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!

School is finally finished for the summer holidays! After all the early mornings, mocks exams and copious amounts of homework, you are finally free! Of course, when you are relieved of all your school related stress, the last thing you want to be doing is revision, but if you’re in Year 10, Year 12 or you’re sitting your 11+ exams in September, the summer holidays are the last chance to catch up on work and up your revision game!

How to plan revision time

      When you’re on holiday, especially when it’s six-weeks long, it’s easy to procrastinate and delay your revision and homework to a later time. It becomes incredibly difficult to motivate yourself; when you could sit and watch Netflix all day or go out and enjoy the sun why would you want to sit at your desk and revise? The only way to combat this sluggishness is to plan your time well. Make a revision timetable and schedule in time each week to spend on revision and revision only. Don’t overload yourself; these are your holidays so don’t drown yourself in work by working for five hours a day. Perhaps you can do an hour each day, or two hours and then not work over weekends? The only way you’ll have a productive summer is to ensure that you plan your time wisely so you can have a healthy balance between revision and relaxation.

Organise your work!

     A tidy desk = a tidy mind. You can’t work if all your worksheets are scattered around your desk, or your bag is a chaotic mess! You need to make sure you have separate folders for each subject. Having everything in the correct space will make life so much easier when you go to revise as you’ll know exactly where everything is. When you’re disorganised, you could spend more time looking around for the right worksheet instead of revising so avoid wasting valuable time in advance by ensuring that you stay organised.

Start revising!

     You’ve just completed an entire academic year and taken in a lot of information. From Maths formulae to an endless list of poems in English, it can be overwhelming to start revision and you just won’t know where to begin. Your teachers will have probably given you an abundant amount of homework, so this is probably the best place to kick off. Once this is done, you should make your revision notes. Go through specifications for each subject and record the information in as few words as possible to help you remember. For example, you could split your Science revision into the three branches (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) and then go through the specifications for each sub-topic (e.g.: B1, C1, P1). If you don’t understand something, it may be useful to ask a friend or put a question mark next to it to ask your teacher when you go back to school. Once you’ve made your notes, you’ll already be step ahead of everyone else in September and you’ll really thank yourself for it when it comes to exam season!

What else can I do?

     As well as revision, you could get stuck into some super-curricular activities. Summer Schools are an excellent way to begin; many universities offer them free of charge and they allow you to get a taste of what it might be like to study there. Also, work experience a great way to gain insight into potential future careers and will be an asset for your CV or Personal Statement!

If you’re stuck at home, or even by the beach on holiday, you could always get stuck into a good novel! In fact, at our centre, we’re running our own Reading Marathon encouraging students to read as many books as they can over the summer with prizes at the end. Reading can really help improve your spelling and grammar as well as expanding your creativity and it is nowhere near as demanding as revising. Try to find a book that you really enjoy to get into the habit of reading and borrow books from your local library for free entertainment throughout your summer break!

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!

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.

The blissfully long summer holidays are over and September has come around once again meaning it’s time to go back to school. This year, however, is a lot more different. You’re starting the last year of secondary school, one that ends with your all-important GCSE exams. Your parents and teachers are pestering you to do your homework and revise consistently. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but we’ve tried our best to compile a list of things you should do to start afresh in year eleven!

Revision Timetables

     Revision can be incredibly overwhelming, it’s difficult to identify where to begin: do you start revising your work from year ten, or do you go over the new topics your teacher is going through now? Do you revise for the subjects you enjoy, or focus on the subjects you enjoy least? To tackle these questions, and to put your mind at ease, start by making a list of all the things you need to revise 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. You should know that identifying your weaknesses is not a bad thing; you shouldn’t feel bad about getting a lower mark on a test or not getting a question right whilst all your peers whiz through the same work. Knowing what your struggling with will help to focus on these areas when revising – spend more time going over these topics and ask a teacher or tutor if you need help.

    You should revise for at least 3 hours on weekdays and 5 to 6 hours on weekends. Decide on when you want to revise: do you feel more focused 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. 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 on your revision. You should also remember that while revision timetables are helpful, they are only a guide – don’t give up just because you missed an hour of Maths or skipped a day because you were ill. Try your best to stick to it, but don’t lose motivation if you can’t.

Staying Healthy

     Being successful in your exams isn’t just about regular revision, you need to make sure you’re improving your lifestyle. To be able to stick to a revision routine, you need to ensure you get enough sleep. Scientists recommend that you should have at least eight hours of sleep per night so try to regulate your sleep pattern – don’t stay awake until 3am, and don’t wake up late either, keep your sleeping schedule balanced. Also, try to maintain a balanced diet; avoid eating junk food and drinking fizzy drinks and replace them with healthier alternatives. As well as this, make sure that you don’t skip breakfast; it’s the most important meal of the day as it fuels you throughout the morning helping you concentrate at school – no breakfast equals less productivity, and you can’t afford for that to happen year eleven. Finally, exercise can also really help with your concentration. According to a study at Harvard Medical School, regular exercise can help improve your memory and thinking skills. Whether it’s a quick jog or a game of football, try to do a little bit of exercise every day to get into the right mind-set.

Finding the Right Tutor

     If you do decide to get a tutor, you need to make the right choice for you. But what does a good tutor do? A good tutor should be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses and set targets accordingly. Also, they should mark your work regularly and review it with you, talking through what you did well and what you can improve on. Ensure that your tutor will not be teaching a large group as this will mean that the teacher will not be able to give you enough attention and focus on what you need to improve on. At Ruby’s Tuition, we’re proud to say that we do all the above and more! We work with a teacher-student ratio of 1:6 meaning that all students get the attention that they deserve. Also, we always give detailed feedback to students and review work with them one-to-one making sure that they understand what they need to work on.

If this isn’t enough to convince you, have a look at some previous testimonials: