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When should you start preparing for the selective school test?

We help hundreds of students prepare for the selective school exam and one of the most common questions we get from parents is ‘When should I start preparing my child for the selective school test?’

There is really no correct answer to this question and it ultimately comes down to you and your child.

To help get a bit more clarity I ask these 3 questions:

1. How badly do you want them to get in to a selective school?

Selective school entry is fiercely competitive and we help students as young as third grade prepare for the exam. For many parents, selective school is the only option – and so they want to begin as early as possible to ensure they secure a place. For others, it isn’t a big deal and they have back up options – so preparation is a lot less important. You need to ask yourself how important it is to you that they get in to a selective high school – and if it is very important you need to start ASAP.

2. What does your budget allow?

A good preparation program with an experienced tutor is really a requirement these days. If you let your child just do it on their own they will be significantly disadvantaged come exam time. Many parents say they want their child to get in on natural ability which is totally admirable, however they will be competing against thousands of other students that work with a tutor a number of times a week for months or even years in advance.

This will naturally cost money, so you need to decide on the investment you are willing to make. Many parents view selective schools as an alternative to private schools – and when you view it like this, budgeting for a tutor for 12 months or more is still a fraction of the price you will pay at private school.

3. How much can your child handle at this time?

The selective school test is designed to discriminate heavily against even the brightest of students. If your child is not in the top 10% of their class, they are going to be running an uphill battle towards selective school entry. I am not at all saying it can’t be done if they are outside the 10%, but it will be a lot of work and they will need to start well in advance.

You also need to consider all the other things your child does during the week; sports, music, playtime and regular school homework. Selective school test preparation will have to eat in to something, so you need to ensure your child has the capacity and ability to handle it.

Naturally the real answer to that question is as soon as possible – because the more preparation they put in, the more likely they are to succeed in the selective school test. It is a very difficult exam, and the students that are the most successful are those that have put in ample preparation and can walk in there with confidence and peace that they know what to do with every question they encounter.

We support students of all ages prepare for the selective school exam. If you are looking for an effective preparation program that has been tested and proven on thousands of students over 10 years please get in touch today to discuss how we can help your child.

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Why you should get a maths tutor for your child

We’re wrapping up another year and with it, another semester. Energy is running low and if your child has been struggling in any subjects, it will be apparent by now. Odds are one of these subjects is mathematics. Even at the end of a year, it isn’t too late to get a math tutor. In fact, it may even be the perfect time to catch up and prepare for the next school year.

Wondering why you should get a math tutor for your child? Here are ten reasons:

It builds a strong mathematics foundation
Math builds on itself. If you don’t have a thorough understanding of the simple topics, you will struggle with the ones that are built up upon them. It’s a great idea to get a math tutor to build a strong mathematics foundation in the first place so that your child won’t struggle as much later on.

It offers individualised help
In a classroom setting, teachers are unable to offer the same individualised help as a tutor can. Every child has a different learning style and learning speed. A tutor will learn your child’s learning style and the pace at which they learn. They will ensure that your child learns according to their needs.

It boosts your child’s self-esteem
It isn’t uncommon for kids to have low levels of confidence because of their lack of understanding in math class. Many say they feel stupid or less smart than their friends. With tutoring, your child will have a better understanding of mathematics. As they see the results of their hard work reveal itself in class, their self-esteem will be improved.

It allows advanced learners to build up their strengths
Tutoring isn’t just for kids who are struggling to keep up. Children who find mathematics a breeze can be challenged by a tutor. They can build up their strengths and even get started on math that is beyond what they are learning at school.

It brings math to the real world
Tutors acknowledge the importance of common core mathematics. They can help kids understand the relevance of math in the real world so that they don’t feel that what they’re learning is a waste.

It eases transitions
Change can be hard. If your child is shifting to a new class with a different maths teacher, they may need some help with the transition. Tutors can help them catch up with what their peers have learned and get started with the math topics in the new class.

It provides a judgment-free space to learn
Kids often hesitate to ask questions in class for fear of judgment from their peers. Private tutoring allows them to ask whatever questions they like without feeling like they are being judged.

It keeps math skills fresh
Long summer breaks are great for relaxing and stepping back from academics a bit. However, it’s easy for math skills to slip away or weaken during that time. Tutoring will keep them fresh and ready for the new school year.

