1  Academic Skills                                                                                                                                                                      

2  What is ‘learning?’

3  Choice, skills and career development

4  Conditions for learning

5  Managing distractions and procrastination

6  Reading, note-making and managing information.

7  What is intelligence?

8  Developing Study Skills:

9  Recording achievement

10  Successful Study

11  Using your goals to help you study



Academic Skills


At each level of study a leaner will need a strategy for finding information and knowing what is available. He/she must read large amounts at speed, and use many sources of information. Making notes of what they observe, hear, read and think and using them is an essential skill which is taught by tutors to learners at Improve tuition. Tutors will develop the learners organisational skills such as sorting, storing and retrieving information for re-use. Students learn to use numerical data, collecting, analysing and presenting.


Thinking skills are decision making skills such as the material to select and draw upon for the learners work. Memory skills are developing strategies for recalling information easily and accurately when it is needed. Critical thinking skills are evaluating the quality of sources of information, developing a strong line of reasoning based on sound evidence, interpretation material, data and theories.


Creative problem-solving and synthesis means drawing on diverse knowledge and skills to create new ways of looking at an issue or to find new solutions. Understanding is making sense of complex and – difficult data and concepts, including problems without clear- cut answers. Tutors at Improve Tuition develop all these skills at the learners own pace.


Learners are aided in developing good written and communication skills by their tutors. Precision is using words and data accurately and succinctly, and keeping to word limits. Structure and clarity are important a learner must be able to organise his/ ideas and use clear line of reasoning. Particularly a leaner must be aware of style and format for specific kind of tasks such as essays, reports and problem solving.


Tutors teach learners to cite and reference sources correctly and appropriately. Subject discipline is essential a learner must know how to use the style and format and conventions used in his/her subject. John Ware “After a short time joining Improve Tuition I’m much more aware of study skills that I need to succeed and I am developing my written communication skills well”.


What is ‘learning?’


Learning is more than just intelligence or study skills. It is rather a process involving factors as each individual learner, his/her learning history, knowledge, skills ambitions, interests, and attitude, motivation and current circumstances.


It can be said that learning has taken place when the leaner can understand something and can explain, teach or demonstrate it to others.


There are many ways to arrive at the point where learning has taken place.


Conscious learning is when the learner is aware that he/she is learning, for example when the learner sets out to memorise a poem or an equation or when he/she have understood new material. Tutors at Improve Tuition use typical methods of learning consciously such as, asking learners to repeat something, write it out, checking the learner has remembered it, asking the learner to tell someone else what they know.


Learners are aware of a small part only of information absorbed by the senses, which the brain processes. Learning is unconscious when the learner is unaware of it happening. Sometimes, unconscious learning transforms itself in to consciousness later, a learner may feel he/she just knows something they had not realised they had learnt earlier.


A learners level of attention may vary depending on his/her mental or physical state for learning, the way information is presented to the learner or whether the material is completely new to the learner. Sometimes a learner may try hard to remember something but forget it quickly, while remember something which he/she paid little attention to, such as an advertisement or song.


We all have our own preferred ways for seeing, hearing, speaking, writing and organising information in order to learn it.


Some people learn by looking at the whole picture others like to build up details, allowing the whole picture to emerge. Many learners are efficient and learn only what they need. Others take in information which may not be essential but makes their learning interesting. Tutors at Improve Tuition encourage learners to identify their best way of learning and to make learning interesting and stimulating.


Choice, skills and career development


At Improve Tuition tutors advise learners to make choices which will support their long term academic and career ambitions.


Tutors assess their learner’s skills through topic work and teach skills to encourage learning. A learner is encouraged to keep personal records to track his/her progress which is meaningful to the learner and to future employers.


A student planner, log or blog is useful to reflect on what you are learning about yourself, your ambitions and the ways the learner will go about achieving these.


At Improve Tuition the tutors identify the skills and qualities they want the leaner’s to achieve.


Some learners feel they have no academic skills especially those that find learning difficult. They are anxious about having the right skills to succeed in their academic learning. Tutors help to develop the learner’s skill that will benefit him/her in their future employment and study.


Learners who do well academically are those who have identified the skills and use them in their study. Learners often do not know where to begin to develop their academic skills. Tutors help to identify the learnersskills and draw up a plan to improve his/her weak points. They encourage a good attitude to learning and to have self belief in your learning.



Conditions for learning


For learning to take place we need to be exposed to novelty; to new ideas, new information, new situations, new challenges, and new emotions.


A new experience is an opportunity to learn as we are curious, have a desire to know, or we wish to see how thing fit together. Our brains try to process new information and to fit it in to what we already know.


Learning is much easier if we build upon earlier learning. The brain tries to make sense of new information this is easier if can use similar or related experiences as a basis. For example it is easier for a learner to read when he/she has a good vocabulary. If a learner has to look up new words in a dictionary his/her reading is interrupted, thus losing flow affecting his/her comprehension.


Our brains take time to assimilate new information and the learner may need to show how it all fits together, as well as what all the parts are individually. Learners who seem to learn things very quickly may good foundations of information, and practise in similar situations.


