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Jack Bn

"Jack was invaluable in helping my son, J--, with his English Literature A-level. He was thorough, flexible, and always good fun."

Parent of A Level English student

  • 11+

  • A Level

  • English

  • GCSE

  • Oxbridge Applications

Academic History

PhD, University of Cambridge (2018-2022)
I was supervised by Dr Deborah Bowman and examined and passed by Dr Leo Mellor (Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge) and Professor Adam Piette (University of Sheffield) on 18/01/2022

MPhil, University of Cambridge (2017-2018)
English (Criticism and Culture); Grade: Pass

Bachelor of Arts Degree, University of Cambridge (2012-2015):
English Tripos; Grade: Double First Class

Advanced Levels, Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form (2010-2012): English Literature (A*), Philosophy (A*), Politics (A*), Extended Project (A*)

GCSEs, Hurworth Maths and Computing College (2005-2010): English Literature (A*), English Language (A*), Business Studies (A*), Information Technology (A*), Science (A*), Additional Science (A*), Physical Education (A*), Geography (A), Maths (A), Statistics (B)

About Me

Cambridge University teaching places a heavy emphasis on what we call close reading: that is, paying the most attention possible to the tiny aspects of a text in order to tease out the most information possible. I try to instil this vital sense of the particular in my students, and teach them how to properly direct and maintain attention to seemingly unimportant textual features: Why is that comma here instead of there? Why does the line break in the middle? Is there any pattern about the kind of verbs being used? Why a sonnet? Asking these questions in the right way, at the right time, can be a truly exciting experience, and I always try to instil this sense of passion in my students. I want my classes to be places where we can all test out our ideas in an excitingly collaborative discussion, but always with the text at our fingertips: it is a method of teaching that wishes to bring out as much as possible from the words, lines, sentences, or stanzas in which we are – for that hour or so – dwelling. Added to this is my rigorous knowledge of exam technique from the 11+ right through to university testing. You have to know the syllabus before you can move beyond it and, in my teaching, I always aim for a combination of flexible thinking and attention to detail. Families for whom I’ve tutored have always praised my passion and my unique combination of serious-mindedness and experiment. I care deeply about the art of teaching, and have spent years perfecting its craft in a variety of settings: from undergraduates to fledgling literary critics.

Recent tuition

Alongside the teaching of English Literature generally, I have extensive knowledge and experience of academic philosophy and art history. I teach exam preparation and academic writing (which I currently do for the University of Cambridge). I am also a published poet and editor for an arts magazine and more than willing/capable of teaching creative writing.

11+ Preparation

I taught a student before her 11+ exam for admission to Putney High. During this time, we focused on the online ISEB test that is a prerequisite for taking the written test. We also focused on the English paper, with a particular focus on the comprehension sections. We also practised interview technique together. She got into Putney High, I am very pleased to say.

Academic scholarship to St. Paul’s Boys

Here, I worked with a student for two months on his verbal reasoning and English papers. We also practised interview technique, working out how he could approach the difficult and unpredictable questions for which St. Paul’s is known. He achieved an academic scholarship.

English GCSE (Edexel)

This student is autistic, so the English GCSE paper, and in particular the comprehension section, was particularly challenging for him. We spent around four months intensively running through comprehension past papers and working out how to find answers within the texts.

English Literature and Language (AQA)
I tutored a student for two months prior to his GCSEs. He was initially reluctant to express his thoughts, but over time, and using techniques borrowed from my teaching at Cambridge, he became a much more confident and articulate speaker. He achieved a 7 in English Literature and Language.

GCSE English Language and Literature

I mentored a student for four months in the run up to his GCSEs. He had been having difficulties with the subject at school, and felt he was more “mathsy.” He and his parents were nervous about the more creative side of the exams, including the coursework. During our time together we worked on a variety of texts, discussing how to approach difficult questions and various ways of reading. We planned his coursework (for which he got 100%), and by the end, he felt confident walking into his exams. He received two 8s.

A-Level Literature

I tutored a student (Charterhouse) for four months before his A-Level in English Literature. He was more focussed on Politics, as this was the subject he wished to study at university, but needed to secure a good grade in English. Over our time together, he showed himself to be seriously interested in literature, and we worked on ways he could move beyond the syllabus to really impress his examiners. He achieved an A*.

Oxbridge Preparation

I have done various kinds of tutoring work that involved preparation for Oxbridge applications, interviews, and entrance exams. This has included group teaching for schools whereby I have explained how the system works, as well as what kind of things the colleges look for in Personal Statements, what might be required of them should they get an interview, and what types of entrance exam they are likely to face. I have also engaged in several one-on-one coaching sessions with students looking to build an insight into the process, and develop consistent interview technique. I have an intimate knowledge of the Oxbridge admissions system: I know what interviewers are looking for, what kinds of things they tend to ask, and how a student can capitalise on their unique way of thinking to give the best interview possible. I have worked in and around the interviewing system for a number of years, leaving me enviably placed when it comes to understanding what is required to secure a place at an Oxbridge college.

Hobbies

Outside of academic writing, I enjoy writing and performing poetry. I’ve been published in notable literary magazines and have performed at international conferences on poetry. For instance, I recently performed a poem in Paris. I find creative writing to be enjoyable in its own right, but it also encourages a linguistic specificity that is easily carried over when reading a text: it’s best to know your subject inside out, and this is one of the ways in which I do this. I have also played tennis all my life and, at my peak (admittedly a fair few years ago!) played regular county tennis in the North East of England. I enjoy competition (both friendly and serious), as well as an opportunity to get out the classroom.

Testimonials

“Jack helped my daughter H– in the run up to her GCSEs in English Literature and Language. H– really likes English and her and Jack got on really well together. He was a kind and attentive teacher, he always listened and gave great advice. H– went into the exam with super confidence and got a 7 in Language and even an 8 in Literature.”

Mother of English GCSE student

“Jack’s calm and patient approach helped to build E–‘s self-esteem over the months. His creative and fun lessons really lead to a decrease in his dread of the subject and an actual engagement with many of the topics.”

Mother of English student

“Jack was invaluable in helping my son, J–, with his English Literature A-level. He was thorough, flexible, and always good fun. They did both online and in-person sessions. J– was really more interested in politics, but getting a good grade in English was essential, and Jack was able to bring out my son’s passion, leading him to get an A*. He’s a great tutor.’”

Parent of A Level English student

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