I read Biology at Sheffield University then for a Masters degree in Biotechnology at UEA. After working in research I did a PGCE and then began teaching A level Biology in Sixth Form Colleges. I teach full time at a top rated sixth form college (where I have been working for the last 23 years). The Biology department is grade 1 (Outstanding), as were my lessons in a recent OFSTED. My classes have achieved in the top 1% of A-level Biology Sixth form college classes nationally for value added results. Very many students have achieved full marks in exams and gained place to read medicine. Students that I have tutored have gone from a D at AS to a A at A-level and from a C to an A*. My explanation of concepts and going through exam questions was a small part of their improvement, a far greater part was helping them to change their approach to learning and taking greater responsibility. As a current teacher I am very aware of the shift in emphasis and the different skills required for the new (for 2017) specification A levels. With over 20 years experience of teaching just A level Biology, I have an in-depth knowledge of the OCR A, Eduqas, Edexcel, AQA and Pre-U specifications.
How would you describe your teaching style?
As the new style questions test understanding and application more than factual recall, many students find this a big change from what they were comfortable with at GCSE. Students need to understand why and how a biological process is occurring rather than trying to rote learn the steps. After a full explanation of the concepts underpinning a topic, I go through past paper questions and try to coach what the question is actually asking about, how it relates to the theory and how to phrase the answer for full credit. I emphasize the links to other parts of the specification and encourage students to think synoptically and apply their knowledge to explaining data For online tuition, I use an excellent web-conferencing program, where both parties can see and annotate notes, past papers and PowerPoints, it is an extremely effective tutoring tool. Online tutorials are recorded and shared with the student. I use an HD Webcam, a graphics tablet and video conferencing with a super-fast broadband connection. Prior to the tutorial, I send resources to go through so faster progress can be made.
What qualifications do you have?
I read Biology at Sheffield University then for a Masters degree in Biotechnology at UEA. After working in research I did a PGCE and then began teaching A level Biology in Sixth Form Colleges.
Tell us about your experience...
25 years of just teaching A level Biology Recently tutored students from Eton College, Cheltenham Ladies College, Winchester College, Whitgift School, St Swithuns', Wycombe Abbey, Emanuel School, New English School of Kuwait, Leysin American School, King Edwards Southampton, Royal Grammar School Guildford, Reading School, Kingswood School, Eltham College, Harris Sixth Form, Barton Peveril, Alton College, Portsmouth Grammar School, Godolphins, Chesham Grammar, Cardiff Sixth Form Centre, Collingham College, Duff Miller Tutorial College, The John Lyon School.
What locations do you tutor in?
Online only - its so much more efficient !
What is your personal message to students?
Here are some quotes from my students - see my website for lots more Tom has been an exceptional tutor who has supported my daughter in her application to study Medicine. He has been excellent in explaining content whilst maintaining a clear focus on the requirements of the exam board. As a teacher myself, I really appreciate Tom's level of professionalism. He has always been friendly and reliable." - Karen Tom is an excellent tutor, who knows just how to target his teaching so I could get the most out of our sessions. Working at a B grade level, Tom was so helpful in explaining topics to an A grade standard. His style of teaching even the most difficult concepts made them easy to grasp, and his interactive sessions made revising biology that much easier. Thank you Tom!
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