Check the Marks and Plan the Answer

It is vitally important to know how many marks a question is worth and to think how to pick up all those marks

Some questions on an exam paper are worth one mark. For example an 11+ paper that might be a questions such as 1.5 x 3. For such questions it is fine to write down the answer.

If a question has two marks available that normally means the person doing the marking wants to see some working out or articulation of an intermediate result. For example if the question is how much change would you get from £10 when buying two pens at £2 each.

Most exam papers progress to longer and more complex questions as they go along. If a question has four marks available it is worth a child checking that first and then spending literally ten seconds working out what they need to articulate on the paper to secure all four marks.

Think of it as a game.

You’re driving Super Mario along the road and you want to drive over the coins as you go picking up as many points as you can.

I’ve seen very clever children lose marks on mock tests I’ve run because they’re sometimes “too” clever. They can work out the answer to a four step question (see the example below) in their head and just write down the answer. Unfortunately the answer is only worth one mark. It’s all the working out and sub-totals which score the other three marks.

As part of my tutoring I focus strongly on exam technique, including making sure you’re picking up all the points as you go.

Contact me using the form below for a free introductory online maths tutorial:

Online Maths Tutoring Hours for the UK & Ireland

Online maths tutorial times for the UK & Ireland are 7am to 10pm seven days a week (depending on availability).

The Tutor Dragon is based in London and with is team able to deliver online maths tutorials in the UK & Ireland from 07:00 to 22:00 seven days a week.

For a free introductory session please contact us using the form below.

Reminder: You’ll need an iPad or touch-screen and a stylus – free Tutor Dragon notepad and Dragon stylus when you sign up for your first paid tutorial.

Online Maths Tutoring Hours for Shanghai and Beijing

Online maths tutorial times for Shanghai & Beijing are 14:00 to 22:00 (Beijing Time)

We are able to offer online maths tutorials to all cities in China from 14:00 to 22:00 (Beijing Time).

For a free introductory session please contact us using the form below.

Reminder: You’ll need an iPad or touch-screen and a stylus – free Tutor Dragon notepad and Dragon stylus when you sign up for your first paid tutorial.

Online Maths Tutoring Hours for Australia

Online maths tutorial times for Australia are 15:00 to 22:00 for Perth / West & Central time, and 17:00 to 22:00 for Sydney / Eastern time.

We are working to open an Australia & New Zealand centred office later in 2020 / early 2021 but in the mean time we are able to offer online maths tutorials to the region from 15:00 to 22:00 for Perth / West & Central time, and 17:00 to 22:00 for Sydney / Eastern time.

For a free introductory session please contact us using the form below.

Reminder: You’ll need an iPad or touch-screen and a stylus – free Tutor Dragon notepad and Dragon stylus when you sign up for your first paid tutorial.

Online Maths Tutoring Hours for New Zealand

Online maths tutorial times for New Zealand are 17:00 to 22:00.

We are working to open a New Zealand centred office later in 2020 but in the mean time we are able to offer online maths tutorials to New Zealand from 5pm to 10pm.

For a free introductory session please contact us using the form below.

Reminder: You’ll need an iPad or touch-screen and a stylus.

Example: We are very pleased to be tutoring a child from Auckland in Year 4 who is already very bright but who needs help decoding and answering questions where the numbers and calculations required are embedded in questions in words rather than number.

Children learn more by doing than listening

During a tutorial a child learns a lot because they’re listening, learning and most importantly DOING…

In a classroom a child will listen, hopefully learn and then during homework recall.

In the classroom it is not possible to each each child to come up to the front and show whether or not they’ve understood how to work out perimeter and area of an irregular shape. Only when the teacher marks their homework will any lack of understanding become apparent.

In an online tutorial however, a child will be called upon continually to show they’ve understood and to recall this by solving a similar but different problem.

The aim of every online tutorial is for the child to be able to understand a topic more deeply and to use recall and experience to solve similar but different problems.

