"Nicole helped my 7 year old son with his 8+ preparation. He liked her very much and said she was one of the best tutors he has had so far. Nicole was funny and happy and it really helped my son’s learning in an easy way. With Nicole’s hard work and patience, my son was thrilled to hear that he got into Sussex House School. Thank you Nicole for being a great tutor!”
Ms. N, 8+ Preparation
Senior School Entrance
2016-2017, BPP University, LPC Law
2015-2016, BPP University, LLB Law
2013-2014, Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, One Year Conservatory Programme
2012-2013, University of Leeds, MA English Literature (Merit)
2008-2012, University of Leeds, BA Communications (2.1)
2006-2008, Putney High School: A-Levels: English (A), Spanish (B), Biology (C).
2004-2006, Putney High School: GCSEs: Maths (A), Physics (A*), Chemistry (A*), Biology (A*), Classics (A*), Spanish (A*), Classical Civilisations (A*), English (B), English Literature (A*), Drama (A).
My teaching philosophy is built on the central principle that learning should be interesting, enriching and fun. This involves awakening my student’s curiosity and learning desire by giving them the freedom to expand and develop ideas on their own. I guide their development with the use of learning tools such as mind maps, flashcards, quizzes and games. I have had great success in helping my students achieve A* and A grades. My ultimate goal is to offer the best possible learning experience so that my students feel confident and happy in their academic life, that make my sessions very enjoyable and engaging.
I have been tutoring for over eight years, and have over a thousand hours of tutoring experience. Please see below for a snapshot of my recent tuition.
Entrance Exam Experience
4+ Reading, Writing, Maths
Rachel was a very kind and happy child, a real pleasure to teach. She was very enthusiastic in class and was keen to learn. I taught her the fundamentals of the alphabet, using educational workbooks and my own. She traced letters and shapes with different coloured crayons and pencils and learnt to count with my help. I also taught her how to hold her pencil properly. She was offered a place at Wimbledon High School.
I had the pleasure of teaching Ethan exam technique for his 7+ exam. He was very strong in Maths but just needed a confidence boost in his English. His comprehension ability was very good, the only thing holding him back was his story telling. I asked him to draw his ideas onto paper, following a linear structure before transferring them into writing. I taught him the fundamental elements such as setting, characters and plot as well as the use of paragraphs and structuring. I noticed that over time he became more and more confident with his ability to translate his ideas into writing, and his teachers noticed this too. They noticed he was writing stories in his lunch break at school and was more engaging in class. I am very proud of his achievements and hope he will continue to grow inside and out when he joins St Pauls Boys School.
7+ Maths and English
I taught Ethan how to interpret mathematical statements involving addition, subtraction, division and multiplication signs. I went over shapes, money & problem-solving question using concrete objects and pictorial representations, which I found really helped Ethan’s understanding. I also went over grammar and punctuation, reminding Ethan to use capital letters for naming people, places and the day of the week. Ethan also used to get ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘there’ mixed up. This is something we also revised through games and quizzes followed by an end of lesson test. I also went over cursive handwriting, reminding to write neat and tidy for the exam. Ethan was successful in gaining a place at Kings College school.
Entrance interview practice
I work on interview preparation with all of my 7+, 8+ and 11+ pupils. I go over the interview process at their chosen school and level and talk them through all the potential questions they may be asked. We prepare interesting answers together, always relating them to their personal interests so that they feel genuine to the interviewer. Of course, it’s also important to build their confidence so that they are comfortable answering questions that we hadn’t prepared. I find that even a small amount of practice can make a real difference, and have achieved great results at many schools, including Emanuel, St Paul’s, North London Collegiate and Westminster.
8+ Maths and English (Kings College, St Pauls, Westminster)
Archie was very enthusiastic student, and took everything I taught him on board. I showed him how to write a story using setting, characters as well as the basic structure of a story. I introduced a wide range of genres, and encouraged him to build his vocabulary through reading. I showed him the appropriate use of apostrophes to mark plural possession and the correct use of speech marks, which he sometimes got wrong. I went over the Maths syllabus, and made sure he was confident in everything he needed to know. The hard work paid off, and won a place at his favourite school.
11+ English and Maths
I am helping Anna prepare for her 11+ exams. She is a very bright student and just needs somebody to guide her through the 11+ process. I assist her mostly with essay structuring. This includes showing her how to identify exactly what the question is asking i.e. looking for key words such as ‘compare and contrast’ or ‘discuss’. I am helping Anna develop a basic method of expression, using the third person instead of the first to present an opinion. I am showing her how to connect each paragraph in a coherent way, and how sentences need to be short and concise to engage the reader. We are also going over verbal and non – verbal papers. Anna is now able to approach questions she finds more challenging. She is constantly getting better at applying her thinking ability. I encourage Anna to read more and to keep a vocabulary journal.
Key Stage 1 and 2 Experience
Year 1, Maths
I taught William how mathematical functions work (counting, ordering and sequencing, measures, shape, position and movement). I used objects to show basic adding and subtraction. We played counting, card and ball games, which included matching and sequencing.
