutor will also be seeking to understand how the applicant has grown in a wider sense and his or her developing attitudes towards independent learning, social responsibility, team work etc.

The beauty of the IB Diploma is that it covers all of these aspects and offers credit for them against clearly stated criteria for success in obtaining the diploma. Some argue that the IB Diploma requires the student to develop a stronger sense of time-management which is also considered good preparation for university study.

You can’t go past the most obvious point in the IB’s favour – the international aspect.

The IB Diploma Program is recognised by all leading universities, which instantly puts you on the world stage and contextualises your application.

Regardless of where you sit your IB exams, the results mean the same thing, and they’re understood by admissions officers.

However, it’s important to understand that recognition doesn’t necessary equate to value. and IB means more to US universities than it does to UK universities, so how much this “pro” weighs for you will depend on where you want to study.

13 Reasons Why Online Tutoring is the Best

13 Great Reasons To Invest in Online Tutoring

Even though the COVID pandemic played a major role in the prolific rise of the virtual classroom phenomenon, we are not unfamiliar with the fact that edtech has always had the potential to boom beyond limits.  

So when the coronavirus was crippling the education system all over the world, putting the future of students in a fix, online tutoring emerged as a silver lining, with many students, teachers, and parents placing their trust in the virtual tutoring setup. 

After more than a year of pandemic and students, parents, teachers and schools turning to digital learning, research done by CoSN in 2021 found that digitally prepared districts were able to leverage teacher collaboration during pandemic and were able to better support student learning needs while minimizing the learning gaps. Across the globe a huge percentage of schools and universities turned to digital learning last year and are continuing to use blended learning as an opportunity rather than a necessity borne of crisis.

Another research report released by Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University in July 2021 proves that students learning is equally effective and engaged in an online environment as it is face to face in a school classroom. But the underlying assumption is that students receive access to excellent quality instructions and have support from parents or caregivers.

So, it is fair to say that online tutoring is here to stay and so let’s take a look at some of the key benefits that students, teachers and parents can get out of online learning.

1. It helps bridge the learning and skill gaps

Think about times when you missed a school day due to sickness or other personal reasons or in other scenarios when you had to deal with summer learning loss and fear entering the class with low confidence.

Online tutoring can help in bridging the gaps and allow students to review concepts from the past year, current school year and feel confident going into the class again. No matter whether you’re heading back into the classroom, starting a new topic in school, or trying to make up for a missed class, online tutoring can help you along the way.

2. Provides guidance with school homework and college assignments

Up until 2019, pre covid time, our education system primarily involved the following three key participants in the process of teaching and learning – the students, the teachers, and the teaching material. 

But this mix, suddenly after the pandemic, had a new and dominant  player – the parents. 

But were they ready for it?

Of course there is no one answer to this question but there were multiple research studies released last year which showcased how overwhelmed and helpless parents felt when it came to education and learning for their children. For working parents who have demanding job roles and are busy with meetings and work related deadlines, added pressure of helping children with their learning needs caused unneeded pressure and stress.

Home work helpers and online tutoring provided a lot of benefits to parents and families. Anything from short informational summaries to providing full step – by -step solutions to students helped the student get the correct guidance, gain confidence, look good in class but also at a personal level can help build a stronger parent-child relationship leading to overall happiness and mental satisfaction.

3. Leads to better retention and engagement

Although hard to believe, it’s now proven by multiple researchers that lessons conducted through video delivers high engagement with students leading to improved levels of information retention when compared to the traditional classroom lectures.

In April 2018, The Journal of Cognitive Research published a study showcasing the results of an experiment that was conducted on high school seniors on a complex subject like biology. The experiment included teaching the students through a variety of teaching styles including videos and lectures and post each teaching session the students were required to take a test on the information just taught in the class.

The results of the experiment showcased that video lessons proved to be the most helpful for students when measured in terms of content retention and engagement. 

Most of the online tutoring companies offer a variety of video learning resources which students can use for learning and gaining clarity of complex concepts. Online tutors are available 24/7 and students can subscribe to a video resource anytime.

