It’s the beginning of another year, and everyone seems to be putting together a long list of new year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, they don’t always go according to plan, and people often give up after a couple of weeks. As students, however, we can’t let that happen! We need to try and stick to our study-related resolutions as much as we can, but how can we go about it?

  1. Getting into the Right Mind-set

It is tremendously difficult to force yourself to revise, especially when the people around you aren’t revising too.  The best way to motivate yourself during this tough time is to think about the results you’ll get from it. Yes, watching TV does sound like a good way to relax but it isn’t going to help you get any qualifications. Think of results day in August, when you will nervously turn up to school, sleepless as you were in anticipation of your results all night, and open your envelope slowly only to see ten 8s and 9s on your paper! When you get your results, all the hard work you put in will be worth it and what’s even greater is that you’ll get an extra-long summer to make up for the time you spent revising!

As well as motivating yourself with the time off you will have later, you must think of how significant your mock exams are. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that mocks are merely tests that the school use; they’re not official exams. This is true but these exams are a lot more important than you think. Mocks give you a clear idea of what level you’re working at now and what level you might get when it comes to the real exams. Therefore, it is incredibly important to revise for your mocks in the same way that you would revise for a public exam to get a clear idea of where you’re working and what you need to do to improve. Also, in extreme circumstances, mocks can have an impact on the actual grade you get. We need to prepare for the worst and, you never know, you could be ill on your exam day and this will significantly impact your performance, in fact, you might not even be able to sit the exam at all! In this situation, your school could apply for special conditions where the exam board take your mock and predicted grades into consideration to decide on your final grade. Reminding yourself of why these exams are so important will help to motivate you to revise.

      2. Making a Revision Timetable

So, you’re in the correct mind-set and ready to revise but there is one problem: where do you start? It can be quite overwhelming, looking at your abundant pile of textbooks, handouts and class notes without a clue about where to begin. The best way to start is to make a list of

all the things you have to revise for under sub-headings for each subject. This could be topics, like Trigonometry or Circle Theorems for Maths, or texts for English like Macbeth or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Then rank the topics from easiest to hardest so you know what areas you need to spend more time on.

Example revision time table during the holiday:

Example revision time table during term time:

You should revise for at least 3 hours on weekdays and 5 to 6 hours on weekends and your timetable should tailor to this. Decide on when you want to revise: do you feel more focussed early in the morning or are you more productive after school? Set your revision time accordingly giving yourself breaks often; some people like to revise for three hours then have an hour break, others prefer to study for 45 minutes then take a 5-minute break. It’s totally up to you and how you work but ensure that you are never too lenient on yourself and try your best to stick to your revision timetable. If something comes up and you can’t revise, add it onto another date, if you accidentally sleep in, do your revision in the evening. This type of discipline will put you into a familiar routine and ensure that you are able to focus your revision on the areas you need to.

These are the first steps to success; you need to get into the mind-set and plan your revision. In our next post, we’ll discuss how we you can revise and stick to your revision timetable instead of giving up as we often do with all our other new year’s resolutions!

We have been receiving great feedback about our online lessons on Zoom! We are keen to make sure that all our students are continuing to make progress despite this difficult period! It is so reassuring to know that our students feel like they are able to structure their work from home and use their time productively.  We are extremely pleased to be supporting parents and students during the lock down!

