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.


When french mathematician Laurent Schwartz was in High school, he started to worry that he wasn’t smart enough to solve math problems. Still, he went on to win Fields Medal, the highest award in mathematics.

Some students have a similar feeling. They sit down to take math tests and feel their heart beating faster and butterflies in their stomach. It may be happening with your students too.

There are many reasons why a child may struggle with his/her self confidence. It happens more often in subjects like mathematics which are generally considered to be brainy and tough.

Why is Self-confidence Important?

In today’s world, there is no place for those who lack self-confidence. Self-confident people can judge their position in any environment, be it their schools, workplaces, or the community where they live.

They use confidence as a ladder to improve their position and excel in whatever they do.

People can grow and succeed only if they live in a positive atmosphere where they receive constructive feedback.

However, if people live in a demotivating environment where they are constantly compared to others, never rewarded for their efforts, and seldom encouraged to do something outstanding, their self-confidence is hampered. 

Children are our future, so it is imperative to educate them well and guide them on the right path.

  • Every child must be helped to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Children should be taught to speak confidently and with dignity.
  • Children should learn to be honest with themselves and others.
  • Children need to develop a positive outlook on life.
  • It is essential to make them believe that they can improvise themselves in order to achieve the things they want, faster and easier, thereby enjoying life.
Why Do Children Struggle with Math Confidence?

Struggling with maths can affect a child’s overall self-esteem and social life. Maths anxiety causes poor Maths performance and also evokes maths anxiety.

Without a strong mathematical foundation, students experience maths failures and it embarrasses them.

It has been observed that generally, students develop a negative attitude towards Math from their family members or peers who have fear of Math.

Students may also dislike the subject if they have insensitive maths teachers. If children find an answer to their ‘why’ and ‘how’ related to various mathematical concepts, they develop a proper conceptual understanding of the subject.

Developing a mathematical mindset is critical for every child. Solving any real-life problems requires an analytical and mathematical mindset which in turn will set up a child for lifelong success.

What makes maths difficult for children?

When we start maths with children it is a very visual process – 1 block equals the number 1 If I have 5 apples and I take 3 away how many will I have, and the principles are good, but what if the child never really understands that the number 1 actually equals 1 unit! As they move through their maths they will remember their number bonds but this basic understanding of the value of the number remains unsecured. As long as a child stays in KS1 and KS2 the maths is pretty visual and the child can make an attempt at it, but when it comes to their times tables this is where we can see the first real evidence that the number itself has no meaning. When education relied on rote learning there was less obvious evidence of this, but in todays mapped out exploratory learning pathways, understanding the meaning of numbers is critical.

If a child is showing cracks in their maths early on in primary school then when they get to year 6 and moving into year 7 we will really see maths becoming a major problem as maths moves away from any visualization at this point. Have you ever looked at your child’s maths to see if they really understand the difference between hundreds, tens and units?

If they are showing signs of struggling with maths now, it is really important to implement intervention early before they lose their confidence and becoming good at maths slips out of their grasp. Out of all the subjects a child studies maths is actually the easiest as it is always right or wrong, it has a set of clear rules to reach the answer and is never subjective.

Mathematical proficiency has five strands:

  1. Understanding: Comprehending mathematical concepts, operations, and relations—knowing what mathematical symbols, diagrams, and procedures mean.
  2. Computing: Carrying out mathematical procedures, such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately.
  3. Applying: Being able to formulate problems mathematically and to devise strategies for solving them using concepts and procedures appropriately.
  4. Reasoning: Using logic to explain and justify a solution to a problem or to extend from something known to something not yet known.
  5. Engaging: Seeing mathematics as sensible, useful, and doable—if you work at it—and being willing to do the work.

The most important feature of mathematical proficiency is that these five strands are interwoven and interdependent.

If your child is struggling with their maths, speak to us to support them now. Our team has really made a difference to so many children in achieving maths proficiency.


To support students and teachers preparing for GCSE and A-Level exams in 2022, the exam boards are required to provide “advance information” for most subjects.


If you’re taking GCSE or A-Level exams in the summer of 2022, then you need to know about something called ADVANCE INFORMATION. It’s been a really tough time recently for students – particularly the current Year 11s and Year 13s, who have never sat public exams before. So, to help students whose education has been disrupted during the pandemic, the government have told exam boards to provide some special exam guidance to teachers and students for 2022. This guidance is called ADVANCE INFORMATION.

The purpose of Advance Information is to help communicate to students and teachers SOME, but not all of the aspects of the GCSE and A-Level specifications that will be assessed in the 2022 exam papers. And we stress SOME, not ALL. So why is advance information being provided? Well, as it stands, for nearly all GCSE & A-Level exams in 2022, there won’t be any changes, or modifications to the usual structure of the papers. There are a few subjects where there will be changes. But for most, NO CHANGE For example, they’ll be no changes to how many papers you sit, how many questions are set, how many marks for each, and how your answers are assessed! Now, in many ways that’s a good thing – since the exam papers you will sit will look just like the ones that have been using to practice. So, you’ll be able to use past papers really effectively – they’re a great way to get used to the question format AND DEVELOP YOUR EXAM TECHNIQUE.

Instead, Advance Information is intended to help you focus some, BUT NOT ALL your revision on some key topic areas and themes. So, how’s it going to work? Well each exam board will provide Advance Information in different ways, and it will also vary by subject! The exam boards are required to publish the Advance Information for all of your subjects by 7 February 2022. Now this is important! Advance Information is intended to SUPPORT your revision and to help your teachers structure their lessons once the course specification has been completed and your are into revision mode.

Advance Information is NOT DESIGNED to tell you which questions will appear in the exam papers! The exam boards have to make sure that the Advance Information does not allow students to ‘QUESTION SPOT and use pre-prepared and memorized answers! So, WHEN should Advance Information be used? Well, you’ll be able to use it as soon as it is released. Once the information is available, you’ll be able to see, along with your teachers, which parts of your specification are worth the most focus But, don’t forget, Advance Information won’t necessarily be the same. For some of your subjects, you might be told what the topic focus for the high mark or high tariff questions might be. If your subject has quantitative skills, like Economics , Business Psychology or Geography, you might be told which quantitative skills, or which research methods will be examined. The key will be to listen to your teachers and take their advice on how best to respond to the advance information for your subject and exam board And of course all our subject teams will be looking at how we can help you make the most from advance information.

Why I should revise for my GCSE English exam

Many students find GCSE English Language a difficult subject because they feel that they can’t revise for an English exam.  The key to understanding any English exam is to fully understand what the assessment objectives are and how to achieve them through your answers. Once you understand this format you will be well on your way to getting a high grade in your English Language GCSE. The article below is going to unravel what each assessment objective is and how to achieve it through your answers.

Success in GCSE English Language is all about understanding the assessment objectives like the back of your hand. You need to know what they really mean and how you can work with them when you answer your exam question.

AO1 – is all about how you extract information from the text

AO2 – focuses on analyzing language and structure

AO3 – wants you to show that you can compare and contrast texts

AO4 –  requires an in depth evaluation of the text

AO5 – measures your creative writing

AO6 – is all about your vocabulary and grammar.

So let’s look at each of these objectives:

  1. Understanding AO1 is the difference between getting an 8 and 9 – it is the simplest assessment objective and is used in the questions below on your paper. It isn’t a high number of marks but these few marks can make a difference between an 8 and a 9.

This is used in the following papers

AQA: Paper 1, question 1 & Paper 2, questions 1 and 2

Edexcel: Paper 1, questions 1 & 2; Paper 2, Questions 1 & 4

To achieve AO1 you have to read the given texts and extract the information that is relevant to the question. You don’t have to provide in-depth analysis you just need to show evidence so the question is pretty straight forward.

Common mistakes: Don’t give overly long quotations. You only need to include the relevant words or phrases otherwise it looks like you are being vague and not and you don’t really know which information to extract. E.g. if a metaphor has been used to describe something, do not write the whole metaphor out again, just say what it is actually describing. So is a writer describer pterodactyls as ‘flying tents’ if you wrote that they were ‘flying tents’ you wouldn’t get the mark. If the questions says explain you can’t just use the quote as you need to explain what it means. Always take time to ready the question properly.

  • AO2 for GCSE English is all about taking examples of language and structure from a the extract and analyzing their effect. Nearly all schools use an anacronym P.E.E which simply means Point, Evidence, Explain. To achieve the higher grades you have to look beyond the surface meaning of the text which is hard. You could use the following questions to help you when you are analyzing a text:

WHY did the writer use this specific word?

WHAT is the writer trying to convey?

HOW does this make the reader feel?

