Remember taking your A Levels? For some of us, they were the last exam we’d ever sit – thank goodness – and for others, just the start of an exam-ridden three years, or even the beginning of a career punctuated by endless tests.
Your A Levels might have been coastal breeze where you waltzed in and out of the exam room without a care in the world. Perhaps you knew you’d do alright, and hoped for the best.
Or maybe they were a nightmare of cramming revision, stress, and aching pen-crippled fingers. Maybe the very idea of them filled you with despair, dreading the examiners utterance of ‘you have five minutes remaining.’
For international students, A Levels come with all this and a whole other host of issues. Imagine sitting these crucial exams – exams that your parents have paid for six or so years of education for you to pass – in a language that isn’t your first. Picture yourself opening your A2 English Literature paper to find that all the questions are in Portuguese.
More than ever before, international students are using extra tuition as a means of easing the pressure of their A Level years. Having the extra layer of support – whether that’s dedicated EAL tutoring to boost their English speaking, or specific subject tuition to improve their core understanding of their A Level subjects – helps to make students feel more confident and secure when they go into that exam hall. A tutor can run through an exam paper with a student and allow them to see their answers marked in real-time, helping them to understand what they did well and where they fell short, helping to de-mystify those often intimidating papers.
I work as an Academic Mentor for international students; I act as the intermediary between the student studying here and their far-away family, going to parent’s evenings on their behalf and helping A Level students make good decisions about their futures. It’s no surprise to me that when international students receive extra tuition – particularly those whose English isn’t as fluent as they’d like – they report feeling less stressed and worried about taking their A Levels.
And with companies like Crescent Tuition leading the way by providing quality tutors – practicing teachers and experienced examiners – who tailor to their students needs, including online via Skype and ‘live Q&As’ for last minute queries, the gap between international student’s ability and their exam performance is shrinking – as they are less and less hindered by language barriers and differing educational backgrounds.
It’s part of my role to adapt to the changing nature of education, and as more and more students arrive from abroad to study in our wealth of schools here, I’m seeing parents and students expand the scale of their learning to include private tuition – and as it is normalised, the importance of its regulation comes to the forefront. Choosing a reputable company is the first step. Crescent Tuition, for example, requires all their tutors to be DBS checked, and to undergo a face-to-face interview before they are employed – and it states in their agreement that tuition must occur in the presence of an adult, such as parent, guardian or host family.