“As my son is staying at home during lock down, he is doing online classes with Ruby teacher for science. These classes have been a huge help because all the topics are covered. He has a very dedicated teacher. I highly recommend Ruby teacher”- Mrs Suganya Sivappriyan – Parent of a Year 10 science student”

“As a working parent, one thing that concerned me gravely was my children’s progress during lock down. Ruby’s home learning took that worry away! Ruby wasted no time in starting online learning to minimise the loss of learning. My children have separate timetables, weekly online learning sessions, home work with marking schemes and feedback given to them time to time to help them improve. During this pandemic, I am glad that my children have had the secure routine and ongoing learning” – Ketti Panesar – Parent of a Year5 (11+) and Year 9 students

“The online sessions are extremely helpful and convenient. It helped me to develop my chemistry and maths skills in a comfortable environment. The quality of online learning in these sessions is great and maintained well 👍. I would highly recommend Ruby’s Tuition.” Fathima – A level maths and chemistry student

“It has been really useful that Ruby has started to do virtual tuition session. It has brought back structure to the kids’ home learning, without this, the kids’ effort over the past year would have been lost. Very grateful that Ruby could get the sessions up and running so fast.”- Samia Kamran, Year2 & Year 5 ( 11+) students’ mum

” Hi Ruby, just to say today’s session was very good and there was a lot of interaction between the tutor and students” – Mr Islam – year 4 student’s dad

“I would like to thank Ruby and the team for finding the best way to teach both my sons through online during this horrible event. My children are up to date with their studies. I would highly recommend Ruby’s tuition.”- Dinushi Ranasingha – Parent of Year 3 and Year 5 ( 11+) students

“Thanks to Miss Ruby for helping my child through online teaching during this unexpected situation. It was a good start for learning from home.” – Mrs Murugananthan, Year2 student’s mum


We have noticed that our students find comparison questions most unnerving in their English Language & Literature exam. In order to produce a successful response to this question students require a clear structure that outlines their argument, perceptive analysis, and relevant quotations. In this series guide, we will offer multiple examples of how to demonstrate a detailed understanding between the two writer’s ideas.

In Paper 2 Question 4 for AQA & Question 7 for Edexcel, is the highest marked question in both papers, we advise students to practise answering this question in an appropriate timed condition. E.g for a 16-mark question, allow 20 minutes. If you struggle with timing, try answering this question first in the exam, then the longest and scariest question will be completed, and you can focus on answering the rest of the questions in the paper.


Q4. For this question, you need to refer to the whole of Source A, together with the whole of Source B.

Compare how the writers convey their different perspectives ( = opinion / idea / attitude)  on surfing.

In your answer, you could:


STEP A– Your first point of contact should be to refer back to both sources and create a general list of the author’s perspective on the subject (surfing):

SOURCE A – Mike Doyle’s Opinion (1993)

SOURCE B – Isabella Bird’s Opinion (1875)
  • Idolises and admires the professional surfers and wants to be like them
  • He explains his amazement from watching the skill and technique of the other surfers
  • Explains how he attempted to surf when he was 13 and immerse himself in the surf culture
  • Clearly knowledgeable about the different types and the best types of surfboards – we respect him as an experienced surfer
  • Through his writing we can appreciate and empathise with the difficulty of learning the sport, but feel elated for the author once he manages to ride his first wave successfully
  • By the end of the extract Doyle experienced sudden fear/anxiety and it is understood that he then realises the sport requires perseverance, mental and physical strength
  • She was impressed by the surfer’s technique and skill and ability to stay propped on their surf boards
  • She talks about how the crowd was amused and she enjoyed her afternoon and wished to stay longer
  • She too has some, but a limited knowledge about the surfboards, obvious she too is trying to immerse herself in the surf culture but also the Hilo culture
  • Excited to share her experience to her sister and is obviously amazed by the sport, native to Hawaii but foreign to Britain
  • She like Doyle explains her initial fear/fright when she realised the dangerousness and risk involved in surfing but is relieved when she sees that the surfers are alive


STEP B -Then you can address the methods each author uses. At this stage it is helpful to look for linguistic devices one or both authors use as you can draw comparisons from these.