What are the connotations of this language?

Does the structure reflect the content of the extract?

Is the writer making a reference and why are they doing this?

This will be used in

AQA: Paper 1, question 2 and 3 and Paper 2, question 3

Edexcel: Paper 1, question 3 and Paper 2, questions 2, 3, & 5.

Common mistakes to avoid when answering AO2 questions is giving surface level analysis and forgetting to comment on language and structure, or using standard phrases like “creates an image”

  • To nail that grade 9, AO3 is very important, you will need to look for similarities and differences across two pieces of texts. You should try and write an equal number for both texts to show a balanced piece of work. You need to try and work variety into your comparisons, so try not to over analyze adjectives in each example. Use these questions to help you when compare and contrast two pieces of text:

What is the writer trying to convey?

How is the tone different or similar?

Do the writes use particular literary techniques and what is their purpose?

How will the readers interpret the text?

What emotion is the writer trying to create and how do they do this?

This will be used in the following questions:

AQA: Paper 2, question 4

Edexcel: Paper 2, question 7b

  • Understanding AO4 is almost as essential as AO3 in your English Language Exams with AO4 question you will be given a statement relating to the extract and you need to give a response and state how far you agree with it. (Edexcel you will have to evaluate if the writers aim was achieved). These questions are all worth 15 marks or more so it is really important that you know how to answer them if you want to get a 9 in your exam.

There are 2 main things to evaluate; you need to assess the source in relation to the statement and consider the writers methods. If you follow your P.E.E structure, what the source shows and how it links to the statement will be your point but you still need to evaluate it after your example. The writers method will be your evidence and then you must evaluate it,

With these questions there aren’t any rules on what methods you can analyse, meaning there are lots to choose from, so it can be really beneficial to make a mind map when you are revising all the different literary techniques.

This will be assessed in the following papers:

AQA: Paper 1, question 4,

Edexcel: Paper 1, Question 4 and Paper 2, Question 6

  • Don’t neglect AO5 as this the assessment objective for the creative writing task.  The creative writing part of the English Language exam is hugely important and is worth half the marks on the paper (Edexcel paper 2 AO5 makes up 24 of those marks). Creative writing can be daunting for some as there is now no extract to follow, its whatever you decide to write about but with the correct practice and preparation the creative writing questions will be a lot easier to tackle. There are many techniques to use for creative writing so if you are really struggling think about texts you have analyzed in your class already and the creative skills that they have used. It is important to use structural techniques as well as language if you want to push your marks up. Students who get the highest grades in their exams will have to be able to craft a piece that will get a response from the reader. You will need the examiner to be able to see clearly what you done so try and achieve this with language techniques like pathetic fallacy or hyperbole.

The exam papers that will include these questions are:

AQA – Paper 1, question 5, Paper 2, question 5

Edexcel: Paper 1, Question 5 or 6 and Paper 2, Question 8 and 9

  • AO6 is the assessment objective for the creative writing questions and it assesses the candidates range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect with accurate spelling and punctuation.

This mark is dedicated to your vocabulary and grammar and is worth 16 marks in your final creative writing question. So, to get your grade up this mark is essential. A useful tip is write down the various forms of punctuation and tick them off as you use them, ensure you use as many as possible. Try and boost your vocabulary, use a few long words. Try and use words you can spell as you don’t want to lose marks for poor spelling.

This will be assessed in the following questions:

AQA – Paper 1, question 5, Paper 2, question 5

Edexcel: Paper 1, Question 5 or 6 and Paper 2, Question 8 and 9

Why is non verbal reasoning important?

Non-Verbal Reasoning is not generally taught in schools. In fact there’s very little to actually teach as it is not an academic subject.

For most parents the 11-Plus, Non-Verbal Reasoning is the stuff of nightmares! The main problem is that children will not have been taught the subject in class time at primary school and it is highly likely that parents have never been taught it either.

Non-Verbal Reasoning tests for the Eleven Plus are akin to intelligent tests and some of the questions presented to the 10-year-olds would be a challenge even to Mensa members.

This type of test is meant to help determine the innate ability of children and thereby assess their suitability for secondary education at a fast pace. The tests are designed to be tutor-proof – a somewhat clumsy term often used in the world of education to imply that it is difficult to prepare children for the type of question they will be faced with.

Non-Verbal reasoning tests were designed to try and differentiate between children from diverse educational backgrounds. To make the point in an extreme way the idea was that the same test could identify potential when given to a child from a very good educational background or a child who has had very little education. The tests deliberately use very little English so no real comprehension ability is needed to understand what to do.

In practice of course no test is perfect and Non-Verbal Reasoning tests are useful in helping to identify potential but are never used exclusively. Schools also want to make sure that children have very solid core Maths and English skills because otherwise they simply cannot progress well at their chosen secondary school.

So Non-Verbal Reasoning is used in combination with other test forms.

What’s included in Non-Verbal Reasoning tests for children

The essence of Non-Verbal Reasoning is that it tests a child’s logic and observational skills by giving them collections of shapes and patterns; they then might need to find the odd one out, or two shapes which are most similar to each other or to find a missing shape in a series from options given. Children need no particular Maths or English skills to answer the questions although an awareness of shapes symmetry and reflection is useful.

One hope for the designers of Non-Verbal reasoning tests was that they could not be coached for. In fact as in all tests some preparation does help, although because there are no core skills to learn (vocabulary or times tables for instance) preparation is of limited use.

Non-Verbal Reasoning preparation overview

The best results are delivered by doing some work to understand the different question types and then doing some example questions and papers. The largest improvement can be made by improving speed and accuracy, understanding what is required is the easy part. Most tests differentiate children through the sheer number of questions they ask rather than the difficulty level. Most families find that their children can score very highly in rapid time. However families also find their children reach a plateau which is difficult to overcome.

Here’s an example of a easy question:


Which shape is most unlike the others?

 Answer D – In all the other figures the black shape is in front of the white shape


When trying to spot patterns one of the things I recommend is to count the number of sides, lines or shapes presented to see if there’s a link.

2) Look at how the first two figures are changed, and then work out which option would look like the third figure if you changed it in the same way:

NVR Counting

Answer C – The number of sides of the white shape becomes the number of points on the black shape. The number of small lines becomes the number of sides of the white shape.


If a question has arrows in it the first thing I would recommend is to look for a pattern in the direction that they are pointing.

3) Which shape is most unlike the others? 

D – because the arrow is pointing away from the circle. All the other shapes the arrow is pointing towards from the circle

Shading & Line types:

Always look for a pattern in how the lines and shading may change.

4) Look at how the first two figures are changed, and then work out which option would look like the third figure if you changed it in the same way:

Answer D – The large and small shapes swap shadings. The outline of the large shape becomes dashed.

Order & Position:

Check to see how a shape is positioned in relation to the other shapes.

5) Look at how the first two figures are changed, and then work out which option would look like the third figure if you changed it in the same way:

Answer D – The shape at the back moves to the front and the shape at the front moves to the back. The two shapes at the top swap shading.


It will make life easier if you know what a 45 degree and 90 degree rotation looks like. Also, when a shape is rotated, check the direction, whether it’s been rotated clockwise or anti-clockwise could be the key to the correct answer. The direction is irrelevant for a 180 degree rotation.

 6) Work out which option would look like the figure on the left if it was rotated:

Answer A – The figure is rotated 180 degrees. Option B has been rotated and reflected. In option C, two of the arrows are the wrong length. In option D, the diamond is missing and two of the arrowheads are wrong.


Imagine placing a mirror where the line (mirror line) is drawn. What would the object look like when peering into the mirror? Initially, you could use a small mirror when working on reflections as a learning aid.

7) Work out which option would like the figure on the left if it was reflected over the vertical line. 

Answer A – Option D looks almost identical, but the white rectangle is smaller than the original shape. Option B the black arrow has moved to the front of the rectangle and in option C, the black arrow is in the original position and has not been reflected.


This relates to the position of shapes either in front of or behind another shape.

8) The first figure below is changed in some way to become the second. Choose the figure on the right that relates to the third figure in the same way that the second relates to the first. 

B – The top and bottom shapes disappear leaving the middle circle. The stripes from the top shape move to the bottom and the checks from the bottom shape move to the top.


You can see with a glance that option A cannot be a rotation of the shape on the left, therefore, eliminate it and I would recommend crossing it out. When pressed for time, and believe me they will be, it’s easy for the brain to become frazzled and confused when confronted with several options. So, cross out the options that are incorrect so that there’s less to consider and you won’t have to give it a second glance or five! 

9) Work out which option would look like the figure on the left if it was rotated:

Answer C – Option D is a reflection.