It improves test scores
Maths test marks will naturally improve with the help of tutoring.

It reduces homework stress

Mathematics requires practice. This means homework. Too many kids get incredibly stressed over their math homework, finding it difficult to keep up. A math tutor can help them with their homework and make the process less painful.

Maths tutors are incredibly important people who can do a lot to help your child. Don’t wait until your child is really struggling to take action. Get a head start on preparing for the next semester by partnering with an Alchemy maths tutor today!

7 ways to prepare for the HSC

The HSC is a stressful time for the whole family, and it needs to be approached with the right mindset. Without having a clear idea of how to study for it, a student can become disoriented and overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done. If you fear that this might be the case for your child, this article is perfect for you. Here’s our guide to studying for the HSC exams and how to prepare for it mentally and physically.

1. Start Early
There are a lot of things that need to be reviewed, and the amount of information can quickly be overwhelming. It’s a much better idea to digest a small amount of data for a longer period of time than to rush it all at once. This is why it’s a good idea to start studying early so that you have more time to go through all of it.

2. Make A Study Plan
To effectively study for the HSC, you need a clear direction on what you need to do and what you should be focusing on at that time. This way, you’ll never feel lost and out of control, both of which are leading causes of HSC-anxiety. It will also ensure that you will be able to manage your time much more effectively which will prevent you from wasting your time on less important areas. 

During these study sessions, you’ll need to cut yourself off from distractions which will ensure you take in much more information than if you were to study with a mixed schedule.

3. Organise Your Notes
It’s true that the most effective way to study for an exam is by taking and organising your own notes. The problem is when you have too many of them, it can quickly become too much to handle. To avoid this issue, you need to arrange all of your notes by subjects and dates so that they don’t get mixed up. You’ll find that you have a lot more time to do things when you don’t have to fumble through stacks and stacks of notes just to find the one that you’re looking for.

4. Set Up A Study Space
Having a dedicated space to study for an exam will help you stay focused throughout the entire session. If you do everything in your bedroom, the vibe of being in your own room can make you less motivated to study. You need to find a place where you can focus on your studies throughout the session, as this will help you to take in more information.

5. Pace Yourself
Study breaks are important. You need to pace yourself when studying to avoid burning out and failing to take in information. If you need some extra motivation for your studies, you can set a goal to work towards and reward yourself accordingly. Make sure that you’re not rushing through a study session just to get to the reward at the end of the session. The point of a reward is to give yourself a break in between sessions and to prevent burnouts. Also, make sure you get enough sleep each night, as that will affect your ability to learn.

6. Take Practice Tests
A practice exam will give you an idea about what you should focus on. It’s true that the exam questions change every year, but the format usually doesn’t. You need to familiarise yourself with the format of the HSC exam so that you’re not caught off guard during the test.

7. Set Up Study Sessions With Friends
A study session can help you to stay focused while having some help on the topics that you might not be the best at. You can also use it as a time to refresh your memory about something you might have studied a while back and are starting to forget. Make sure you choose a group of friends who are serious about studying, as you don’t want to be stuck in a study session with someone who constantly disrupts the vibe for studying.

Alchemy Tuition specialises in helping students study for their HSC exam. Get in touch today to see how we can help.

6 signs your child might need a tutor

If your child is struggling in school, cannot understand what they are learning and isn’t motivated to do the assigned work, they might need a little help from a tutor. Everyone learns in different ways at different paces. Extracurricular coaching will be able to help your child figure out how they learn best, how to manage their time as well as understand what material they have already learned but didn’t understand. Here are six signs that your child is truly struggling and needs the help of a tutor:

It’s Too Hard
Sometimes with larger classes, your child cannot keep up and can’t get the one-on-one learning they need to succeed. This is why tutoring might be a good idea for them as they will get to ask questions until they truly understand the material. It is hard for a child to feel motivated if they are failing to understand. Help your child excel in their studies by setting them up with a professional with the expertise and private support your child wants and needs.

Nothing Sticks
Most people will struggle in school at least once in their lives. Whether it’s understanding a simple primary school problem or even in higher education, explaining something to different levels of education for specific ages can be quite a challenge. Failure to learn or understand can lead to frustration and feelings of helplessness and worthlessness. Sometimes just watching YouTube or seeking help from a friend can be full of distractions, whereas getting a tutor will give your child one-on-one time with a professional that can answer any questions or inquiries they might have.