Age 7 Reading and Writing (SEN Dyslexia)
I helped Thomas with his reading and writing. His dyslexia meant that he was slower in class, and underachieving. This knocked his confidence and he became reluctant to read and write as result of feeling inadequate. I tried to build his confidence and self-esteem by introducing new words slowly. We produced a short list for a weekly spelling test, including three of four regular words each week. I motivated Thomas to read more at home by choosing books wisely, themes that he enjoyed most to build his enthusiasm for reading. I asked him to prepare a few pages in advance so that he felt more confident when he read out loud to me. This made the whole experience more enjoyable, and gave him greater satisfaction when felt he was reading more fluently. His mother noticed how he became more enthusiastic, and confident in himself once he started improving. It was very humbling to see his transformation – all he needed was a confidence boost, which in turn, helped him overcome his learning difficulty.
Age 9, English and Maths (SEN)
I worked with a student called Henry, who had caught Meningitis as a baby which had affected his brain as well as his vision (he was partially blind). When we started working together, he has the reading age of a 5 year old and found it extremely difficult to sit still for longer than 10 minutes and would sometimes run away. I decided the best way to help him engage in class was to incorporate games such as ball games for learning the times table and card games for phonics and reading. I noticed a huge difference in his enthusiasm, which was also noted by his teacher and he also become more attentive in class. As time went on, Henry became more and more interested and started doing Maths questions in his spare time, and has improved dramatically.
Year 4, General Homework
I helped Sylvie with her homework. We went over the times table, using ball games and song. I saw a huge difference in her progress and learning. I could see an improvement almost immediately. I helped her move onto multiplying three digit numbers by a one-digit number as well as units of measurement and converting between the 12 hour and 24 hour clock. Heather moved to a new country so our tuition came to end but teaching her was always a joy.
Year 6 SAT Preparation
I helped prepare Katie for her KS2 exams, covering reading, English grammar, punctuation & spelling, and Maths. We covered every type of question that could come up in both the Arithmetic and Reasoning papers. I ensured Katie had a solid foundation in the four operations, namely Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction and could do the key steps mentally. Katie was always extremely focused and keen to learn, I was truly impressed with the progress made during our time together. She achieved the best grade in her class and has blossomed into a very confident young girl.
GCSE & A-Level Experience
GCSE English Literature (Edexcel)
I taught a pair of twins on Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice and Poetry. They were doing well at school but weren’t reaching their full potential because of a tendency to rush through work. This meant they nearly always missed something important in the question or did not answer it properly. I made sure that we went over everything at a steady pace, re-reading the question followed by a discussion and explanation of ideas. I encouraged the twins to draw spider diagrams to help them visually engage with the text and the use of language, structure and form, and make connections between its meaning and effects using the relevant terminology. I helped the twins develop a wide range of vocabulary, including grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms to help them analyse text more deeply. They both achieved A* grades.
GCSE English Language (AQA)
Alan achieved a grade B in his mock exam. He was an able student but lacked enthusiasm in his English class. I gave him literary tools to analyse language in a deeper and meaningful way. He began identifying subliminal messages and interpreting its meaning. I helped him write a variety of non-fiction genres designed to develop skills in writing for particular audiences such as for a newspaper. I went over exam technique and how to approach questions and structure answers in a short, concise way. William tended to write long sentences that were sometimes grandiose and over the top. I made sure he understood that good writing is short and clear, and that everyone has to understand it. He took my advice on board and achieved an A* grade in his exam.
A Level English Literature (Edexcel)
I taught Chaucer, The Yellow Wallpaper and The Waves to Jess who wanted extra support so she could achieve a grade A in her exam. I showed Jess how to use key literary devices such as use of speech, narrative voice, form and structure, imagery, language choice, rhyme and rhythm, tone and mood in her work. This helped Jess develop an analytical approach to text, which in turn gave her more confidence in making her own interpretation and critical judgment. I saw a dramatic improvement in her ability to engage with cultural and contextual influences as well as genre and meanings in texts and how they are made. This became very apparent in her work, and she achieved a grade A.
Hobbies and Interests
My main interests include debating, acting and writing. I was a member of the debating team at school and used to compete across the country. I won the National Rotary Tournament which involved carrying out independent research on a topic and arguing in favour of it. I have been in several theatre productions such as The Tempest and Annie and moved to New York to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. My involvement in theatre has instilled in me discipline, commitment and a strong work ethic.
I also regularly write theatre reviews for PlaysToSee. I have always had a penchant for writing and was a member of the creative writing society at university. This inspired me to write my own transrealist novel. I have found the discipline of creative writing a pleasurable enhancement of my Master’s degree in English Literature.
In my spare time, I play netball.
“We wanted to write to thank Nicole for her fantastic work tutoring our son in English composition for 7+ entry. His class teacher noticed an immediate impact on his technique, creativity, and confidence and, over the several months Nicole worked with him, he transformed what was his weakest academic skill into a strength. We were particularly pleased with Nicole’s preparation each week, including new materials, practical techniques around ‘show don’t tell’, synonyms, metaphors, descriptive language etc, and with her ability to motivate and engage him. Nicole also provided plenty of varied practice examples from previous 7+ exams. We are pleased to report that this has been successful: he has achieved a place at our first choice school King’s Wimbledon (KCJS).”
“Nicole is a friendly and incredibly capable tutor. She helped our son with his seven plus preparation with great results: 7+ places at King’s House and another academically demanding school. She taught material ahead of his school’s curriculum while instilling a passion for maths in the process – all the more impressive as she did this with an incredibly boisterous boy with no impact whatsoever on his behaviour, energy and wellbeing outside the classroom. She is attentive, friendly, flexible and very committed – we would readily recommend her to anyone seeking results while letting their child enjoy their childhood.”
Mr and Mrs B, 7+ Tuition