Primary School Clock and Time Tuition

Analog and digital clock & time tuition is a great way to develop problem solving skills for children at Primary School.

The advantage of running this tuition online is the ability to solve similar but different problems using analog and digital clock faces on which the tutee can draw, work things out, erase and try again.

Initially it is best to steer clear of the 24 hour clock, using instead AM and PM.

Simple hour and minute additions and subtractions are are great way for children to gain confidence in time numeracy before moving on to more complex problems such as train timetables!

If you’d like a free tutorial session please email the Tutor Dragon (note: you’ll need a touch-screen device such as an iPad or similar and ideally a stylus).

The benefits of aerobic exercise on children’s mental performance

Experiments and observations indicate that any kind of physical activity for a child has educational benefits including enhanced attention.

There’s a great new book called “Educational Neuroscience: Development Across the Life Span” which is:

“The first volume to bring together the latest knowledge on the development of educational neuroscience from a life-span perspective, this important text offers state of the art, authoritative research findings in educational neuroscience before providing evidence-based recommendations for classroom practice.”

One key take away is:

“Twenty minutes of moderate exercise improved planning but not attention in 9-10 year olds. But twelve minutes of intensive exercise such are running on a track boosted attention.”

What to do over the summer holiday before starting Secondary School

In the UK the beginning of Secondary School is Year 7 when children are typically 11 years old. Here are a few ideas on how to prepare over the summer holiday before starting.

Read a lot

A visit online or to your favourite book store is useful to start reading books which are a notch more difficult than what your child may have been used to. Of extra value are non-fiction books such as encyclopaedias covering subjects such as Geography and History.

Audio Books

Following on from the point above, listening to audio books (fiction and non-fiction) aimed at early teens is a useful way to help increase vocabulary and the complexity of sentence structure.

Workbooks

Yes I hate to say, but buying a few Year 7 / KS3 workbooks is a good idea – not to finish but at least to have a go and to understand some of the key concepts especially in Maths. Always useful is to start working on more complex algebra and geometry.

Writing

It almost doesn’t matter what a child wants to write about, but it is worth a child spending a good amount of time every week over the summer holiday writing about anything. It’s useful to mix this 50/50 writing by hand and writing on a computer. This is also a useful time to build vocabulary and practice more complex sentence structures.

Get Organised

Compared to Primary School there’ll be a lot more work at school and home work, so you’ll need to figure our what works best for your child in terms of keeping track of everything. I’m a fan of using post-it notes on the wall above a child’s desk to keep track of Mon-Fri and also Sat & Sun for the homework schedule. A whiteboard is also a great idea which enables the child to draw out their own organisation.

How can I encourage my child to do their homework well?

At times it’s not easy to get your son or daughter to do all their homework on time and to a good level of quality. Here are some ideas:

Don’t shout

Don’t shout if they don’t understand something. There can be many reasons to shout but this isn’t one of them. No matter how loud you should it won’t help a child understand something, in fact it will just close up their brain.

Get help from a teacher

If your son is unable to do their homework, make sure they go to the teacher and ask for help. Try calling up the teacher a couple of days later to see if it has happened and if it hasn’t, it’s over to you to arrange it.

Work it out at home

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the questions. If your daughter is trying to work out a percentage, try working out the answer on a calculator and see if they can get to that answer, or try googling how to work out this problem. If you do it together it’s an intellectual and emotional win for both of you.

Think long term

A great way to give rewards to your child is not on every piece of homework or on every test, but at the end of each half-term results. Reward good results at the end of a half-term and issue reasonable consequences if grades have slipped. Consequences should always be discussed in advance so they’re not a sudden shock for the child. A popular consequence is loss of the Xbox or screen time for a month.

This allows for the occasional mistake or poor results in a test and puts focus on the overall progression.

Email the Tutor Dragon for advice

I’m happy to answer emails when I get time so please feel free to email me with any questions regarding homework, performance and rewards & consequences.