4. Indulges students in an active learning process

Each student is different, their knowledge levels, style of learning etc are all different and it is very critical to understand these subtle differences and offer right guidance in early childhood to encourage brain development.

Education consultants who have worked on the topic of dealing with early childhood education and concepts of brain development and she believes that, a correct mentoring and quality instructions can help a child play a crucial role in first making the child feel safe and supported and then once the child is out of the operating defensive or out of fear mode he or she can think from a calm mind. By using a calm mind a child can then start to use the top part of the brain and indulge in an active learning process with the mentor, tutor or coach.

5. Boosts a child’s confidence and morale.

A few simple ways through online tutoring can help build the self esteem in a child are:

  1. Providing a platform and personalized setting for the child to feel heard and safe. In no way they should feel that taking after school help or guidance is any indication on their ability to learn or be as soon as their peers.
  2. Online tutoring platforms can help break the school curriculum into smaller milestones & goals based on their knowledge levels, make a plan to achieve those milestones and celebrate small and big achievements to give the experience of success rather than failure. 

Because in the end there is nothing more important or meaningful than bringing up emotionally balanced, healthy and happy minds.

6. Results in improved test scores for students

Test scores are not just mere numbers; they indicate a lot of what might be going right or wrong. Bad test scores could be an indication that your child is probably falling behind in class and needs guidance and mentoring.

All the above five things discussed in the article so far work together to deliver on the test reports. If your child has no learning gaps, she/he understands the homework questions and solutions in detail, has been learning actively and feeling emotionally supported then there is nothing that can come in between your child and the A+ grades.

7. Highlight a child’s strengths and weaknesses

Each child is unique and one must appreciate each child as an individual. This means that the way they learn and process information is also going to be slightly different. In school, teachers are limited by the time and curriculum and hence need to teach in a particular style and at a particular pace. School teachers can’t give the attention and focus to each student in class for the same reasons.

That’s where the after school online tutoring programs can be helpful. Not only will the child be able to get one-on-one attention but they can raise their hands without any hesitation. Online tutoring platforms like Heatherharries.com also provide learning style and knowledge assessments to check the skill level of a student which can highlight if your student needs additional support.

8. Help parents & teachers be better tuned on child’s progress

Based on an initial assessment tutors at HeatherHarries set goals with the student and tailor the pace of teaching based on the student’s needs. At each milestone, the teachers take time to tak to the parents informing them about their child’s progress. This way parents aren’t just better informed about the value of online tutoring for their child but they can take this information and communicate with the school teachers more confidently and help prove any resources needed to improve their child’s grades in class.

Therefore setting predefined goals before starting regular online tutoring and checking your progress from time to time can be instrumental in delivering impactful results.

9. Provides more time for extra curricula’s & personality development

Another benefit of online tutoring is that it helps you save time. First, the student is not struggling to fight the homework battles alone or spending time looking for free online unreliable resources. Second is that online classes can be attended within the comfort of your home. Not only does one escape the hassle of commuting but online tutoring also can be used by students as per their schedule and requirements. In fact, with the help of online tutoring platforms, teaching can happen anywhere and anytime. What a productive way of gathering knowledge on the go!

The coolest thing is that it is so flexible. It doesn’t matter if you are an early bird or a night owl. Just schedule a session when you are ready to learn.

Schedule a session at your convenience since e-learning allows you to manage your calendar. It can help you handle your workload while prioritizing your time. Opening up more space for extra curricular activities and play time which is essential for a healthy brain development.

10. Reduces the risk of dropping out from school or college

In the United States, the overall dropout rate for undergraduate college students is anywhere between 35-40%. A large portion of the dropouts comes from college freshmen dropping out before their sophomore year. Therefore it is important to understand things that can help avoid this from happening.

When all of the above things start to happen and a child starts to see the results of the investment then it’s not just about scoring good grades then the child starts to fall in love with the process of learning and hence the chances of dropping out from school or college reduce significantly.

11. Motivate you to learn more & advance your skill set

According to Madelyn Swift’s book, Getting it Right with Children, the basic psychological needs are to feel lovable and to feel capable. Once students start to feel that they are capable then automatically they are pushed to the state of being “self-motivated” to study and get good grades. This reduces the stress on parents that now they don’t have to constantly push their children to study and understand its importance.

Also young ones these days are tech-geeks. You might find the conventional way of studying a tad bit boring. But edtech has revived and renewed the way a student learns. The newer methods keep them motivated and intrigued to learn more. You will not want to run away from your studies. Instead, you sit to study with full zeal and curiosity.

12. Be the foundation for a successful career after college

Last on our list but one of the most important factors is to be able to live a happy life which means one needs to know how to own his/her life, make correct choices and respond to situations appropriately, and to avoid becoming victims by own lack of knowledge, skills or understanding.

After college, one tends to spend half of his/her life in an office or at work which means that a happy life is very closely related to a job and career. Assuming that a student makes it to a dream college or university and goes on to find employment in the field of their study then the chance of job satisfaction is higher. 

13. Not all teachers are born equal.

You don’t get to choose your classroom teacher, but with online tutition you can choose the teacher that really suits you, at Heatherharries.com we match you with the perfect teacher for your learning needs and then go one step further to find one that is a great match for your personality, this means that you will actively look forward to yoour lessons and this positive mindset will influence the way that you learn – positively.

Therefore investing in an excellent online tutoring platform that supports a child from the early childhood time and can deliver life long results in different forms at different stages in life. By now, we hope our readers are convinced that these 12 reasons are good enough to believe that online tutoring is the best.

Does my Child Really Need a Tutor?

We believe that every child deserves to have the best possible education. Unfortunately, lots of schools are now starting to struggle due to a combination of the effects of COVID, budget cuts and growing class sizes.

Parents are now starting to turn to private tutoring for their kids, in order to give them the boost they need and the grades they deserve.

Tutoring provides a wide range of benefits for your child. If you’re still not sure whether a tutor is your best option, then maybe this article will help.

1) Learn the basics

The biggest reason that kids struggle at school is that they never fully mastered the basics. Imagine if you had to learn algebra when you were still trying to get to grips with basic multiplication. It would be almost impossible!

Schools can’t work on the basics forever. They have to quickly move on to other, more advanced topics in order to get through everything on the syllabus. This is usually why kids are left behind. If you get 50% in your exams we call this a pass, but in reality you only know 50% of the content. This means that as learning is a journey where new subjects are built on prior knowledge moving forward to new topics can be really challenging for many students.

This is where tutoring comes in handy.

A tutor can fill any gaps in your child’s knowledge, even if that means going back to square one. If your child needs to recap the basics, then they can.

This will give your child the basic understand they need so they can catch up with the rest of their class.

2) Prioritise your child

Class sizes are growing fast. As more schools struggle to meet payments, it’s becoming harder and harder to cater for the sheer number of pupils in any one class. Years ago 18 was considered the maximum class size today it is nearer 28. Nothing has changed, still one teacher, except there is more content and pressure to get through the syllabus.

That’s not good for your child. The lower the pupil-to-teacher ratio the better. In a class of 18 kids, your child gets a 18th of the teacher’s time and attention. In a class of 28, that drops to a 28th.

Even then that assumes the teacher’s time is shared equally. Generally, the highest performing students will get the least amount of support from a teacher with the worst performing pupils getting the most help, this means that many students are missing out on the support they need.

The reality is that the pupils in the middle, who struggle with specific topics, won’t get as much attention. A tutor, can change that and provide the attention your child needs. 

Lessons are done on a one-on-one basis, which means every single lesson is focused on the exact areas your child struggles with and support can quickly scaffold and ensure success is achieved quickly.

3) Better focus and concentration

A lot of children simply aren’t suited to a classroom. They get bored and restless, and they wind up disrupting their own learning, and that of their classmates. They may even get into trouble.

With tutoring, however, your child is in a one-on-one situation. This means there are no distractions. They can’t talk to their friends, they can’t fiddle with their pens. They have to focus completely on their tutor.

