A+ Resources For Tutors
In the following series, Philip White, a Maths tutor for over 15 years, offers tips on how to start and run a successful private tutoring practice.
6  Additional Tuition Services
|6.4||Past Exam Papers|
6. ADDITIONAL TUITION SERVICES
One of the best ways to ensure your success, and be ahead of the competition, is to offer additional services which "add value" to your tuition. Your success will be determined by the perceived benefits of your service.
If you can emphasise the benefits you will be providing your pupils (and their parents), you will be more successful.
Here are some examples of additional services which will ensure that your tuition is perceived as having additional value.
6.2 Progress reports
At the start of the 1990/91 academic year, I introduced printed monthly progress reports for the parents of all pupils. The perceived benefits of such reports are important. By offering such a service, you are demonstrating a commitment to excellence.
The parents of your pupils will be reassured that you are not just interested in your lesson fee, but are committed to carefully monitoring the progress of your pupils.
Of those pupils who have responded to my "satisfaction questionnaires", all agreed that they found the Progress reports useful. I did make the mistake of offering such reports monthly, which proved to be too much of an administrative burden. With the benefit of hindsight, however, I would advise progress reports every half-term for those pupils who are having weekly tutorials.
The more specific you make the contents of your progress reports, the better. Parents like grades. They like easy ways of quantifying performance and progress.
The best way of achieving this is to set a weekly homework assignment. If you insist that the assignment is handed in for marking, you will be able to build up a series of grades (which form a good basis for making assessments).
6.3 PC Tuition
A good way of varying your tuition is to offer learning via your PC. Some of my pupils have enjoyed the benefit of computer lessons with me.
There are numerous educational programs sold as shareware. Shareware is available at very low cost for evaluation purposes. If you like a program, you can register your ownership for an additional payment.
Anything which adds variety to your tutoring will be worth considering, if only because once again it will mark you out from the competition.
6.4 Past exam papers
If you are tutoring in school subjects, you will need access to past exam papers.
Make sure that your tuition is as "exam-based" as possible. One of the principal reasons why so many people under-perform in exams is simply that they have not had the right preparation.
Emphasise in your marketing and advertising that your tuition is excellent exam preparation. Consequently, you will need to be totally familiar with the contents of recent past exam papers.
6.5 Syllabus requirements
Similarly, you will need to be very familiar with the current syllabus requirements.
I have never ceased to be amazed at how many of my past pupils have wasted time in class covering work that is not on the syllabus.
Do not make the same mistake.
Furthermore, copy the syllabus for your pupils. Contrary to what some schools believe, pupils do like to know what is on the syllabus, and to refer to the syllabus as they work through the course.
6.6 Examiners Reports
These are a goldmine of information for anyone taking an exam subject. I offer them as part of my service, because once again it highlights my commitment to exam success.
The maths reports I have include information on where the marks were won and lost by candidates, common mistakes, degree of difficulty of each question etc.
If I am covering a past exam question with a pupil, I often refer to my stock of reports to point out where the most common mistakes were made.
I am surprised that Examiners Reports are seldom referred to at school, since they can provide a vital insight into how to tackle an exam.
6.7 Exam technique
This is another area where schools are often found to be wanting.
I have had very few pupils who have been taught the best way to tackle an exam.
Since experts agree that success in exams is as dependent on strategy as knowledge and ability, this is another area where you can be ahead of the competition.
Read around the subject. If you are a good tutor, you should know exactly how to tackle the exams your pupils will face.
Exam technique also includes exam stress, which is rarely dealt with at school.