SOURCE A – Mike Doyle’s Methods (1993)

SOURCE B – Isabella Bird’s Methods (1875)


  • Setting = Manhattan Pier, California
  • Form = Autobiography
  • Figurative language (Metaphors & Similes)
  • Alliteration
  • Emotive language
  • Adjectives
  • Short sentences
  • Lists (of verbs)
  • Direct/Reported speech
  • Personal pronouns & 1st person narrative
  • Punctation
  • Facts – Pro surfer, uses surfer terminology
  • Setting = Hilo, Hawaii
  • Form = Letter
  • Figurative language (Metaphors & Similes)
  • Short & Long sentences
  • Lists
  • 1st & 3rd person narrative
  • Explorer
  • Simulating ‘Hilo’ language
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Personification
  • Adjectives
  • Repetition

STEP C: Finally select relevant quotations to support your findings.

SOURCE A – Mike Doyle’s Quote (1993) SOURCE B – Isabella Bird’s Quote (1875)
  • there were only a few dozen surfers in all of California at that time
  • bronzed gods, all in incredibly good shape, happier and healthier than anybody I’d ever seen
  • I was just dazzled
  • The boards then were eleven feet long, twenty-four inches wide and weighed fifty or sixty pounds.
  • I would jump back up, scramble the board around, hop on, and paddle it ten feet
  • what we used to call a kook box
  • ‘Get lost, kid.’
  • To my surprise, after a few awkward tries, I managed to get that big, clumsy thing going left on a three foot wave.  I came to my feet, right foot forward, just like riding a scooter
  • hadn’t thought that far ahead yet!  My first impulse was to bail out, so I jumped out in front of the board, spread-eagled.

  • It is really a most exciting pastime, and in a rough sea requires immense nerve
  • not more than forty had their Papa-he-nalu, or ‘wave sliding boards,’ with them.
  • they rode in majestically…carried shore wards by its mighty impulse at the rate of forty miles an hour
  • just as one expected to see them dashed to pieces, they either waded quietly ashore, or sliding off their boards, dived under the surf, and were next seen far out at sea, as a number of heads bobbing about like corks in smooth water, preparing for fresh exploits.
  • They were received with ringing cheers by the crowd
  • the dark heads of the objects of my anxiety bobbing about
  • the elite of Hilo
  • the sea was so blue, the sunlight so soft, the air so sweet
  • There was no toil, clang, or hurry
  • It was so serene and tropical

Once you have completed steps A-C you will need to bring your points together in a structured argument. For this question, we suggest picking 3 of your favourite points. By ‘favourite’ we mean the points that show clear comparisons/similarities and those that you can write the most word analysis. It is your analysis and use of subject terminology for this particular question that will reward you with the highest mark within that grade bracket.


PEE Colour Code:


It is evident from these extracts that the writers in both source A and B use figurative language to describe the surfers in a complimentary manner. For example, in Source A Mike Doyle uses a metaphor to describe the surfers as “bronzed gods, all in incredibly good shape, happier and healthier than anybody I’d ever seen.The denotations of “bronzed” as an indication of golden skin together with the denotations of “god” as a superior figure, suggests to the reader that surfers are both powerful and beautiful. The alliteration that appears in “happier and healthier,” captures Doyle’s joyous mood and emphasises his admiring attitude towards the surfer’s impeccably toned bodies.

Similarly, Isabella Bird uses figurative language to describe the elegance of the surfers she observes. She reports that the surfers “rode in majestically…carried shorewards by its mighty impulse at the rate of forty miles an hour.” Her use of the adverbmajestically,” illustrates the surfer’s beautiful and impressive skill. Personifying the sea as a “mighty impulse, connotes to the reader similar images of God that appeared in Source A. In this quote, Bird recognises nature as the authoritative godly figure but for Doyle the God-like figure is the surfers. From this, we can infer that Doyle’s perspective of surfing is higher than Bird’s. Nevertheless, both authors insert metaphors in their texts to commemorate the surfer’s incredible beauty and extraordinary talents. In Source B, the surfers are able to overcome the “mighty impulse,” of the sea with impressive speed which emphasises their remarkable strength and reveals Bird’s positive perspective of surfing.