Your child will also be learning somewhere they are familiar with, at a time to suit them. If they concentrate better in a less formal environment, like a kitchen or living room, then they can learn there. If they are more productive in the early morning before the school day starts, then they can learn then.

It’s important that your child can focus. At school, their attention can wander and their learning will suffer as a result. 

Tutoring ensures they will be fully focused on the lesson, and they’ll end up making far more progress.

4) Loving learning

Struggling at school is extremely demoralising for any child. They’ll be embarrassed because they don’t know as much as their classmates, and they may feel stupid as a result. They’ll be frustrated at not being able to do the work.

Their confidence will start to slump, and as their self-esteem plummets, they’ll become resigned to the fact that they aren’t clever enough for school. It can be hard to recover from that, and they may adopt that attitude for the rest of their life.

Tutoring can steer your child away from that downwards slope, and set your child on the right path.

As they progress with tutoring, their work will start to improve. Slowly but surely they’ll achieve the grades they wanted. They’ll stop feeling embarrassed at school.

In turn they’ll grow increasingly confident. They’ll recognise that hard work and determination pays off and they’ll ultimately learn to love learning. This attitude will serve them well for the rest of their life!

5) Beyond the syllabus

If your child is especially talented at a certain subject, then they’re likely going to become increasingly bored with their lessons. Their teacher has to go at the pace of the class, and will have to stick to the curriculum.

Tutoring is usually seen as a way of helping those who are struggling, but it can also be a good form of teaching for those who are doing really well.

Learning should really continue outside of school, stretching beyond the syllabus. If your child is genuinely passionate about a certain subject, but feels they need to learn more than they do at school, then a tutor can help them develop their passion further.

If, for example, your child is studying GCSE Physics, but is already predicted a high grade, tutoring can help prepare them for A-Level and provide them with a head start.

It’s important to develop your child’s love for a subject before they give up on it and their passion dies out. Tutoring can help you do that.

Find a Tutor Today

Tutoring can turn your child’s life around. It can help struggling kids get a better grasp of the basics, help them to tune in and focus, and help them start a love affair with learning. 

If you would like more information on how tutoring can benefit your child, please fill in the form below and have a chat to our team.

Writer’s Block

Prevent moan and groan when you ask your child to compose sentences or invent stories.

Writing is, of course, a critical skill for children to learn and is intricately tied to reading, which for many children is equally painful. It is a central part of the elementary-school curriculum — not just in language arts but in social studies, science, and even math. And yet there are many children who simply don’t take to writing. Far from being a natural and enjoyable process for these kids, writing can feel overwhelming, tortuous, and downright painful.

What’s should you do as a parent?
As a parent, you may be at a loss as to how to help your child get out of the writing rut. For many children it is all about visualisation and breaking the task down. A whole story is a massive mountain to climb, so break it down to one character, what so they look like, what do they enjoy, what are they about to do next. One small step is a massive one for your child as the story will unfold more easily with the help of visual prompts, do they have blonde hair, so they like running?

This “step by step” philosophy is shared by many teachers and writing experts as a useful tool for helping reluctant writers. That first step can simply mean breaking down a seemingly monumental task into smaller, more manageable parts.

Writing Prompts and Other Upsetting Assignments
A widely used tool in many school systems around the country is the writing prompt, also called a story starter. The idea is to jumpstart the writing process by providing a beginning point. Some examples might be “Last weekend I . . .” or “My summer vacation was . . .”

Yet the writing prompt assignment still strikes fear in the hearts of many struggling writers. The problem with many of the prompts, say teachers and parents, is that they are often vague and can still feel too big to kids. If a writing prompt begins generally, children can narrow it down with specifics, thereby making it seem smaller and less daunting. Take, for example, the prompt, “Write about something unusual that happened to you.” 

  • Ask your child: Do you want to write about something funny that happened? Something embarrassing? Scary?
  • Then ask where this funny thing took place. Was it at school? At home? On the playground?
  • Next, you might ask who else was there, if anyone. Friends? A teacher? A pet?

In this way, your children can progressively narrow the pyramid to a more manageable size.