What’s our approach to NVR?

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, which is  why we use the following method:

  • We take time to demonstrate what they should be looking for. For example, shapes, counting, rotations, pointing, elimination, etc. 
  • Students will then practise this skill before moving onto the next.
  • Once this process is complete we will then practise questions that are a combination of the areas below, as they are now in a stronger position to answer these correctly.  

Stuck choosing a story – have a look at our selection of classic books for under 5s.

So many parents stress about when to start reading to their children, what should they read and my reply is always the same, something fun and simple and read it again and again.

Reading is a gift and children who read and are read to, are time and time again, proved to be better academically, this is probably not even needed to be researched it is obvious. Reading allows you to see different perspective, stretch your imagination as you go on all kinds of glorious adventures into the unknown.

For children to enjoy reading it is so important to stretch them beyond the school reading schemes. Here are a few examples of books that I have loved sharing with my children when they were under 5.

This age group love rhythmic words with lots of sounds and simple short sentences. If there is any actions these are also really popular, the choice of books is endless but the more we read to children the more they will learn to love words, quiet, fun times with mum and develop a desire to read to themselves. I make no apologies for this selection being an old classic list of stories.

A favourite with every child has to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, this has certainly stood the test of time, the lovely story is educational and entertaining. This classic picture book with bright, collage-style illustrations has been enjoyed by generations of children for over 50 years and has lost none of its appeal. Little fingers will love to follow the tiny caterpillar through the holes he leaves and to anticipate what he’s going to eat next as the page size increases with his appetite.

And with opportunities to learn colours, numbers and days of the week, this is certainly one of the best picture books ever.

A similar book that has been through so many generations is Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell this lift-the-flap, board-book format has been a favourite with toddlers ever since it was first published in 1982.

As you lift the flaps in search of an ideal pet, a host of different zoo animals will be revealed, until the right pet is finally discovered. Simple, stylish and highly interactive, this book invites constant re-reading. The sturdy flaps are perfect for small fingers to lift, and children will still love this book when they are ready to start school.

The Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd have always been popular with children as hilarious rhyming story follows Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, as he sets off for a walk in town, followed by a whole host of canine friends. Then they meet the toughest tom cat in town, Scarface Claw… 

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy is the first in the classic children’s series, originally published over 30 years ago. Written and illustrated by New Zealander Lynley Dodd, the book has delighted generations and can be enjoyed time and again by children and adults alike. The book trust have a lovely interactive link to this book https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/have-some-fun/storybooks-and-games/hairy-maclary/

A list of books for this age group cannot be complete without including Julia Donaldson’s book The Gruffalo. In this much-loved picture book, a little mouse walks through the woods and encounters a fox, an owl and a snake.

To fend them off, he tells each about the scary Gruffalo – but when the mouse actually encounters the Gruffalo himself, he cleverly invents another tale and manages to escape from danger yet again.

Blending a suspenseful story with a rhyming text and wonderful illustrations, this is the perfect interactive picture book – and a deserving family favorite.

Another old classic has to be Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, Babies may be born in different countries, look a little different and have different needs, but one thing that most have in common are ten fingers and ten toes. This is the uniting theme of this perfect first book for sharing. From the swaddled newborn, to children sitting alone, then crawling together, and then standing, the illustrations show babies born all over the world in the country and cities, all with irresistibly chubby fingers and toes.

This book provides a great opportunity for readers to interact with baby whilst reading aloud – and when the tale turns to the baby that is ‘mine, all mine’ and supplies a final, surprise extension to the ‘ten little toes’ rhyme, the opportunity for bonding is made perfect. Accompanied by Helen Oxenbury’s lovely illustrations, this is a charming book that is perfect for little ones.

I can’t complete a list for this age group without including Sam McBratney’s book, Guess how much I love you.

Little Hare and his daddy compare how much they love each other: Little Hare loves his daddy as far as he can reach, but daddy has longer arms. Little Hare loves daddy as far as the river, and then, as he gets sleepy, he tells him he loves him up to the moon. And when he sleeps, daddy whispers ‘I love you to the moon and back’.

This modern classic is a wonderful story about love between a child and a parent, which is never too early to share with your baby. The repetitive text lends itself perfectly to a soothing bedtime read, and the loving message is perfect for bonding with your baby.

The list is endless but the most important part is to enjoy reading together.

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


  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/

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.

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