It’s Too Easy
It’s a misconception that students breezing through class can’t benefit from a tutor. If they are not being challenged in class, that is also an issue. Students like this might get bored if they are not getting further development at school. Tutoring can support the child with gifted abilities who are high-achieving students and further refine these skills.

If your child is bored in class, it may not be due to their abilities, but their attention span. A tutor can help make the learning experience interesting and engaging by personalising the content based on their personality and interest.

If you catch your child up late writing an essay, this may be a sign that they are procrastinating on their work. This is so common in students especially, but there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy levels of it. If you find that your child is frequently putting things off until last minute and suffering from it, it can be a huge strain and will cause unwanted stress. This may be a sign that your child may have concentration and time management issues. Avoid letting the issue get out of hand by trying to tackle it before it becomes a bad habit that’s irreversible.

Your child might even just ask for a tutor. If they just upfront say that they are struggling and need one, there is no reason why you shouldn’t encourage it. Instead of stressing out over their studies, some students will be completely ready to pick up the slack and learn better and to study more efficiently.

We can help. We have the best tutors in the country ready to help your child, so please get in touch today!

The benefits of an English tutor

A lot of school-aged children have tutoring sessions after school or on the weekends. The reasons for this are wide and varied. Sometimes parents get their kids a tutor because they are busy and don’t have the time or the ability to help their children with schoolwork. Others feel that a tutor can help them learn more effectively. Still more just consider it a good way to strengthen their academic foundation so they have more options open to them come time for tertiary education.

Tutors are able to give kids more attention than they would get in a large classroom. This ensures that they are learning at their level and being pushed to keep going.

What are the benefits of tutoring?

The academic knowledge, as well as the learning skills that kids learn in tutoring sessions, can get them ready for what is to come. Let’s take a look at some specific benefits of tutoring:

1 – Individualised attention

In a classroom, a teacher has to make sure the class as a whole is learning. Unfortunately, they cannot give the same attention to everyone and students who need that extra push may not always get it. With a tutor, on the other hand, kids can have lessons that are catered to their needs that is taught in a manner that suits their learning style.

2 – Better academic understanding

A lot of kids struggle in specific areas of their learning material. Tutors can focus on those problem areas and make sure they understand it well. This not only helps them gain a deeper understanding of the subject as a whole but allows them to score better on tests.

3 – A positive learning experience

Tutors are trained to be patient and encouraging towards their students as many are overwhelmed with traditional schooling. They help students learn in a calm, positive environment and assures them that they will get the hang of it. Students often have a much better impression of learning and education after learning with a tutor. They also tend to become more self-managed and assertive in their school work.

4 – Better self-image

Many children feel discouraged at school, particularly if they are having trouble understanding their learning material. As they understand more in tutoring, this often helps them become more confident because they have realised that they, too, can learn.

5 – Improved study habits

Tutoring encourages kids to do more than the bare minimum. They learn how to study and reach the goals that they have set. These skills will prove useful later on in life.

6 – An increased sense of independence

The increase in self-management will result in an increased sense of independence. Kids will see that they are in control of their academic results and be more willing to take measures to improve and complete their work on their own.

7 – Ability to overcome barriers

There will be some academic areas where your child excels and some areas where he or she struggles. Tutors help kids to focus on their problem areas so that they have a better understanding of the entire subject. This keeps them from getting caught up and frustrated about one chapter and therefore becoming demotivated for the entire subject.

8 – Comfort in asking questions

Sometimes kids hesitate to ask questions in class for some reason or the other. Perhaps they don’t want to speak up before a big crowd or are afraid their question is “dumb.” In learning with a tutor, kids will learn that there are no stupid questions. This will encourage them to be comfortable when asking questions even in the classroom.

9 – Challenges for the under-challenged

Some kids find schoolwork too easy or boring. They can often benefit from being presented with more difficult material which will not only put their brains to work but allow them to prepare better for their future. This is particularly true for kids who aspire to take tough courses in college. Tutoring will help them to master their course material and allow them to build skills that will come in handy in their field of study.

Alchemy Tuition have the very best tutors in the country ready to support your child. Get in touch today to see how we can make a difference in your child’s journey!