Always make writing fun, tell them to use ambitious words and try to always write what you think. So many children think of an idea and then shorten it so that they have less stress when it actually comes to putting pen to paper.

I love the book it inspires to children to really enjoy embellishing their descriptions and takes some of the pain away to start with. There are all kinds of categories from people to places, and as you can see below can help really uplevel work.

As with any work your child is doing always make it fun. If your child could do with some additional creativity why not enrole them in our creative writing classes. Amazing for year 8 year to 12 year old and you will see their english marks shoot up as a result.

Are you A Logophile?

The English language is packed full of over 170,000 interesting words. Despite this fact, the average person uses and knows only 12,000 of them. Just think of that figure – we use only 8% of the words available in our potential vocabulary!

This is why students may often need help with their essays and papers with services and pay for research paper. If you are looking to expand your vocabulary, make your conversations brilliant and take a new perspective on life, maybe these words can help.

Here area some interesting and aesthetically pleasing words that could change the way you think. Whatever the level of understanding, these words will provoke deep thought and broaden your horizons:

1. Intellectualized

To intellectualize something is to give it an intellectual character. This word can make us think about our own intellect. It can also prompt us to look at things in a different light.

2. Hubris

Hubris is a fantastic word that can mean an exaggerated sense of self-worth and an over-confidence that borders on arrogance. Consider your own hubris – maybe you are arrogant? Maybe you lack confidence and self-worth? Whichever way, use the word to better yourself.

3. Lollygag

This has to be the best word in the world! Who wouldn’t want to lollygag? This word means to spend your time in a lazy way. We should all lollygag from time to time to prevent stress and relax.

4. Fugacious

Fugacious is a superb word that means fleeting. Many things in life are fugacious. What matters is that you make the most of every moment of your life as we are fugacious by nature – every second we live could be our last as life can be fleeting indeed.

5. Loquacious

Do you ever feel like the things you say are not interesting to anyone else but yourself? If so, you could be loquacious. Basically, you talk a great deal, and when you talk, it is about things that interest you! Don’t be loquacious – consider others and their own interests and feelings.

6. Schadenfreude

If you have ever experienced happiness or pleasure at the pain and misfortune of others, then you may call yourself a schadenfreude. This is something that we should all refrain from doing – taking pleasure in another human beings failure can only lead to self-loathing and bad karma.

7. Quixotic

Have you heard of the character of Don Quixote? This is where the word quixotic comes from, and it means to be overly optimistic. In today’s modern world full of despair and doom we need people like this. Being quixotic may not be realistic, but it can bring happiness and optimism to others.

8. Logophile

A Logophile is someone who has a love of words. This word was created from the Greek terms of Logos and Phile, and it is rarely used in modern language. Would you consider yourself to be a lover of words? If not, maybe you could improve your vocabulary as suggested in this article? Maybe you could become a logophile and improve your studies with your new found love.

9. Serendipity

Serendipity means to have a chance occurrence/event that results in your benefit. When considering this word, think about all those chance events you have experienced – did they bring you good fortune? Furthermore, remember that not everything in your life has to be planned – chance and luck can be a good thing! 

10. Panoramic

Panoramic is essentially a wide or sweeping view. This term is often used in photography. We can create epic panoramas of beautiful landscapes. But could we not also use panoramic and panorama as a metaphor to broaden our mind and horizons? There you have it – 15 awesome and interesting words that can broaden your mind and potentially change the way you think. Why not expand your own vocabulary today and see what fantastic and unusual words you can pluck out of the dictionary?

Words and the use of them is so important – why not sign your children up to our class

USING AMBITIOUS VOCABULARY https://heatherharries.com/writing-classes/

Exams are back!

OFQUAL has announced the return of exams, how ready are your students.

Ofqual’s plans for GCSEs and A levels in 2022

1. Grades will be lower than in 2020, but higher than 2019

Ofqual announced today that grade distributions will be pitched at a midway point between pre-pandemic levels of 2019 and results in 2021.

They will be lower than both years when teacher assessment was used in 2020 and 2021 following the cancellation of exams, but higher than those for the 2019 cohort.

