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


The coronavirus has affected us all greatly. For families associated with Ruby’s tuition, the greatest challenge has been adapting to working from home, whilst also ensuring their children are productive and learning, despite not being able to physically attend school.

Understandably, many students are struggling to maintain learning with accordance to the national curriculum due to a lack of routine and structure. There is also further uncertainty for year 11 and 13 students regarding their GCSE and A level exams and grades, as well as how and if they should proceed with their revision during this period.

We hope the following blog will help bring some clarity to the situation.

Ruby’s Tuition has kept up to date with the latest government announcements regarding the education system, whether that be about schools or exam boards, and we are keen to share the most relevant and salient information:

  1. Regarding the grading of official exams:
    1. Your school or college will be asked to send exam boards 2 pieces of information for each subject:
      1. The grade they believe you were most likely to get if you were taught as normal, if you were learning as normal, and if exams had occurred as normal.
      2. For each subject, your school will rank order the students within each grade.

This information will be used to formal standardised judgements. Your school or college will consider a range of performance indicators such as your class work and homework; your results in assignments and mock exams; any non-exam assessments or course works, and your general progress throughout the course. This information will allow Ofqual, along with exam boards, to standardise grades across schools and colleges to ensure that results are as fair as possible and that grades are not biased by the generosity of your teachers. This means the final grade you get could vary from the grade your school sent to the exam board.

Why is this a potential problem?

Say in the past, 5% of the students at your school have achieved a 9 in Maths. This year, your school predicts 15 of 100 students will achieve a 9 in Maths, and ranks them from 1-15, with 1 being the person who is the most secure/highest attaining student and so on. As only 5% of students have achieved a 9 in the past, most likely the top 5 students will actually get the 9.

This means despite being deserving of a grade, you might not achieve it due to your school’s past performance.

Our advice?

PLEASE do not wait until results day to start revision!

  1. Results day:
    1. GCSE results day: August 13th 2020
    2. A level results day: August 20th 2020
  2. If you’re not happy with your grades:
    1. Unfortunately, you cannot challenge your grades.
    2. However, there is an opportunity to sit your exams during Autumn 2020 if you’re not happy with your grades.

This is why it is paramount that you start revision early! Please make sure you’re not in a position where you are re-teaching yourself 2 years worth of content in a few weeks.

  1. How can we help?

With the above information. Ruby’s Tuition have initiated a plan of action to support students with their upcoming exams (from Key Stage 1-3, GCSE, A-level and 11+). In addition to providing support with exam preparation, Ruby’s Tuition will be continuing to teach students according to the national curriculum.

Ruby’s Tuition is currently using the online learning platform ‘Zoom’ to support its students. Lessons are taught to small groups of 4-6 students who are of similar ability.

We have already successfully taught our 11+ students, GCSE and A-level students via Zoom and are keen to expand! With this approach, we are able to clearly communicate with our students, allowing for tutors and students to ask questions about tasks as well as participate in a lively class discussion. Furthermore, Zoom has a blackboard-like feature in which tutors can post pictures of the task or work set and also draw diagrams or write questions out. Ruby’s Tuition has re-created a fully interactive learning experience for our students, whilst maintaining intimate group sizes to allow for ample contact between each child and our tutors. We are adamant about continuing to provide excellent standards of teaching and crafted learning for our students despite the circumstances.

We are grateful to have received plenty of positive feedback about our online lessons, parents have particularly appreciated the fact our lessons are highly interactive and encourage student participation, whilst also being productive.

Students have found that attending the online sessions has helped them structure their work as well be more productive in terms of revision.

Ruby’s Tuition is determined to provide continuous support to students, hence why we are accessible via phone, email or social media. Please feel free to contact us!

It is important whilst practising thematic essay responses to literary texts that you familiarise yourself with the AO’s required. Generally, for AQA & Edexcel you require a combination of AO1, AO2 & AO3 skills. For the AQA paper, Section A is usually a thematic question and section B is a character question. For the Edexcel paper this order is reversed; character first, then thematic.

Section A / Part A AO1












Critical – meaning you must state your opinion to the question and the text clearly and evaluate the writer’s purpose. Why this theme? What was his/hers intent?

Exploratory – explore different ideas and develop an informed response

References – include relevant quotations which support and illustrate your interpretation. We suggest using 2-3 quotes from the text as a whole & 2-3 quotes from the extract in PEEAL format.

AO2 Analyse – the language, form and structure used by the writer to create meanings and EFFECTS, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate. We suggest 3-4 PEEAL paragraphs. (Maximum of 20 marks)









Language analysis – insightful analysis of language AND form supported by the use of subject terminology.

Methods – you should consider the writer’s methods and the EFFECTS this has on the reader.








Context – choose only 1 – 2 contextual factors or perspectives that you know well and in detail. DO NOT include ideas about feminism or Marxist theories if not relevant to the question/your argument.
AO4 SPAG – Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures, ensure spelling is accurate and you punctuate consistently. (Maximum of 4 additional marks)
Section B / Part B AO1



Same as above

Same as above

Same as above
















Critical – perceptive understanding and interpretation of the text, your argument develops/builds through the essay.

