‘Oliver has worked with me for over two years on undergraduate coursework and exam essays for history. With his help, I was able to achieve a first during my first year at university and his passion for the subject made the 'dry' theoretical aspects of my degree more enjoyable. Oliver is hard-working, patient, adaptable to different learning styles and is genuinely interested in his students. He is extremely knowledgeable about history and has even helped me with other subjects including philosophy and political theory. I am grateful to have him as a tutor.’
Anna, A Level and Undergraduate History
2013-2017 St Cross College, University of Oxford Dphil History.
2012-2013 New College, University of Oxford MSt Modern British & European History (Pass)
2007-2010 New College, University of Oxford BA (Hons) Ancient & Modern History (1st)
2002-2007 Leeds Grammar School, A Levels: English Literature (A), History (A), Philosophy & Ethics (A). AS Levels: Classical Civilization (A), French (B). GCSEs: English Literature (A*), English Language (A*), Maths (A*), Dual Award Science (A*, A*), Religious Studies (A*), French (A*), Spanish (A*), History (A*), Art (A*).
My specialist subjects are History (particularly early modern history – Tudors, the Reformation and Philip II, for example) and English Literature, whilst I also teach Classical Civilization up to GCSE and Spanish up to GCSE.
I have a patient and accommodating nature and am a clear and encouraging communicator. These traits in particular make me a good tutor. I like to build lessons around a student’s individual needs, and also focus on core skills in the humanities – critical thinking, constructing arguments, essay structure, written fluency. I have experience of teaching within the Oxford system and was taught by inspirational tutors whose methods I have tried to take on board. I like to equip students with the confidence to approach questions themselves, and challenge them with alternate points of view. This approach is particularly valuable at gearing students towards university entrance.
Please find below a snapshot of my tuition experience.
I have been providing private tuition for over four years and during that time have taught pupils from a wide range of different levels – from eight year olds looking to explore their enthusiasm for history, to sixth formers preparing for A Level exams. I have experience of most boards and exam structures at GCSE and A-level, including Edexcel, AQA, OCR and CIE.
I also have experience with students at younger age groups, including international students. I have taught KS3 English, for example, helping students only recently arrived in the UK from China settle into the UK and their studies. I also enjoy working on History with younger pupils. Recently, I have been helping a student get ready for the prestigious Townsend-Warner History Prize, preparing him in topics such as King John and Magna Carta, and the English Civil War. I enjoy ranging over history more widely when I can. Teaching a home-schooled student with mild dyslexia (who would have been in Year 8), I came up with a unique programme of learning that fueled his growing passion for history, encouraging him to make broader connections and think like a historian.
Much of my teaching is now done online. I enjoy the format as it allows me to share new resources quickly with students, so the lessons can be very interactive, and using programmes such as Google Docs provides flexibility when working on notes and essay plans together. I have helped students online with GCSEs, A-levels, Oxford entrance, and younger learners too; online works equally well for all subjects and age groups. It also allows for me to keep supporting students at different stages of their learning. One particularly successful example of this was a student who I worked with on their A-levels, getting her grade in a medieval history paper from a B to an A. I am now providing academic support for her university studies, after she was able to get into her first choice, Edinburgh.
GCSE English – I worked with a student sitting the new spec English GCSE exams in the summer of 2017. During a time together they moved up from scoring 7’s to achieving a 9 (the highest mark) in their exams this year. I also worked with a Chinese student who had only recently arrived in the country. He was consistently being marked at a 6 in his English, but after tuition attained a 8 (English Literature) and 9 (English language) in his final exams.
GCSE History – I have worked with various GCSS students over the years, including a student from Wimbledon High school who was struggling to unlock her potential when it came to History- with hard work she attained an A* grade in her final exams.
AS History – I supported a student in the final months leading up to his exams. When we started working together this student was achieving E’s and D’s in his mocks and homework, by the time of his exam he was consistently achieving A’s.
Undergraduate History: My most recent tutoring work was at Oxford University, teaching first year undergraduates a paper on the conquest of the Aztec Empire by the Spanish. My students richly enjoyed this challenging subject matter and performed well in their preliminary examinations. I made sure to focus on the primary texts that the students had to grapple with in this paper, and essay technique, skills that will serve them well going forward. One of the students emailed me after the end of the term to explain how much he had enjoyed the paper and felt he had grown intellectually across the tutorials.
Oxford applications: I also have experience working with students for Oxbridge entrance, with a particular focus on Oxford due to my time there. I offer personal statement advice and support, training and preparation sessions for the HAT, and coaching/practice sessions for the interview. My focus is to draw out what is unique in a candidate’s application and encourage them to broaden their academic thinking. I believe that imagination, creativity and open-mindedness are traits undervalued by schools when preparing their students to apply. There are plenty of academically gifted students applying to Oxford. What admissions teams are looking for is originality of thought, allied to a willingness to be flexible when confronted with new evidence, or alternate perspectives.
In 2017-2018 I worked with four students applying for Oxford to read History (or joint honours degrees with a History component). Two of these received offers from their chosen college.
Hobbies and Interests
I am a voracious reader – of history and literature (particularly sci-fi). My favourite authors include Salinger, Mervyn Peake and Ursula le Guin. I also enjoy writing – travel writing, book reviews, film reviews. I enjoy travelling and exploring, particularly in cities, and visiting museums and galleries. I hope in the future to travel to Mexico and write a book about my experience.
My main hobby, however, is music. I listen to music constantly (mostly contemporary rock and pop) and am a regular gig-goer. I also enjoy playing and writing music: I play acoustic and electric guitar.
‘My experience with Oliver has been unique. He tutored me for my GCSE exams and I achieved a 9 and 8 in English language and Literature respectively. His teaching style is both progressive and passionate, and with regular feedback I quickly got to realise the mistakes I had been making in my essay writing, ranging from sentence structures to grammatical imperfections. His clear analytical instinct helped me to develop a strong sense of structure, so as soon as I read the question about Banquo in Macbeth during my exam I knew what to do. By the end of the exams I felt relieved, knowing that my hard work and guidance from Oliver had paid off.’ – Zhengze, English GCSE (AQA)
‘Oliver has worked with me for over two years on undergraduate coursework and exam essays for history. With his help, I was able to achieve a first during my first year at university and his passion for the subject made the ‘dry’ theoretical aspects of my degree more enjoyable. Oliver is hard-working, patient, adaptable to different learning styles and is genuinely interested in his students. He is extremely knowledgeable about history and has even helped me with other subjects including philosophy and political theory. I am grateful to have him as a tutor.’ – Anna, History A-level (Edexcel) and degree
‘Oliver is a great tutor and teacher, with fun and interactive lessons. He has helped me achieve high attainments in English. Furthermore, he aided me in essay writing, which before I used to be wary and less confident about; whereas now, my essay writing skills have been excellent, achieving high grades in English.‘ – Muhtasim, English Year 10
‘Oliver, was a fantastic tutor, and I would highly recommend him. Not only was he enthusiastic, committed and friendly but also had a in depth knowledge of his subject. He tutored me in AS level History, and before I started seeing him, my grade was roughly around an E/D. After 3 months of seeing him, my grade rose to an A. Without Oliver, I would not have been able to achieve this, and I now have a true interest in the subject.’ – Harry Wing Young
‘We highly recommend Oliver. He is a thoughtful and creative tutor who makes my son work hard while enjoying every minute of it. My 12 year old lights up when Oliver arrives for sessions and bounds out at the end of the class full of new information and love for the subject.’ – Katie Bertie
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