2. Ofqual aims to get back to pre-pandemic grading levels in two steps

Chief regulator Jo Saxton said Ofqual’s “aim is to return to a pre-pandemic grade profile”.

But she adds that “we don’t think it would be fair on 2022’s students to do it all in one go, given the disruption they have experienced”.

“We will aim, therefore, to return in broadly two steps.”

Dr Saxton says exam boards will use prior attainment data as a starting point to align subject standards, as in any other year, and that these will be based on an average of the 2019 and 2021 results for each subject.

3. No new top grade in 2023

Ofqual said there would be no new top grade at A level in 2023, with the aim instead to return grading distributions to pre-pandemic levels at this point.

Ofqual said there will be no grading scale changes in 2023. 

4. Exam mitigations for 2022

If exams do go ahead as planned, GCSE English literature, history, ancient history and geography students will have a choice of topics in their exam.

For other subjects where optionality is not available, students will have advance notice of exam topics to focus their revision by no later than 7 February 2022. In the event of further disruption to schooling caused by the pandemic, this information could be released earlier.

In GCSE maths, students will be provided with formulae sheets, and they will be able to use equation sheets in GCSE physics and combined science. 

The same adaptations will be available for GCSE maths and English language in the autumn series next year.

For students sitting the autumn series 2021, the grading standard will mirror the results profile of this summer. 

5. Teachers should think about 2019 results when predicting Ucas grades

Teachers are advised to use the 2019 grading profile when predicting Ucas university admissions grades this year – but to bump up borderline students to the higher grade.

“Teachers this term will be predicting the grades their students will receive in summer 2022 for use on their higher education applications,” Dr Saxton said.

6. Results days are back to normal

Results days will be held over two weeks as usual, with A-level results released on 18 August and GCSEs on 25 August. 

This year both set of exams results were announced in the space of three days in the same week.

Why BTECs are a great option.

BTEC qualifications are rising in popularity and increasing numbers of universities are accepting them. Their flexibility means that they can be studied alongside or instead of A-Levels and they adopt a more practical approach to learning.

But is BTEC right for you? Despite now having a small exam element, it’s still a great alternative to A-Levels.

From this September all schools and colleges in the UK are moving to a new BTEC Business specification – which includes a small exam element – in place of the old, exam-free specification. But is this new version still a genuine alternative to A-Levels? The answer is a definite “yes”. Even more so as the assessment criteria validates the quality better than ever before.

The new BTEC Business has only one formal exam, which accounts for just 11% of the final mark; in contrast, most A-Levels are 100% exam based.  So BTEC is still ideal for students who want an alternative to traditional exams. There are also two or three controlled/supervised assessments (depending on the size of BTEC you are studying) – these are assignments completed in three hours in the classroom using pre-released material. All the remaining units are assessed by the teachers through coursework, so it’s still very different from A-Levels.

How specialised do you want your studies to be? A-Level qualifications require a student to split their time between three different subjects; with BTEC Business, you can achieve an equivalent qualification through focusing on different areas of just one subject. You can take the 4-unit BTEC Business Extended Certificate (equal to one A-Level), 8-unit Diploma (two A-Levels) or 13-unit Extended Diploma (three A-Levels), and achieve the equivalent number of UCAS points.

Why else is BTEC a good alternative to A-Levels? A-Levels focus on academic theory and apply it to exam questions.  With BTEC, the theory is applied to real business situations, e.g. carrying out your own market research, looking at starting your business, organising an actual business event and developing a marketing campaign. The programme includes study trips to see how real businesses operate, which gives students a great opportunity to think about where they would like to work in the future.

While is it, without doubt, many schools are catching up on getting the right team members in place to effectively deliver BTECs, the style of learning is a great preparation for college and the work world due to its very practical knowledge application.

Many schools in the UK offer the BTEC Business Diploma (equal to two A-Levels) as a one-year intensive course. This is an exciting alternative to A-Level retakes or for students who want to change after one year of A-Levels but need a one-year course.  A Diploma is also an option for those looking for those extra UCAS points to get into a great university. Students (aged 16) can take the two-year Extended Diploma (equal to three A-Levels) and carry on at school with their friends even if traditional A Levels would not be a natural choice.