Exploratory – assured response, showing a high level of engagement with the text overall. Talk about different scenes & acts in the play, do not rely on using one Act/ the extract.

References – Discerning references are an integral part of the response, with points made with assurance and full support from the text.

Part B has a higher weighting on AO1 to AO3 so ensure you are hitting these points in order to achieve a high-level mark.

AO3 There is excellent understanding of context, and convincing understanding of the relationship between text and context is integrated into the response.




When selecting quotes from the extract provided try to consider what major events occur prior and after this moment in the text. Consider the setting, tone, and voice of the characters and how this contributes to the overall mood. Highlight who is speaking and how the character uses speech and action to portray the theme/character in the question. Look for key words and/or literary devices that you can use for analysis in your argument.


Explore how Shakespeare presents ambition.

PEEAL Paragraph with AO Colour Code:

1.In this extract, Lady Macbeth is seen worrying about Macbeth’s inability to act unlawfully as it threatens her ambition to achieve a new royal title. “I fear thy nature, It is too full o’th’milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.” She complains Macbeth is too full of human compassion which damages his chances at unshackling himself from his moral duty as a loyal follower and friend to King Duncan. ‘Milk of human kindness’ is a Shakespearean expression which epitomizes milk as a sign for humility and gentleness. The expression used by Lady Macbeth renders her husband Macbeth too emotional, sympathetic and nurturing like a woman. She frequently resorts to insulting his masculinity in this manner in order to drive Macbeth to act as he should and prove her wrong. Lady Macbeth fears that his emotions tamper with her scheme to usurp the crown because it will prevent him from committing the crime. His status, sympathy, and loyalty to the King threaten his ambition. From this soliloquy, Shakespeare creates tension and drama for his reader as we begin to ponder how Lady Macbeth is going to manoeuvre around her fears and encourage her husband to complete their ambitious plotting of regicide. It is clear from the very beginning of the play that Lady Macbeth acts as the driving force for Macbeth’s ambition in order to achieve their desired goal.

  1. “Not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.” Here, Lady Macbeth merits Macbeth for having ambition but counteracts this by insulting his manliness. The royal lady doubts her husband’s ability to seize the crown and kill the king. For Lady Macbeth ambition means acting with aggression and force at the first sight of opportunity. The negative connotations around her use of the word “illness” suggests that Macbeth isn’t man enough to murder the King and reward his wife with a new royal status. At this point in the play, Shakespeare seems to connect ambition to Machiavellian traits of deviousness and cunningness. “Illness” implies that Macbeth must act in bad faith and channel a dark behaviour like Machiavelli to perform the crime successfully.
  2. “Chastise with the valour of my tongue, all that impedes thee from the golden round.” Lady Macbeth is aware of her influence over Macbeth and in these lines, she claims to use her voice as a method of manipulation. She has a valorous tongue which implies her courage and a powerful voice which enables her to rebuke Macbeth’s doubts so he will kill the King. Her desire to silence Macbeth’s emotional weakness reverses the expected social order and behaviour of men and women at the time. Women were taught to obey, denied the option to voice their opinions and treated as the weaker sex. However, Lady Macbeth defies these social expectations by using her voice as a vessel to manipulate her husband so she can achieve a royal status which renders her impenetrable. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth believe that following their ambition will make them indestructible.


Use your list of quotes that you have created in class and at home that relate to the theme. Remember to draw your points from different parts in the play as this will show a deepened understanding of the text. You can also consider context for this part of the question as this can bulk up your argument. We suggest including 2 references to the text as a whole.

  1. In the extract the quote, “pour my spirits in thine ear,” demonstrates Lady Macbeth’s sense of urgency to pass Macbeth her masculine qualities to achieve the prophecy and therefore fulfil her ambition. This idea of Lady Macbeth as a carrier of masculinity is repeated later in the act when she asks to have her female qualities stripped to achieve ambition in the quote “unsex me here.” This representation of women as aggressive and powerful would have shocked a Shakespearean audience. The readers can infer that Shakespeare is linking masculinity to ambition which foreshadows Macbeth’s suggestion: his wife has a masculine soul due to her ambition.

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.

We would like to congratulate our students, their hard work has paid off! We wish them all the success in their higher studies and whatever their future holds for them!

It has been a pleasure to witness the progress that our students have made in all three core subjects this year. With the new GCSE curriculum in place, students had to work extra hard in order to cover more content and practise new exam question styles. Despite this challenge, the students and tutors at Ruby’s Tuition have worked incredibly hard to prepare for these examinations.

Maths (Higher tier students): 100% 9-5 (A*-C)
Over 75% 9-6 (A*-B)

English Language/Literature:

With the exception of one student, who due to extenuating circumstances couldn’t perform their best, all of our students achieved 9-4 (A*-C)

Triple Science: 100% 9-6 (A*-B)

Double Science: 100% 9-5 (A*-C)
ALL of our double science students improved by at least 2 grades since they started with us!

Despite all of these statistics, our greatest achievement this year has been encouraging and boosting the confidence of our students. We have witnessed students go from absolutely detesting maths, to choosing it as an A level subject – which is a greater success to us than any percentage or statistic!