Academic learning is quite like learning physical activities, such as football. Learners need to repeat the action or new information several times to take it in and need to practise and come back to it.


Learners may process new information at a superficial level. Memory and recording are only part of learning. If learners use only surface methods they won’t develop a sense of the underlying structure or the significance of what they learn. This makes it more difficult for learners to apply new knowledge in other situations.


Tutors at Improve Tuition encourage learners to put what they have learnt to the test by demonstrating to themselves and others that they really do know it. It is the aim of tutors at Improve Tuition that learners after receiving tuition should be able to evaluate and select what is relevant and important and what can be omitted. Learners should be able to demonstrate how ideas are linked and interconnected and be able to structure ideas and knowledge to make a convincing argument.


Managing distractions and procrastination


Successful and effective study depends on having the right state of mind, space and time materials organised in a way that suits the learnersstyle of learning.


Many learners find it difficult to get in to the right mood for study. They put it off for another day. Every learner has his/her own particular distractions, endless cups of coffee, texting and tweeting, phone calls, TV, browsing online, housework, anything rather than settling down to study.


Learners have their trigger to start a study session. One learner clears his desk each time he finishes studying; his study trigger is a clear, inviting surface.


Tutors at Improve Tuition help learners to create the right kind of environment for study. Each learner has to make a conscious note of the environment that suits his/her study. Some learners need quiet others study better at home or in a library.


Even our distractions as learners can help us in our study. For example if housework is your distraction firstly read a chapter and then go over it whilst doing your housework.


If a learner finds it off putting to be obliged to study then he/she must study for a limited time such as 5-10 minutes and gradually increase to longer spells. Alternatively you can change activity and move away from study after ten minutes do something that allows you to think about what you have just studied.


Friends that can be distracting can help you to focus on your work. Whilst texting for example ask friends to ask you about your study.


Tutors at Improve Tuition are experienced and skilled and guide learners to manage their study successfully overcoming any distractions.


Reading, note-making and managing information


A learner can easily improve his/her reading comprehension. He/she must ask themselves do I understand most of what I read.


Tutors at Improve Tuition advise learners to start reading something general. This will give the learner a sense of the context and overview of the material. Learners must read a basic text first to familiarise themselves with the main issues and the vocabulary.


Learners may read a few sentences, and then stop. Without looking back at the text, sum up what you have read in just a few words. Students can say these aloud or jot them down. If a learner cannot do this he she/she must read back over what they have read.


A learner must start of with specific questions before reading. Whilst reading he/she can adapt the questions as they progress through the text. The clearer a learner is about what he/she is trying to find out the easier it is to find in the text.


It is a very good idea for learners to re-read difficult text over and over again to gain better comprehension.


On a learners text he/she can highlight information that they think may be relevant. The most important points can be indicated by putting a star next to them.


Another good strategy is to colour-code information. Different colours can be used for different kinds of information for example one colour for references names and dates and one for each of the main schools of thought or major theories for the subject.


Tutors at Improve Tuition encourage learners to ask questions like what point is the writer making, what lessons can be learnt from the text, is the writer trying to answer a particular question?


Reading comprehension is improved when the learners body is relaxed and he/she has her preferred environment for learning.


What is intelligence?


Early psychologists such as Spearman (1927) and Terman (1916) concluded that each individual has a general level of intelligence, which they termed the intelligent quotient or IQ. They regarded intelligence as a single, fixed, underlying capacity. Recently psychologists have supported these views using studies on identical twins, aguing some traits including intelligence are up to 80 percent result of genetic inheritance.


However, other psychologist using the same data, argue that genetic influence is as less as 20 per cent or even zero(Gardner1993)


Thurstone (1960) using experiments hundreds ofollege students showed that there was no general form of intelligence. Likewise Gardner(1993) argues that intelligence is made of many different independent systems, which interact with each other.


At Improve tuition we believe that intelligence can be developed. In Japan the Suzuki Violin Talent Education Programme has trained many children to play the violin to virtuoso level. Like the Suzuki Programme we at Improve Tuition we are of the opinion that anyone can learn to a high standard.


Sternberg emphasised that any skill is made up of underlying processes and sub-skills; he saw intelligence as the ability to transfer those skills easily when faced with a new task.


Tutors encourage leaners to develop their study skills through frequent use until the learners application of them is a reflex and feels instinctive. Rapid and skilful reading comprehension develops through constant reading, and familiarity with specialist texts. Tutors stress the need for practise as the more you write , the better your writing skills are likely to be. Equally the more you apply your mind to thinking in critical analytical ways the more tuned your thinking skills become. If you want to achieve constant practise , with thinking about your work is essential.

Developing Study Skills


At Improve Tuition tutors help you to develop your study skills. A learner is encouraged to analyse his/her current strengths and weaknesses. Learners must identify what they want to achieve and where they need to improve. Tutors will guide you through the resources available and aid learners overcome any obstructions that may stop each individual achieving his/her goals.


Ways in which awareness is developed include feedback and comments from tutors, group discussion and chat, monitoring your progress and self evaluation questionnaires.


Task awareness knows what is required. A learner must be aware of what is expected of him/her and what the tutors are looking for when a new assignment is set. Tutors ask learners to look at the curriculum i.e. the course content. Students must ask them self what they are expected to know and be able to do at the end of the course. Other questions to address are how marks are allocated and what gets good marks and what loses marks.


Strategy, method and organisation are essential to successful study. It is easier to study and you save time if you have a method for working and are organised. A good student uses strategies and through practise and encouragement from tutors at Improve Tuition these become automatic.


Confidence and sense of entitlement are important if you want to make study a success. You have to believe that success is possible for you and tutors instil this in you right from the start.


All skills improve through practise, feedback and monitoring. You don’t have to be clever to succeed. Study skills have little to do with being naturally clever. Tutors help you to have awareness, strategy and confidence and encourage practice which will aid the learner’s development. After sending her daughter to Improve Tuition Jane Wright says “My daughter Anne has much more self confidence and belief that she will succeed in her English GCSE.”


Recording achievement


At Improve Tuition the tutors say always celebrate your success. When you have achieved a goal or taken a step towards your goal, give yourself credit for what you have done. Record your success and use it as an example of what you can achieve with help from your tutor.


Learners are told to keep a personal portfolio on a theme in maths. The portfolio is divided in to sections with everything labelled. The learner must update regularly with personal statements.


A personal statement brings together details of where the learner is at now, where he wants to be and how to get there. Examples are the learner’s career and life goals, what goals and achievements mean personally, and what the learner has learned along the way about him/herself.


Academic portfolios are evidence of the learners work to grade or provide feedback. Learners must number pages, compile a contents page, annotate and highlight evidence in the file. Tutors at improve tuition guide you through how to make your own portfolio.


Portfolios keep related documents together which helps the learner stay organised. A learner can reflect on his/her development. Tutors advise learners to check and update portfolios regularly and especially when you achieve something. Re-reading or rewording what a learner has written helps refocus his/her energies.


Successful Study


Intelligence, Strategy and Personalised Learning.


Self awareness is an insight in to how your own and other people’s opinions about your intelligence and academic abilities impact on your capacity to achieve your best.


Strategy is understanding that successful study is mainly about understanding the field, developing good study habits and using good approaches and techniques rather than how clever you are.


Personalised approaches are being able to adapt your study strategies to suit your strengths, interests, and circumstances.


Learners do not typically give much time to these three aspects of study. Tutors at Improve Tuition advise learners to spend more time thinking about strategies to tackle their studies.


Most learners assume that academic success is the result of being clever or bright. This creates barriers for learners success. Some learners take it for granted that they will do well on being clever alone. Others fail to achieve their potential and the highest marks as consider them selves less intelligent.


At Improve Tuition we ask is it Intelligence or intelligent study that leads to success.


Many learners underestimate their potential or lose confidence as may have received lower marks than they had hoped for. It is not uncommon for learners to recall an occasion in the past when a teacher or a relative undermined their confidence in their abilities.


Our tutors stress the need for Intelligent study which means applying good strategies to study, appropriate to the learners level of study. At Improve Tuition we believe that the right strategies and mentality can bring success to any learner, whereas failure to apply these can mean under-achievement for students.


Using your goals to help you study


At improve tuition the tutors help you to make a clear plan in your head to be successful at the tasks they set. Sometimes we can be our own biggest enemy in trying to succeed academically. Tutors at Improve tuition help learners look at the things that may prevent the learner from achieving success. Many learners leave things till the last minute, don’t spend enough time studying , don’t turn up on time for lessons and exams.


Our tutors help you to set mini-goals as milestones, so you have a sense of achievement. Learners are taught to break larger assignments such as writing a report, in to smaller tasks. Effective mini goals are linked to a larger plan such as your essay. Individuals are given set number of pages they should read and are advised to plan time for emergencies and to change things around if necessary.


Learners should increase their chances of success by learning to set targets and deadlines they know they can meet. When a learner achieves he should reward him/herself. He/she should give bigger rewards to themselves for completing whole task to encourage themselves for next time.



Success as a student : What tutors say


Tutors at Improve Tuition stress the need to read what you are given. A learner must find out what kind of information is available. He/she must read everything that has been provided thoroughly and in good time and work out what it means to the learner. If you don’t understand ask your tutor.

Tutors at Improve Tuition guide learners at their own pace. Learners are advised to find out what is relevant to their study. A learner must know what level of study he/she is doing and the content of their course.

Learners are encouraged to get feedback on their work, in written form and verbal feedback is also given.

Tutors encourage learners to use all the resources available and to get to know how to access these resources. A library is a great source of information for learners. Tutors at Improve Tuition encourage learners to familiarise themselves with their local library.

At improve Tuition the tutors teach you ways to organise your information. Also they plan with the learner how many hours he/she must spend on their learning. They instil confidence in you to learn on your own. The best learners are those that who are determined to learn and take advice from their tutors. They have a clear plan and stick to it and they succeed as students.