Often parents are worried that universities won’t accept BTEC.  In fact, over 95% of UK universities accept BTEC, particularly the Extended Diploma or Diploma with an A-Level (BTEC Plus). It is becoming more common for students doing BTECS to receive offers from Russell Group universities to study Law, Management, Politics and Economics. Universities recognise the range of skills that BTEC gives students, including independent research, time management, analysis and evaluation.

So if you are hard-working, motivated and looking for a genuine and internationally-respected alternative to A-Levels, BTEC Business could be the right solution for you. If you would like to talk about options and which schools offer them here, we are of course available to help guide you to make the right decisions.

University Entrance – the dreaded personal statement

The personal statement is a crucial part of university applications in the UK. It’s your chance to show what makes you unique, besides your birth name and UCAS ID. In just 4,000 characters you have to convince your chosen university that you are the best applicant, and that they should make you an offer immediately. These 4,000 characters are your only chance, so your personal statement needs to be good. Really good. Here are some tips on how to write a truly outstanding piece. At the end you should have said why you want to study this course, what led you to this decision and your achievements to date that evidence you as an achiever, team player and above all completer. (Remember the universities in the UK only get all their Government funding on your place if you actually complete the course and graduate). So where do you start?

1. Make a draft without a character counter.

Write freely, do not worry about the character counter, you are doing a draft and you will delete a lot of words and ideas on the second draft.

2. Take your time.

Do not rush it. A superb personal statement will not be ready in a couple of hours. Or even a couple of days. It took is likely to take more than a month to complete the best version. Sometimes it’s worth taking a break for a few days, then coming back to it afresh.

3. Find the perfect words and expressions.

It sounds more professional and elegant if you use ‘accomplish’ rather than ‘do’, or ‘presume’ rather than ‘think’, but try not to use too many fancy words as this could make your statement sound overdone and it will be difficult to read.

4. Concentrate on your strengths.

In these 4,000 characters you are trying to sell yourself to the university. A perfect product proposer is all about how great that thing is, and it’s the same with your personal statement. You should write about your experiences, your knowledge and your future plans. You should NOT write, “I wanted to learn Spanish but I gave it up after a week” or “I am not very good at maths, but I think this is understandable since I hate it so much.”

5. Find the perfect opening sentence.

Try starting with something interesting, unusual or surprising as will give a good first impression and make the admissions team want to read more as well as make it stand out. Just make sure it is relevant. You may be an award winner in some discipline and that is great, it might not be relevant to your course, but it will still show that you commit and work hard.

6. Make it your own work, voice and ideas.

Try not to read any other personal statements before writing the first few drafts of yours. It will simply give you a false idea. You are most definitely unique, and it is worthless to follow some set rules or patterns, or someone else’s ideas. After all, this is about you, not somebody else.

7. Be honest.

Do not write that you are fluent in Spanish if you can only say “I love you” in Spanish. Do not write that you are good at problem-solving if your sole example is a trick of carrying five bottles in one hand. If you are good, you are good the way you are. There is no need to create a false image, and indeed the truth will always come out sooner or later.

8. Get someone to proofread your statement.

Your parents, your teachers, your friends, your enemies… The more people you show it to, the more feedback you will get, and the better the final version will be. Of course, some advice will be better and some less so, but it is easier to ask many people first, and differentiate later.

9. Read it out loud many times.

It helped me a lot when I read my personal statement out to my family and friends. When you are writing it sentence by sentence, you might not realize that there is no cohesion between your paragraphs. But when you read it out, all the vague parts will magically appear, so you can correct them.

10. Once you submit your university application, stop reading it!

Waiting to hear from universities is the worst part of the whole process (even worse than completing the application form…). After you get the offer you wanted (which you will surely get!), you will know that your application was just perfect the way you sent it.

To sum up, be yourself and write honestly about your experiences. Use your own voice, because that is who you are, and the universities you are interested in. Most schools and many independent organisations will help you.

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